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[Community] [Economic]
Choose Wisely
by Rudy Avizius
Posted March 24, 2020

we are at a fork in the roadWe are at a fork in the road, the path will no longer go in the same straight ahead direction. We now have to mindfully decide which fork to choose and either choice will take us in a totally new direction. The choice we make will profoundly affect the world we live in. We now have the “quiet time” to reflect and make our choice wisely. One fork or direction is based on fear and competition, the other fork is based in caring and cooperation.

The one thing that is certain about the Covid19 pandemic is that the world as we currently know it will no longer be the same after the pandemic passes. There will be tectonic shifts that will overlap in the post pandemic social, political, economic and spiritual realms.

Dramatic changes in any of the above realms rarely happen during periods of comfort and abundance. However during times of crisis or stress people are much more willing to consider ideas or solutions they may not have during the comfortable times. Many people have already encountered an eerie sense of quiet as external circumstances such traffic, activities, and events have been reduced or stopped completely. These “quiet times” can also be internal and often come after a traumatic event such as the loss of a loved one, job, relationship, or some other traumatic event. It is during these “quiet times” that people tune out the external world and enter into a period of deep introspection, and when they emerge, a shift has taken place and things are usually not the same. Some form of metamorphosis has taken place and we emerge as different people. This “quiet time” is a key part of our growth as individuals. This “quiet time” can also be a time of growth and dramatic change for our institutions, governance, and lifestyles.

This “quiet time” can be viewed with either fear or as an opportunity to reflect on life and the people who travel in this life with us. Will you use this time to cower in fear about the uncertainty we are facing or is this an opportunity to spend some quality time with your children, family, and to reconnect with neighbors? What a wonderful opportunity to play board games with your children, take the time to talk, dream, and plan with your spouse, and engage in things that really matter. The earth has sent us to our rooms to take the time to reflect on what we have and have not done.

We were meant to live our lives in joy and share that joy with others. How is it that we were fed the lie that the most important thing in life is all about working for others so we can collect a paycheck? Is your job really the most important part of your life? (This is not to minimize the importance of being able to support your loved ones, but should it be your top priority in life, and perhaps other things are more important? )We have been so busy working at our jobs that we have allowed our powers to be usurped by others in positions of power. This is a time to reflect on this question and come up with the answer that resonates with you.

Yet, this “quiet time” is being interrupted by a shrill corporate controlled media seeking to instill fear and divisions between us. It is like someone disturbing a quiet and beautiful scenic park with a megaphone. How can we grow at this important fork in the road when the “quiet time” is being usurped by those with an agenda? The powers that be would certainly prefer to keep us divided and in fear as it serves their purposes. These powers want things to change as well, but not to serve our collective growth, but for their own self-serving purposes.

Some of these changes have already been implemented and the resulting consequences are manifesting themselves. In many states businesses and schools have been forced to close, gatherings have been prohibited, unemployment is rapidly rising, Constitutional rights are being discarded, the bailouts of dozens of privately owned hedge funds, and “shelter in place” mandates that are spreading to more and more areas.

Certainly some of the above changes can be justified in order to slow the spread of the virus, but the question on everyone’s mind should be on how many of these “temporary” changes will become the new normal and stay in place long after the crisis has passed. Consider what happened to your freedoms and rights after 9-11 and the 2008 economic crisis: the grossly misnamed Patriot Act, the wars without end, the constant and expanding surveillance of citizens, secret courts, the taxpayer paid for bailouts of criminal banks, and other examples where fear and hate begat more fear and hate. These changes were implemented during times of fear and are now still with us as permanent features of our political, judicial, economic and social landscape. We need to remain vigilant to make sure this is not repeated. The consequences of not remaining vigilant will be far greater than the consequences of the virus itself.

Do we really want to expand the powers of government and corporations for the illusion of temporary safety? Now is the time to reflect and decide if you want to live in a world of fear and competition or a world of caring and compassion. Living in a society of fear and competition would be a dystopian and Orwellian world.

The structures of our system are rotted and corrupt and would have eventually collapsed on their own even without the virus. The virus has acted as a catalyst. These structures certainly will fall now and will not emerge the same as they were before this crisis. This is inevitable. The question is what will they be replaced with? The fork in the road offers us an opportunity to institute real changes, but will these changes be for the better or for the worse?

The changes that need to take place must happen within us first before they can manifest in the external world. So what can we as individuals do to make sure that we take the fork in the road that will change things for the better?

The key element is not to become consumed by fear. The corporate controlled media is THE key source of disseminating this fear. Will you spend your new “quiet time” with your loved ones or watching the news with its never ending fear mongering? Certainly being informed during this time is important, but do you need to be glued to the TV or computer screen most of the day? Ask yourself: “is this news story designed to keep me informed or to instill fear?” Once you apply this filter to your viewing, you will be surprised how most news stories provide just a little useful information and that most of the content is about fear dissemination.

The economic impacts of this virus will be substantial. Already supply chains that rely on foreign manufacturing are being disrupted. Economic activity has already slowed and unemployment is rising rapidly. The dismantling of local manufacturing and shipping local production to global sources is one of the rotting elements of the current system. Globalization has benefited a small few enormously. What we need now is more localization, not globalization. We need to build resilient local communities that are as self sufficient as possible. Instead of going to a big box store, shop at a local merchant. Since small store has fewer people in it, there is the added advantage of less possible exposure to the virus.

A big box store takes its profits and ships them out of the community, impoverishing it, and often they pay less taxes than small merchants or even no taxes at all. The book “Free Lunch”, by David Kay Johnston explains this in wonderful detail. The local merchant is paying taxes into the local system and profits are recycled back into the community. That 35 cents you saved by ordering from Amazon rather than buying locally enriches one person and makes it harder for the local merchant to survive. Get to know your local merchants by name as they are part of your community family.

Restaurants are one of the segments of our local economies that have been hit hard. You can help that local owner by ordering take-out. You can help by purchasing gift cards. This will provide these owners with immediate cash during these difficult times, while you will be able to enjoy the meals later once the crisis has subsided. We can help other local businesses in similar ways. Talking to owners who may have been forced to close permanently and expressing your sympathies will not help them or your community. Helping them NOW in their time of need will. Your support will be both appreciated and remembered, strengthening the connections in your community.

The most radical thing you can do is to grow as much of your own food as possible. This breaks dependence on corporate food chains and strengthens the community. You will find you have surplus produce and this abundance can be shared with extended family and neighbors. This further strengthens local community connections. Reducing dependence on governments and corporations to the greatest degree possible is a key element in bringing about changes that will benefit the people, not a select few.

Support your local farmers by buying at farmer’s markets. This helps build self sufficiency and resilience into your local community. Many local farmers will allow you to purchase shares on their future production, and this helps them now during the lean planting season and allows the supporting community to share in the abundance at harvest time.

The corporate media has sown divisions among us in every possible way they can. They seek to divide us racially, ethnically, economically, politically, and socially. Is that neighbor who votes for the “other party” really your enemy, or is it those who feed off of and profit from our induced mistrust of others? Isn’t that “other party” neighbor in the same boat as you are? They are also worried about their health, families, and jobs. Get to know your neighbors, and you will find you have far more in common than you have differences. Developing connections with your neighbors will strengthen your community. In the end he may have a tool you need to borrow for some important task. Strong communities will develop local “libraries” of resources that can be shared by all. In the end it is not necessary for every house to have its own ladder, soil tiller, or snow blower. Your neighbor has one and you have the other. Now you have access to both. This is what cooperation looks like.

At the very heart of the rotting system is the current monetary system. It was designed to benefit the few at the expense of the many. If we do not change our monetary system, then we are only nibbling at the symptoms of the problem, not attacking the root cause. We can send a powerful message by removing our money from the Wall Street Too Big To Fail banks. These banks have been indicted multiple times for criminal behavior. Most people would not walk up to a known criminal and say “please hold my money for me”. Yet, so many people ignore corporate criminality and do just that. Why would you trust your money with the same people who have defrauded customers and have reaped obscene profits from gambling with YOUR money, while creating this pyramid scheme that has made the entire economic system vulnerable? Remove your money from the Too Big To Fail banks, and place it in a local bank or savings and loan. Keep the money close to home where it circulates locally serving the community. It is much safer as an added benefit, since small local banks are generally not gambling in derivatives and other leveraged bets.

Start local currencies. This can break dependence on outside money to run a local economy and has been used successfully to stimulate local economies across the U.S. Having people ready to work, people ready to make things, people ready to sell things but not being able to because of a “shortage” of money, is like having an airline with passengers willing to fly, planes ready to fly and full of fuel, and the airline cannot fly because of a scarcity of tickets. This would be considered insanity, and yet this is the current paradigm. Local currencies can fill that “shortage”.

What a wonderful opportunity to take advantage of this “quiet time” to read “Web of Debt”, by Ellen Brown. After this fascinating read, you will never look at money the same way again. It is amazing that people will spend a considerable portion of their life working for those little green pieces of paper with fancy printing on them, and yet have no idea of how that money came into circulation. This book will help you understand this important concept. It clearly lays out the problems with the current system, and provides practical solutions where public banks can work together with community banks to bring prosperity to local communities by eliminating interest payments to Wall Street and keeping the money circulating locally. This has worked well in the past, has worked well in other countries, has worked well in North Dakota, and can work well for our future.

Individually and collectively, we have HUGE power that can bring about needed changes at this time. Whenever you give someone your money, you are turning over some of your power to them. This power is cumulative and can result in wealth and power extremes. Once we become mindful of to whom or to what corporation we give our power to, we can take back control of our own destinies. There is no need to confront the forces working against us, we can simply make them obsolete and they will wither away on their own. Every time you are ready to purchase something, consider carefully who you are giving your power to. It matters.

Pay in cash or local currencies as much as possible. The Too Big To Fail banks charge merchants an average of 3% of every transaction. This money leaves your community and enriches the Wall Street banks where the current paradigm is to privatize profits and socialize losses. Buying something with cash is one of the few things left you can still do anonymously. Buying with any form of digital currency, or credit cards by design allows the transaction to be tracked by government and corporations. If we do not use cash, we will lose it and the control that will be given to the powers that be will be complete. Do your own research on the dangers of a cashless society.

All of the above actions can be done relatively easily by being simply aware and mindful. We have power to influence the direction the changes that are coming will take. These changes start with the individual, extend out to the family, the neighborhood, and out into the community. We now have the “quiet time” to maintain vigilance at what the powers that be are attempting to do,. It is our responsibility to make sure they do not overreach. Your inner voice or intuition will tell you what is right and what is not. Have the courage and wisdom to listen to it.

So, here we are at the fork in the road. The choices we make will profoundly affect the world we live in, and we now have the “quiet time” to reflect and make those choices wisely. The changes we make within ourselves will be reflected in the reality in which we live.

One fork or direction is based on fear and competition, the other fork is based in caring and cooperation. Which direction will you take?