01 October 2008

Pointing at myself

There has been lots of blame passed around about who is at fault for the current economic problems in America. There is one group that no one seems to be looking at. That group is the general citizenry. It seems that politicians won't point at the masses because they would no longer be politicians. The media won't point at the masses because people would quit listening to them. Economists won't even point at the masses.

As a people, we are too focused on having things, and having more of them. We are constantly wanting to buy more things, even if we don't have enough money for them. We want better and nicer things even though what we have would suffice just fine.  BusinessWeek has written a few articles that explain some of the problems with our over zealous consumerism. It is interesting to note that the last article I linked to was published about two years ago. Michael Mandel concluded in one of his articles by stating, "Americans attempted to maintain the growth rate of living standards after 2000, even after income growth slowed for many people and real wage growth turn negative." In other words, we continued to spend money as we always had even though we were making less. Lots of things contributed to the current economic problems, but I think much of the problem does lie with us.

Personally, I am glad the price of gas has sky rocketed and the price of homes has plummeted. I hope these things are a bit of a wake up call for us. I know it has given me a chance to look at my finances and reprioritize a few things. It has also helped me look at what I can do to be less wasteful. I think in general as a society we have been living at a level beyond our means and it is time to get back to reality. Greed, lust, pride, and envy have been leading this country too long. I think it is time to get back to caring and sharing. Perhaps the single best cure for the current state of the economy would be for everyone to take a little time and money and set them aside for those who are less fortunate. I think that would give everyone a little better perspective. This new perspective would in turn decrease our desire to have more things for the sake of having them, thus allowing us to bring ourselves out of the current, self created, debtors prison in which we all currently reside.

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