Markets go through all kinds of cycles. Overdemand produces massive bubbles in some cases. Lack of demand produces an imbalance in others. In America, we are in a market with a lack of demand for a very important commodity: character.
Being a good person used to carry a huge value premium. You were rewarded and admired for honesty, for being a man or woman of your word. Showing respect wasn't an exception but the rule. We now have become a society in which the rewards for bad behavior are so rich that it has killed the market for character.
For example, on reality TV shows, we see those with the most outrageous and often disgusting behavior bestowed with fortune and fame, and even—as is the case with Snooki of "Jersey Shore" fame—New York Times best-seller status.
But to correct this imbalance, we need to change it from the top down, as it truly does start at the top.
Don't Call It A Comeback
Just a few months ago, Mark Sanford, the former governor of South Carolina, who had abdicated his office to chase his mistress, was re-elected to represent the state in the House of Representatives. He had disappeared, lied and been implicated in misuse of funds (which he never agreed had happened, though he reimbursed some expenses "just in case"). But his egregious behavior was rewarded with another position of privilege and power.
Former Rep. Anthony Weiner of New York quit after lewd social-media posts that he sent to a woman who wasn't his wife were made public. He recently entered the New York City mayoral race. Astonishingly, despite his actions and his lying about them before his resignation, Weiner is competitive and even leading in some polls.