Yesterday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 514 points, making October 22 yet another day among the top ten worst days on Wall Street. But it’s the credit crunch that we’re feeling on Main Street. Until the banks start lending to each other again, it’s difficult for small businesses and individuals to find loans necessary for their needs and other businesses are finding it difficult to raise capital. In all likelihood, we’re in a legitimate recession.
Here in the United States, our investments in stocks are down and some of us are reportedly losing jobs. We might have less extra money to play with. Foreclosures on property are rising.
But when we need food, even if we are eating out in restaurants less, we are not in danger. As always, we can walk or drive to the grocery store or the farm market. The shelves are full. Food is still plentiful in this country, and it no less affordable than it was one year ago.
There is no crisis here. Some of us might have to deal with a little less spending money, but the recent financial downturn has had little effect on our ability to survive. That’s not the case everywhere in the world, however. For example, Zimbabwe is suffering due to economic mismanagement. While Wall Street here mismanaged the financial industry and the government mismanaged regulation over the past decade or so, these issues cannot be compared to situations around the world.
Farmers are without seeds, fertiliser and fuel. Next year’s harvest is already being written off as a disaster as well…
Some Zimbabweans get by on one meal a day if they are lucky, but there is a growing sense of desperation. One consequence is that thousands of children are said to be dropping out of school to look for food… Wads of cash are needed to buy what food is available in towns…
One villager in Mashonaland West pleaded for help before it was “too late.” “If we don’t get help now, most of us are going to die. Nearly everyone here is starving.”
Back here in the United States, many lives may be uncomfortable in this recession. Keep in mind, however, that there is no food shortage and no gas shortage. Children will still receive Christmas gifts from their families this year and will not be forced to quit school in order to earn money to support their families.
Life in this country is quite good, even though it’s easy to forget that, with no help from the financial media. But looking deeper, the real story is not much different than always. I was invited to write an article for PC World Magazine about finding deals for “Black Friday.” If the economy in this country were truly in trouble, I’d either be writing about how to find food or not writing at all; comforts like internet access and magazines would be abandoned in favor of the necessities for survival.
With this in mind, I’m still investing in the United States.
Updated January 16, 2010 and originally published October 23, 2008. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.