UPDATE 9-27-11: When I first wrote this blog, it was to open a new conversation about debt, how we got here, and what to do about it both as citizens and as societies. As things have progressed, or should I say regressed, I am discovering with others the daunting and growing problems we face.
This is now Day Ten of the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations, and the world is beginning to take note of the complaints being made there. Wall Street is the enemy, not Main Street. Police “Serve & Protect” selectively…and it would appear only when video cams are at the ready to show their transgressions.
In that spirit, I think the reading below will make even more sense to you. Got a debt story? Would love to hear from you…
You and I are in debt, and I mean this in the broadest possible sense. Physically, Emotionally, Mentally and – perhaps even – Spiritually.
Our national debt now hovers at $14 trillion, 532 billion and counting, equivalent to $46,630 per citizen or $130,000 per taxpayer! Check out our “Debt Clock” – http://bit.ly/3pbLQ2 – and see the wheels fly by, moving higher, and higher, and higher.
It is the purpose of Written Off – America and Americans (WOAA), a book-in-process which is scheduled to be published this winter 2011, to explore this subject in ways that many of its readers will find hopeful and useful. How did we get here, how can we get OUTof this mess, and just what is stopping us from doing just that? Oh yes, and who, really, is responsible for this and how do we hold them accountable?
Since its inception in Spring, 2010, WOAA has morphed into something I would not have imagined – and we can blame (thank?) “Crowd-Sourcing” and Social Media for its evolution. Contributors weighed in from LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and an international roster of blogs to provide the Wisdom of Crowds to both form and inform the subject matter.
Written Off – America and Americans was initially intended to serve its readers as a simplified blueprint for surviving and thriving in the Great Recession. It take its instructional place, as one contributor surmised, somewhere between “Bankuptcy for Dummies” and theHarvard Business Review. Its source would be unassailable – the people most affected and least heard from - you and me.
That was then, this is now. WOAA is growing to fit a much more important role. Drawing on the wisdom of those who are at daily battle with economic forces that seem impossible to surmount, WOAA will provide its reader with both armament and battle plans that are proving victorious.
What is it evolving to become? An Activist Guide for people who refuse to be “written off”and who are rolling up their sleeves to do something about it.
WOAA started out to be a primer for people to understand and deal with the world’s economic meltdown – as seen through my eyes as a lifelong credit, collections and customer service professional. (A “bill collector,” as it were.) As time went along, and contributions flowed in, it became obvious that merely helping people to “understand and “deal with” the Great Recession and its effects were not going to cut it, and that the perspective of a credit professional was too narrow to meet the subject matter.
WOAA is being molded by its contributors to fill a role as a bright light to expose abuses by Big Business, Big Banks, Big Education and Bad Government and their Hired Guns. It is evolving into a How-To manual of clear paths and workable solutions which can be put into action by Everyman and Everywoman. Call it, “Revolution for (no-longer) Dummies.”
WOAA intends to make sense of the incomprehensible – that this world’s economic well-being has been placed in the care of the incompetent or the immoral and that only the strongest actions and remedies will correct this dangerous spiral downward.
A compelling reason – requiring meaningful action!
You and I who owe and are owed and who are now citizens of a debtor nation must arrive at a new sense and definition of what constitutes debt, the extension and use of credit. We need to reasses the role played by financial institutions and government oversight, the optimum way in which excesses can be corrected, and how all this knowledge and determined action will frame our lives as individuals and as a nation in the coming century.
We simply cannot continue on as a nation of debtors and a debtor nation. What must be corrected are the abuses of credit grantors and the abuses by the user of credit. We must review and rescind the laws and regulations that unfairly impact both the creditor and the debtor. We must root out and punish the money manipulators who – in the Wall Street tradition of “greed is good” – end-run the system and engineer financial meltdowns the like of which we in the U.S. and the global economy have experienced and will continue to experience unless systemic changes are installed.
WOAA intends to see that, once we define and understand this delicate dance between those who owe and those who are owed, we will be better prepared to either bear the yoke or even free ourselves from it.
It will be about not just surviving this economy, but thriving in it, and see that everyone has this opportunity.
Is that positive enough?
But, can we get there from here? That is, sanity in how we practice commerce and financial relationships over the insanity of never seeming to learn from the past and being forever bound to its “laws?? No, because here is a state of mind – even a shared hallucination – which cannot understand that the only way a world works best is by seeing to it that it operates on a win-win basis – the there that everyone wants.
The state of “there” requires that we adopt – in advance – a physical, emotional, mental and spiritual state of abundance and financial grace – one in which we will operate even though the world around us does not support that way of doing things. Yet.
The bottom line is this. There has to be a better way to manage that concept called credit and debt. The contributors to WOAA know that this is so, and that it can be learned and practiced. WOAA will be your handbook and guide to that better way. Better yet, you can help fulfill the role as a guide or activist in partnership with other contributors to this book by sharing your thoughts, experiences and solutions.
If all of us don’t make it, none of us will make it.