Shades of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “Great Gatsby” is reflective of our current economic climate. The theme was the effect of over-indulgence of the fortunate in the face of others less fortunate.

The two protagonist, Tom and Daisy Buchanan, were the epitome of unapologetic excess regardless of the consequences to others…“They were careless people in they smashed up things and creatures and then reflected back into their money or their vast carelessness…and let people clean up the mess they left behind.” Sounds familiar?

Europeans have learned what their past has taught the wealthy -- to cache behinds high-turreted ivy fences while ducking lavish displays of public arrogance. Vastly different than America where the national pastime is one “upping” the Jone’s for the sheer thrill of awing others.

Enter our new economic era - a downward trend in the stock market, IRA’s and an upward trend in foreclosures. However, this does not equate with a downward trend in manners. But how does one effectuate good manners in bad economic times?

Here are some basic applications of manners for bad economic times:

Finally, avoid overt displays of wealth. Remember how well that worked for the auto executives when Congress asked them by what means of transportation did they arrive.

Their answer: By their own personal or corporate jets!

In closing, remember it is the integrity of character that makes the person, and not the integrity of the dollar. Above all, be respectful of the times and your manners will shine!