All though the rich and their republican and president flunkies love the idea of this extended recession depression  generating more galley slaves, that is not entirely how it’s turning out. As Josh Holland point out in this Alternet piece.  Here he list 5 ways people are coping. There are probably more.

1. Waiting to Strike Out on Their own

Living at home longer, with roommates longer. In other words staying right where they are.

2. Doubling Up
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, “Facing layoffs, pay cuts and furloughs, more people have turned to shared housing to help make ends meet.” Reporter Caroline Said found that listings for shares in the Bay Area on Craigslist are up 60 percent in the past 12 months, and agencies that match landlords looking to rent out a room with tenants eager to find affordable digs are overwhelmed.

And moving back in with parents or with relatives or roommate again.  To keep the cost of housing down.

3. Moonlighting
This week, McClatchy reported that with wages stagnant, more Americans are taking a second job to make ends meet.

With wages stagnant and even falling, doing what ever is necessary.

4. Running Up the Credit Cards
“Consumers, particularly in the lower-income end, are being forced to use their credit cards for everyday spending like gas and food,” said Tavares. “That’s because there’s been no other positive catalyst, like an increase in wages, to offset higher prices. It’s a cash-flow problem.”

So even though most people are paying down their debt, a lot still have to use their CCs to pay for the necessities. I have a friend who is working on paying off as much debt as he can now and he has a good job as does his wife.

5. DIY
While people are running up credit cards to pay for the basic necessities, they’re also discovering they can do a lot of things for themselves they once paid others to do. The Washington Post reported that the Great Recession has “helped set off a change in behavior so pronounced marketers and businesses have coined a name for it. They call it ‘insourcing’: doing yourself what you once gladly paid others to do.”

We are not talking This Old House or Hometime  here. We are talking good old fashion Do It Yourself. From vegetable gardens to painting the house to repairing the car to sewing. And I can see a time when Kits will become popular again.  I am a single Boomer who has just retired and have done a lot of my own DIY for a long time. Mostly in electronics and radio. I enjoy doing it. I am also in the process of moving up north and hoping to get into the community gardening that is going on up there. So naturally I do not see this  as a bad thing. I was having a conversation the other day with a fellow boomer and we were talking about how when we were growing up in the 1950s and 1960s that this was common and natural. People did a lot more of their of stuff and not because they necessarily had to.  And saving was the order of the day.  You kept your car and maintained it and did not get a new one unless continued maintenance was to high. Extended families were also more common as well. I would say about a third of the people I knew came that or a similar situation.

I did a blog piece a number of years ago where I suggested that one of the outcomes of this down turn would be a change in behaviors that might last a while. Especially if the down turn continues for a prolonged period.  With luck this may happen.  A young Vietnamese who had trained in a Buddhist monastery told me once: “The more you have, the more you become slave.”  Sounds good to me.

 

cmaukonen

cmaukonen

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