I’ve decided if i wait until I have all these thoughts laid out neatly so I can simply place them into one coherent post…I’ll be eating my food through a straw by the time I’m done. So, here I go:
Heartbreaktown has a thoughtful post up about privacy from invasive background checks. The last time I shopped for auto insurance, I was prepared to turn over my driving record, of course, but was shocked to find out that even with a perfect record, and, no gaps in coverage, my quote would be based largely on my credit history. What? Some actuary, sitting in a cubicle in your corporate office has a spreadsheet showing people with good credit are better drivers, and you believe it? I mean, we got the best rate available, but what about other folks?
Once you have a stellar credit rating, you spend too much time protecting it. Losing it means paying more for damn near everything, not just the interest rate on borrowed money, and i think thats unfair, and, probably unsustainable as part of our financial foundation. We are about to see millions of previously credit worthy Americans take a huge drop in their credit scores, and if renting an apartment, finding a job, buying a car, (and, insuring it) all cost more because your credit is whack, many may wind up homeless, jobless, car-less, option-less.
Once you are down in this country, we make sure you can’t ever get back up.
Not that long ago, there was a sense of shared risk. A bright man or (eventually) a woman could approach a banker with a solid business plan, and the banker might just fund his or her idea and roll the dice because they would share in the profit if it worked. They also knew that there would be a potential for loss, and that was ok. Those days are gone. No one wants to assume any risk. Banks want to be fully collateralized or they won’t lend.
What about now? Maybe, just maybe, we will see some movement away from big, corporate banks, towards smaller, locally owned and operated banks that have a stake in their community.
I have been thinking about opening a business. There is a restaurant that has been closed for a year, it is turn-key ready, all i have to do is stock it and open the doors. I plan to approach the owners of the strip mall where it sits with a proposal…let me get it open and running, and take a piece of the gross, say, one year, so I don’t tie up capital paying rent and can funnel the money back into the business. We can certainly re-negotiate after a year when we won’t have to base the rent or terms on assumptions. Right now, that space and equipment are earning exactly zero. This is a perfect shared risk scenario. Otherwise, in this economy, I’m not at all interested in risking a great deal of cash.
I have also finally had success finding like-minded people here in the area, who see the upside to sharing resources and labor. I have a front-end loader. Another guy has a trailer, and still another knows how to repair heavy equipment. So, we trade. I’d like to get to a point where everything gets traded, from haircuts to car repair to raising meat. Why do 8 families need 8 mowers? What if only two families had mowers, and two families had weed-eaters, and we all pitched in and got the work done? It frees up time for everyone, frees up money because you don’t have to buy everything up front, and allows people to interact with each other.
I guess, to me, I’m thinking that the whole economic model is about to change, radically. I don’t see any corrective shift doing the job. I think we will all have to totally re-think how we do business, and what we consider necessary. I’m all for it.
More later. (whew, writing a communist manifesto for the new millennium is exhausting)