Originally posted at Writeindependent.org on January 7, 2012
My grandfather was a product of the Depression. He struggled his way through his late teens, going door to door offering to mend or tailor clothing. Poverty lit a fire under him to rise above his situation, so with a small loan from some family, he was able to start a business in formal wear and then costumes that prospered over the next sixty years.
He also saved gold and silver coins, and grew his own food in a garden behind his house. He bought a farm and told us that we should sell crops to Campbell’s Soup Company one day.
Such was the thinking of a Depression-era survivalist.
Not much has changed: people still think that gold and silver, and growing your own food are the order of the day during hard times. Yet, is that the best way to handle an economic downturn of unemployment and poverty? (Over 15% or 46.2 million of USA residents live in poverty as of Sept 2011.)
I maintain that there are only two things that are worth fussing over in hard economic times. No, they aren’t silver and gold. They are much more basic than that. Two main aspects of our country give it its strength and its capital. They are: healthy land, air, water (real estate) and people (hard work, brain power, relationships). Everything else is secondary. You can’t eat metal or paper when times are hard, and gold is cold company. And if your air, water, soil is unhealthy, then medical problems will eclipse any hard work you intended to do.
People act like money is the answer to everything. You can have all the money in the world and still get cancer. You can make wads of money and still not find happiness. When it’s time to answer to the man at the pearly gates, he won’t be asking how much you made, but he might ask what you did with all that time you had here on earth. Did you make the world a better place or contribute by omission or commission to its detriment?