Friday, October 10, 2008

The Opportunity for Change

Yesterday I literally watched as the stock market plunged.  The numbers fluctuated in mid-afternoon, but in the last hour of trading they rapidly took a downward turn. Each update was worst than the last until, at last, the closing bell stopped any further plummeting.

This morning the world markets are reacting with panic.  As the United States goes, so goes the world, it seems.  Yes, things look grim for investments and banking.  A total freeze of funds seems imminent.  No liquidity equals no loans, putting the economy into a stand still.

I am not a huge investor, but my retirement fund has surely taken a hit!  The trickle down effect is what worries me most:  will there be a run on banks?  Will food and housing become even more expensive and scarce?  And, on a personal note, will my lender call my loan due in full at the end of the 5 year term, or will I still be able to roll it over as promised at the outset, when the economy was still thriving?  On top of that, real estate taxes are due and I am tapped out!  Where will that money come from?  Out of our minimal savings, I suppose.

And yet, in spite of all of that, I feel strangely optimistic.  It seems clear that an economy built on a house of cards would eventually fall.  It was overdue for a correction of some sort.  I have been reading articles for years that predicted this; what were the investors reading?  It makes me wonder why everyone seems so surprised, the same way people seemed surprised about the World Trade Center attacks.  The Reader's Digest had an article years before claiming that a second attack was inevitable giving the failure of the first one to bring down the towers.  If the Reader's Digest can get it right, why can't our intelligence agencies.  Hmm...again, I wonder about who reads what and who knows what.  Is anybody watching?  Maybe that is the scariest part. They're watching, but doing little, or so it sometimes seems.

And yet, while our financial future seems grim, the sun still shines, offering its warm and comforting rays. Where there's life, there's hope.  The world goes on, albeit differently.  Perhaps we are called to live our lives more simply, worrying more about each other and our living planet earth than we do about ourselves. Nothing brings people together like hard times.  As Eastern spirituality understands, crisis does, in fact, bring opportunity.  We are given the opportunity to do things differently, to correct the mis-steps of our past.  Creative ideas will bring solutions.  Individualism and greed may have to give way to a sense of sacrificing on behalf of the community.  Are we up to the task?  I hope so; I believe that we can get through these times by working together.  


Tao Master said...

Excellent conclusion. To paraphrase JFK greatly, this is the time to do for ourselves and others not the time to ask what can be done for us. Perhaps, we can build a culture where it would be illegal for people to own more houses than the amount of people in their family - Yes I am talking about you John McCain ! Perhaps, we can embrace the principles of sharing our abundance with others. I feel hopeful after reading your article and I think that is the sign of a good article - perhaps you could send it into the4 TRib's op-ed page.

Lin said...

Hey, I'm with you on this. I haven't stopped my investments to the kids' college funds. They haven't been growing, but they also haven't been dessimated--well, not yet anyway. But what to do with them? Pull it out and stuff it in a mattress? I don't trust financial advisors today, as they are as confused as I am. It may be community college for a couple of years, but I have to believe it will get better. I wish I knew what to do.

I am scared, but I have to keep plugging along. I'm preparing for the worst by saving as much as I can while paying off whatever bills there are--we don't have many as I usually pay off the credit card one each month. So Christmas will be slim--we will survive. I can go without, but I don't want the kids to be sad. Somehow we will survive--it's more expensive to die! :)

Good luck, Diane. I hope all of us make it through this somehow.

butterfly woman said...

This morning I was shaking in my boots a bit with the crazy stock market. But after talking last night in class about how the economy plunge might help bring us together and reconnect with the simpler things in life and now your article here, I feel more reassured and upbeat. I think our connective energy will send good vibes out to the planet. Yes, now you have this story on top of several others to submit for publication. Remember, Haiku pay $1.00. And wouldn't it be great to get paid for something we love? Glad you were in class!