The Wall Street Hustle

by Mayuri on March 3, 2010

Opting Out of the Big Bank Fiasco and Moving Toward Self Sufficiency

The Rolling Stone March 2009 issue had an article by Matt Taibbi called Wall Street’s Bailout Hustle in which he likens the financial crisis bailout to a street con and makes a very good case of it, taking us step by step through the con game led by Goldman Sachs. In the article he makes a case that the big banks aren’t just pocketing the trillions that were given them to rescue the economy, but that they are engineering another crash so that they can continue to feed at the trough.

There is one paragraph that is such a concise summary, it is worth quoting:

“Take massive sums of money from the government, sit on it until the government starts printing trillions of dollars in a desperate attempt to restart the economy, buy even more toxic assets to sell back to the government at even more inflated prices,- and then, when all else fails, start driving toward the cliff again with a frank and open endorsement of bubble economies”.

He goes on to say, that” con artists have a word for the inability of victims to accept that they have been scammed. The call it the “true believer” syndrome.”

It is time to quit believing that someone else- the government, the banks- are going to take care of you and will have your best interests at heart. It is time to wake up, smell the coffee and take responsibility. This is the  theme of the new consciousness phase that humanity is entering into, that we are each responsible for our lives, our personal growth. But it is also the beauty of the new consciousness, that each one of us is a unique  expression of the ultimate beingness, true nature, God, the Beloved, Unity, whatever you wish to call it. In order for each of us to realize we are an individual reflection of the divine, we have to start with where we are, and that means taking responsibility. It is not a moral thing, but a spiritual one.

There is another saying about cons: every con is based on the mark’s own greed.

I don’t feel like that is the basis upon which the majority of Americans have been caught, however. It seems to me the underlying motivation was fear. That if I don’t get on this train of “more is better” I am going to fail and if I fail, I won’t survive. This is very tied into the instincts that I have spoken about earlier and a feeling of deprivation. Don’t get me wrong,  greed was inherent in the field and was a motivator for many people who wittingly or unwittingly joined the ranks of the perpetrators in the giant Ponzi scheme that was called the economy.

It was costly to consume out of a sense of deprivation. We got caught up in wanting more-bigger-faster stuff and then had to go back to earn the money to pay for it, or even worse what most of us did was go into credit card debt and mortgaged our futures for unbridled consumption. And we were not really satisfied. Are you happier? What we really want is rest, time, and connection- beingness.

Fear is not a crime.  But if we don’t use the zen stick of the financial crisis to wake up, then we are also being willfully ignorant, and that is suicide. And that is a crime against humanity.

There is another belief that is in operation in most of us- that there isn’t anything we can do to change the situation- it is the way it is. Globally this makes it so that those with the most money wield the most power and feel encouraged and entitled to do so. In that resignation, we abandon our human potential and the possibility of contributing to a thriving, equitable, healthy world.

Another belief that is in operation in us is that someone has to end up with the short end of the stick, Those with more are smarter and more able, even more valuable human beings. In other words, we are helpless.

But these are just beliefs, not the truth. Beliefs are a crime against ourselves, our potential, our capacities.

So we need to stand up, dust off our trousers, forgive ourselves and begin to do what Americans have done for centuries when faced with adversity, is to take stock and do what is needed. And in the process develop the muscles of personal responsibility and resiliency. It is not a call to arms, but a revolution of evolution. Let’s begin to apply intelligence and consciousness to the situation. And in that process you will find that you are not helpless.

One of the things we are going to have to tolerate is that there is going to be more financial volatility than there used to be.  So there will be less of the illusion of security that we believed money provided. The truth is, we don’t know what is going to happen in the next moment. The more we can sit in not knowing, the more we realize there really is no perch of security in the world, the more we will be able to tolerate the volatility. And then instead of fighting it, we will be able to allow the volatility to inform our decisions, about our financial life. We will be more conscious about our financial life.

So, how would this play our on a practical level. Here are some things to consider:

Remove yourself from dependency on the centralized money system which,  as I described  above, is leading us down the road of another con. Move your money to a local bank or credit union that is supporting your local community and gives loans to small businesses (ordinary Americans) and not just large corporations.

Lower your overhead as much as you can. For example, pay down your mortgage rather than putting more money away for retirement into the stock market which is part of that system. In this regard, there are some I know who are actually cashing in their IRA’s and paying the tax penalties, in order to pay off their mortgages.

Don’t debt and definitely don’t use your credit cards. The predatory lending through credit cards has fostered the dependence of Americans on the centralized money system. Also, credit card interest adds to  overhead and delays self-sufficiency. If you don’t understand this, see my blog on debt entitled “Debt is the New Bondage”.

When you reduce your overhead, you reduce your income needs. And that leaves you more flexible in dealing with different scenarios as they arise. It also can begin to lead to personal self -sufficiency which is in alignment with each of us taking more responsibility.

If you are investing, consider that diversification means global and local, and acres and hooves, not just different stocks and bonds which are all part of the centralized money system. Also consider investing in assets that do no harm. Catherine Austin Fitts of uses “total economic return” as a basis for choosing investments- one that brings economic return to everyone, and not at the exploitation of anyone.

When you become more conscious with your money, you will realize that wherever you put your money,  it goes in your name, that is WHERE YOU ARE. If you practice financial intimacy, your goals and values will be tied up with what you invest in, what you bring into the world.

The bottom line is that we are our own money counselors and we need to take responsibility for our money and our assets. And since money is our expression of our consciousness in the world, it also means  taking responsibility for that consciousness, and that is the spiritual journey. Money as spiritual practice.

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