The Cost of Pursuing a Dream
The Great Gatsby
"When I came back from the East last autumn I felt that I wanted the world to be in uniform and at a sort of moral attention forever; I wanted no more riotous excursions with privileged glimpses into the human heart. Only Gatsby, the man who gives his name to this book, was exempt from my reaction—Gatsby, who represented everything for which I have an unaffected scorn." (Gatsby, 4).
Nick Carraway has this perspective, that people need to have more natural decencies. He sees something so good, and wholesome in Gatsby. Carroway has an undeniable envy for Gatsby, and desires to be like him. Nick compares Gatsby to society, and figures that society should be more like him. You see... Nick has this perspective AFTER he returns from New York... After his life was completely altered, and out of everything, he gains that Gatsby is someone to admire and have an unaffected scorn for. He was brainwashed in a way, because Gatsby is not someone you should admire. But Nick Carraway got so consumed by his dream of being accepted by Gatsby, and being like Gatsby, that his perspective was altered to where he didn't see Gatsby for who he truly was. Selfish, greedy, dry, and dispassionate.
Living in Florida
"My first task is to find a place to live. I figure that if I can earn $7 an hour -- which, from the want ads, seems doable -- I can afford to spend $500 on rent or maybe, with severe economies, $600 and still have $400 or $500 left over for food and gas." -Barbara Ehrenreich; Serving in Florida.
Barbara Ehrenreich is an author of 13 books, including the New York Times Best Seller Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America. This book is based on Barbara's in depth research on low-wage jobs in America. Inspired partly from the welfare reform at the time, she decided to immerse herself into the world of low-wage earning Americans. She surrounded herself with a below average setting in the lower class, and got a first-hand look at what it's like to live with less. She was chasing the dream of being a successful journalist, so Barbara changed her surroundings to unfold a story, which altered her perspective. She became more aware of how bad it is, and how difficult it is to maintain financial stability. Until she put herself in the position of a low class individual she didn't really understand how advantaged she was. Changing her surroundings made her less greedy, and caused her to be humble. Basically the complete opposite of Nick Carraway, and well the Great Gatsby as whole... They surrounded themselves with wealth, and power to build themselves up... To live in a sort of dream. Barbara surrounded herself with poverty and weakness to bring herself to the reality of low-wage jobs in America.
Junk Mortgages Under the Microscope
"It's getting hard to wrap your brain around subprime mortgages, Wall Street's fancy name for junk home loans. There's so much subprime stuff floating around - more than $1.5 trillion of loans, maybe $200 billion of losses, thousands of families facing foreclosure, umpteen politicians yapping - that it's like the federal budget: It's just too big to be understandable."
Subprime lending means making loans to people who may have difficulty maintaining the repayment schedule, sometimes having setbacks such as unemployment, divorce, medical emergencies, etc... Wall Street is using money they don't have which is extremely risky. So they often lose money. They put this burden on families, and blame them, making them pay more. Wealth changes people's perspectives drastically, and causes them to make rational decisions, exhibit A: Wall Street.
Wall Street's Great Recession Cost us all $30 trillion
"That tally comes in at $30 trillion once you factor in "additional costs arising from psychological consequences, skill atrophy from extended unemployment, a reduced set of economic opportunities and increased government intervention in the economy," as the American Enterprise Institute puts it." - Allen Sloan; Fortune Magazine.
The government generally made out okay from the economic fallout of the Great Recession but the economy is a different story. Wall Street kept loaning, taking people's money and loaning it, thinking they would get it back with profit because of interest. So they put the money back in everyone's account, and then have some left over. But in doing that they took many leaps of faith where most people fell through and didn't pay back the loan. So all in all we have to pay the price or else it won't get fixed and the nation would be sitting on massive debt. Basically... These two go very well together because they are both about the power that Wall Street has, and how it can either benefit us immensely or have our nation crumble. If Wall Street is booming, wooohooo it would be the 20's all over again, if it's failing it would be like the 40's all over again. So not only does wealth alter Wall Street's perspective, it alter's the nation's as well.
"Why should a financial engineer be paid four times to a hundred times as much as a real engineer? A real engineer builds bridges. A financial engineer builds dreams. And when those dreams turn out to be nightmares, other people pay for it." -Andrew Sheng, chief adviser, China Banking Regulatory Commission; Inside Job.
Inside Job involves a lot of greed, clearly. But so do all the other sources. The Great Gatsby.... That's pretty crystal clear, I mean that era was based on the twenties which was strictly 3 things: wealth, greed, and power. The economy was at it's height and the nation experienced a kind of Gilded Age. Though it may not seem like it, it's arguable that Barbara Ehrenreich was greedy. Greed may not be the right adjective but she did go into it with the mindset of HER career and HER success in her journalism career. Though while living the low-wage American life she discovered more in depth, and became an activist for the lower class, but beforehand she was focused on herself and what she could gain. Junk Mortgages under the microscope, Wall Street's Great Recession cost us all $30 trillion, and Inside Job all involve Wall street. Video + Commentary.