NPR for North Texas
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Is more ever better?

By Maxine Shapiro, KERA 90.1 commentator

Dallas, TX – It was the worst September for the blue chips since 1937, 65 years ago. And if you already haven't done so, this might be the perfect time for a little reflection. I'm Maxine Shapiro with KERA Marketplace Middays.

Tomorrow marks ten months to the day that Enron filed for bankruptcy. It might also be the day that the first ex-Enron executive Andrew Fastow will have criminal charges brought against him. Fastow was the Chief Financial Officer who finagled all those partnerships making a lot of money for himself and his friends. Names like Rigas, Lay, Waksal, Koslowski, and Ebbers have become all too familiar.

And as analyst and brokers continue to project their negative outlook for the stock market, I sincerely believe that this is a perfect time for all of us to individually look at our lives and our relationship to money. "Oh no, is Shapiro going to get esoteric on us again?" Humor me.

Our culture is very much under the misconception that more is better. Remember that feeling when you bought your first car or your first home. There was something so satisfying about it. We were proud and content. And then some of us got a taste of affluence. We could buy what we wanted, cars, homes, vacations. But there was always something bigger and better. For those of us who were willing to "sacrifice" in order to put our family and values first, it meant leaving the office a little earlier then the rest. It also meant we were weak.

Sometimes it's illness that makes us look deeply and sometimes it's the loss of money. The Fastow's and Koslowki's were simply caught up in the delusion that more is better. It never was and never will be. But for the vast majority of us, simply realizing that we might not retire as quickly as we liked was a big enough jolt.

September has come and gone and, you know, I still have a smile on my face. For KERA Marketplace Middays, I'm Maxine Shapiro.

Marketplace Midday Reports air on KERA 90.1 Monday - Friday at 1:04 p.m. To contact Maxine Shapiro, please send emails to