Tuesday, April 14, 2009

My Great Recession at Three Months

It has been three months since the Great Recession began for me.

No one seems to want to say the truth that those who were running the economy failed their corporations. In many cases those who failed are still employed while millions of hard working people are jobless.

There is a divide in America between those who are incompetent (See Wall Street and Detroit) but who are taken care of with buyouts and employment contracts and the rest of us who get to see all we have worked for washed away because of their incompetence. Anyone reading this who has worked in a corporation knows what I am talking about.

I have some questions that I would like answered.
  • Why is it that we are hurt and they are not?
  • Why is it that the Union worker in Michigan or the middle manager on Wall Street is punished but the big wigs continue to have plenty of money?
  • Why is it that we are all not a lot angrier?
  • Why do we all continue to believe in a system that has failed most people?

In some ways the last three months have become monastic for me. I have tried to become as frugal as possible. I don't go out much so peripheral friends that I might see at a reading or a gallery opening are no more. Only a few good friends are left and I guess that is ok? I write alot more but it is darker and less interesting stuff I think?

I now have persistent worries. In my own family my brother in law lost his job recently. I worry about my niece and nephew and their family allot. Our situation is not good but we do not have children so survival is less complex than for my sister and her family.

I continue the daily ritual of applying for jobs- over 1200 of them since January. I have had four interviews so my batting average is obviously not that great. Employment reality is the plight of my social class- the manager class- we are falling and we don't know where the end is if ever. I returned to the USA in 1998 in the past four months all the growth in my retirement account has been eliminated. That means I essentially worked for 11 years for free even though I saved and invested.

The reality for me is that in a monastic way things are being stripped away. Things that I never needed are now gone and understanding what really matters has become central to survival. A focus on truth rather than facts is essential to survive all of this stress. I think about the Gospels allot especially the quote "look at the ravens neither do they sow or reap but the Lord God provides for them" but then I read Job and think perhaps that is what God has in mind for all of us?

What I have come to believe is that Generation X, my generation, bought into a fantasy. Our generation which has survived the .Com bubble, Housing Bubble and now we are surviving the Great Recession, were told that if we worked hard we too could be millionaires and have security. In reality our hard work gave security to our bosses while our generation is sinking. We all worked hard for nothing and our children will live more meagre lives because of our bosses gluttony. Gluttony is the problem and that is the reason all this pain has become reality.

The big lie is now obvious.

Our society chose to believe that we were all rugged individuals who owed nothing to our fellow citizens. We would take care of ourselves not depending on others, this is the biggest lie of them all.

Now the waste of the past twenty years has become obvious. The rich and powerful used the big lie to become even more rich and powerful and those of us in the middle gave away our youths for nothing.

It is time for a metanoia and that metanoia does not include Lexuses, granite counter tops, I pods or gourmet dinners.

A Metanoia is what we need.



3 comments:

Mark said...

Ray,

People aren't angrier because, it seems to me, instead they are afraid -- especially of Wall Street. Instead of being angry at the people that systematically lobbied for less and less regulation, lined their pockets, and destroyed America's global reputation, they're afraid that these same people are evil wizards and if they say anything then God -- and by God I mean the Dow-Jones Industrial Average whom they worship -- will punish them.

The myopia is toxic. And frankly, nobody has taken these scumbags to task. Only two indictments in the last year?! Two? If Madoff didn't confess, he might still be roaming free...

Zero accountability. And yes, the people in the middle are being hit, thanks to public corporations. The companies can be leveraged to the hilt, and the stockholders, and now taxpayers, are paying for it.

Glass-Steagall, anybody?

Guillermo Parra said...

People aren't angry because we have been brainwashed and numbed by decades of mass media. I don't consider myself a communist, and yet these days I feel an intense hatred towards capitalism, a hatred that I hope I can channel in a productive manner. We live in the darkest of times, much worse than the Middle Ages, and yet so many Americans refuse to acknowledge the reality that surrounds them. I appreciate these posts of yours on this moment of imperial collapse.

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