I think it is terrible that we are going through this contraction in our economy. Many folks have lost their homes, jobs. Many communities have been destroyed with the deluge of foreclosures. Many local governments are struggling with fewer dollars. Even for those that still have jobs and homes, the sense of security that comes with having employment and housing are not as secure as we once thought.
I've read many commentaries that suggest that the change we are going through will make us a poorer nation. We are all going to have to get accustomed to working harder, having less. Use it up, wear it out, make do, do without. But (there is always a but) when we come out on the other side of this financial disaster; this is my hope, we are wiser, frugal and in tune with what is really important. And, we understand the collective responsibility we have to our community.
Think about it this way. Median household incomes have not risen with the pace of inflation. Higher education, healthcare, and housing had inflated faster than we were able to pay. We put infants, weeks old, in daycare. We stopped eating dinner with our children. We spent beyond our means in order to have the new widescreen and Hummer. We are a nation of obese people who do not know that baby carrots are pulled out of the ground as mature, but not pretty, picture perfect orange roots and cut down to size. We sold our souls to Walmart instead of nurturing our own communities. Are you going to miss any of this? Not me.
So this is my hope. That we get real. That we realign our thinking to what is really important. Family, community, knowing what is enough. It is going to be painful. Every change is. But (there is always a but) we need to learn this. We face challenges greater than a deep recession. The specters of climate change and peak oil are popping their heads over the horizon. If we can get local, learn how to grow our own food, have strong families and communities we can mitigate the hardships. Simple enough.