Tag Archives: Economy

Rethink How to Celebrate The Holidays

HolidayHappiness_1224210-01They’re back – The holidays. From mid to November to early January, many faiths and traditions celebrate. It has indeed the potential to be the most wonderful time of the year – a message that much of the music of the season shares with us.

But with the extreme commercialism that has come to define them, it is easy to lose sight of the real reason for holidays. How we celebrate is entirely our choice – we have the ability to remove or add things to ensure our celebrations are as we want them to be. Though we have the choice, we can get overwhelmed and intimidated into letting the commercial voices tell us how to celebrate the holidays. Don’t give in. Decide early, before the season is fully on you, how you want your celebrations to be.

I regularly see frantic gift-buyers rushing through stores with names of people to buy for. This focus on tangible gifts is still a challenge as our national media and commercial marketing has us believing that lovely diamonds, new cars, electronics and gift cards are the way to share how you feel about others. Though it activates our economy, what is its true place our celebrations? Gifts are truly gifts when they share something of us in a meaningful way with another. So, before you buy one more thing, consider the following gift ideas:

  1. Give the gift of time. Though we may be physically present, the pace of life can frequently make us mentally absent. Make time to fully show up in your relationships. Not only increase your contact – phone and face-to-face – but be more involved and interested in your relationships. Plan events together and really show up. Making time and being present for someone feels amazing. Who needs your gift of time?
  2. Give the gift of friendship. Redefine what being a friend means to you and show up this way to your relationships. Value them more. Be more involved. Share more. Connect at a deeper level. Say what you feel. Who needs your gift of friendship?
  3. Give the gift of patience. Manage your comments, opinions and tone. No two of us see the world in the same way so our responses to similar situations will likely be different. Not right or wrong; just different. We don’t have to agree. We just allow others to be who they are and to have the patience not to force them to see things always from our perspective. With our aging parents and our developing teens, patience can work miracles. The great thing about giving patience is that it generally gives you a similar gift in return. Who needs your gift of patience?
  4. Give the gift of forgiveness. Use this time of year to settle an old disagreement, right an old wrong and be the bigger person. Celebrate a renewed friendship or relationship that had felt the effects of ego, emotions and misunderstandings. Forgiving is a gift we give to others because we know they are human and sometimes humans get things wrong. And again, maybe by giving the gift of forgiveness, you may get it back. Who needs your gift of forgiveness?
  5. Give the gift of acceptance. Life isn’t easy – we are each trying to find our way. What if we were more accepting of others as they define their lives, values, interests and directions? The gift of acceptance is one of the best and most powerful. I received this gift from my grandfather. When I came out, he called to find out how he could learn more about what being gay meant to me so he could support me; he accepted me. That was years ago. I remember this gift every day. Who needs your gift of acceptance?

Rethink your holidays; transform them from commercial events into powerful celebrations of people and relationships. We are on this planet together to learn from each other and to participate together in the wonders of our world. Celebrations are a way to bring us together to help us learn more, connect better and build a stronger sense of community.

We have been trained that a nicely wrapped present means I love you. But spending time, being more forgiving, accepting, patient, friendly and present are more powerful ways of saying the same message – they just get less marketing dollars. Though some may think this approach just gets them out of the hassle of buying a gift, it actually takes considerably more work to show human to your relationships. But think of this one additional and important benefit: as you give these, you are changed. You become more present, more loving, more forgiving and more patient. They benefit, you benefit. That is what true celebration is.

Consider as the volume escalates on holiday music, ads and deals, that things don’t say ‘I love you’; your voice, heart, time and commitment say ‘I love you.’ May your holidays be merry. May they be happy. And may they remind you celebrate the wonderful people in your life.

Kate Northrup Tells Gabby Bernstein her Money Love Story

In today’s economy is there a way to make a decent living but have autonomy over our time? My friend Kate Northrup grew up always knowing she wanted to be a mom – but one that was financially free and had the ability to be present and there for her kids. So she began writing about her journey, and developing tips to share with you.

I’m so proud to share my Kate’s first book,  MONEY, A Love Story. In this video, Kate shares how you can untangle your financial woes and create the life you really want. Check out the book here and feel free to leave questions for Kate in the comments below. She will reply!

4 Green Technologies That Are Actually Selling

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People are becoming increasingly concerned about their carbon footprint. However, just because we are concerned about this as a society does not mean that all green technologies are selling as well as they should be. In fact, too many of them have gone by the wayside. Luckily, there are still green technologies that are actually selling.

Hybrid Cars

The price of hybrid cars keeps coming down, and the demand keeps going up. As the price comes down, more people can afford them. When buying new cars, one of the biggest things families look at is the gas mileage. The next thing they look at is the overall price of the car. So, if they can get a car that is relatively inexpensive but will give them great gas mileage, they are going to jump on it. This is the biggest reason that these vehicles are selling extremely well.

Cleaning Supplies

Have you walked down the cleaning supplies aisle at the grocery store lately? Take a look around; you’ll see that there’s a lot of “green” products. That’s because these things sell like crazy. No one wants to clean their home with harsh chemicals. Instead, they want to get things clean, but do it as environmentally friendly as possible. Companies that create cleaning products have noticed this and now make green cleaning products that fly off the shelves.

Home Solar Panels

As the solar panel technology is getting smaller and more easily available for home use, it’s also becoming more popular. People are buying solar panels to put on their roofs to power their homes. Some use these to supplement their power, while others bring in so much from their solar panels that they are able to sell back to the power company in their town. In addition, many new homes come pre-installed with solar panels. This is a technology that is becoming almost as common as high-speed Internet in homes – it’s not quite there yet, but give it a few years.

Windmill Farms

One of the biggest sellers for cities and states is the wind technology. In fact, many areas are setting up windmill farms. These expanses of land literally have windmills set up on them, and that’s it. They harvest the power of the wind and use it to produce power. That power takes the place of more traditional power creation methods, lowering the carbon footprint of the city. Plus, many cities that do this are able to sell the excess power they create to other cities or even other states. In addition to larger entities doing this, some individuals are able to set up windmills on their own land. Sometimes the land is rented to larger organizations for the power creation.

There are a lot of green technologies out there. Some have come and gone without much stir in the community. Other technologies have yet to be tested on a larger scale. What are your thoughts on the green tech industry? Do you see potential for economic growth and job creation through these endeavors?

How Many Slaves Are Working for You?

Screen Shot 2013-05-10 at 3.45.12 PMYou may be surprised to hear this, but slavery did not end with the abolition movement. Abraham Lincoln and countless other freedom fighters around the world make huge strides for the cause of emancipation, but even today human trafficking and involuntary servitude are massive and often unknown global issues. According to TraffickFree.org, there are actually more slaves today than ever before (roughly 27 million globally.) How can this be? How can it be that 17,500 slaves are brought into the US every year or that over 3,000 people are sold into slavery every day, many of them children and many of them for sexual exploitation? These are harrowing numbers, and it seems almost too heinous to be true.

According to many anti-slavery websites, though, human trafficking is involved in the production of many of the materials we use every day. Cotton, cocoa, sugar, rice, electronics, not to mention the multi-billion dollar pornography industry… All of these and more can include the labor of slaves, and it’s often nearly impossible to know exactly how and from where these products make it into our hands. Click here for a great interactive map illustrating all the many products of slavery.

What can we do with this knowledge? To start, SlaveryFootprint.org created a poignant and heartbreaking dramatization of human trafficking, which you can watch below. Next, visit their website to calculate your own “slavery footprint,” just to get some perspective on the ways you may be unknowingly participating in this horrifying economy. From there, we can open a dialogue on our dependence to the items that keep others enslaved and build a movement to demand ethically sourced products. We the people make the world go round, and we can send the message out there that we have no appetite for slavery, nor any of its byproducts.

What’s your slavery footprint? Do you have any concerns about discussing “slavery” outside the specific context of pre-abolition America?

The Bangladesh Garment Factory Tragedy – 10 Sweatshop-Free Clothing Companies

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When we buy an item of clothing from a mall or outlet in the United States, we often don’t think about the hundreds, even thousands, of people laboring in factories around the world to bring these fashions to the racks.

The weight of this reality hit home, however, after news surfaced on Wednesday of the devastating collapse of a garment factory in Bangladesh. The disaster left at least 175 people dead, more than 1,000 injured, and countless others trapped in the rubble. This marks the worst industrial disaster in Bangladesh’s history, and points to the chilling underbelly of the fashion industry. According to reports, the building, which housed five garment factories in its eight stories, had developed cracks the night before, but workers were nonetheless ordered back in for work the next morning. If true, the accusation would make this not only a tragic display of negligence, but a human rights violation, at that.

This horrific incident may remind you of similar news from November 2012, when a fire broke out in another garment factory in the country, trapping workers inside and killing 112 people. These disasters are all too common. The garment industry comprises over 75% of Bangladesh’s international exports, with some of their largest buyers being H&M, Walmart, and Gap Inc. Consider that the average H&M women’s shirt is roughly $20, while the average hourly wage of a factory worker in Bangladesh is just $0.13. Roughly one third of the country’s population lives below the poverty line, a trend common among countries with some of the highest sweatshop labor exports around the world.

If all of this makes you a bit sick to the stomach, we completely understand. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of 10 clothing companies that do not use sweatshop labor. Please do your own research, though, and let us know what brands you support! Hopefully collectively we can convey the message that no purchase can be considered “cheap” if human lives are the cost.

1. Eddie Bauer

2. Givenchy

3. Ben Davis

4. Union Jeans

5. Alternative Apparel

6. American Apparel

7. New Balance (Made in US collection)

8. Tom’s Shoes

9. Cut Loose

10. Flax

 

Photo credit: A.M. Ahad/AP

How to Follow Your Passion When You’re Just Trying to Pay the Bills

During tough economic times, many people think they need to sacrifice passion and focus solely on earning money. From a spiritual perspective, this is the exact opposite approach to generating real abundance. Yes — paying your bills takes practical action. But it also requires an internal belief system powered by inspiration and passion. Without an emphasis on passion, it’s likely that no matter how many actions you take, you’ll still wind up feeling stuck.

Neglecting passion blocks creative flow. When you’re passionate, you’re energized. Likewise, when you lack passion, your energy is low and unproductive. Energy is everything when it comes to earning. Quantum physics teaches us that our bodies are made up of subatomic particles that are energy. Your thoughts, attention and focus affect your energy and therefore everything around you, including your bank account. So when you’re thinking only about the mundane to-do lists and practical action steps, you’re lowering your energy and in effect lowering your earning power.

Your life becomes what you think about most. When you focus on following your passion and letting inspiration flow, your energy is raised and your earning capacity is strong. But when you’re uninspired and bogged down by low-level thoughts, your attracting power is weakened.

Now that you have a better understanding of the earning value of passionate, positive energy, it’s time to take it more seriously. Read on for three simple, effective ways you can bring more passion into your life — even if you’re crazy-busy.

Who said your job had to be your only source of passion?
Our culture places such a huge emphasis on our careers that we lose track of our passion projects. But who said your job had to be your only source of passion? A dear friend of mine is a powerful example of balancing passion and career — he works in corporate America but moonlights as a guitar player in a band. Though he spends his weekdays at a desk, he spends his weekends indulging his passion projects such as gigging with his band, writing, drawing and learning about art. Though he dedicates a lot of his time to his career, there is no lack of passion in his life.

The passion of being of service
When we’re of service to the world, we feel inspired and passionate about the work that we do. Perhaps the work you’re doing is service-related — getting clear about the ways in which it serves the world may make you more passionate about it. If that’s not the case with your job, maybe once a month you volunteer for a local charity or find a way to participate in your community or promote bigger causes. Awaken a service mentality. When you serve the world, you serve your soul.

Shift your perception about the way you make money
If you’re hung up about the fact that your primary source of revenue doesn’t come from your true passion, shift your perspective. Be grateful for the work that you have and focus on the good stuff. Find even the smallest part of your work that ignites your passion. Maybe you love interacting with clients or the neighborhood where you work. Maybe you’re learning something new by being on that job. Focus on what you do have and you’ll create more of what you want.

Take these action steps seriously. We all have work to do to support our economy, and if we’re void of passion we won’t have the energy and inspiration to serve. The more passion we ignite in our lives, the higher our earning capacity will be and the more we’ll impact financial growth in our country. When we all raise our thoughts we’ll raise our bank accounts — and greatly serve the world.

For Gabrielle’s free guided meditations and videos click here: http://gabbyb.tv/

American Inequality: Who Is Subsidizing Our Lifestyle?

On the economic front, separate news stories are painting a disturbing picture of American inequality. The number of uninsured people has jumped from last year’s totals. The gap between the rich and poor has grown wider for 30 years (at current levels, the top fifth of earners takes home 50% of the money while the bottom fifth takes home 3%). Do you think of this being a fair country, a place where opportunity shines for everyone? Be prepared for a different reality. Among all Western industrialized countries, the U.S. stands last in income equality. England, the home of residual class antagonism going back for centuries, has leveled the playing field better than we have.

The problem is just that equality has become more like a myth than a fact. There are still many routes to upward mobility, and when one hears about the shrinking middle-class, it should be noted that a healthy percentage of that shrinkage was due to families climbing higher on the economic ladder (earning $75,000 or more) rather than sliding down. Yet the current recession has brought into stark relief an underlying flaw, not in American economics but in our consciousness. Money is creating a new, selfish class whose only interest seems to be in greed. The current Hollywood sequel to Wall Street brings back Gordon Gekko, an iconic figure from the go-go Eighties because of his maxim, "Greed is good." Gekko went to jail when greed took him too far. Now he has emerged from prison with a smirk on his face: Greed has become the new virtue in financial circles. It is no longer something to be ashamed of. You can drive the economy to ruin with insanely risky investments, get bailed out, and scamper down the road to make even more massive profits, some of them still based on too-high risk.

The ordinary person can’t stomach this, and the Tea Party is their enraged reaction. Anyone who is morally decent would have to share in the anger, but the Tea Party isn’t based on a drive for social and economic equality. Its toxic agenda is to push immigrants and the unemployed even lower. With sublime unreason we hear calls for lower taxes and an end to deficit spending, even though the two are exact opposites. If the Tea Party were swept into office tomorrow, the Republican Party would push for the overturning of Obama’s entire public policy, resulting in even greater inequality.

When you push greed, selfishness, rage, and crankiness out of the way, the future holds exactly what President Obama has been advocating; a more just society that can only solve the problems of debt and an aging population by raising taxes, lowering medical costs, and restructuring entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare. The elderly are not immune to greed and selfishness, and many are reluctant to pay their fair share, even though most have the means. What could be more selfish than the now legendary cry of the senior citizen who yelled, "Keep the damn government out of my Medicare!"

What the greedy and well-to-do aren’t facing is their own flawed consciousness. The moneyed class is sitting on the sidelines, just as it did throughout the Great Depression, squeezing credit, refusing to invest, and demanding — with consummate gall — that the government should ask less of them in taxation. They refuse to face a stark fact: Their well-being and the general prosperity of this rich country is being subsidized. In his classic account of poverty in England during the Depression, The Road to Wigan Pier, George Orwell dourly noted that the smooth highways carrying cars across the land were built on the backs of coal miners — quite literally, in fact, since mine shafts often ran under the roads. He appealed to community and decency, to morality and empathy in the hope that England would become a fair state.

The same plea needs to be heard today, because your lifestyle and mine is being subsidized by immigrants working for low wages in order to keep prices down, while at the same time receiving marginal benefits from the state compared to the rest of us. We are subsidized by the uninsured, who never go to the doctor. We are being subsidized by a minimum wage too low to live on. We are subsidized by the unemployed who do without welfare support. Finally, we are being subsidized by the average worker, who became the most efficient producer in the world, only to see the corporation he worked for take that increased productivity, turning it into dividends and bonuses that would benefit stockholders, executives, and almost everyone but the workers themselves. The gap between rich and poor has resulted, to be blunt about it, because the wealth isn’t being shared. It’s being gobbled up by those who are already well off. There is much more to say about why a society cannot afford to subsidize the best-off at the expense of the worst. But at bottom, such a society can’t look itself in the mirror. We are getting perilously close to that point now.

 

For more information go to deepakchopra.com

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Alternative Economies, Anyone?

 

Alternative Economies, Anyone?

 

Have you contemplated even the slightest possibility that there may be an alternative to capeetalism or communism? Or heard of alternatives? 

Whatever the causes of this Universe, whatever its reasons for being, the enormity of this vast Universe is so profound that surely no one alive on Earth is so drunk with the conceit that a human, any human or humanity at large is the cause of this planet or the Universe at large, implicating that the Universe was here before any human, perhaps, and that whatever is operative of, or operating en whole this vast Universe.

The architecture of atoms and molecules resembles that of solar systems, understanding them necessitates simply expanding our minds and focusing on continuities. Single cell individuals abound on Earth, and perhaps elsewhere, while single cells have come together in mutuality and cooperation to bring about opportunities on grander scales, including making up your body, without which you would not be you and we would not be here. Humanity is on the threshold of a new renaissance that will achieve, or reclaim the unification of humanity, on Earth and perhaps beyond, that will bring forth similar synergies to further all life on Earth, and beyond, to greater realms of excellence and subtler realms of being for us and all life forms.

Humanity is awake enough today to understand life and operating principles operating at both minute and grand scales, recognize their similarities and acknowledge that the Universe is, and has been all along, operating with the most viable economic system anywhere and an ethos that informs other realms of socio-political operating principles, inclusive of and more subtle than the excellence established during the Renaissance a few centuries ago.

To this effort I offer these five fundamental principles and welcome that each be explored and discussed individually on their own merits.  I think you’ll find them both easy to understand and quite acceptable, while their implications reach thoroughly into our human experience, in every realm of life.  

 

First Fundamental Principle:

No individual should be allowed to accumulate any physical wealth without the clear permission or approval of the collective body.

Purport: The universe is the common property of all. All people have usufructuary rights, that is, the right of enjoyment, but no one has the right to misuse this common property. Those who gather much wealth and hoard it directly curtail the happiness and convenience of others in society. Their behavior is flagrantly anti-social. Therefore no one should be allowed to hoard wealth without the permission of society.  

 

Second Fundamental Principle:
 

There should be maximum utilization and rational distribution of all mundane, supramundane and spiritual potentialities of the universe.

Purport: The wealth and resources inherent in the crude, subtle and causal worlds should be developed for the welfare of all people. All resources hidden in the five fundamental factors – solid, liquid, luminous, aerial and ethereal – should be fully utilized and this endeavor will ensure the maximum development of the universe. People will have to earnestly explore land, sea and space to discover and manufacture the necessary resources. There should be rational distribution of the accumulated wealth of humanity. In other words, apart from meeting the indispensable minimum necessities of all, the necessities of meritorious people and those with special requirements must also be met [atiriktum, in Sanskrit]. 

 

Third Fundamental Principle:

There should be maximum utilization of the physical, metaphysical and spiritual potentialities of the unit and collective bodies of human society.

Purport: The collective body, collective mind and collective spirit must be developed. One must not forget that collective good lies in individuals and individual good lies in collectivity. Without providing for the comfort of the individual through proper food, light, air, accommodation and medical treatment, collective good can never be accomplished. So it is with the sole intention of doing collective good that one will have to devote oneself to individual good.

The development of the collective mind is impossible without developing a proper social consciousness, encouraging a sense of social service and awakening knowledge in every individual. So, inspired with the thought of doing good to the collective mind, one has to do good to the individual mind. Absence of spirituality and spiritual morality in an individual will break the backbone of the collectivity. So for the sake of collective good one will have to awaken spirituality in individuals. One or two powerful, learned or worldly-wise people, or one or two spiritualists do not indicate advancement and progress of the whole society. The body, mind and self of every individual have the potential for limitless expansion and development. This potentiality has to be harnessed and brought to fruition.

 

Fourth Fundamental Principle:

There should be a proper adjustment amongst these physical, metaphysical, mundane, supramundane and spiritual utilizations.

Purport: While promoting individual and collective welfare there should be proper adjustment amongst the physical, mental and spiritual and the crude, subtle and causal factors. For example, society has the responsibility of meeting the minimum necessities of every individual but if society arranges food and builds a house for everyone under the impetus of this responsibility, individual initiative becomes retarded. People will gradually become lethargic. Therefore society has to make such arrangements so that people, in exchange for their labor according to their capacity, can earn the money they require to purchase the minimum necessities. In order to raise the level of minimum necessities of people the best policy is to enhance their purchasing capacity.

The law of adjustment further stipulates that while taking services from a person who is physically, mentally and spiritually developed, society should follow a balanced policy of adjustment. If only one of these three capacities – physical, mental or spiritual – is developed in a person, society should take the one that is developed. If both physical and intellectual capacities are sufficiently developed in a person, society should adopt the policy of adjustment, which takes more intellectual service and less physical service, because intellectual power is comparatively subtle and rare. If all three capacities – physical, mental and spiritual – are found in one person, society should make greatest use of their spiritual service and least of their physical service.

The greatest service to the cause of social welfare can be rendered by those who have acquired spiritual power, and the next service by those having intellectual power. Those having physical power, though not negligible, cannot do anything by themselves. Whatever they do is done under the instructions of those with intellectual and spiritual power. Hence the responsibility of social control should not be in the hands of those who have great physical capacity, or in the hands of those endowed with courage, or in the hands of those who are intellectually developed, or in the hands of those with worldly skills. Social control should be in the hands of those who are spiritual aspirants, intelligent and brave all at the same time. 

 

Fifth Fundamental Principle:

The method of utilization should vary in accordance with the changes in time, space and person, and the utilization should be of a progressive nature.

Purport: The proper use of any object changes in accordance with the changes in time, place and person. Those who cannot understand this simple reality want to cling to the skeleton of the past and are consequently rejected by contemporary, living society. Sentiments based on narrow national outlook, regional outlook or caste pride etc., tend to keep people away from rudimental facts and original ideas. Those influenced by such sentiments cannot openly accept the simple truth. Consequently they are compelled to slink away to the back stage after having done indescribable damage to their country and fellow citizens.

Changes in the use of every object inevitably occur according to changes in time, place and person. After recognizing this fact people will have to progressively utilize every object and every idea. For example, scientific research must be applied so that a person, instead of wielding one huge hammer today, will be able to wield many hammers simultaneously, using the same strength. In other words, scientific research, guided by progressive ideas, should extract greater and greater service from the same human potential. It is not a sign of progress to use outdated scientific technology in an age of developed science.

Human beings will have to bravely face whatever large and small obstacles that may arise due to the use of various resources and materials created by progressive ideas and developed technology. Human beings have to march forward to victory on the path of all-round fulfillment in life.

                         Lend Your Touch for a Magnificent Home Planet

Tell me, what are your thoughts, insights and remdies for a healthy human society?  Please contribute. 

 

The Silver Lining Of The Recession: More People Realizing The Basic Truth That You Don’t Need A Lot Of Stuff To Be Happy

The recession continues on with no end in sight, which means that many people who are forced to downgrade their living standards. And what do you know, a lot of people actually are liking this.

As the recent New York Times article "But Will It Make You Happier?" explains in great depth, people who are forced to prioritize their spending from a much limited budget may become more accustomed to spending money on experiences that strengthen relationships rather than accumulating more possessions.

In addition to analyzing the changing spending habits of consumers in the current recession, the article also brings up many salient points on the correlation between your spending habits and your happiness. A lot of this is common sense, and a lot of them are also quite surprising.

Some of the important bullet points: 

– Hedonistic adaption sets in no matter how big or small the purchase. After the initial thrill of retail therapy, even something as monumental as a gorgeous house or a beautiful car, we get used to it.

– Anticipation increases happiness. Booking a flight to Hawaii months ahead increases your anticipatory joy of it, as opposed to booking it the day before. So if you are going to do a big purchase, wait as long as you can stand it if possible.

– Money that is spent on experiences–vacations, wine-tasting classes, concerts–are more likely to make you happier than money that is spent on stuff. The theory is that experiences are oftentimes shared with other people, which strengthens relationships.

– Spending money on many simple pleasures over time will make you happier than using that same money to make one big purchase. If you buy a new Porsche, you will probably be less happier than if you used that same chunk of money to spread it out over the course of the year in many mini-purchases like dining out with friends, going to museums, buying books, treating yourself to nice lattes, buying gifts for friends and going on road trips.

– One common denominator of happy people all across the board, regardless of income: strong relationships.

So what will happen once the recession is over? Will people remember the lessons they’ve learned during the big economic crunch, or will people resort to their old spending habits of accumulating more? 

Here is to hoping that the current economic crisis will build a foundation for a new normal where happiness comes from relationships, not stuff. It’s about time.

PHOTO (cc): Flickr / rocket ship

Thank You, Recession: A Look At The Opportunities That Can Only Come From A Big Crisis

Forget all the depressing news stories about the ongoing economic downturn. What are some things about the current recession that we can actually be thankful for? 

"Thank You, Recession" is the name of an episode by "no-limits" documentary series Vanguard that made my day over the weekend. Two reporters travel 5,000 miles south to Argentina, a country that went through its own economic crisis back in 2001. They interview local young people, business owners, factory workers, and families to hear their personal perspectives on how the recession has changed their life and their coping strategies for living in a post-recession world.

Though I am certain there are many untold stories of unbelievable suffering and heartbreak from the recession in Argentina, I was extremely moved to hear the simple and innovative way the Argentines have learned to deal with the crisis that wiped out the life savings of nearly every resident in the country. Factory workers have taken over abandoned factories to create an entirely new business model where every worker has a say in the direction of their business. One man in his twenties has started a successful print magazine highlighting stories of young people coping with the recession. Communal bartering centers have become more popular than ever, where men and women can swap clothing and household items for food, and vice versa.

Towards the second half of the episode, Vanguard then takes a look at the innovations that have begun in America in response to the ongoing recession.

The main take-away I got from the episode is this: the recession is certainly not the end of the world, and every crisis comes with its own set of unique opportunities that otherwise would not have existed. Having extremely limited resources forces many of us to churn out creative and innovative ideas to make do with what we can afford.

As articulated by one young entrepreneur who co-founded her own recession-themed clothing line, it may be possible that we will all one day look back on the economic downturn with some weird nostalgia. Will we all be throwing ironic recession-themed parties five, ten years down the line? 

Watch the episode for yourself to dare to be inspired by our ongoing recession.

PHOTO (cc): Flickr / origomi

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