Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Poll Analyses
Share on Facebook 5 Share on Twitter 1 Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 12/13/14

Proposal for a Middle-Class Revolution-- Divest

By       (Page 1 of 2 pages) (View How Many People Read This)   14 comments
Author 36687
Message Sandra Lindberg

Three weeks ago I withdrew most of my retirement savings, paid my taxes up front, and paid off the mortgage on our family home, the balance on a car loan and most family credit card debt. Interestingly, the banker who handled our mortgage pay-off revealed that we were the fourth family to pay off a home mortgage that month. He lauded us for our choice to go debt free.

Our family now lives on a cash basis, spending only what we can afford. At least for now, we are also saving a significant portion of our monthly income. If, however, it continues to look as though savings accounts, too, are threatened by machinations of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), our family may use the banks even less.

I chose to do this in spite of so-called experts who insist this decision will cost me money. On the contrary, this decision has brought great benefits to our family.

Before I made this choice, our family simplified its life as much as it could. We sold a big house and moved to a much smaller one. We began to grow much of our own produce and put in a small fruit garden. I traded a job that kept me away from the family for one that gives me much more time with my husband and son. All these were good choices. But I continued to be disturbed by what I felt was my complicit participation in an unjust system. My retirement account was 'banking' on the world continuing in its present way, at least long enough for me to draw upon this investment strategy tied to global realities contributing to great social and environmental ills.

The current culture of fear has paralyzed our middle-class, which used to be a significant participant in the shaping of our country's approach to life. Now we allow ourselves to live as if we are powerless and must wait for others to safeguard our future.

At this moment, some participants at the Climate Conference in Peru are emphasizing the need for universities and banks to divest themselves of all fossil fuel investments. I tried to do this on a personal level by working with financial advisors who promised to "green" my investing strategy. Unfortunately, given the current investment system, even they could not completely eliminate my retirement account's connections to fossil fuels. Or to weapons. Or to a myriad of companies that contribute to our planet's present compromised state. For example, you can't develop oil and gas without the large machines that make these operations possible.

Also, colleagues and I had experienced over the past years the intensely worrying losses caused by one investment 'bubble' after another. I grew tired of hoping all would be well in the long term. Gambling has never interested me. And what a strange system we have. Corporate law protects corporate officers from prosecution, corporations that bring harm are seldom penalized sufficiently to make them rethink their strategies, and yet--individual investors must again and again absorb losses from the reckless investment and business practices of the companies to which their investment accounts are tied.

I must report that replacing so-called investments with an end to debt and the knowledge that our family is living within its means has liberated me from the unvoiced hope that, somehow, the current socio-economic system could remain largely intact even as we attempt to address the huge problems of population growth, economic disparity, corporate greed, ineffective/complicit/cowardly national and state governments, and climate change--all of which need to be addressed immediately. The current systems are more invested in their own survival than they are in the wellbeing of this planet and its life.

Next Page  1  |  2

(Note: You can view every article as one long page if you sign up as an Advocate Member, or higher).

 

Must Read 3   Valuable 3   Well Said 1  
Rate It | View Ratings

Sandra Lindberg Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Sandra holds a B.S. in theatre, and an M.A. in theatre criticism from Illinois State University. Her M.F.A. is from the Professional Actor Training Program at the Old Globe Theatre--University of San Diego. She also recently completed a Paralegal (more...)
 

Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines
Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

STAY IN THE KNOW
If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEdNews Newsletter
Name
Email
   (Opens new browser window)
 

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Proposal for a Middle-Class Revolution-- Divest

The Illinois Prairie Institute, Pro- Coal, Oil, Gas, Nuclear and Not Afraid to Admit It

Stitching Together Peace

To View Comments or Join the Conversation: