Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A contrast in values

We are presented with a constant stream of contrasting values. This is from the LA Times:
"Peter Kraus, a former top executive at Merrill Lynch who received a $25-million golden parachute after only three months' work, has landed himself a $37-million Park Avenue pad.

Kraus, 55, doled out the staggering sum for the five-bedroom co-op at 720 Park Ave. near East 70th Street after taking $25 million from Merrill after the company was sold to Bank of America in September."
The photo above is from an article in this month's Wooden Boat. A team of 62 rowed and sailed an authentically hand crafted 100 foot long replica of a Viking craft from Ireland to its small port outside Copenhagen. So why would anyone do such a thing when they could be in a Park Avenue pad instead? It is a question of values. The hands and their use impart a greater sense of commitment and loyalty to cultural values... values that seem to be missing from large parts of today's get-it-while-you-can society of Wall St. bankers and money managers.

You can learn more about the Viking voyage at the Viking Ship Museum On-line

Of course I may be making an unfair generalization. Peter Kraus may be a fine and intelligent person who just lucked into a situation in which he gained benefits he did not earn. Perhaps inside his heart, there is a seaman or craftsman ready for release in service of humanity. He is now CEO of Alliance Bernstein, a company which handles retirement accounts for thousands if not millions of Americans, so we can wait and see.

In the old days the more cowardly pirates used false lights to lure ships to break upon shoals. The ships, broken, the crews drowned, goods would float to shore. Not 25 million dollar mansions, but things claimed as fair bounty from the sea. You can ride the elevator up to your new flat and forget the broken ships and the dead, don't you think?


  1. I DO think-
    thats a fine and seaworthy metaphor you wrought for us there mate!

  2. Anonymous7:05 PM

    In one of those great examples of synchronicity, a friend from Oregon just had to put down his 34 year old Arabian, Raffon, the horse that was his sanity ever since he came home from Vietnam all those years ago. I hear those accusations that our generation was terrible to returning veterans, and that's such a lie. A stallion of the land, and a stallion of the water, both appreciated.