Sunday, October 12, 2008

"Deep down, everyone's a Ferengi"

Last weeks events...well... the last few weeks I guess...regarding the large financial "losses" sustained by various countries are finally beginning to bite into the collective psyche of ordinary people.

Apparently, it's not just big business corporations going berserk over really bad financial management, it's about you and me and how we saved, managed, used and borrowed money this past few years! It's how we invested, where we chose to invest, on what terms we were given loans and how well we paid those loans back, that we're finally being confronted with.

A very subtle finger is being pointed at ordinary people. Somehow this is all our fault!

Patronising platitudes from government leaders won't alleviate the scary possibility that we got too greedy this past decade.

I don't think we'll go under as such like the years of the Great Depression, but I do think a very conservative financial mind-set will settle into the hearts and minds of the next few generations about how and when and where and with whom the paper we trade value for is managed.

Printing extra money is so unbelievably stupid! That's the sort of reactive thinking and actions kids do in Monopoly games gone wrong!

I am currently very money orientated myself. Since separating from my marriage, financial freedom is becoming more and more an important value and maybe even a quiet passion within. I want and desire to be financially sustainable both as a woman on my own and as a mum to my two teenagers. I want very much to be able to share financial resources with those people and causes I value and I aim to achieve the goal of financial autonomy with that vision in mind. It becomes a high-wire act of balancing both the ideal of philanthropy and acquisitive greed. I need to be careful to not value money for its own sake but to value what it will do in the lives of those that come after me, spiritually, emotionally, physically and intellectually. Money isn't so much the goal as the pressure it takes off in being able to do good in the world!

Most of us in the North like our "stuff". We seem to strongly identify with our place in the world in terms of the physical ephemera we surround ourselves with. Clothes, housing, food, tools, art and technology all become items that support our version of ourselves more than anything else. We aspire to living "simpler" but it's not working for us right now because we don't really know HOW to live simply anymore. Things, stuff, clutter, toys and artifacts are our spiritual dimension now. We can no less do without them than our ancient ancestors could imagine being without their gods! They're so intrinsically entwined into our sense of place and identity as individuals that to take it all away suddenly and unequivocally will perhaps send many of us mad with the confusion over who we are!

Perhaps this current global lesson in financial silliness will show the next few generations the real value of trading value for value. Perhaps new generations of wise fiscal managers will begin to understand that the fruit trees and tomato plants grown in back yards around the world, the produce of which is traded with neighbours in kind for reciprocated goods and services is worth more than greenback ink on strange paper. Maybe the value we identify in our stuff will transfer into how we can best use that stuff to make life better for everyone in our neighbourhood.

Life isn't money! Money isn't life! The Primary Rule of Acquisition is always: Live simply so that others might simply live.

Of course, the Ferengi would dispute that I suppose!

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