Society Essay, Research Paper
The Obsession with Money and Greed in American Society
Since the Industrial Revolution in the United States, The American people have
been obsessed with the dollar. Americans try to imitate the wealthy to hopefully make
money. The money that we do make is immediately spent. Therefore, there is a rise in
consumerism and materialism. Also, good qualities that people usually associate with
everyday ways of life have been concentrated an fattening people?s pocketbooks.
According to the classic American novel ?The Great Gatsby? by F. Scott
Fitzgerald, this country has become a ?valley of ashes-a fantastic farm where ashes grow
like wheat?. This leads to the conclusion that the American Dream has dissolved like an
Alka-Seltzer tablet into a cesspool of petty desires and wants. The populous has equated
being happy with being wealthy, as if the richest of the rich have no cares in the world.
Now, it is the trend to have money. Bill Gates is the trendiest of them all. From the
countless articles and news reports to the obscene popularity of the Windows program,
everyone knows Bill Gates. Or at least everyone has a guess to the total of his massive
fortune. At last count, from the official Bill Gates Net Worth web site, he has 50.53
Everyone wants to be like Bill, which would explain the outrageously popular
?Who Wants to be a Millionaire??. According to 3bigshows.com, an average of 24
million Americans are sucked into the show each airing like a vacuum, yelling what they
believe to be the correct answers at a strangers face on the television screen as if their
screams could change the contestant?s mind after choosing their answer but before
answering Regis? now famous question. Maybe if we yell loud enough, they will hear us
and share their new found fortunes with us.
Compared to twenty years ago, the cost of living has dramatically increased. What
would buy us $5,000 worth of useless trinkets in 1980, would only buy us $2,500 worth
of things today, according to the American Institute for Economic Research. The reasons
for this are the rises in inflation and consumerism. Nobody is satisfied with what they
have anymore. If something breaks around the house, we don?t fix it, of course not, we
buy a new one. Not only that, but we buy things we don?t need. The perfect example for
this is the Pokemon disease infecting children today. Kids want anything Pokemon, and
parents feel that the only way to make them happy is to spend their money. This is similar
to the Tickle-Me-Elmo obsession a few holiday seasons ago.
Competition, ambition, and the need to strive for success are good traits. The way
that we are focusing these traits is for the intent to make money. When the drive to make
money is combined with competition, it leads to greed. The competition to make more
money than your neighbor, to own a nicer car, a larger house, and more things to fill that
house seems to be why we want the money in the first place. Of course, you could use the
money to educate your children. That, in itself is often used as a statement of wealth, as a
As a people, we need to stop being infatuated with the size of our bank accounts.
It seems hard to imagine making money less important in our lives, but we need to
concentrate on our families and our happiness. Money can lead to the happiness of our
families and ourselves, but a shallow, conceited happiness that makes us greedy, spiteful,
ruthless people. In conclusion, stop worrying about money and make the most of each
day. Life is too short to worry.