The Economy of Mercy

I just remembered I have a minor in economics, so that makes me expert enough to solve the recession. OK, I also have a minor in geography, which did not aid my directional abilities at all. But I do have some ideas...

1) Consumerism = Bad

I find it disturbing that the health of our economy is based on rampant consumerism. Unless everyone is buying a ton of stuff all the time, we can't function. Eric and I made the choice a few years ago, in part inspired by the Advent Conspiracy, to be conscious consumers. Of course we still buy things that are unnecessary, and we have superfluous things lying about our house, but we try to think about every purchase. We budget, we think about the labor practices of the companies from which we buy, etc. It's made a big difference. Now, however, even though I tried to live this lifestyle before the market tanked, I harbor an odd sort of guilt for not buying things. I have the problem of feeling like I alone can fix all the world's problems, so in my head if I'm not spending obscene amounts on retail, I'm the reason for job losses. But, as Eric says, we're trying to participate in the creation of a new system that's not so inherently flawed. I try to remember that.

2) Innovation = Good
Capitalism is not the perfect system, but it does encourage invention, which is good. There are so many random things for sale that it makes me laugh. I think we should channel this innovative energy into creative use of our time and resources. For example, I'm not working right now so I can write my dissertation (thanks in part to scholarships and grants and a very, very supportive husband), but I've picked up some things here and there to both earn some extra money and feed my soul. I teach fitness, I substituted for a home school family, and I plan to pick up more writing gigs. The more open we are to diverse possibilities in employment, the easier we'll all get through this rocky time. (BTW, my parents went through the recession under Pres. Carter right after they got married, so they assure us newlyweds we'll get through it.)

3) Mercy

I'm a little uncomfortable putting God in economic terms, but Switchfoot has a great song called "Economy of Mercy," and here is part of the chorus:
"In the economy of mercy
I am a poor and begging [wo]man
In the currency of Grace
Is where my song begins"
If Grace were a currency, we'd all extend more than enough to take care of each other. Most disheartening is the drop in charity donations due to the recession. I have always found it rewarding to give a portion of my income away, even when times are difficult. I find that if I hold on tightly to money because of fear, it simply controls me. But, with the right boundaries, extending mercy and grace, in both monetary and spiritual terms, is always better.

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