So, the chickens have finally come home to roost in the global financial meltdown. Who would have guessed it?
Well I have been, for several months boring everyone to death here commenting on the inadvisability (stupidity even) of acquiring large personal debt.
And I know some other people who will not be surprised.
The farmers of the world are an often maligned, underestimated and criticised sector of society. Yet not only do they provide food and fibre essential for our civilisation, they are often repositories of profound wisdom about life and the universe.
They have acquired this knowledge, not only through formal education, but from lives lived in thoughtful observation of the natural and human world around them, and from the harsh lessons learned during their stewardship of land, water and environment.
Self-evident truths, the products of toil, hard times, and dealing with the vaguaries of nature.
And farmers are inevitably grounded in common sense. They know about risk……not the elective sort you take in gambling on the stock exchange with the mistaken view that economies and profits must inevitably keep getting larger…..the risk they have faced every single year of their lives knowing that they must accept the hand given to them by Mother Nature.
They also know that happiness in this world is not dependent upon material possessions.
I have previously dealt quite adequately with the high flying corporate financiers and bankers who contributed to this financial crisis. (here)
There are however, other equally responsible co-contributors.
The individual borrowers who applied for and received loans beyond their means to repay.
It was their impetuous and impulsive choice to take a path of extreme indebtedness in order to own everything RIGHT NOW, without considering the time honored processes of previous generations which accumulated wealth and possessions gradually during whole lifetimes as a reward for hard work.
They have been seduced by the culture of greed and instant gratification which has pervaded our culture, especially during the last 3 decades.
It was never, ever going to be sustainable, and the farmers of this world could have told you so.
The old wisdom always applies; If it seems to good to be true, then it probably is.
When you were offered finance up to 110% of the value of property, did it not, deep inside your heart and mind occur to you that something was wrong with both the arithmetic and the morality?
When, in your twenties, you married and demanded instantly a brand new house complete with every luxury item of furnishing imaginable, in exchange for a lifetime of debt, did it not trigger your intelligence to question whether this was either a necessity or indeed the reality of how life should be?
Have you never ever learned Aesops fables? Did you not learn about the ant laying food aside for winter and the grasshopper squandering his resources irresponsibly. Do you not think that these fables have been perpetuated for centuries because of the sound life principles contained within them? Do you think they suddenly became irrelevant from 1980 onwards?
"It is best to prepare for the days of necessity"
Some will view my sentiments as unnecessarily harsh.
Truth sometimes appears that way.
Our civilisation will not support limitless consumption indefinitely.
Increased profits or Gross National Product are not indicators of quality of life, or that we are living life as it should be done.
We now have a whole generation which must either voluntarily understand the need to radically modify its fiscal behaviour, or be forced to do so by financial disaster and elective poverty.
And, ask a farmer to share his wisdom.
P.S. For the purposes of this discussion I refer to the old-fashioned family farmer, and not the modern corporate farming conglomerate which will shortly receive a little GOF wrath as well.