I was troubled as I read the front page of the Wall Street Journal this morning. Two of the major stories were about CEO's that took their lives this week in response to their company's troubled finances. The article reported that 74 year old Adolf Merckle, who was worth $9.2 billion last year, took his life. His family stated "The distress to firms caused by the financial crisis and the related uncertainties of recent weeks, along with the helplessness of no longer being able to act, broke the passionate family businessman, and he ended his life." The article stated that he was one of Germany's wealthiest people and considered a "savvy" investor by the financial community.
Similarly Steven Good, a 52 year old Chicago CEO of one of the nation's largest real estate auction firms, died of a self inflected shotgun wound and was found in his Jaguar. Interestingly, both men inherited the family business from their fathers. Is it pride, depression, or something else?
The moral of the story is that our society has lost its focus on what is important. During the expansion phase, we evolve toward materialism and put less emphasis on what is most important: God, our faith, family, friends, and enjoying life. The good news is that we're in transition "back to basics".