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When Saroj asked me to write a guest post about how the recession has affected me personally, I drew a blank. So I wrote a haiku instead:
that is of the sub-prime kind.
Just kidding. Financially I haven’t been affected as much. I still have a well-paying, stable job. However that is definitely offset by the shrinking value of my 401K and my mutual funds. Hey, I’m still buying cheap right? Right. I sometimes wonder how everything could have become this bad. The answer can be summed up in one word: Greed. While it is true that capitalism does reward a bit of greed, you can risk breaking things (like what’s happening now) should you become too greedy. Read up on any analysis of the current recession and you’ll find that those involved, were chasing large sums of money, often at the expense of others. Growing up, my parents always taught me that I should accept responsibility for my actions, and that I should face the consequences. It’s funny how that isn’t even remotely the case now, as can be seen by the irresponsible homeowners and irresponsible (read deregulated) financial institutions being propped up by the government. Some would argue that our various economic institutions (and other industries) have become so inextricably intertwined that letting one fail would set off a domino effect that would supposedly lead to the end of the world. However, I always thought that in a free market, the strong survive, and the weak die. If a business falls, I would think that another would rise to take it’s place. Don’t read this to mean that I am completely against government intervention. I have hopes for the stimulus plan and I think that people who are yelling and screaming “ZOMG OBAMA SI TEH SOCIALIST!!!” are just overreacting. They seem to forget that aggressive deregulation is what got us into this mess in the first place. I’ll admit that I am quite possibly taking an overly-simplified view of the situation; I don’t claim to be an economist or an economic expert. The sad truth is that things were allowed to get to the point where corporations and financial institutions have become so powerful that the very life of the economy depends on them.
When all is said and done I’m hoping that the people in charge are financially more experienced and financially smarter than myself, and that they know what they are doing. To think positively, I guess recession has forced certain companies to rethink their business models (automakers, SUVs and fuel-inefficient vehicles suck and they’ve always sucked. I’m glad you’ve finally realized this) and has prodded the government to keep a closer eye on financial institutions. I have heard that markets eventually correct themselves. So I’m hoping that in a few years we’ll come out to be a little wiser and a litter richer.
Vivin is a software engineer and serves in the Arizona Army National Guard. He returned in November 2006 from Iraq after serving a year there as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Check out his blog at http://vivin.net.