Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Adapting to the Recession

We have all this time on our hands due to un-/underemployment. The American people are too busy fighting the funk to be proactive about anything other than finding a job. We all know that it will be a very long time before we recover… if we recover. And we also know that what the future job market holds for us will look incredibly different from the present. And so what’s the point? What’s the point of anything? There’s a word for how this nation collectively feels right now; we are depressed. And if it’s true that jobs won’t return for many years… what in the world will become of us as a nation if we are too depressed (and tired) to take life by the reigns?

And to make it all worse, we have grown exasperatingly hopeless when it comes to standing up for ourselves. It’s as if we’ve taken on this attitude of futility and cynicism. Sure, we were pretty angry when we bailed out Wall Street and the banks. But we were also scared. So, we let it slide. It was probably a good decision in the short run. Yet, where was the outrage when CEOs, after we hand our money over to them, continued to pay lavish bonuses to their employees and themselves? To me, there should have been some arson going on. That’s disrespect. At what point will we be driven to madness enough to do something drastic on our own behalf? Because blatant greed and rich people hoarding at a time when our pockets are empty isn’t it… 

Percentage growth in real after-tax income (according to TIME Magazine vol. 176 no. 18) is as follows:
   The bottom 20% had a 16% growth from 1979 to 2007
   The top 20% had a 95% growth from 1979 to 2007
   The top 1% had a 281% growth from 1979 to 2007

Aaron McGruder pointed out years ago that marching as a form of protest no longer works. All you have to do is look at undocumented immigrants, see how well they march (how organized, numerous and united they are) and then see how much it accomplishes (or doesn’t). Our government no longer fears us, and we have failed to evolve as citizens of a democracy to counter this. At the time McGruder couldn’t think of an alternative to marching that would put the government in its place. He suggested we do nothing. This suggestion would be quite powerful today because of the recession, and the fact that there are things the government needs us to do. Everyone knows money is power. And so with the little money we have, it would be wise for us to do nothing. Nevertheless, there are necessities. And leisure-spending does help with morale. And so I say, support strictly small and/or local businesses. Do your best to eradicate corporate America from taking hold of your income. Buy food from local farmer’s markets. Avoid chain grocery stores. Cancel your insurance and join a co-op (if you even have insurance). Boycott buying products distributed by large corporations (over 80% of Coca-Cola’s employees are in other countries. Car manufacturers are growing wise to cheaper labor elsewhere). Roll your own cigarettes and buy from smoke shops (better yet, switch to something that doesn't cause cancer). Drink coffee from independent cafes. Be shameless! You and I both know you have the time. While you're at it, create your own damn job. Start a home-based small business. What skills do you have that your community needs? Get together with your un-/underemployed friends, combine your resources and do something together. How cheap can you do it for? It will at least give you something to focus on.

It's bound to get someone's attention, and I'm ready to be ridiculous. That's my vote.

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