Glengarry and good faith essay
The problem of the negative impact of the pursuit of wealth on the morality of people and society is still relevant because the pursuit of wealth is still one of the primary concerns of the contemporary culture. However, such purposes may ruin life of people since such goals as wealth and prosperity are not always achievable for them. At this point, it is possible to refer to the film Glengarry Glen Ross and the novel Good Faith, which reveal the full extent to which the desire of their main characters to retain their positions and improve their financial position turned out to be destructive for their life. In such a context, the film and the novel show that even good intentions may lead characters the wrong way, when stakes grow too high and they can or are forced to commit crimes and deceive their business partners.
Good Faith raises the problem of the failure of the intrinsically good character to succeed because of the deception and scheming of his business partner. Joe is a good person and he does his best to survive in his business but the partnership with Marcus turns out to be the total failure as Marcus actually steals the money and puts Joe’s business on the edge of survival. Such a situation is apparently unfair in relation to Joe, who works hard and does his best. Similarly, Gordon also relies heavily on their business partnership but together with Joe, they turn out to be unsuitable for business because they do not deceive their business partners as Marcus does.
In such a way, the author of the book does not just show the personal tragedy of the main character but also raises the problem of the failure of a good person to succeed in business as if the author wants to show that business is often immoral and people driven by ethical rules and norms cannot survive in it. Jane Smiley wants to uncover the true face of business and existing socioeconomic order, where there is no room for ethical decisions and rules. Instead money rules the world and business is driven by the only purpose of gaining more profits. In fact, the main rule of the business is the ends justify means which is obvious from actions of Marcus. He is the character, who disrespects any moral norms and values but is fully devoted to the idea of becoming a wealthy person.
The main character of the book is not able to deceive and seems to be a bit simplistic in his views on business and business partners. The book shows that such people cannot survive in business because, in their attempts to gain wealth, they are likely to fail, while the pursuit of wealth turns out to be destructive for moral values of individuals, as is the case of Marcus, who deceives his business partners without any regrets or remorse.
Jane Smiley shows that there is no room for moral people, who have learned basic moral norms once and try following them throughout their life, even when they are in business pursuing wealth and prosperity. Joe’s motto is “selling old houses to decent people” (Smiley, 48), but in actuality, his business is not as simple as that. On the contrary, he has to sell above all to make money and to succeed in his business, in such a way. There is no room for moral choices.
In such a context, Joe may be viewed as the protagonist of the novel, whereas Marcus is the antagonist of the novel. At any rate, he is absolutely different character compared to Joe. Marcus is a true savvy of business. He knows how to make money fast and he actually earns money from everything that is his motto which apparently contrasts the motto of Joe, which is definitely moral by its nature. However, Marcus has those qualities, which are essential for the successful business and crucial for success, when a person pursues wealth as his/her ultimate goal. In contrast to Joe, Marcus does not have any moral values that could restrict his actions in relation to other people and his business partners. Business is not his ultimate goal because he could run a successful business together with Joe and Gordon, but he preferred to take the money and get away.
Business is just the efficient tool for earning money for Marcus and he makes earning money and becoming wealthy the only purpose and sense of his life. In such a way, Jane Smiley uncovers the full extent to which business and wealth are dehumanizing people. Good-natured people like Joe fail, while greedy and profit-driven ones, like Marcus, succeed and this is the main dilemma of the book that shows the persisting social injustice and the major drawback of the existing socioeconomic system uncovered by the author.
The same idea may be clearly traced in the film Glengarry Glen Ross. However, in contrast to the book Good Faith, the film does not really show characters that are really good. On the contrary, all of them are businessmen, who are profit-driven and look for better options for their career development to become wealthy and prosperous at all costs. Even though they have different motives, for instance, Levene needs money to help his seriously ill daughter, while others, like Ricky Roma are just pursuing wealth.
The main characters of the film work in the real estate company selling houses like did Joe and Gordon in Good Faith. However, there is no such a good character as Joe in the film. On the contrary all of them can and do receive customers to sell them houses. In such a way, from the beginning, the film shows clearly that there is no room for morality in the real estate business as well as in business at large.
Moreover, the main characters of the film start looking like a pack of wolves ready to kill each other any moment just to stay in business and keep working in the company. This transformation becomes obvious, when the company sends Blake to optimize the performance of the team that means that two of four salesmen have to be fired. In such a way, the film uncovers the competitive nature of business, where people are mere puppets in hands of owners of the company. For instance, owners of the company do not care about Levene, who needs money badly to treat his daughter. Instead, they just look for options to save costs and optimize the team performance.
Blake is the personification of business pragmatism and dehumanization. He does not care about people and he has no interest in their fate. He is just doing his job to receive promised rewards from owners of the company. This is why he decides to cut two positions in the company as the matter of fact. He does not care what will happen to those two salesmen that will lose the job. He does not care about people at all. What he does care is his own profit and the profit of the company.
In such a way, the film conveys the similar message to the audience as does the book Good Faith, the film shows the dehumanizing nature of business and pursuit of wealth. People fail to respect basic moral norms, when they pursue wealth.
At the same time, the pursuit of wealth and the strife for money often pushes people to criminal acts, as was the case of Marcus in Jane Smiley’s book and as was the case of Levene and Moss. Their plan to set fire in the office of the company and steel shares is apparently driven by their intention to gain more money and become prosperous. Just like the case of Marcus, they do not think of consequences of their criminal actions. They do not care about the company which they can ruin by such crime. What they do care is their personal well-being, wealth and success.