What are we to make of the current economic conditions facing our country and possibly the world? Day to day we read and hear conflicting information. One day it appears the economy, while not fully recovering, is slowly improving while we chug along to better days and the next day it appears we could be heading for economic disaster and total collapse.
I’m no economist, but I am an optimist and the optimist in all of us wants to believe that an economic recovery is both real and on the near horizon — that our elected officials and corporate-appointed economic gurus have our best interest in mind. After all, the next big boom could be just around the corner with a breakthrough in energy, hardware, software, nanotechnology, genetics or a major medical health cure for cancer or the common cold. We just need the reassuring green light from some higher authority.
It doesn’t take a genius to see that the massive debt and our credit issues will one day have to be reckoned with and brought under control. If we don’t proactively adjust our spending and sense of value to a more realistic scope, the force of the market will do it for us, and may crush more than our economy in the process.
So what do we as average citizens do? Should we be hiding plastic bags full of cash or precious metals such as gold or silver under the porch to provide a financial safety net or should we be hording canned and dried food goods in the basement and planting a survival garden to insure our food supply? How do we responsibly go about our lives today while preparing for what’s to come tomorrow? By some reports many Americans are doing these things and more. They are called “preppers,” and we are told their numbers are growing. This movement has become so popular that there are now even television shows being filmed about “preppers.” The most popular is probably “Doomsday Preppers” on the National Geographic Channel. But is that really the best solution at this stage?
Let’s be realistic, if we all started doing those things and more on a mass scale, we could probably be assured of driving the economy into a collapse. We need to apply common sense and yet still be realistically attentive to what’s going on around us. If you think about the tough times in our history and in your life the solution was almost always community support based. Only when we join forces and pull together are we at our strongest. Supporting our local economy keeps locals working and it keeps the dollars flowing in our communities and creates jobs. Hiding money under the porch or in your mattress removes it from circulation and deadens its affect on keeping the economy flowing.
America was built on optimism and the hope of a better and free future. Our ancestors didn’t travel here without taking risks and none made it solely on their own. No society lasts forever but we shouldn’t be so anxious to assume our demise is imminent. Optimism, teamwork, disciplined ethics and hard work in building a strong nation are to me a far better solution than thinking I can survive on my own while the nation and world collapses around me. We do need to change some of our ways but the key is collectively recognizing our strengths, acknowledging that we all need to make sacrifices and focusing more energy on building our collective resources and what each of can do to meet the common good for all.
President Kennedy said it all when he said, “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.” Our good days are not behind us, but we certainly took for granted the path that those before us had to travel to get us to those good days. In my opinion, we can either return to the values that made us a nation envied by the world and take the lead in returning the world back to a stable economy or we can selfishly look to protect our own personal interest by hording and demanding far more than we need or in some cases deserve, while not heeding the large, neon flashing signs of danger and decline as we travel past them thinking only of ourselves.
Dan Alexander is publisher and CEO of Denton Publications. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org