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9 Things You Can Do to Stop Big Greed

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Grow you own food? The percentage of Americans in a position to be sustenance farmers and/or hunters is minuscule.

Don't pay taxes? Sure, you go first.

Let's understand who Big Greed is: large corporations that have all the rights of a person, but never die. This gives them one huge advantage over us mere mortals. Because they never die they never intend to pay back one cent of the money they have borrowed or that has been invested in them. They get by with paying only interest on their debt. And when they can no longer make those meager payments they will file for bankruptcy protection without compunction.

The recent government bailouts took Big Greed favoritism to a surreal advantage. Several firm were picked for immunity from all consequences for failed business practices. Some received taxpayer loans even though their actions were, in fact, criminal fraud.

I don't know if we can bring Big Greed down, in fact, I rather doubt it.

What I'm suggesting is we begin by slapping a tiny hurt on it. Kick it in the shins and run if you will. Then, come back later to do some more damage. No, it's not a magic bullet approach. It's only revolutionary in its grassroots, guerrilla warfare style. But I believe we must start somewhere.

Let's think baby steps. Let's think things that may be a small sacrifice now but will pay off in changes down the road. Things all of us can do to some degree.

Here are some ways to begin to deprive Big Greed of a little bit of the lifeblood that keeps it so damn strong. Please, please, please contribute more ideas and/or amend these to be more doable and effective:

1) Buy local. Buy food raised and grown here, not abroad, and if local produce is available buy that. Buy as close to home as possible. Not just food, everything. I've found this is easier said than done, but we must take back what we can and keep our money as close to home. The global market, products shipped anywhere, anytime plays a role in both obfuscating true costs and makes us dependent on distant suppliers for necessities that should always be available locally.

2) Do buy Made-in-America whenever you can. Consider the entire cost of your purchase in terms of value, environmental and economic impact, not just the price. Low prices do not necessarily mean low cost. Big Greed has a hundred ways to pass costs onto you later, including out-sourcing your job, wasting your gas, polluting the earth and limiting your choices, allowing them to charge you more another day.

3) Minimize purchases at Big Box Stores, a.k.a. Category Killers. Sad but true, we are now to the point where many things can only be purchased at these community wreckers. Do what you can. Don't drive miles to the home center when the local hardware store, if you still have one, has what you need. If there's a locally owned market, give them your local business.

4) Get out of debt. Pay off your credit cards. If you can't, pay down your credit cards. Do whatever it takes to divest Big Finance of those interest payments and fees. If you are in a dire financial situation do consider bankruptcy protection. Don't feel bad about it, Big Greed corporations use it again and again.

5) Bank local. Big Banking offers a lot of convenience, but we're feeding the machine. Find a local FDIC insured bank or credit union that will appreciate your deposits and where they have a chance of being invested locally.

6) Weatherize your home. This is a great way to thumb your nose at Big Energy. Green advocates report this low-tech approach to residential energy savings is a big winner. Under $1,000 can cut your energy bill by an average 20%. You'll be creating local jobs and most of the materials will be made in the United States. Many homeowners are eligible for DOE grants for these improvements. See: National Low Income Housing Coalition website for more information.

7) Stop driving. You know you can drive less, you just don't want to. This is important. Leave the car whenever you can. This action will save you money.

8) Don't invest in stocks and bonds. Don't lend Big Greed money, as we've seen without the proper regulation of these markets the risk is just too high it will be stolen from you. Right now, with U.S. Treasury Series I Bonds are paying 0.0%. So, perhaps the best place to put your money is an FDIC insured savings account even though they don't pay much more. I'm sure someone will recommend a safe way to bank some cash in gold or silver, but I won't propose this option because I haven't found it.

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Chaz Valenza is writer and small business owner in New Jersey. He earned his MBA from New York University's Stern School of Business. His current feature film project is "Single Point Failure" an insider's account of how the Reagan Administration (more...)

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Thank you for a super article. I am already doing ... by Dak on Friday, Jul 24, 2009 at 1:33:26 PM
Don't I wish.  Hard to do any more, but I try to ... by Philip Dennany on Friday, Jul 24, 2009 at 1:49:08 PM
Thanks for the comment.  So true!  No, it isn't ... by Chaz Valenza on Friday, Jul 24, 2009 at 3:10:05 PM
Thanks for the advices. Big Greed is really someth... by Jaron Villa on Saturday, Jul 25, 2009 at 1:07:50 AM
Thank you.... by Chaz Valenza on Saturday, Jul 25, 2009 at 7:22:23 PM
Good article.  I would suggest a Number 10.10.  ... by Deborah Wells on Sunday, Jul 26, 2009 at 3:07:38 PM
Yes!  Good one.  But what if both candidates are... by Chaz Valenza on Sunday, Jul 26, 2009 at 5:02:49 PM
Something I've been doing for years is avoiding Bi... by Debbie Scally on Monday, Jul 27, 2009 at 12:43:26 PM
thank you!  Perfect!  I will add it to the list.... by Chaz Valenza on Monday, Jul 27, 2009 at 2:37:31 PM