Take Control of Your Money and Your Life

Sept. 5, 2009 by Terry Garrett

Evening Forum with author Vicki Robin,  September 24th at the Petaluma Community Center

Take Control of Your Money and Your Life

"One of capitalism's most durable myths is that it has reduced human toil.  This myth is typically defended by a comparison of the modern forty-hour week with its seventy- or eighty-hour counterpart in the 19th century.  The implicit, but rarely articulated, assumption is that the eighty-hour standard has prevailed for centuries.  The comparison conjures up the dreary life of medieval peasants, toiling steadily from dawn to dusk.  We are asked to imagine the journeyman artisan in a cold damp garrett, rising even before the sun, laboring by candlelight late into the night.

These images are backward projections of modern work patterns.  And they are false.  Before capitalism, most people did not work very long hours at all.  The tempo of life was slow, even leisurely: the pace of work relaxed...When capitalism raised their incomes, it also took away their time."

The Overworked American, by Juliet B. Schor

One of GoLocal's goals is assisting education of community economics so that we can reclaim local economic power.  An important aspect begins with you and your personal economics.  How do you earn and spend your money?

GoLocal is hosting author and speaker, Vicki Robin, at the Petaluma Community Center on September 24 (event details here).  Vicki is co-author of Your Money or Your Life: Transforming Your Relationship With Money and Achieving Financial Independence (Viking Penguin, 1992).  Called the prophet of “consumption-downsizers” by the New York Times, she is a frequent speaker on this issue.

Here is a brief excerpt from her book on income, and a link to the introduction of the revised edition.

"The poorest 80% of the people in the United States have seen very little rise in income since the 1970s. The wealth gap, though, has skyrocketed. In this century, in fact, we’ve seen the biggest increase in the wealth gap since the 1920s. Today, the average CEO in the U.S. makes more in a day than the average worker makes in year. This isn’t said to fuel envy of the wealthy and demand a piece of the pile for the poor. Rather, it’s to point out that while absolute poverty deprives our bodies of necessities, relative poverty – being so much poorer than people no smarter or more willing to work than we are – makes us dissatisfied with our lot in life no matter how much we have. It corrodes society and the psyche – saps our belief in justice and fairness and hope. It makes us poor amidst plenty. We feel left out, lonely and are more likely to give up on the dream that we can have a better life than our parents."