The Economy of Enough

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Out of all the zillions of words being written about our current crises, almost all are about getting back to where we were. Some talk about the pain to be felt as we recover. Some wonder about what the world be like whenever we recover and try to visualize how that world will look. the blogosphere has no end of stars that write about this, but here is some wisdom coming from a local columnist in Sonoma, CA. Here’s the final touch.

Perhaps this economic slowdown provides the moment to evaluate how a truly sustainable economic system functions, and to consider that the type of consumption that got us into this mess is most likely not the solution to solving it. Perhaps we need to examine the economy of enough.

When people were nomadic, enough meant what you could carry. When ancient fixed agricultural communities were developed, enough meant what you could store against an uncertain future. In today’s modern age of seemingly unlimited credit, wealth and resources, enough has lost its meaning. The feverish consumption of material resources has its analogy in our over-consumption of food, and we carry our financial debt as heavily as the extra pounds around our middles. As a nation we are suffering from a case of economic diabetes; our major financial organs are failing.

Though the media continues to hawk products and inducements to consume as if nothing has changed, we have been forced to consume less. As this continues, we may rediscover and renew the meaning of enough in our personal lives. As a world economy, however, it’s difficult to imagine what the economy of enough might mean. One thing is for certain; it wouldn’t look anything at all like what we’ve had for a very long time.

It is only a few days before the eve of Passover. One of the best-known parts of the Seder liturgy is the recounting of all the gifts God gave his children—liberation from slavery; wonderful miracles; and the Torah and other evidence of Himself.. After each successive item it spoken, the assembled family says, “Dayenu,” translated as “it would have been enough.”

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