How to move beyond being Hollow Men

5 Jan

With the new year here, thoughts understandably turn to better money management and eradication of debt. With how 2008 went out (not with a bang, but a whimper, leaving many people feeling like hollow men), reflecting on money, debt, commerce, and ultimately, survival, is both prudent and necessary.

The average person knows that “business as usual” is gone. It vanished in a puff of opaque, swappy mist. Where that leaves us all is in the position to figure out how to move on. Some people re-evaluated their needs, discovering that what they thought were needs were truly just wants— wants that needed to go. Budgets were reviewed, costs were cut.

The next, brief question dawned on the horizon of a new economic day, “And then….?” Costs can be cut only so far, pennies can stand only so much pinching. Go too far and blood begins to flow. Squeals ensue. “And then…?” needs to center on how to go on going on— how to make a living, gather what you need to live and, if you think about it, how to gain more joy and fulfillment in your life.

The interweb has bustled lately with how to get on with the business of sustenance. Over at The Picket Line, David Gross highlights the continuing discussion Sunni spear headed about bartering. Further, he previously blogged about Sunni’s response to FSK’s somewhat ridiculous discussion about free versus slave, i.e. state, wages which prompted her latest post about bartering.

While FSK states that currently “the agorist counter-economy is non-existent,” I think that the webby chatter about it makes a strong case that his point isn’t valid. David Gross also links to a post at Of Two Minds that discusses informal work at length. Author Charles Hugh Smith opines about it— the informality is basic: you perform some sort of work that is of value to another person in exchange for something that’s of value to you. The value is for you to decide— cash, another good, perhaps a service. Smith projects informal work will take root and grow during 2009, as opportunities to work for small and large businesses dry up. The post is somewhat difficult to follow, as it includes writing from two correspondents that can be difficult to decipher separately from Smith’s words. Despite this particular flaw, the post is well worth reading and I plan to follow up the links highlighted in the post.

Joel, over at The Ultimate Answer to Kings, discusses the in-coming administration plan. Which plan? you may be wondering. Why, the plan to spend our money. The plan to create tons of neat jobs, give health care to everyone, educate children better, rebuild, energize, yadda, yadda. Best yet, doubleplus good, the plan includes provided tax relief to oh, say, 95% of all good Amerikans. Well, where is the currency going to come from to do the yadda, yadda? Hhhmmm. Will there be any room left for plain, old sustenance in the plan, once the plan is paid for?

Brad Spangler touts An Agorist Primer as the IT book for 2009. It’s a petite post, to be sure, but Brad’s excitement is both engaging and contagious.

And the post by Wendy, over at WendyMcElroy.com, about the state of Oregon dreaming up new ways to tax its citizens , highlights as well as the discussion of fedgov’s in-coming plan why people need to examine agorisim. Conserving gasoline has the unattractive side effect of lowering gas taxes. Green Oregon thinks that taxing people for how many miles they drive just might be the balm to sooth the pain of lack-of-tax.

The state’s lust for tax will never be satiated. It only grows, multiplies and feeds. We regular folk need to both initiate and partake in discussion on how to eat, rather than be eaten. What I am witnessing at present is the small seedlings of these necessary debates sprouting from the fertile ground of the interweb.

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