Sunday, March 22, 2009

Whose Economy? Yours Or Mine?

Every day now I hear about the dire state of "the economy". I think few of us are immune to the pressures and anxieties brought on by the current economic climate, but should these worries dominate our lives? I often wonder how friends and family are coping with financial pressures, because it's not something people like to talk about. Money, like politics, is a taboo subject.

Well, at the risk of offending, I think it needs to be talked about. I am no financial guru, believe me, but I think that when people can be open about their challenges and share their wisdom - and resources! - with others, everyone is better off. It's clear that the "American way" of dog-eat-dog capitalism is madness, inhuman madness, where a few prosper and many suffer. Throughout history, during famines, drought, natural disasters, war times and other hard times, people saw that bonding together to help each other was their best chance for survival.

And now, when the media predicts a dire economic situation, we need to stop and think about what that really means. Each household, even each person, has its own microcosmic economy, but they are all dependent on each other in various ways. If you are an oil baron, your personal economy may be booming, but if you are unemployed, your personal economy is probably collapsing. Canada's economy is the sum total of each Canadian's personal finances, and corporate as well. That's in the big picture, but let's zoom in to where it concerns you and me.

Our family has a nice home, a couple of nice cars, and plenty of everything we need to get along. We're certainly not rich, but we are able to pay our bills and live comfortably. In another family, maybe the husband has just lost his job, his wife is working part-time to help out as much as she can, but they have two small children too. It seems to me that the sensible, compassionate and humane thing to do is to combine our efforts for the greater good. Maybe we could offer to watch their children while the wife works and the husband is job hunting, and in return they could watch our kids once a week for our date night. Perhaps they would appreciate having our 2nd car for a few days for some running around, and we might like to borrow a few power tools they own for our home-reno project.

"From each according to his abilities, to each according to his need." Sure, Karl Marx said it and there are people who consider it communist propaganda, but try answering the cliché question "What would Jesus do?" (Check out Acts 4:32-35.) Community is more than a geographical area where people live, it is living life together in cooperation. If anything, it is the golden rule in action: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. When we get this right maybe we will stop worrying about "the economy", and will begin to truly prosper.

1 comment:

  1. Maybe Jesus would take our little loaves and fish and multiply them.


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