Friday, November 2, 2012

Please Don't Make Me a Marxist

A picture of people not thinking about their paychecks.
I've gotten a lot of feedback from my last post about the monetary and human impact of Sandy (as seen through the lens of Katrina).

Here's the takeaway - don't turn people and lives into money. period.

I think this is the big lesson of the interviews so far, too. People want to be respected as people: three-dimensional, with their whole own context and experiences and relationships and value. In fact, I'm just about ready to call those the watchwords of the new millennial faith story.

But I've received emails from a few readers that remind me that money IS the problem. How much will uninsured losses cost? Will we go bankrupt? Will we need to sell the house and move? How can I get to work, or is there work to get to? How will I buy food to feed my family?

Catastrophe or not, everyone worries about money. Money is how we do things, how we live day to day, how we participate in community. Those who are lucky to roll in high circles know that their community is very expensive.  

We are afraid of loosing money because poverty seems to equal isolation. I get that.

But even then, I argue that the real fear, the source of money anxiety, is loss of freedom and loss of relationships. Neither of these are handcuffed to money, both are found free.
So again, we relate to our neighbors when they struggle - be they in ritzy Manhattan or working-class Staten Island. Do not let people in your network suffer isolation and fear.

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