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  • Edición impresa de Febrero 1, 2011

I think facing financial problems brings out the worst in many of us. One of the things that happens is that we look for ways either to solve the problems without making any changes that affect us directly and on the other hand we start looking for ways of blaming others for not making our necessary changes.

Let’s take Maria’s case. She had steadily increased her expenses. Day after day she turned many of her wants into needs. In order to cover expenses she went into high debt to the extent that she had also borrowed money from relatives and friends.

There was a time when she could work over time or even hold two jobs, but those times are gone.

Maria heard about the ‘recession’. She doesn’t know much about economics, but soon she noticed that people were not spending as much. Many of her friends were not working and a lot of them were not able to lend her any money.

Maria’s kids were used to having nice things. That was especially the case on weekends when most people played the national sport, go out and spend! Then eat out and spend some more and if there is any time left after going to the movies or dancing, then they could spend time texting each of them on their own cells while they watched TV or played on their own computer.

I forgot to mention that Maria has three children. Her husband left and they have not officially broken up because they would have to divide assets and also debts.

Maria has not decided to cut back on expenses, nor is she getting more work, because there isn’t any. Her friends not only have stopped lending her money but also are about to use legal means to recover their money. Of course she feels betrayed! After so many meals, dancing and good times spent together how do they dare claim their money back!

While thinking about her situation she remembers that other people in the neighborhood seem not to have any money worries. They are always happy, several families living in the same house, lots of children running in and out, playing and listening to music. It must be their fault that she is not enjoying life. How could they have enough if they work only low paying jobs and many of them don’t even have a job. If they left, she certainly would have more for herself and her family, and she would not have so many money problems.

It never occurs to her that everything has to change, including her spending habits because times are different.

Eastern traditions teach that there is a micro-macro relationship to everything that happens on earth. Maria’s story and the financial crisis in the United States leads me to think that if in my household we would manage finances the way the country is doing, we would realize that we are broke, have borrowed beyond our means, and have endless expenditures, in the case of the nation the war budget. Nevertheless like in Maria’s case we can always blame others, such as immigrants for all our problems.

We never stop to think that without the immigrants not only would we continue to have enormous war related expenditures, but also the prices of food, now harvested by those immigrants, would cost a lot more at our table.

In our Maria mentality, we think that when and if they leave, there is going to be more abundance to share for people here. And of course our debtors will forget our debts, lend us more money without asking any collateral and we will live happily ever after.






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