How Are The Mighty Fallen!
Author: Ola Onikoyi, Jr.
At the Edgewater Beach Hotel in Chicago back in 1923, eight of the World's wealthiest men who allegedly controlled more money than the United States Treasury were reported to have met.
The men include:
- Richard Whitney: The President of the New York Stock Exchange
- Ivar Krugar: Head of the World's greatest monopoly
- Leon Frazer: The president of the bank of international settlements
- Jesse Livermore: The Greatest bear in wall-street
- Albert Fall: A member of President Harding's cabinet
- Arthur Cutten: The greatest wheat speculator
- Howard Hopson: The president of the largest gas company
- Charles Schwab: The president of the largest steel company
While the Edgewater beach meeting still remains very controversial as to whether it was held or not - what is very certain is that three decades later, all these men had severely fallen from grace.
- Richard Whitney the NYSE president was said to have been charged with grand larceny and sent to 5-10 ten years at the Sing Sing prison in New York.
- Ivar Kruger who managed a multi billion dollar conglomerate which was the world's biggest monopoly became bankrupt in what was termed "America's biggest bankruptcy at that time'. He later died by committing suicide.
- Lean Frazer who headed the bank of international settlements was reported to have killed himself while serving as president following a suicide note claiming mental depression and melancholia.
- Jesse Livermore known as the cotton king and one of the most successful market speculators in Wall Street's history was blamed for having precipitated the 1929 market crash which led to the American depression in the early 30s. He killed himself in a hotel after thanksgiving in 1940.
- Albert Fall who worked with President Harding was sent to one year prison and fined for jury tampering and oil fields scandal which made him resign his position.
- Arthur Cutten who was one of America's greatest speculators was indicted on charges of inflating the market of which he lost millions of dollars. He died of heart attack before been tried in 1966.
- Howard Hopkins was purported to have died insane after several jail terms and huge financial losses in 1949.
- Charles Schwab one of the time's greatest steel titan lived under borrowed money and a debt of $1.7 million till his death in 1939.
In the books of history, the stories of these men is just a tiny fraction of the plentiful cases of successful men who have fallen from grace â€“ from inspiring entrepreneurs to top politicians, innovative thinkers, sports icons, presidents, corporate executives, celebrities, kings, academia's, intellectuals and religion chiefs.
Some of the recent stories include that of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the Russian oil magnate (whose picture is shown) who was rated Russia's richest man and the World's 16th richest by Forbes in 2004. Khodorkovsky was jailed for 8 years on charges of fraud and tax evasion by the government of Mr Putin in 2005. A year later, after his wealth had been confiscated by the authority; Khodorkovsky was estimated to be worth less than $500 million. His prison sentence was extended for another 6 years in December 2010 on further allegation of siphoning over 350 million tons of oil from his company (yukos). Today, some claim that Khodorkovsky is worth less than $200 million making him as poor as a stranded pig.
More recently we've heard about the inglorious fall of our World's rare and most remarkable athlete; Eldrick Tont "Tiger" Woods - who was the World's no one golfer as of 2010. Since his professional golfing career, Tiger has won 14 professional major golf championships and 71 PGA Tour events. Since Wood's dilemma following his leaked extramarital affair, he has dropped down the 12th position in golfer's rankings as of May 2011. Tiger's fall from grace has been flanked with huge decline in his earnings, withdrawal of major sponsors and a huge payout to his former partner.
We all know about the case of Sadam Hussein a one time president of Iraq who died under the hangman's noose following indictment of mass killing. There is the story of Dominic Strauss Kahn; the former IMF chief who was reported to have forced a maid for oral sex in a New York hotel. Not only did Mr Kahn loose his chance to become France's next president â€“ he was pressured to resign his position at IMF and was made to sleep in a New York prison for days â€“ a tale which could only have happened in the dream.
Another inglorious fall was that of Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola (MKO) Nigeria's late business mogul who won an historic presidential election in 1992 but was killed under military detention drawing a close to his growing business empire. More recently, Japan's Takafumi Horie a young and dynamic entrepreneur known as a symbol of freshness and strength in corporate Japan has been jailed for two and a half years for artificially driving up his company's shares and misleading investors through false information.
Chief of the factors responsible for the fall of these great men have ranged from sexual immorality to greed, arrogance, stupidity and failure to adapt to change.
Sexual Immorality Sucks!
Men upon men and indeed great men of timber and calibre have fallen from illicit sexual misconducts. They have been caught in parks fondling with young women's loins, in hotels raising innocent girl's pants and in offices granting young ladies some strokes of their unrepentant cane. Some great men have been caught with prostitutes and their maids' pants down. The media is replete with stories of Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky, Tiger Woods and his numerous concubines and more recently, Arnold Schwarzenegger and his maid.
The very sad thing about sexual immorality is that it not only damages the predator's career but tarnishes his image and stains his profile for life. In many cases, it has reduced wealthy men into poor church rats, led to widespread humiliation and for many, outright suicide.
While many of these cases have been a direct result of men's uncontainable hunger for endless sex which has led many to behave like pigs â€“ society too does not help with the sort of ideals it promotes. Many societies permit homosexuality with the justification that it is naturally written in their DNA's - but the same society would not acknowledge that written in many men's DNA's is the need for endless sex.
That men are polygamous in nature is an old believe which society has condemned but many scientific findings are increasing proving the old clichÃ© to be naturally true. For example, some studies have recently found that the degree of testicle size across male species does determine their need for sex. Larger testicle sizes are also believed by many scientists to produce higher testosterone levels which drive the need for more pleasure from different opposite sex thus leading to promiscuity. If such findings are indeed true â€“ why do society expect men (with big balls) to be committed to one partner for life without promiscuity or engaging in one form of sexual immorality or the other, or lets simply put; should high testosterone men be blamed for cheating?
Though many good men have been found to exercise absolute control with their single partners and in the face of downright temptation - but how many men can? One commentator recently writes that "Men have to have sex regularly or their balls will explode". As satirical as such remark might sound â€“ it is not lacking in truth. One research suggests that a huge percentage of men resort to masturbation where they've been denied the real opportunity to copulate â€“ the research says that many who are not inclined to masturbation clandestinely visits brothels while some simply wait for the perfect occasion for immorality.
Another recent research suggests that over 57% of married men have engaged in sexual immorality at one point or the other in their marriage and that 74% of men would engage in infidelity if they know they'd never get caught.
Given the natural and scientific evidences attesting to men's need for multiple sexual partners â€“ it appears that the tight conditions in which society has legally and morally confined them is not helping either.
If there is the natural inclination to mate more than one partner as many research increasingly claims â€“ then should society draw a too close borderline? The borderline that it is only one man to one legal partner, - which has often been transgressed by men no matter how strong the borderline. The absolute fact is that if not addressed boldly and with the most realistic approach by society, sexual immorality will continue for a long time coming.
Should society therefore fold its arms and accept the consequences borne by such acts? The very sad consequences of innocent wives, mothers and daughters being harassed all the time, of great men being disgraced and of empires coming to decline because of natural drives for which the sanest of men often has no control â€“ or would society rather seek to understand the psychological as well as biological issues driving the need for engaging in sexual misconducts â€“ draw sensible solutions where possible and save millions from inglorious fall.
It is very simple; society can borrow from the African or the Islamic way which allows men to marry multiple partners legally. If that's not feasible which many would argue is not, all men can be made to encounter some clinical or psychosomatic treatments which would help to adapt to one single partner no matter how big their â€˜balls.
As one writer concludes "it is largely impossible for men to control the thoughts that pop into their heads. They can't control their biological urges. What can be controlled are actions such as whether or not they are going to act on those urges, and whether they'll do so by lying and sneaking around. Judge the actions, not the biology. And try to understand the origin of the biology".
If you doubt it â€“ Ain't the scales of immorality engaged-in by great men and indeed spiritual men of God not enough proof?
Greed: The Great Sin of Excess!
Greed indiscriminately penalizes
Greed baselessly tyrannizes
Greed ruthlessly snatches
Greed manipulatively stagnates
Greed horrendously massacres
Greed uncouthly divests
Greed lethally poisons
Greed pulverizes beyond recognition
Greed maliciously obfuscates all truth
Greed insidiously cripples
Greed sadistically abhors
Greed mockingly whips
Greed has no beginning; no end. (Excerpts from Nikhil Parekh Poem on Greed)
In this decade of capitalism, society is now driven by greed â€“ men rape themselves of profits in businesses, CEO's manipulate the value of their companies' shares, executives' award undue compensations to themselves, politicians' award contracts to their concubines and auditors connive with accountants. We've heard about the sheer greed of executives before the final collapse of Halliburton, the recent global financial crisis, the Madoff $50 billion Ponzi scheme, the imprisonment of Japan's Takafumi horie, the crash of stock markets, the death of Lehman brothers and many more cases of greed and its aftermath all around the world.
Indeed, greed accounts for a huge percentage of men who fall from grace and is often driven by minds obsessed with an overly ambitious desire to acquire wealth without the adequate commitment to work for it. Everybody wants to become multi-billionaires without bringing invention, innovation or new product to market. CEO's wants the best share performance for their organisations without working to improve their brands.
While these greedy behaviours have been driven by men's gluttony and unnecessary excesses for material wealth â€“ it is also a problem allowed by society because more often than not â€“ no good lines are drawn and many excesses are allowed to go unpunished.
Most financial crisis, stock market crash and many individual falls from grace have been caused by too much greed and as far as systems such as capitalism are in fashion, greed will continue to exist. As in the cases of Takafumi Horie of Japan, Bennie Madoff and Mikhail Khodorkovsky, greed has meant that when chance permits, men cheats the system, mislead people to make profits and care-less whose ox is gored.
Mahatma Gandhi in his abundant wisdom once put that "Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed". Replete in Gandhi's reflection is the fact that any man can get to any desired height without resorting to greed which has led many top and aspiring men into the bottomless pit.
There's also an important lesson that greedy guys need to understand â€“ it is that greed is not same as competition; neither is it the greatest art of risk taking or is it any smart form of strategy. Greed is simply piece taking and another name for stupidity. Conscientious stupidity is even more dangerous and that's the harbinger of greed.
Oh, how are the mighty fallen!