I’m not a real economist. I’ve never been to school for anything other than basic training, and certainly not economics or anything related. I’m a hack economist, like so many others out there. I make up numbers as I go along, and mash theories together in combinations I’m sure strike the professionals worse than marmalade and liverwurst – but that’s beside the point. The trouble with hack economics is the trouble with the financial state of the world.
If I decide to curb my spending because of something I hear on the news, about the economy being down, what does that gain me? My wage stays the same, assuming I don’t lose my job – granted, I work on commission partially, so others not spending harms me in percentage values – and the actual cost of living doesn’t go up unless my situation changes. But if I’m not contributing to the buffer, I’m detracting from it with my scrounging.
Similarly, if I spend more because there are good theoretical deals on things – because people are dipping prices to bust the recession – I’m actually lessening my ability to pay my bills, and thus harming my position in the economy and, by proxy, the economy itself.
And if I do nothing, change no habits and continue the mediocre road I’m not preventing bad situations, nor encouraging good ones. The middle of the road means that, while I maintain equilibrium, save a little, buy a little… I likely don’t do a lot of discretionary buying, other than planned stuff, which means a very boring time. If I’m not attempting to change the course of the world, I cannot possibly help, and make no attempt to stop those who hinder.
So where do we win? What adjustments can be made? Well, for one thing, we can stop paying attention to the news. We can look at our own expenses and incomes evenly, with verve and conservation in mind. We can not go crazy with spending, and refuse to wall ourselves in with worry. This is opinion, I warn you, but if everyone had an attitude of constant, cautious progress, the world would be a lot less exciting… But we’d also have a lot less to worry about. And when it comes to sacrificing excitement in the name of reducing stress… Well, I’m all over that.