7 October 2009

Rags to Riches

It is normally the formula for social acclaim: from a humble background, a young man uses hard-work and ingenuity to make a success of himself, and becomes a multi-millionaire. His story shows that in our society, through motivation and dedication, anyone can achieve prosperity. It is quintessentially the American Dream, and is a prevailing ethos throughout Western culture.

Normally.

But Curtis Warren made his fortune from drugs. Today he was convicted of smuggling cannabis, and faces a jail sentence of up to 14 years.

Meanwhile, Ken Clarke, the former head honcho of a rival drug-dealing network, is the Conservative Shadow Business Secretary.

5 comments:

Matthew Huntbach said...

Why do you say it is the "American Dream"? The Americans love to give the impression that theirs is a more equal society than most others in the world, but it isn't. In both wealth differences and social mobility it is a lot less equal than most of western Europe. Why do we suck up to America by so often repeating its propaganda? Why do we regard America as so much more important than our nearer neighbours, e.g. compare coverage of last year's US elections with this years German election?

As for the drugs thing, sorry but people who smoke tobacco smell rotten and die early, but I've never felt endangered by the behaviour it induces as I have by people taking other drugs. Neither have I ever heard of kids who live rotten uncared for lives because their parents lie around all day wit their brains in a muddle due to tobacco. So that was a silly comparison.

Matthew Huntbach said...

Why do you say it is the "American Dream"? The Americans love to give the impression that theirs is a more equal society than most others in the world, but it isn't. In both wealth differences and social mobility it is a lot less equal than most of western Europe. Why do we suck up to America by so often repeating its propaganda? Why do we regard America as so much more important than our nearer neighbours, e.g. compare coverage of last year's US elections with this years German election?

As for the drugs thing, sorry but people who smoke tobacco smell rotten and die early, but I've never felt endangered by the behaviour it induces as I have by people taking other drugs. Neither have I ever heard of kids who live rotten uncared for lives because their parents lie around all day wit their brains in a muddle due to tobacco. So that was a silly comparison.

Duncan Stott said...

Matthew,

I agree with much of your criticism of the American Dream. However my point is that, like it or not, it is a prevailing ethos in our society.

Sure, different drugs have different consequences on the user and wider society. Alcohol, for instance, is a drug that makes people feel endangered and causes kids to go uncared for. The Labour peer Lord Hollick is a director of Diageo.

Curtis Warren simply dealt different harmful drugs. I still don't see how trading cannabis is any worse than trading tobacco.

charles niznik clendenin said...

The "American Dream" is nothing without a dream first. See, I have gone from healthy upbringing to "humble beginings." Don't ever discount anyone, or their dream. How they pursue their dreams may lead them to how they end up living their life.

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