Today’s post title came about via a documentary series entitled, “Turning Points of the 20th Century.”
Apparently, the United States was the last developed country to go to gold standard. 1900 or 1903, if my memory serves. Supposedly, this ratification stabilized our economy and allowed us to join the world market made up of all the other countries who had already realized the benefits of tying the symbols of wealth (currency) to something of value (gold).
Unfortunately, President FDR had to take us off the gold standard a couple of decades later. Why? Well, according to this documentary, it was necessary because,
“He needed to spend the country out of debt.”
Amazing. I thought the way to reduce debt was to quit spending more than you had in abundance. Apparently, that’s not so.
This tidbit came to my attention 2 days ago. This morning, Ms. Capricorn Bookkeeper informed me that some organization is forecasting that by the end 2011, a loaf of bread will cost $20.45.
This concerns her. Anyone who does the shopping of food, cleaning supplies, etc., for any household knows prices for “essentials” have been steadily rising these past months. Overall, I’ve seen a $2- $4 increase in many items since last February. Fortunately, the number of things I purchase for my household at traditional stores is only about 1/4 of my food/cleaning/personal care budget – 3/4 of my budget goes directly to the producer, and quite frankly, I’m pretty pleased with their prices. Yes, I don’t always get what I want, right when I want it. Yes, I need to plan ahead and make do sometimes. And sometimes, the supplier I count on to purchase (insert item) from once a year, in season, has gone under since my last yearly purchase. Sigh….
But overall, the bulk of what I spend my money on has not increased that much in price since last year. Thank goodness!
I did mention to my friend that the battle cry for recessions, panics, wall street and mortgage industry collapses has always been, “Spend, spend, spend – once consumer spending and confidence returns, everything will level out.”
So my question is,
“Are we really headed towards things being so bad that bread will be twenty bucks a loaf? Or is this a clever fear-based mass marketing campaign to get people to rush out and spend their money stocking up on food?”
See, I do sometimes read mainstream media – and the big stories for months have been, “People cutting back on spending – If consumer confidence does not rise, our recession will get worse”.
No matter what you’re spending your dollars on at traditional stores, you’re still spending into the system that depends on your consumption and confidence in order to exist.
(Sort of reminds me of the fortunes poured into the black hole known as the “Stock Market” of 1929 – – pour in enough money, folks, and we can save it!!!)
Does anyone else see the gross (il)logic of “Spend your way out of debt”? Are we really willing to continue to buy into, support and try to salvage a system that can only survive using this kind of logic?
Am I just a cynical ole fart that doesn’t have a PhD in Economics, so am simply too dumb and unsophisticated to grasp the real truth?
I’m pretty sure any system that is so complex, the average person cannot grasp or understand it, has probably been made so to hide the simple truth:
It’s not sustainable, It doesn’t work for all or long term and it will, sooner or later, collapse.
I’m not really an Armageddon/2012 true believer – I really do have faith in human ingenuity, compassion and creativity. And if everything goes you-know-where in a handbasket, well, then, guess I’ll find out which berries are poisonous in my neck of the woods….
I just get frustrated because history tells me the you-know-what has to hit the fan big time and over a wide geographical area, before we band together, put our individual desires for fame and fortune aside and instead focus on the well-being of both ourselves AND our neighbors.
When if we had banded together before and put our time, energy and resources (in other words, our wealth) into what really mattered, the fan wouldn’t have been struck in the first place…
So, shall we wait until we hit rock bottom before we say, “Hmmm….this ain’t working…..” or are we willing to make some changes now? Are we willing to change our priorities on what we buy and who we buy it from? Are we, as consumers, willing to spend our way back to true wealth and abundance by taking what we do have to spend or trade and see just how much of our daily consumption needs we can get from those in our own communities? Are we willing to invest in ourselves and our neighbors, rather than a far away company that may or may not be providing useful things that have true long term value?
Can we quit ‘making money’ and start generating true wealth and abundance? Can we insist our symbols of wealth (currency) be actually tied to something of value (wheat, beef, carrots, sunshine, rain, etc., etc.) instead of seeing money as a commodity in and of itself?
Money is paper, folks. You don’t control how much of it is printed, you don’t control what value it has and you often don’t control, really control, how much of it you can get.
You Do Have control over your own ingenuity and your ability to put your energy into things that sustain life – whether brain power or brawn or a combination thereof – That is what your real resources are. And you may not think they are valued or worth much “money” today – but I’m telling you, band together with those in your neighborhood who are feeling undervalued by the system too. Find out who grows food, who aids the body in healing, who knows how to go to the dump and find the parts to make a wind generator… or solar cooker… They are out there And they are looking for you just as much as you are seeking them.
I say lets spend our way out of debt – albeit not in the traditional fashion
Let’s invest in ourselves by investing the things we do have control over, our local renewable resources, our creativity and our effort.
I’ll say it again…strength in numbers.