Sunday, March 15, 2009

Downturn

I think there may be a bit if a backhanded upside to our current economic situation.

The whole mortgage crisis and the credit crunch are awfully complex. People talk of good debt turned bad, of banks that aren't intetested in foreclosing on homes, of spending billions of taxpayer dollars to help failing businesses. Who knew who Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were before all this started? And who among them knew they were government agencies?

A lot of the problems apparently came from very sophisticated financial commodities. Some problems were more simple: people weren't able to pay their debt. A story on National Public Radio noted that the current total indebtedness of the American people is now at the level of the Gross National Product. The only other recorded time that happened? Just before the Great Depression.

My hope is that this crisis will get our attention. We've gotten awfully comfortable with debt as a culture, with myself as an example. I, for one, intend to maintain relative financial simplicity. To start living more strictly within my means, even if that means - gasp - lowering my standard of living a little.

Some of you think that's a really obvious choice. I think it's an oddly foreign concept to my generation. Maybe this is our chance to get our priorities straight.

2 comments:

Anna said...

Yes you are right, change our way of thinking is key to getting through this and coming out on top. I for one and trying different things at home. Live a bit more frugally, taking time to invest in things, think about if its right or if i should wait. I'm thinking of these little things.

the Razorclown said...

And that's the thing: it's the little things that pile up. That's what I can't seem to remember. It's not one two-dollar cup of coffee that's the problem, it's one two-dollar cup of coffee every day for a month.