Thanks to a recommendation from a friend, I just finished the book Banker to the Poor by Muhammad Yunus. This is a story about a university professor who left his ivory tower and started hanging out with the poorest in his community. He became overwhelmed by the starving dying in the streets and he needed to do something. So he went where they were. He learned by being with them and he gave 40 women $27 total and that started a series of events that changed the world.
It wasn’t easy. There were many, many obstacles to overcome to earn their trust but he kept coming back. He said he became the student.
He received the Nobel Peace Prize for his work. It is a story of determination and hard work and being in the trenches.
Once we immerse ourselves in a situation and become a part of it, solutions sometimes are obvious. They are a lot more obvious than if you don’t. Seriously, the best way to help is to be where you want to make the change and learn. You don’t need to attend a bunch of meetings or study a bunch of stuff to get started. Just do something. There is no failure. There is learning.
One of the most striking messages from the book was his experiences with the poor and their abilities, skills, and resilience. Talk about hard-working people. In order to survive and support their children, they are incredibly resourceful. He fought hard for them and gave them credit and helped them get out from under the bonds of unfair financial practices that took advantage of them and kept them in today’s version of slavery.
The same bonds exist here. When banks get laws passed that never allow students to discharge student loans and then loan sums of money to them they know they should never give them, they are creating a lifelong ownership of that student. Some lenders have even started revoking workers licenses when they default on their loans. This is slavery. These banks knew the student would not be able to pay back these amounts. Now, they own them. Bastards.
[learn_more caption=”Owning students for life” state=”open”] When Unpaid Student Loan Bills Mean You Can No Longer Work Twenty states suspend people’s professional or driver’s licenses if they fall behind on loan payments, according to records obtained by The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/18/business/student-loans-licenses.html[/learn_more]
I have read a series of books on big banks, the inequality in our country and the cause of it. Out of this, I am passionate about investing local, keeping my money out of the hands of big banks and corporations, and sidestepping the politicians who pass the laws that allow these practices to continue. I have a lot of changes to make and we are making them.
For me, the bottom line is every dollar is a vote. I want to find ways to create a different kind of dollar locally. Many communities are creating their own currencies. Think about that. Really think about that. Not an electronic currency, a local one.
Think about what happens when you grow your own food and stop giving money to companies that do terrible things.
Here is a stunning documentary about that: https://www.seedthemovie.com/trailer
Growing your own food has a profound impact. As this urban farmer says, “You are growing your own money.”
Want to get started creating local money by growing your own food? You can join us on that journey. It all starts with soil and we can create that by composting. Join us in the trenches. It matters.