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  • Wednesday, September 24, 2008


    Personal Economics

    The bleak economic news continues to rattle around. Investment firms falling like dominos, stock market quakes, the US$700 billion to prop up Wall St., etc.

    I'm somewhat removed from direct effect of these events (no investments, no retirement fund, minimal savings, an annual salary barely above poverty level) but it strikes fear into me. A crisis of such enormous proportions will eventually hit me where I live. My mother has some investments and I have no idea what's happening to them.

    I'm reminded of the Great Depression. I think of expanding our garden but that won't do much good as we head into the Fall season in New England. What would it take to have chickens here? What is the minimal amount of electricity needed to run our household necessities?

    The fear reminds me what is important and essential: food and shelter. Everything beyond that can be let go if necessary. I look toward dropping my minor acquisitive vices: books, CDs, and magazines. Satellite TV? I'd probably be better off without it. I start to view the internet as a tool, not a form of entertainment.

    What grows is not quite an ascetic view but certainly a leaner approach to my life.

    Will things get as bad as the Depression? No telling at this point but it wouldn't surprise me. On the whole, Americans have gotten too used to prosperity, too used to disposable income, too used to abundant shallow entertainment. "It couldn't happen here!" is the saddest of refrains, the ejaculation of the stunned and disbelieving. Yet we are being reminded that there is so much out of our control, that oligarchy is the true governing system of the US and the corporate elite live fat on the sweat of the majority of American workers/people.

    I suggest you start planning now for a new future. The old one is looking shaky.

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