>Hard Times

>Every day on my way to and from work I listen to NPR. In the mornings it’s usually the BBC World Service and at night it’s All Things Considered. Not a day goes by that I don’t hear some story or analysis about the Financial Crisis/Recession. Today on the way home there was a report on how the recession is affecting Mexican immigrant workers in the US, how they are expecting a mass migration back across the border as immigrant workers lose their jobs, and how there are no jobs awaiting them in Mexico. It sounds pretty bleak.

I feel SOOO sheltered from this crisis. This is probably due to the fact that I’m living rent-free with my parents who also buy me food, so I’m not really being affected by rising food prices. Also, I haven’t lost my job. My parents are both employed (well, my mother is soon to be unemployed but that is because of personal choice, i.e. she quit); in fact my dad just got a nice raise.

I also feel like I’m going to escape it all when I move to Chile, although that is probably pretty naive considering that the crisis is global and not confined to the US.

Nonetheless, I feel a little guilty. I know that a lot of people are or will soon be suffering because of the crappy economic situation. I also feel powerless to stop it. I cringe every time I hear about another economic bailout by the government–I don’t know if it’s the best solution, especially for the auto industry, but I recognize that without a bailout thousands of people will lose their jobs and retirees’ pensions will suffer.

In addition to feeling powerless, I also feel the urge to SAVE SAVE SAVE, and the selfish notion to make sure that I am financially secure in the future. I’m sure that a lot of people feel the same way, and that’s really sad. Because when times are tough, it’s even more important that we help those in need.

I’m going to really keep that in mind while doing my holiday shopping this year and try to consume in a way that will help others. Maybe I’ll buy my family an animal from the Heifer Project instead of traditional gifts. Or maybe I’ll make sure that I buy fair trade wares. I’m not sure yet, but I want to do something unselfish. I’m open to any and all suggestions.

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