Over the weekend, my two sons and I went backpacking in the mountains with their Boy Scout troop. The weather was perfect and the kids had a great time, even though some of the climbs were difficult for them.
On any trip, the people that you’re with can make a big difference in your level of enjoyment. Boy Scouts and their leaders tend to have higher character standards and values than your average Joe (in my opinion), and it is fun to see the boys learn, mature, and grow.
Now that I’m back in the office, I started to wonder how many people in government and on Wall Street served in the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, or similar character-building organization. Of those that were, how may remember and still practice the virtues of honesty, courtesy, kindness, and thriftiness?
Though I make no claim to omniscience, my observations suggest that greed for power and money are much more prevalent among politicians and bankers. Capitalism and the profit motive are good things. Without them, businesses could not survive and our society would be much less pleasant. However, there needs to be a balance between making money and doing the right thing. I would argue that, over the long term, the latter can help lead to the former.
In my businesses of buying real estate notes (also called mortgage notes) and medical factoring, we treat others the way that we want to be treated. I have forgone opportunities for easy money on many occasions because I would not have been able to sleep at night. Many of you no doubt operate by the same standards. Wouldn’t our country be in a much better place if our leaders did!