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How to Handle Hard Times

Posted April 05, 2009 4:30 PM by DrDoug

What can you do to improve your life during hard times? If you've lost your job or are worried about losing your job, these are some difficult days. So what can you do when so much seems so out-of-control? What can you learn from your current situation?

Here are four things that each and every one of us can do to improve our lives in the coming months as we battle through this economic downturn.

1) Leave your ego at the door.
No job or salary is beneath you, so get over it - and yourself, for that matter. It may be difficult to start from the beginning, but that is what rebuilding and sacrifice mean. If you lost your job, then leave your ego at the door, too.

2) Redefine yourself.
Stop looking for the same old job you used to have and start to look for jobs in an entirely new line of work. My brother-in-law was a CPA for 10 yrs. Then he got laid off. Now he is following his passion by attending culinary school. That is what living the American Dream is all about - Freedom of Choice.

3) Stop holding onto what you used to make.
All that matters now is the current market value for your services. Maybe you made the mistake of anchoring yourself to the old value of your house and investments. If that's the case, then please don't repeat this same mental mistake by making it with your future employment.

4) Practice Reducing Expenses
This week make a commitment to living on 50% of what you normally spend. Reducing unnecessary expenses will prepare you mentally for having to make sacrifices. Then, when or if you really need to tighten your budget, it won't be as traumatic.

Recently, I got rid of a second phone line and downgraded my cable service to save $50 a month ($600 per year). That $50 may not move the needle, but it did make me feel more in control of my expenses.

How do you handle hard times?

Dr. Doug

Editor's Note: You can visit Dr. Doug online at www.DrDoug.com or contact him by email: DrDoug@DrDoug.com. His next CR4 blog entry will run in two weeks, on Monday 04/20.

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#1

Re: How to Handle Hard Times

04/05/2009 5:15 PM

I tell my daughter, who is 23, to remember that what is practical for her, is not necessarily practical for anyone else.

Then I say, don't be afraid to do what is easiest for you.

Then, as well I have said; "The sooner you know life is hard, the easier it will be."

Though in general your advice, Dr. Doug is fine, but neither you or I have all the answers for everyone, at any stage, or unique situation.

Currently my strategy is to remember what things I did in my history of three different careers, and do those things that paid me the most for the least amount of physical effort.

I suppose if someone was to ask me, what the most universal advice, across all ages, is: it is: Build on your strengths.

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#2
In reply to #1

Re: How to Handle Hard Times

04/06/2009 7:54 PM

well said Transcendian.

My advice to others would also be to understand that money, possensions and the status associated with your employment are three of the least important things in life. Sure, we all need money to survive, but the persuit of wealth in excess of need (which has been the major contributing factor in the global financial crisis) just takes more time away from the the more important things - family, friends, love and faith.

A balanced view of money and employment can help you cope with any financial difficulties you encounter - just put it into perspective...

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#3

Re: How to Handle Hard Times

04/06/2009 8:27 PM

I just picked up a book called "thanks!" by one Robert A. Emmons Ph.D.

Subtitle "How the new science of gratitude can make you happier."

I picked it up for 1$ at a library sale... and I am already a big believer in 'gratitude'. It is reported to have extremely beneficial and transformative effects upon one's circumstance and experience of life.

The opening quotation is this:

"I cannot tell you anything that, in a few minutes, will tell you how to be rich. But I can tell you how to feel rich, which is far better, let me tell you firsthand, than being rich. Be grateful... It's the only totally reliable get-rich-quick scheme."

-- Ben Stein, Actor, Comedian, Economist.

and I must concur.

and for myself, I had an eye opening experience a couple of years ago that significantly changed my life.. I was going through the worst of times.. and came to a moment of insight and gratitude, and came away with a synthesized understanding of that brilliant moment.. "Faith Is Gratitude".. for when you have asked for something in prayer and hope... and nothing happens... if you can visualize the reciept of that asked-for benefit, to the point of actually being able to feel gratitude, then it shall more certainly come to pass... and it did. I ended up doubliing my income inside a year, and finding a great love, and many other miscellaneous positive experiences...

and I have practiced this gratitude/faith since... and good things have happened to me.. and my whole attitude on life is different.

It is not that we aren't facing hard times... due to the evil forces in the world.. but that we have virtually untapped powers within us that can make amazing things happen.

I often forget about these powers.... for as Don Henley says in "New York Minute".. a person can be "too much in this world"... but when I do remember.. things get better quickly.

so that really is my coping mechanism.

Chris

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#4

Re: How to Handle Hard Times

04/06/2009 8:36 PM

Thats great Chris, thanks for sharing your experience with us.

It reminds me of one of my favourite scriptures - Hebrews 11:1

'Faith is the assured expectation of the things hoped for, the evident demonstration of realities, though not beheld."

Verse 6 is interesting too, if you are inclined to look it up.

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#5
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Re: How to Handle Hard Times

04/06/2009 9:42 PM

Hebrews 11 and 12 are my current favorite chapters, so that gets a GA from me.

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#6

Re: How to Handle Hard Times

04/06/2009 10:47 PM

Dear Dr. Doug, I have some problems with some of your advice, and will seek briefly to explain what they are. Let me add that the advice you have given is very similar to advice I got from my Mother, that produced for long my tag line: No Shame In Honest Work, till I changed it to: You don't get wise because you get old, you get old because you were wise.

Please understand that I am not realistically at the beginning of my life, or even in the middle considering common life expectancy, so am not operating on fictional time estimates. Again a consideration for me realistically is that though no job may necessarily be beneath me, I can no longer have value in positions for which brute strength, and control of my temper, or ego, allow for me to do any old thing.

In the past I always rolled with the punches, and would change careers. However, the truth is that no human being is really a robot, or a machine. There are jobs and work that we are good for, and jobs and work that we are not good for.

Part of my Ego has been to be confident enough to say, "I recommend Joe for your job."

Frankly I can't think of why any decent employer would want to hire me if I did not have a good sense of myself, and a good ego.

My brother in law is an investment banker. He is also a good cook. My sister is a good cook. My wife is a good cook.

I can cook. In fact at one point in my life I was a terrific Pizza cook. I mean I could really make a great pizza. Passion really had nothing at all to do with it.

When f88ted over, become a cook? To equate this with freedom of choice is not fully impressive to me.

3- What make you confident that my next employer will pay me fairly for my efforts? A mental mistake has no impact on me. What if there is no market at all for my services, as if I was a soldier, and all wars were ended? Possibly I ought to show up at all interviews with a gun on my hip to illustrate I wasn't kidding around, and didn't have any "mental" problems. [this tract of thought is influenced by pictures of Patton, who wore a cell phone in one holster, and a pearlhandled Colt six shooter in the other, and commanded a tank army.] 4- When working at getting a job, for me to be come incommunicado, has not worked in the past. In fact, as an example, when I was in very much in need of work, there was a Solar Flare that knocked out my beeper, that changed the course of my life. I had been working on a PBS show as a Key, and needed to line up another job, but had moved out of the home I shared with a "Temporary wife." In the freelance life, one job leads to another and communications are important. Cutting off communications links may well be one of the worst things to do.

As a balance to this I have to say I was in a position to hire someone, and called the last number I had for them.

It was cut off.

In the past when there was a significant depression in the US there was a lot of reliance on guns.

Urbanization and some acorn dearth does inhibit my married, "Hey, here's a squirrel, I didn't have money for beef."

"Well honey, I guess you'll have to join the Union and get us a 40 hour week."

I know I did handle hard times without a missed beat, and hardly noticed a couple.

There were times when I wasted time doing whatever I got paid to do.

Once the pay gets so low, nothing is worth doing...what good is your advice.

Hence I have worked lately to fully understand how an International Minimum Wage could be both traded, understood, and instituted.

Hope you will gain enough TV stature to ask Dick Gephardt to explain it to you on TV. '

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#26
In reply to #6

Re: How to Handle Hard Times

04/09/2009 10:42 AM

Dude, you started out pretty strong, then descended into incoherence. Were you drinking when you wrote this?

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#27
In reply to #26

Re: How to Handle Hard Times

04/09/2009 3:05 PM

Actually I thought I'd gotten too serious, and attempted to lighten up, then returned to a story about what to let go of, and what not to let go of.

Possibly my humor escaped me and you as well.

Have to admit I had some trouble wrapping the post up neatly.

What I am struggling with in this particular thread is how to put Dr. Doug's advice into perspective, and context.

Eventually I have been caused to look back at the literature that tells the stories of what people did during "Hard Times". I have also been caused to remember what my Grandfather did during The Depression.

During that period he was an Engineer, and worked on Factory Floors, as an Efficiency Expert. (For those here, I hope this is a cheery report.) The news of the actions of IBM, are the place to test Dr. Dougs advice of this blog thread.

If persons being fired by IBM, and then offered jobs in India take Dr. Dougs advice completely and whole hog, then they ought to move to India.

However the way this touchstone event plays out would seem to be that whomever takes that deal, will effectively be in exile, and ought to once taking that deal, and on their own dime, moving to India, become a citizen of India.

When I look back on my own history, I have sometimes regretted that I did not stay in Canada, and become Canadian when I was up there scoping things out before my lottery number came up.

The legal immigrant has enough problems new to any country. Having experienced being an illegal resident, I am aware further of realities.

I am aware that at my age, with my skill sets, should I get work in India, I would never be able to afford to come back if all my pay was in their money.

Herman Melville wrote a book about a guy that was captured off a ship during the war of 1812, and never made it home from England.

I liked it better than Moby Dick.

I found it heart wrenching, for it is a big deal to give up, or lose your country.

The advice is probably correct for the helpless, inexperienced, or isolated and compromised individual.

To what degree is it proper to recommend "Surrender".

At what point does one advise, "Revolt"? Barter Brokering and Closed Community Currency are on the rise.

Other than direct confrontation with a stronger or more entrenched force, the flanking strategy is recommended.

It is a time of Hardball, and if past is prologue, then pick from the past the stories you want to relive.

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#7

Re: How to Handle Hard Times

04/06/2009 11:31 PM

Of these four points, I would summarize them as this:

You have to make more money than you spend. There are two ways to adjust this, by either increasing income or decreasing spending. If you are currently making $0, obviously just about anything is an improvement over that.

While this is probably good advice, it can be quite a bit of tough love I think. It would also pay to mention that now is where that "rainy day" fund can really come in and help you out. Even if you can't get a job that pays as much as it used to, maybe you can get a job that combined with periodic withdrawls from the rainy day fund can at least keep you and your family in your house while you try and ride out this storm with something "less than ideal".

I always try and implement #4 as it always pays to live below your means. I haven't paid for my cell phone in years (company pays for it) and it would be one of the first things out the door if I had to cut expenses and I was out of a job. Cable TV would be another early victim, in addition to the other perks in life.

A little off-topic but right now (at least in Austin), the people getting absolutely shelled by this downturn is anyone associated with the construction industry. Civil engineers, architects, landscape architects, and other similar professions seem to be losing jobs much more quickly than others (several relatives and friends are looking at reduced wages or no job at all). Are others seeing this same area take the biggest hit or is it just me?

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#8

Re: How to Handle Hard Times

04/07/2009 2:47 PM

I think you offer good advice for those experiencing financial hardship. However I think that a whole segment of our society who aren't getting any advice right now. I'm talking about people with good credit and some money and a secure job, which by the way isn't an insignificant segment of our society right now.

Here's what I'd tell them:

2009 and probably 2010 represent perhaps some of the greatest opportunities for purchasing a home that we may see in our lifetimes. Prices have come down, interest rates have come down, heck, the federal government is offering up to $8000 dollars back if you are a first time home owner.

All through the late 1990s and most of the 2000's, everyone understood the benefits of home ownership. Now all I read is how after adjusting for inflation, you actually break even, or lose money if you buy a house. Nonsense. That is fear mongering nonsense. Inexplicably, those equations that indicate that housing is a poor investment always leave out the rent you'd have to pay if you don't own a house, federal tax benefits, the comfort of owning your own home, and the fact that these calculations are being done during one of the worst housing crisis in decades.

So if you are in reasonable financial shape, and you don't live in places that got out of control like Florida, California, NYC, or Las Vegas, it's time to step up and start shopping for a new house. You can get a 30 year fixed loan for 5.1%. You'll never get money so cheap again. It's that cheap because the government is desperate to spur home purchasing. They are making the deal so sweet you'd be crazy to say no. Unfortunately, in these times of panic, sanity rarely wins out.

Think about what a 5.1% 30 year fixed rate mortgage means. That means if you put 20% down on say a 150,000 dollar house (which lets face it was a 200,000 dollar house 2 years ago), you'd have $120,000 you'd have to borrow. A 30 year mortgage at 5.1% for 120,000 will cost you $651.54 a month. If you buy it this year and you are a first time buyer, as many of us are, you'll get $8000 dollars from the government at tax time the following year, just because the government is desperate.

Go ahead, let that sink in. Basically, if you have been fiscally responsible up until now and have good credit, you can buy a house at depressed levels, borrow the money for cheaper than ever, and get paid by the federal government for doing it. Yet nobody is warning you of letting your fear keep you from this amazing opportunity! You know when they'll tell you about today's opportunities? Tomorrow, when it's too late.

Where are the articles for responsible people who are bombarded with fear from all the news stations? Why aren't they being told to act now, to not be paralyzed by doubt. Why aren't they told to trust the math and act so they don't wake up tomorrow regretting the opportunities they missed when everyone was scared?

But I don't have the forum to tell them. And it's not what I do anyway.

Isn't there an article about the psychology of fear and missed opportunities worth writing Dr. Doug?

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#9
In reply to #8

Re: How to Handle Hard Times

04/07/2009 4:14 PM

Gee Roger, what got into you?

As you noted these figures work for the employed.

My take on housing as an investment with which to leverage all of life's needs and opportunities, is jaundiced.

Some of us were anticipating drops in the prices for homes.

Though it is true now there has been some correction, the situation for many of us does not allow for taking advantage of it.

The economic damage is extreme.

The last 25 years have seen increases in rent, along with property valuations out of line with stagnated incomes.

It is significant to me that prior to the bursting of the Dot Com bubble, many in that line of work saw the writing on the wall, and bought property in Manhattan, and about anywhere else, raised rents, and retired.

I maintain that not only are homes too high, but so are rents.

I feel that a contributing factor to the economic crisis has been that it became rational to take whatever you could get, in light of the fact rents were about the same as liars loans.

It became rational for some to pretend to own a place bigger, better, newer, for the same as they were paying in rent, even if they recognized that it was unsustainable.

Just as WWI led to WWII, I see the Dot Com bubble and burst, as leading to this state of affairs.

Ship all the jobs that you can write instructions for to nations with a different value to their currency, add in corruption and war, and you end up with what we have now.

Cynical options for those you spoke to, who have money, and for one reason or another are secure in their incomes, are to replicate events of the semi recent past.

There are deals out their. Buy. Rent is back, better than ever!

Relations between Ireland and England illustrate what may happen.

(The Great Hunger is suggested reading on that point of history.) Currently my suggestions have been to advance work on at least determining the International Minimum Wage, and giving citizens Whole Life Insurance policies from Birth, or Naturalization.

The recent events concerning operations of IBM, wherein they have fired people and then said they would give them a job in India, at rates that would trap those that took the jobs forever, in another country, are interesting.

My recent reading on these subjects has led me to Henry George, and still I think well of Dick Gephardt for speaking in favor of an International Minimum wage.

I myself live in a unique economy that cares very little about Working Classes.

It was rational for me to not attempt to buy, when I knew the sector of the economy I had withdrawn to for daily bread after aviation, and motion picture, was also vulnerable.

Since I have lost my job, this is proved to have been a rational fear.

Rent went up too.

P.S. Where I live in NC is reported to be what was the shore during the last extreme heat wave. After living up and down the East Coast, I do recognize this area as superior real estate.

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#10
In reply to #9

Re: How to Handle Hard Times

04/07/2009 4:39 PM

I guess what I'm trying to point out is that housing prices have already dropped 30% in most locals over the past two years, and more importantly, the cost of money has fallen tremendously. 5% for a 30 year loan is very very cheap. Say you paid $650 a month rent for 30 years for an entire house (which would be a good deal, right?), you'd have paid $234,000 dollars with nothing to show for it? How is that smart.

I agree that when houses were over valued and interest rates were higher that it didn't make sense to buy, but now that isn't the case.

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#18
In reply to #9

Re: How to Handle Hard Times

04/08/2009 1:37 PM

Well said

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#11
In reply to #8

Re: How to Handle Hard Times

04/07/2009 7:48 PM

GA Roger. Excellent analysis.

Quick question, what do you think about shorting treasuries right now? Its not like they have much room to move inone direction???

milo

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#16
In reply to #11

Re: How to Handle Hard Times

04/07/2009 10:54 PM

Tough to say. If the government starts to have trouble selling treasuries, they've already signaled they are willing to simply buy them themselves.....by minting more money. I'm not saying that shorting treasuries won't make money, as you've noted, there isn't much risk. It's just that your return may be outpaced by inflation.

I like buying a house here, but only if you have good credit and can exploit the low rates.

Gold is also not a bad idea, though risky. There have been many analysts who suggest that gold is obsolete as a hedge. That's because they aren't scientists and don't understand the chemistry of gold, which of course is why it became the default currency for most of the history of civilization in the first place. Since the world will never be able politically to create a super-national fiat currency, and since the European Union is too dysfunctional for the Euro to become the default currency, I have to believe there will be a migration towards gold as a hedge against the devaluing dollar by foreign nations. But I could be very wrong, it's a gamble. It's just kind of hard to believe that foreign nations are going to calmly sit back and allow us to erase decades of trade imbalances by simply minting more money. Rather than watch their stockpiles of dollars devalue, it seems like they would diversify a bit, and what better to buy than gold?

Me personally, I'm buying a few far out leaps of a gold miner as insurance and am saving up to buy a house.

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#17
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Re: How to Handle Hard Times

04/08/2009 10:15 AM

Thanks. Already have a house.

Already have lots of mutual funds at low values in my ira, 401K, and pension.

I like your thinking. and your snowman.

milo

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#23
In reply to #8

Re: How to Handle Hard Times

04/08/2009 6:09 PM

all good points, Roger.

yes, I have written artricles about this. And regularly do keynotes and workshops on the topic (I will be doing one next week for the Young Presidents Organization in New York next week)

yes, I have mentioned it numerous times on CNBC when talking about fear and irrational decision making. I even did my recent Video Blog on CNBC about this exact concept...and it had thousands of hits so it seemed to strike a chord with viewers.

Over the years, I have learned that my top performing trading clients (no they are not the madoff's of the world) make their decisions precisely the way you just oulined. They make investment decisions based on the facts and on the data and not based on their emotions. When the facts change, then so do their opinions (i think john maynard keynes said that).

I believe and have build my career supporting that this same process translates well to any decision a person makes in life (buying a house, selling a house, career decisions, relationship decisions).

And this is precisely what my book is about...meaning how to THINK smart and not let your fears get in the way of your decisions. By the way, the new title is "8 Ways to Great"....the publisher pulled the plug on "8 Principles of Excellence"

As you all realize, the reality is the media is very reactive. People are very reactive as well and tend to get caught up in their own world and the problems right in front of them.

You have identified my purpose for doing this blog. For doing what I do in life. My mission is to educate people. Wake them up. Show them how they can think smarter, better - all on their own.

The path is slow - but I am making progress. I am just not big enough yet (soon...) to make a large scale (Oprah-type) impact - but it will happen...just takes time to build the following. To build the brand.

This blog is part of the genesis of Dr Doug. We will smile about it as the years go onward and until I am able to build a platform large enough to spread the message about empowerment, self-awareness and making your own smart choices, well, we will watch in frustration while knowing the light will eventually shine.

You know what I would like to do....maybe we could organize a retreat. does not have to be fancy or expensive...but just a central location to meet, talk, share meals as a group. If someone at CR4 is so inclined to organize it, I would be honored to join.

Thanks for the response, Roger...and thank you all who have taken the time to post to this blog entry - I am reading all your posts.

Doug

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#24
In reply to #23

Re: How to Handle Hard Times

04/08/2009 11:11 PM

I appreciate your response.

I guess my frustration is mostly that I have a hard time watching t.v. anymore and I used to really love watching t.v.

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#25
In reply to #24

Re: How to Handle Hard Times

04/09/2009 5:56 AM

You've missed your turn at slapping a bull on the ass eh?

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#35
In reply to #8

Re: How to Handle Hard Times

06/17/2009 11:06 AM

Totally agree. Right time to buy shares in the blue chips too

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#12

Re: How to Handle Hard Times

04/07/2009 8:49 PM

DrD:

1) and 3) Letting go 'ego' or attachments and preconceptions about your self is a good experience, because when you let go, (a) you are free, you experience true freedom from the expectations we burden ourselves with, and (b) you realize that when 'everything is lost' there is still something left. The something left is your life, your self, your freedom. (c) there is a feeling of relief when you let go these things, take a deep breath and let go feelings of hurt and loss, because you can fall no further. You have reached the bottom. Therefore, there is nothing but solid ground beneath you, to stand on. So are the humbled mighty.

2) and 4) Learn something you wanted to, or need to learn: develop a new skill. Using your skills (old or new) to reduce expenses is better than 'trimming budgets' IMO. It can enrich your quality of life much more.

In depression economics, the bottom line is real needs. If you can supply your own real needs in some way with the time on your hands: plant vegetables and tend a garden, go hunting with a buddy and put deer in your freezer; fix something that is broken; make something new from old parts... make something useful from the raw materials that are available and free.... these are the real securities. They will reduce your expense and also increase your feeling of self-confidence, and provide the reward of being productive and active, which is worth more than money.

Personally, I get the most satisfaction from physical work or production of some kind. Making something tangible is satisfying to me and calms my anxieties. Other people get the same reward by fixing things, or by salvage work. It's all good...

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#13

Re: How to Handle Hard Times

04/07/2009 9:06 PM

Perspective...can you equate the philosophy of the principle character in the article to you're own?

http://www.detnews.com/article/20090402/METRO08/904020395/To+urban+hunter++next+meal+is+scampering+by

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#14
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Re: How to Handle Hard Times

04/07/2009 9:42 PM

Should I?

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#15
In reply to #14

Re: How to Handle Hard Times

04/07/2009 10:00 PM

Less stick and more carrot...

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#19
In reply to #15

Re: How to Handle Hard Times

04/08/2009 2:31 PM

Fractures in the social contract between labor and capital, or corporations and their loyal employees have been going on for a good while. Your post of the profile about the Urban Hunter reminded me of Roger Moore's scene in Roger and Me, where the woman shows off her rabbit hutch.

Has Detroit really lost half its population?

Wow!

US History was for a long time, that when things went to hell in one industry, in one region, the solution was to move to another part of the nation, to another state, where things were not so bad.

The end of the country was in California.

-will pick up later.

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#20
In reply to #19

Re: How to Handle Hard Times

04/08/2009 3:05 PM

The Telegraph News, 07 Apr 2009

"The world is a step closer to a global currency, backed by a global central bank, running monetary policy for all humanity."

Change is all about these days, the G20 having authorized a global currency:

"A single clause in Point 19 of the communique issued by the G20 leaders' amounts to revolution in the global financial order.

'We have agreed to support a general SDR allocation which will inject $250bn (£170bn) into the world economy and increase global liquidity', it said. SDRs are Special Drawing Rights, a synthetic paper currency issued by the International Monetary Fund that has lain dormant for half a century.'

"In effect, the G20 leaders have activated the IMF's power to create money and begin global 'quantitative easing'. In doing so, they are putting a de facto world currency into play. It is outside the control of any sovereign body."

Big swings are allowing a tide of good news coming from our teflon president and his obedient mass media.

Begin to anticipate rather than react.

Forget about eating good in the neighborhood instead go to the bulk store and put up at least six months supply of dry-goods. Acquire the means to stay warm and turn down the thermostat as the coming winters defy the polictal warming issue and energy costs increase dramatically. Every time the FED injects money into the economy inflation increases 90% (actual); in effect a devaluation of the currency, our energy costs will more than triple due the last three injections.

Are you ready? Are you even aware what is happening?

NEWS BRIEF:

By Retired U.S. Navy Physicist and Engineer James A. Marusek , Ice Age Now News, 2 April 2009

"The sun has gone very quiet as it transitions to Solar Cycle 24. 'Since the current transition now exceeds 568 spotless days, it is becoming clear that sun has undergone a state change. It is now evident that the Grand Maxima state that has persisted during most of the 20th century has come to an abrupt end."

"(The sun) might: (1) revert to the old solar cycles or (2) the sun might go even quieter into a 'Dalton Minimum' or a Grand Minima such as the 'Maunder Minimum'. It is still a little early to predict which way it will swing. Each of these two possibilities holds a great threat to our nation. 'We are now at a crossroad. Two paths lie before us. Both are marked with a signpost that reads 'Danger'! Down one path lies monstrous solar storms. Down the other path lies several decades of crushing cold temperatures and global famine'."

"Climate change is primarily driven by nature. It has been true in the days of my father and his father and all those that came before us. Because of science, not junk science, we have slowly uncovered some of the fundamental mysteries of nature."

Scientists all over the world have warned people not to believe the Global Warming propaganda because real hard science does not support this claim; indeed, the reality is that real science possesses real hard evidence that Global Cooling lies in our future.

Interesting...

In the midst of the controversy I intend to have even if I don't need

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#21
In reply to #20

Re: How to Handle Hard Times

04/08/2009 3:26 PM

Someone gave this post an 'Off Topic'.. but I've countered that.. I think that if you wish to Handle the Hard Times.. you have to be somewhat aware and realistic about it.. and the message of anticipation is what it is all about.. the old boy scout motto of "Be Prepared" does not hinge on "Be In Denial and Hide Your Head in the Sand".... so this message has great relevance.

everything bwire has posted is true.. and mild compared to some of the things I've read...

global currency isn't just a common sense idea.. its the crowning acheivement so far in the domination of the evil empire. (NWO)

Chris.

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#22
In reply to #19

Re: How to Handle Hard Times

04/08/2009 3:57 PM

-picking up where I left off: What lessons do we get from the Literature of the 1930s? How Hard Times where handled, is likely how they will be handled.

Can one move, still sitting right where you are?

Roger has mentioned the great opportunity to buy now.

Last blip of a Recession seems the Japanese came in and bought.

Lately I have been focused on economics and economic theory.

My current suggestions have been that an International Minimum Wage was really called for.

Another was that Whole Life Insurance Policies offered valuation of a "life", so as to offer parity for labor, with capital.

Another thing I have suggested, has been Statehood for Russia.

And one thing I have not mentioned much recently, was my belief that labor ought to have the same sort of legal mobility as international corporations do.

I'm in the weird set of worker who actually has economic reasons to be pissed at the Canadians.

This happened once as an individual writer, and then again as part of a labor force.

When I was at the height of my career potential, much of the work in North Carolina went to Canada, where I had a hard time once already over a work visa, and was told "we" were not welcome for work in Canada.

The report that IBM is firing people and then turning around and saying, if you move yourself to India, and take in India the wage we pay there, in their money, you can have a job is a touchstone event.

To what country, what company should anyone forced into that sort of choice have loyalty?

"Hey, how about I say here in Binghamton, and you just give me Indian Citizenship, and pay me in Euros?"

"Hey let's merge the US and Russian Car Industry!"

Socialism and Labor Unions rose in the last depression. That's what happened in the last hard times.

For a feeling of what the US National mood was prior to WWII, and what the war rescued the power elites from, I suggest you read The Naked and The Dead, by Norman Mailer paying close attention to what the General tells Lieutenant Hearn.

So then who individually handled hard times of the past, best?

What did happen was individuals banded together, and there was war.

In this time of some already War, and Wars, I strongly recommend Statehood for Russia!

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#28

Re: How to Handle Hard Times

04/10/2009 1:34 PM

I realize what I am about to say may rub some people the right way and others the wrong way. Please understand I am only expressing my thoughts on a delicate and emotionally charged topic and with the intention of getting us to think about things differently – and certainly not to overtly offend anyone in the process.

When people get emotional in their discussions, the focus and purpose oftentimes gets lost.

I know many of you are veterans, and proud Americans. But the world has changed – at least the economic world. Growth and opportunity is now NOT exclusive to America. There is a sense of entitlement that has been reinforced over the years. Whether it was the belief that Americans are entitled to more money, better jobs, better homes, better food and better lives than others is what I am suggesting we take a careful look at rather than simply assume that it has to and should continue to be that way because that is the way it has been for the past few decades.

Again, my response here is not intended to offend anyone. I only want people to reflect and consider the possibility that what was, no longer is…or at least not in the same way it was.

Change is good. It allows people to reconnect with their purpose and with their life. Change is painful – especially at the beginning of it, which is where we are right now – at the beginning. Instead of getting mad or emotional, find inspiration. You can, I can, we all can and should.

While I am far from the expert on what being American is – I do believe that somewhere over the years, it was assumed that being American entitled a person to success. I think the real message got lost in translation – as being American, as I understand it, was and is about Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of happiness. Can you be American and live/earn your living in a different country? Of course. Just as you can be from another country and live/earn your living in America.

The painful reality in this economic time may simply be that the "best" opportunities are not exclusive to existing in America. And as painful as that is to accept, it is a reality that America helped to create.

As far as the direct question about IBM and if someone should, at their own expense, relocate to India for a job with little or no guarantees. Well, I am not the expert on what is happening with IBM or its business development but I will say that one should always be open to assessing the risk/reward in any situation, and if need be, move to where the work is. Either way, just be prepared to accept the consequences of your decisions.

Now, maybe a US based, American employee of IBM is thinking, "Forget that, I am not moving out of the US for work and leaving my friends or leaving/relocating my family. Especially if I have to pay for it out of my own pocket." I am not here to say whether that thought process is right or wrong. Everyone is entitled to their beliefs and it is that person's choice to move or not move.

And, again, one should be prepared to accept and deal with the consequences associated with either of those decisions.

Which one would be the best decision for that person? I have no idea. But I do know how to help that person go about the PROCESS of figuring it out as it all depends on that person's specific goals as well as an objectified risk/reward analysis of the upside and downside that will come with either decision.

At the core of what I am trying to communicate to anyone who will listen is that we have grown to develop into a comfort zone surrounded by a sense of entitlement. Being American does not entitle one to a special existence above all other humanity. Should someone who is unable to find work in their country consider moving at their own expense to another country if their goal is to obtain work and build a better life for themselves and their loved ones – well, yes, they should consider it.

For a few hundred years now, people from countries around the world have done that and moved to America (at their own expense and with no guarantees); the difference is now Americans are forced with having to digest that potential reality and consider doing it. Why is that so distasteful? Are Americans better than people from other countries? No, I do not think so as I believe ALL people are created equal – but it is their choices in life that define them.

In the end, we get to make our own choices and we all should understand that with those decisions come consequences. Sometimes we must accept that we are going to be forced to choose between two very unpleasant things – and then the solution lies in identifying which choice is "less worse" for our lives and futures.

I hope you all accept this post for what it is… just my opinion.

Again, I have no intention to offend – but simply to stimulate thought amongst those who are reading this.

Thanks

Dr Doug

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#29
In reply to #28

Re: How to Handle Hard Times

04/10/2009 1:50 PM

Very well said, especially in engineering I think the moving somewhere other than the US is becoming increasingly common as more and more industry leaves these shores for cheaper pastures. I think it is also interesting that you note that the best opportunities not being in America is "a reality that America helped to create". I couldn't agree with you more, the "how can we be more competitive?/how can we squeeze more blood out of this rock?" question is the heart of the American business model.

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#30
In reply to #28

Re: How to Handle Hard Times

04/10/2009 1:59 PM

Dr. Doug.. I believe what you are calling for is honest self appraisal... which reminds me of this thing I wrote some years ago....

To: Me
From: Me

Be honest with yourself about your warm, glowing sensuousness
and you will have Love.

Be honest with yourself about your roasting, flaming anger
and you will change from ruled into ruler.

Be honest with yourself about your putrid, revolting disgusts
and you will have purity.

Be honest with yourself about your peaking, encompassing divinity
and you will have humility.

Be honest with yourself about your heartbreaking eternal sorrow
and you will have compassion.

Be honest with yourself about the value of your words
and you will have audience.

Be honest with yourself about your cringeing, hiding fear
and you will have courage.

Be honest with yourself about your hungering, desperate desire
and you will have balance.

Be honest with yourself about your piercing, blinding intelligence
and you will have purpose.

Be honest with yourself about your vaulting, cartwheeling joy
and you will have power.

Be honest with yourself about your throbbing, pulsating lust
and you will have beauty.

Be honest with yourself about your craving, needing addiction
and you will have understanding.

Be honest with yourself about your frail, timid mortality
and you will live.

Most of all

Be!

Chris

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#31
In reply to #28

Re: How to Handle Hard Times

04/10/2009 2:58 PM

I have long said, "Live where you have a job."

Historically for the worker, the reason to move was to make more money, and therefore have a better quality of life, than to move to make less money.

I am very interested in how thing work out for IBM.

I've looked at moving to other countries.

Actually I attempted to do it twice, well maybe three times since I asked the Netherlands if they wanted me.

As a backup, I have worked to make up my own country.

At some point I feel it is becoming for workers to feel duty bound to offend.

During the period of the last Big Hard Times, normally called, "The Great Depression", US Workers ended up fighting for their rights.

"My Past, Is Your Future." -defines the US to much of the world.

Twisted now is the prospect, of "My future is your Past."

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#32
In reply to #28

Re: How to Handle Hard Times

04/10/2009 4:38 PM

An excellent post.

There is a strong argument to be made that Europe is taking the lead in Scientific Research. We still have a great University system in the United States, but Europe's commitment to fundamental science, exemplified by the Large Hadron Collider and ITER projects stands in stark contrast to the actions of the United State's reducing the funding of science year after year both in the public and private sectors (The Superconducting Super Collider cancelled in 1993).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superconducting_Super_Collider
We live in a country where our commitment to science, among other factors, in the early 20th century, created a super-power. Now, even as we enjoy the fruits of that progress, the usefullness of Science is constantly questioned and Scientific organizations are derided, both in government and private industry (R and D budgets).

I like to point out the fact that during that famous speech by Eisenhower warning of the "Military- Industrial Complex", he also warned of a "Scientific - Industrial Complex" where large national laboratories held extraordinary political power, the same way the military industrial complex does now. Just as he saw a well funding standing army as inevitable in the modern world, so did he see government funded science. The irony is that today the military's budget is 100 times larger than the science budget. What was taken by Eisenhower to be a given for a successful modern nation, so much so that he felt the need to warn about it on equal footing as the military industrial complex, has all but disappeared. Truly a dramatic example of how far Science has fallen out of favor in this country.

Eisenhower's Speech

Here is an excerpt:

On the military industrial complex:

"...In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the militaryindustrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist....."

On the Scientific industrial complex in the same speech:

"...Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades.

In this revolution, research has become central; it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.

Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.

The prospect of domination of the nation's scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present

  • and is gravely to be regarded.

Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientifictechnological elite."

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#33
In reply to #28

Re: How to Handle Hard Times

04/10/2009 6:43 PM

Hi DrDoug. Well written and thoughtful. A bit on the noncomittal side regarding the ethics of the IBM "Offer" but thats Ok.

How ever as an aspiiring talking head, you too easily provide "entitled" as the synonym for what many people may think of as "deserved" or "earned."

By choosing the semantically loaded term "entitled" instead of a more neutral and perhaps more appropriate to the situation term, "earned," you do incite a bit of emotion despite your opening disclaimer.

"Deserved or earned" might be a realistic attitude in an employee who has been a loyal and steadfast contributor to the company only to find that no appreciation or "implied contract" of respect or deservedness of continued employment was really there, despite the employers actions hinting at same.

It is Agreed that markets change and that is out of many employers control.

But the take it or leave it of You go to India to work, when our own country has its panties in a wad about guest worker visas for professionals let alone immigrants, smacks of hypocrisy to this critical thinkers mind.

I welcome talent. Any age, any ethinicity. Any religion. Work hard. Do your best. We got problems to solve, and your brains and hands are welcome too. It is what built this country, and yes my forebears were displaced by the times and ended up doing the on foot crossing of the alleghenies by oxcart tour in the 18 th century. They handled it . So can we.

I do not agree that when people get emotional their focus and purpose oftentimes gets lost. To the contrary, where there is no passion, there is no focus, there is no purpose. That was Descartes' error, and it is one that has been foisted upon the last several generations.

I was lucky to have a great professor to show me that with out emotional intelligence, there is none...

Enjoyed your post.

milo

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#34
In reply to #28

Re: How to Handle Hard Times

04/10/2009 8:17 PM

Ah...thank you for a straight forward awareness of the actual nature of circumstance.

A culturally induced belief of citizens of the US of A that we may pass on to our descendants a circumstance better than our own is an ideal which taken for granted in the past is not now certain in the minds of many. Some may attribute this circumstance indicative of moral decline in our culture, regardless a paradigm shift has occurred in our corporate thinking. We have exchanged value for fortune, now we are experiencing a check; an event of cultural value realignment because it is quality of life we may endow to future generations.

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