In the crunch

So Gavin and I have been talking a bit about what we should do in the Current Financial Situation. The thing is that, for a variety of reasons, we expect that we are among the people who will temporarily be relatively unaffected by credit crunch, recession and even food/fuel price inflation. And the question is, what should people in that situation, who want to be good citizens & good neighbours &cetera, be doing? (With our constraints, most notably two small children and (from January, again) two jobs & hence a shortage of “free” time).

Of course there are major limits to what anyone can do, and our relative comfort may be about to come to an end, who knows? But call this a feeble attempt at doing something penultimately worthwhile.

We came up with a few ideas (and I have come up with a few more since then) – most of which are things we were either doing anyway or would find it relatively easy to do. Prima facie, this may well be wishful thinking. But I’m having trouble getting beyond this point. So – what do you think? are we thinking on anything like the right lines? what have we missed, or misunderstood? Answers on a comment postcard.

Here’s where we’ve got to:
* Keep our money in the banking system where it’s available to support other people’s mortgages etc, not in hard assets. (We like the co-operative/mutual bit of the banking system; we used to like it for ethical reasons, we now like it for other reasons. Isn’t sticking by your principles occasionally meant to hurt?)
* Not take up more diminishing resources/ carbon footprint by buying stuff we don’t need.
* But buy local, support the local economy. (Though I have questions about that one – fair trade, anyone? Contrary to popular belief/marketing, Yorkshire doesn’t actually produce tea or cocoa).
* Pay as much tax as they’ll let us (see previous blog posts) and vote for parties with progressive taxation policies (if there are any, by the next election); not act in ways that waste public money.
* Maintain or increase our level of charitable giving, on the basis that others will probably have to cut theirs. In particular, increase giving to charities that are extra vulnerable to current problems (eg because the costs of services they provide, like foodstuffs and fuel, have gone up) and/or that are supporting people who are themselves extra vulnerable. (Local example is PAFRAS).
* (The hard one) Try to avoid becoming judgmental about people who either have ended up in a different situation or are making different choices. Not be smug. Hmm. Is the very production of this page a sign of smugness? But we’re where we are, and I genuinely want to know what we ought to be doing.