Saturday, August 15, 2009

Questions for a New Economy

Could we finally be on the other side of this recession? Like the first blades of grass bravely peeking through the last vestages of snow, some indicators say yes.
The lingering questions that I have are...
1. How did we the people get sucker-punched into an economic system based on credit and interest rather than on the reality of money? Convenience, yes, and that there are times when it's good to have when you just don't have the cash. But pay it back promptly.
2. Saving may involve a delay of gratification, but not necessarily deprivation. It just means that you wait until the pair of jeans or the freezer or the three-handled family credenza goes on sale.
3. How in the name of humanity did we start thinking we needed labels over quality? Over the winter, I saw an interview with the author of a book on finances for young women just getting out of college. "Now, why get the $200 pair of jeans when the $100 pair will do as well?" she asked for the sake of argument. Birkenstock babe that I am, I thought my head would explode. I personally would like to know what the heck kind of job one could get to afford those.
4. Why aren't schools teaching consumer education? Why aren't parents setting a sane example?
5. What about a return to barter? Some communities have set up time banks where participants swap skills for skills ("Here, Evelyn, I'll do the catering for your party if you pet sit for me on the 15th.")
6. How about tax credits for companies keeping jobs here rather than shipping them to China?
7. What if we here in the US remembered that by the standards of many countries we're already rich?

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