Analysts will tell you they did not see it coming, the growing crisis in the financial markets, but who are they kidding? The brokers at Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae saw it coming and pulled out their investments before the companies crashed. The executives in the auto industry saw the pending doom long before their shares started to fall through the bottom.
But who or what is to blame for the economic recession the world finds itself immersed in since November, 2007? Greed and materialism, uncontrolled spending, the interdependency of the world’s financial markets, and the failure to remember that old adage, “What goes up, must come down,” all contributed to the current world financial woes.
The world markets celebrated with each milestone of the Dow Jones. Records were being set every month at one point. Brokers became careless with their new found wealth and speculation (gambling) became rampant. Prices for everything climbed to new heights and the lending institutions gave easy credit so the greed and quest for material goods could “trickle down” to the masses. Did homeowners really believe their property values could continue to increase 10 to 15 percent every year without end?
With mass layoffs, rising unemployment, a record number of home foreclosures and more financial institutions failing each day, is there a silver lining to this dark cloud? I believe there is, although the ability to recognize it might take time and it will be a difficult journey.
When the gas prices were close to five dollars a gallon, we found alternative means to get to work or wherever we had to go. We used public transportation, carpooled, rode bikes, and even walked. What alternatives do we have now?
Perhaps this crisis will force a reexamination of human values, a restructuring of what is important in our lives. We will become more conscious of how and on what we spend our dollars. We do not all have to become minimalists but perhaps we will begin to question some of the excesses, and use more moderation in our financial decisions. We might begin to question the daily bombardment of advertising urging us to buy the latest electronic gadget or those hip new running shoes, especially when there are already a half dozen pair on the closet floor.
Most of all, It is my hope this crisis will lead to more communication between family members, friends, neighbors and communities about the real issues confronting us, our children, and the world. I know we will survive this recession and I trust we will be stronger as a result.