“A wise person should have money in their head, but not in their heart.” This was a quote said by the great Irish writer, Jonathan Swift, expressing his opinion that although being economically complacent is something to strive for, it should not be the main component that drives a person’s heart and soul.
Money, or various types of other “riches” that determine wealth, have been sought after since the beginning of time. Thus, wanting copious amounts of money is nothing new amongst history’s timeline. Yet, when times are tough, people start exploring various new ways of making the amount of money they yearn for.
Normally an everyday, tax paying citizen would acquire a job through traditional means. These people usually complete some form of education or learn a specific trade, start at some entry level position, and then work their way up to making a livable salary. Others start their own business and make a living that way. Some of the lucky few are born into their riches, and acquire their wealth through a family inheritance. Although the vast majority of people are not given such a luxury, they nonetheless still dream of being wealthy. Again, there are a select few who did not start out life loaded with money; these people usually fall into their money in one way another. However, when the average person wants to make extreme amounts of money in a very short time, they usually turn to illegal, unethical, or socially unacceptable methods.
This brings us back to the question at hand… Are people willing to trade their morals for money? According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, “During periods of economic stress, the incidence of robbery may double, and homicide and motor vehicle theft also increase.” In cases like this, the saying “desperate times call for desperate measures” really comes into play. When under pressure to make money, and make money fast, people who are usually seen as good civilians may be tempted to do something illegal and/or socially immoral.
Hardworking college girls have turned to stripping or prostitution, men and women sell drugs under the table, and people learn to become scam artists in order to make a living. Sometimes these people might not even be financially unstable, but the draw of making such large amounts of money in no time can be almost hypnotizing.
Jon, a Tempe resident who wishes to keep his last name anonymous, was willing to share his personal situation and temptations that led him to a life of selling illegal drugs for copious amounts of money.
“I’ve kinda been around families who have lived in the rougher parts of town all my life, although I didn’t really associate with them when I was younger. Then came post high school where I met a few friends, and we started smoking weed together. It came to the point where we realized that none of us had real jobs, we were always traveling all across the valley, and didn’t have places to stay. After a while we figured, why not just sell our little stock pile of stuff on the side and make some extra money? From there on it just kept growing and growing, and we decided to start selling cocaine instead. The only reason I stuck with it was because I wasn’t tempted to try my own stash and I was making more money than I would ever need. It was just super nice having the freedom of the money.”
Before the allure of drug-dealing engulfed his life, Jon was just a regular Tempe resident. He graduated high school, went to look for a job, and found himself sucked into something he would have never imagined doing before. Although he left that unlawful life behind him some time ago, he admits, “I miss making the money and being my own boss.” However, Jon shares that even the seduction of the big money wasn’t enough to keep him tied to such a toxic lifestyle.
“I don’t miss the environment. Looking back, it’s nice knowing I escaped all that. There was a point in time where if I did not have the mentality that I had, thinking that people were out to get me and constantly having to look over my shoulder, I would honestly be dead right now. So it was nice getting out of there.”
Richard M. DeVos once said, “Money cannot buy peace of mind. It cannot heal ruptured relationships, or build meaning into a life that has none.” Consider these words when determining whether to throw your morals out the window for some extra cash in your pockets.