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WP: Recession Is Making People Better

From those champions of ‘social justice’ at the Washington Post:

Businesses like Bike Share are cropping up to meet the needs of recession-weary Americans. But besides saving money, many are relearning the principle of sharing.

Recession Lesson: Share and Swap Replaces Grab and Buy

By Nancy Trejos
Friday, July 17, 2009

The recession is reminding Americans of a lesson they first learned in childhood: Share and share alike. They are sharing or swapping tools and books, cars and handbags, time and talent.

The renewed desire to share shows up in a variety of statistics: A car-sharing service has had a 70 percent membership increase since the recession set in. Governments are putting bikes on the street for public use. How-to-swap Web sites are proliferating.

"I think what happens in a recession or any sort of economic contraction is that you have not only a loss of financial resources, but also you have a loss of emotional resources," said Shawn Achor, a Harvard University researcher and a consultant on positive psychology.

"You don’t have as much of the money or security or confidence or pride that goes with financial success," he said. "Our brains try to seek out those resources that are lost. The financial resources are beyond our control, but the emotional resources are not. And we seek out each other. We rely on each other." …

When Tom Burdett needed to cut some tile at his home outside Annapolis, he refused to buy expensive tools. So he asked his neighbors and friends for help. Sure enough, someone had just what he needed. And when that friend needed help installing a satellite dish, Burdett volunteered.

"I’m not going to go out and buy a $500 tile saw just to do one project," said Burdett, a television producer who lives in Edgewater. "Just ask for help and help people out. I think the economy has kind of woken people back up to the old way of doing things instead of the crazy ’90s of ‘Oh just go out and buy it.’ " …

Now that people are experiencing financial distress, they don’t want to be alone.

"You can’t change the economy. You can’t change the recession. Maybe you can get a better job, but that won’t be instantaneous. What do you do?" she said. "Sharing is one of the things that first of all makes you feel better about yourself. . . . We’re moving into ‘How can we establish these kinds of personal connections, this helping others, sharing, being a bit more neighborly?‘ "

Neighborhood conversations tell more of the story as the movement grows organically in communities across the Washington region and the nation. On one street in Arlington, for instance, neighbors are chipping in for mulch and dividing it among themselves…

In February, Robert Morse of New York started DaveZillion.com — named for a friend known for helping his neighbors before he died at age 43 — to connect groups of people who want to help one another out on home projects or share tools.

"We hear stories about guys who have no money to go golfing anymore and are going to each other’s houses and helping each other paint the house or fix the patio," he said

Women have flocked to the Web site BagBorroworSteal.com to borrow or rent luxury bags and other accessories. Users of a book-swapping Web site, Bookmooch, have increased 30 percent to about 124,000 since the beginning of the year. The membership of the trading site SwapTree has grown tenfold in the past year.

"We’re kind of coming out of an opulent time," said Mark Hexamer, co-founder of SwapTree. "People have seen the bad side of mass consumerism. Now everyone is kind of looking for ways to cut down on the family budget."

Since the recession started, car-sharing company Zipcar has had a 70 percent increase in membership to almost 300,000. Sixty percent of the new members said they had sold their cars or abandoned plans to buy them and decided instead to use Zipcar, which charges a small annual fee.

"The downturn in the economy has people thinking of buying less and sharing more," said Scott Griffith, chief executive of Zipcar…

Local governments and faith organizations are joining in. Arlington County runs Commuterpage.com to help residents carpool. For a $40 annual fee, the District offers access to 120 bikes at self-service racks around the city.

Chris Ganson, 35, a city planner, has embraced the sharing mentality in several ways. He has joined the city’s Smart Bike program as well as Zipcar. "It’s convenient and it saves money," he said.

Ganson also shares a house in Adams Morgan with five other people. He pays $955 a month for a room with a private bathroom, about $600 less than for most one-bedroom apartments in the neighborhood. "It’s a great thing for times like these," he said…

When the economy started getting worse, a friend persuaded Burdett to join DaveZillion.com with him. Burdett and his neighbors used to hire a handyman for small home projects. That is now a luxury. "With the recession, no one has extra cash," he said.

Burdett’s network grew to about 13 friends and friends of friends. In addition to the tile saw, he now has access to other tools such as air compressors. He also does his share of helping. He recently erected a fence around a friend’s father’s house.

"Almost everyone I know has lost a lot, I would say half of what they had as an investment," he said. "People are helping each other and getting back together. You’re not the lone ranger anymore."

Isn’t it wonderful?

And this is just one of the many recent articles in the Washington Post finding the silver linings in our financial downturn:

Michael Gerson – Recession’s Hidden Virtues – washingtonpost.com

Everyone knows a bad economy leads to bad behavior. Everyone might be wrong

Recession Leads to More People Buying Seeds, Trying to Grow

In 1784, an Englishman named David Landreth opened a seed store in downtown Philadelphia, confident that newly independent Americans would also want the

Recession Takes a Bite Out of Snacking – washingtonpost.com

Jun 30, 2009 Eighty-five percent of women admit to eating between meals, having an average of two snacks a day, according to the Consumer Reports

Because of Recession, Many Private Colleges Admitting More

Many private colleges have admitted more students than usual this year, hedging their bets as they wait to find out whether families find higher tuitions

Maybe this recession can continue for years, so that we could become even better still.

Heck, with any luck we could get a depression and really improve our moral characters.

By the way, if you should read Mr. Obama’s either of Mr. Obama’s autobiographies you quickly learn how he has hated the evils of consumerism all of his life.

After all, his favorite quote from Reverend Wright’s ‘Audacity To Hope’ sermon is: “White man’s greed runs a world in need.”

Still, isn’t it simply amazing how events are working out in just the right way to further Mr. Obama’s Marxist beliefs?

This article was posted by Steve on Friday, July 17th, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

21 Responses to “WP: Recession Is Making People Better”

  1. A Mad Pole says:

    “You don’t have as much of the money or security or confidence or pride that goes with financial success”

    Anyone tying their sense of security, confidence and pride to money and financial success is a fool.

  2. neocon mom says:

    What spin!
    Just like the story about how traffic jams are down too. I am just waiting to hear about how tent cities reduce the carbon footprint.
    Remember when even good news always had negative connotations during the Bush years?

  3. catie says:

    I had to fly to Boston for my Aunt’s funeral and while there I picked up a Boston Globe and in there was a similar argument. Some yuppie woman and her husband had both lost their jobs but instead of looking for new ones, they were going to take some time to go to all the museums and go to the Cape and do all this fun stuff before they began to look for a new job. There was another story where a family were doing the same thing with their kids. Then the story evolved how they were all going to be helping each other out with chores, just like these people were.
    How lovely it is to figure out that you can do things on your own. What a bunch of losers.

  4. proreason says:

    The Messiah is transforming our lives, and surprise……..just like the other one, he does so in mysterious ways that we might never have imagined.

    We thought he passed Stimulus 24 hours after he wrote it because he wanted us to have jobs. But no, he deliberately designed it so we have to learn to share.

    We thought it was about insuring secure incomes, but in his wisdom, he decided to teach us about sacrifice and expectation management.

    And of course we think his gift of Cap and Trade is about clean energy and saving the planet. But who knows what the dear man has in mind for us? shedding economic excess? communion with nature? Soon we will know.

    And the treasure of Health Care. In our little minds, we expect him to grant us free access to a more equitable system, benevolently run by lovingly empathetic government guides. But perhaps he has in mind that we have been too greedy about our own personal longevity. Perhaps we have been too selfish about having more children than the planet can nurture. I look forward to the little surprises as we enter this new phase of our enlightenment.

    And knowing that he is guided by brothers Karl, Vladimir and Jeremiah makes me even more tingly in anticipation of the wonders to come. Because, although their systems have not yet succeeded in any respect, we know that they have the very best of intentions, and it’s so comforting to know that there are people like them willing to sacrifice themselves to manage the tiny details of our lives, and yet live common lives as we do ourselves, albeit in palaces with luxuries beyond imagination in order to demonstrate their steely determination to serve us instead of wealth.

  5. untrainable says:

    We will all be equal. Equally poor. Equally homeless. Equally jobless. Equally miserable. And from this equality, we will receive people who will let us use their tools, People who will chip in for gas, and people who will make us feel better about ourselves. So destitution ushers in an era of brotherhood.

    I submit that we don’t need equality to have friends, but we’ll need our friends to live through this equality.

    Thanks Barry for letting us all know how worthless we were when we were free.

  6. Right of the People says:

    Kum-ba-ya, Kum-ba-ya.

    I think it’s time to visit with my buddies, Jack Daniels, Johnny Walker and Jim Beam otherwise I think I’m going to scream and maybe go hurt somebody.

  7. Colonel1961 says:

    An aside: a friend posted on his Facebook that he was sick and tired of people declaring healthcare as a ‘right’. It set off a firestorm. He called today to say he had visited his local Republican HQ and volunteered to do some work to get out the word and save this country. Amen. One person at a time. It’s the only way to do it. One convert, then another…

    • RightWinger says:

      Amen Colonel! What are these fools going to say when they find out their elderly parent or loved one (or them self) is denied life-prolonging treatment from an Obamacrat because of the inevitable rationing that will take place. In particular to somebody when they can no longer perform as a functioning citizen of the “state”.

      The other week I saw and an old Twilight Zone episode called “Obsolete” where a Librarian is sentenced to death because his profession is obsolete and he cannot serve the “State”. I just sat there and thought about Lil Barry and his health care plan. When you can no longer serve the “State”, you are going to be deemed obsolete.

  8. Colonel1961 says:

    p.s. love the picture of the middle-aged dork riding his ‘shared’ bike. What a schmuck…

  9. 12 Gauge Rage says:

    Colonel, Sir, I don’t think he borrowed that bike. From the looks of it I think he stole it from Pee Wee Herman. As for all this talk about the recession bringing people back down to earth,…notice they’re only profiling the wealthy and making their actions seem like sacrifices of heroic, epic proportions. Whereas millions of Americans of limited means have been helping each other out most of their lives. And not by choice but because they wanted to.

  10. Reality Bytes says:

    And with “Speculators on Wall St.” (code for “Jews”) locked up, we don’t have greedy money grubbers to worry about either.

    • BatK says:

      And, look, coming to our rescue, a charismatic man influenced by raging Anti-Semites promising change and blaming the econonic woes on Jews (go ahead and include Israel with the 21st century model), while simultaneously declaring his own “race” to be superior to that of everyone else… and eventually anyone who disagrees with said charismatic leader is first branded, then restrictive rules are placed, then their goods are siezed, they are ghetto-ized, and then eventually sent off to slave/death camps. Meanwhile, youth across the country are recruited to become part of said charismatic leader’s regime (including our current pope).

      Have we learned nothing from history? And is anyone REALLY naiive enought to think “it can’t happen here”?

    • neocon mom says:

      It is happening.

  11. beautyofreason says:

    I know a lot of enviro-nuts like that the recession is reducing consumption and paving the way to these cap and trade bills, and other laws to restrict the “carbon footprint.” Somewhere in a private jet, Al Gore is smiling.

    In the environut mind we should all live on local produce only, stop eating meat, enjoy communal living and low flow toilets, mandate recycling, guzzle bottled water (only if you’re a celeb) and shop at the local expensive organic vegan grocer (let them eat cake? Tofu cake!).

    More to the point, they view this recession as an indictment of capitalism itself. The pendulum swings back and forth so they figure it’s the perfect time to cut the cord and bury the thing. After all, we should be ashamed that America has enough prosperity to utilize a greater amount of energy than most poor and destitute countries of the world. Time to make us pay for our success, our technology, and our lifestyle.

    • jobeth says:

      “low flow toilets” I HATE those things.

      Like the new “energy saving, Hazmat requiring, MERCURY laden light bulbs,that end up using more energy because you just leave them on because they don’t come on and off quickly for a quick trip to the kitchen cabinet,and you can’t dim them, the “low flow toilets” use more water because they require at least two flushes “at times” and if they clog…how many flushes are used to clear up the clog? The only thing they are good for is to aggrivate the living H*** out of you.

      We used to see the commercials last year about a toilet that didn’t get clogs (expensive…we looked into them). Haven’t seen that commercial since “THE ONE” has come to power! Wonder why?

  12. jobeth says:

    “. But besides saving money, many are relearning the principle of sharing.” (caption under the photo)

    Ahhh, the NEW American socialist/communist way!

    So…the government thinks I need to go back to kindergarten level and relearn the “principle of sharing”?

    I wish they would stop judging the entire population of the US by the mentally challenged LEFT. I’ve never seen such hateful, selfish, overbearing, domineering people as are the lefties!

    Conservatives have been “sharing” for years with all the charity giving we’ve been doing all along. That’s down now too…because we don’t have it any longer to share.

    I said some time ago, somewhat tongue in cheek, that I expect the government to come to our door one day soon and tell us we have too many bedrooms for the size of our family, so we must downsize to only what we require. And some deadbeat, child producing, welfare “poor” family with 6 kids, needs our house and bedrooms for their clan.

    Not so far fetched any more. If this jackass gets by with this…this too will come~

    (Always thought it ironic that the dems use the jackass as an icon….fits beautifully though)

  13. Liberals Demise says:

    ” WP: Recession making people bitter”

    There …… now it fits!!

  14. U NO HOO says:

    “How-to-swap Web sites are proliferating.”

    But how does the guvmint get its sales tax or the garage sale permit fee?

    If this is as bad as the Great Depression we’ll be doing each others’ laundry to get by.

  15. Tater Salad says:

    Feeling better? Give us a break. If the Obama administration does not give small business owners the tax reductions real soon this country will be 3rd world and socialist. Looks like that is what Obama wants though.

    These morons don’t even know where the money comes from. This is socialism at its best. Keep them dumbed down, provide them with a little entitlement and then ask them to vote for you.


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