Staff column: The good stuff about a bad economy
Everyone is down about the economy. Even those of us that see the local economy as being much better than the national one worry about what may happen as things come closer and closer to the grass roots in Utah.
But there are some bright spots about a downturn, and as I have been reading various peoples points of views about this unprecedented recession, I am beginning to feel like maybe this was a good thing in some ways.
I know that is easy for me to say; I still have my job and my house. For some in this great land we call America, this has been a disastrous time.
Still, there is nothing like a good dose of negative events to bring us down to the reality of the world. If you think our country is suffering from this turn of events, just imagine what it must be like in lands that are just getting their industrialized economies off the ground.
But back to the positive things I have found people writing about in this dark time.
First of all I saw one column that said this economy is bringing people back to the roots of living. I think that is true, whether it is spiritual or practical, I think most of us are rethinking how we have been living. More people are starting gardens this spring than any time in recent memory (probably since World War II when victory gardens flourished).
People are staying home and entertaining themselves more; just like it used to be. Maybe you will even see kids playing outside more instead of hooked to video games in their houses all day.
We are also cutting back and spending less. Don't you love what the economists are saying about this one; we should spend more to get the economy going. Well that is true in a sense, but we have been spending so much for so long that we are addicted to it. Saving is at an all time high now. Most of those same experts were condemning Americans for not saving enough just a year ago.
Economists are also saying we shouldn't worry about patriotic spending. We should do what is best for each of us, regardless of where the product is made. Well I believe in that, but I also believe in this country. And how can we expect America to rise out of the ashes if we send all our money overseas. I think people should buy what is best for them, but first look to see if there is a quality American alternative to that car, appliance or widget you want to purchase.
I also like the idea of helping the Jones' instead of keeping up with them. We should appreciate what we have and realize how interconnected we all are. If we don't spend money in our community to help local people, we take it away from them and ourselves. It is after all a big circle, whether you look at it from a world wide perspective or one right here in eastern Utah.
Finally bad times bring back spirituality. We all get a little plumped up with pride when things are going good; a dose of humility and belief in something bigger than we are is a good thing. Whether you believe in God, Allah or just a higher being, it is a good time to reconnect with your spirit and its relationship with the universe. These kinds of events show us how little control we have over our individual lives; there is something bigger out there to believe in.
I'd like to think Americans will respond to this crisis as we have many in the past; unite and defeat the enemy. But in this case the enemy may well have been us. It's time to take a new look at ourselves, and realize that we can be all we can be, but we can't do it alone.