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Crystal Evans Books

“The idea that sex is something a woman gives a man, and she loses something when she does that, which again for me is nonsense. I want us to raise girls differently where boys and girls start to see sexuality as something that they own, rather than something that a boy takes from a girl.”

— Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie



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Saturday, February 13, 2010

Are The Ideals of Being Successful Responsible for The Financial Crimes in The Western World?

We have seen a wave of crimes within the western world with regards to the scams and illegal activities geared at achieving the western dream of success. It may seem that the consumerism in us has overshadowed our morals and values. Human life and validity is measured by dollars and cents and your life can be snuffed out as easily as giving a crack head a 10 dollar bill.

People are far more stressed in the modern society than they were during the colonial era, industrial revolution and twenty years ago. Today’s world and its doldrums have caused widespread disillusion for those that cannot satisfy or conform to its ideal of success. People are constantly being beaten down by life, preyed up on by rogues and unscrupulous individuals.

Corporate society preys on the individual’s weakness and need for validation and social approval. They tell us that if we purchase this product then we will be sexy, confident, loving, attractive, and desirable. Amoral and unethical corporations subscribe to our vulnerabilities and need for financial success and economical independence by providing us with easier, nonexistent answers, offers, opportunities and avenues for advancement. In the end it is a scam and the only persons who have achieved any economical gains from it are the profiteers. The hard working investors are left with nothing but disenchantment, drained bank accounts and depleted resources.

We continue to be tricked by a deluge of home business scams, dating scams, fraudulent investment schemes, nonexistent lottery scams and fallacious sweepstakes. The connoisseur of these illegal business activities preys on our desires and vulnerabilities. They know we want to get rich quickly with little or no effort. They sell us what they know we want, which is quick wealth with small effort or industrious investment. If that is our aspiration then we will continue to be duped and our credit card debts will be high.

Everyone on this planet wants to be successful in whatever variant or realm their society and culture deems as a measure of ultimate success. In primeval society, success was measured by the amount of animals or vast agrarian land that the individual possessed. In today’s world success is measured by our jobs, academical achievements, financial status and our overall contributions and conformity to the advancement of the human race within our relevant societies.

But the criterion for being called a success has changed over the years. There was a time in Jamaica when a man’s success was calculated based on the amount of lands he possessed and cattle. Once up on a time, a Jamaican’s idea of the ultimate Jamaican dream was to possess a car and a house with a nice piece of land for his progeny to inherit.

Today the decisive factor for success is the same but for more compounded. A man wants to have several lands disperse over the island, several cars and several Swiss bank accounts. It is this standard of living that is fomenting the criminal activities and scams that many Jamaican young people are getting involved in. The situation is further magnified by this new wave of obsession with youth, where everyone wants to be successful before they are old. Young people in Jamaica want to have several expensive vehicles, penthouses and millions in the bank before they are twenty five years old.

The need for wealth and high regard is also being propounded by parents who are constantly using the success of other peers of their children to measure the material ascendancy of their own. For instance, I have class mates that I went to school with, who are below the age of twenty two years old and have accomplished several cars and immense wealth. I know nineteen year old who are becoming millionaires over night. When my parents see their success compared to the rate that I am climbing the ladder of success, they assume that I am slacking off and not doing sufficient work to reach the top. . My parents do not know the full details of the success of my few compatriots and the means by which they attained their overnight wealth. They do not care about that because we live in a society where money is the order of the day, by whatever means possible. People will know that you achieve your wealth by illegal means and instead of being subjected to pillory and social dissidence; you are lauded and easily recruit camaraderie who want to get in on the game.

My ex boss once said that Jamaican parents are responsible for the continuation and expansion of the drug trade and the various scams the youths are involved in. In his analysis, when a child tells his parents that he wants to become a farmer. They censure and denigrate him for choosing a career field that within a black Jamaican mindset will not bring about wealth and improvement of social status. They inculcate their children to believe that success is measured by the attainment of money. They socialized children to believe that certain professions bring along with it great opulence while other are relegated for those without ambition.

Few Jamaicans aspire to hard work and dedication. Many youths simply want a “Buss” in the drugs trade or the music business and then they will be able to buy Range Rovers and drink five hundred US dollar champagnes. This life view is hyped by want is propounded in the media. Many youths from the inner-city want to live the life that they see on the American and Jamaican music stations.

Many people in Jamaica know that many individuals at the top got their wealth through mingling in dirty business but do not have the gumption to speak about it publicly. Poor people are continually being exploited by the politicians and the upper class because they know that we want what they have.

When Carlos Hill came to Jamaica with his infamous Cash Plus investment opportunity where Jamaicans were told that they could invest a mere 60,000 dollars Jamaican and will get rewards up to two million dollars: Jamaicans took out a mortgage on their home, loan on their car and drew money from their bank account to invest in Cash Plus venture that appeared to be god sent avenue for success for poor people. Invest a dollar and you will be rewarded with four dollars. It was the investment opportunity of a lifetime.

I remember when I heard my brothers talking about it and I told them that it is impossible to get that kind of returns in such a short span of time. They laughed at me but in the end I was the one laughing when Cash Plus turned out to be another Pyramid Scheme. A scheme that crumbled and Jamaicans learnt for the first time that “not all that glitters is gold”. As my grandmother would say “some gold jewelry a simply wash over, you wash it one time and it change color”

The credit card is another factor in young Jamaicans life as many young people are applying for several credit cards because they want to live beyond their means. They want everything that constitutes the western dream. When the bills arrive, they are unable to pay the bills because they do not have that kind of money nor do their jobs pay sufficient money to cover their debts. A debt brought on by the allure of lavish lifestyle.

We are responsible for getting conned by these fraudulent schemes and investors. We allow ourselves to be baited by consumerism and materialism. We want a better life and nothing is wrong with wanting the best. But sometimes some things are just too good to be true.

My grandmother says that everyone cannot be at the top. Some people will always have some more than others. what is of utmost concern is that those at the bottom may not be living the lavish life like those at the top but yet they are having a wholesome life devoid of hunger and gloom. We want to be considered “somebody”. To be considered somebody in today’s world, means that you have to possess or have a semblance of great materialism to show before you are given the sparkly label.


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