Inflation affects more than your money!

By: Kurt Larsson

My parents bought their first house on Long Island in 1955. A two story Cape Cod, its purchase price was $17,000.00. According to its latest valuation it is now worth north of $400,000.00. Very little has been done to it. What has happened in the 48 years since its construction is commonly referred to as inflation.
But what does that really mean and more importantly what else is inflated?

According to Webster’s New World Dictionary?, Inflation means "an increase in the amount of money and credit in relation to the supply of goods and services".

To complicate matters, did you know that according to the Federal Reserve (ironically/comically charged with maintaining a stable dollar) and its own records, there is now twice the number of dollars in circulation as there were in 1995?
I bring this up to ask the question: are the things we purchase worth more as time goes by or is the money we buy them with worth less?

Good as Gold?

Ask people following gold or supporting a return to a gold backed currency (which by the way was written into the United States of America’s Constitution). The dollar is worth less and less each day. Yet, in a now famous speech delivered last year, the newest Federal Reserve Governor stated that the “Fed" had a printing press and was not afraid to use it.
Whether this concerns you yet or not, is not the purpose of this article.

What should be of interest to us all is to dare look for signs of this inflationary phenomenon in other places in our lives.

Then and now
It’s fairly obvious when comparing everyday items such as glass bottles, cans and cars built 50 years ago to those built today. Technologies have certainly helped streamlined waste in this process, but the important question here is can we buy more or less product now with the same amount of money?
For example, the deposit for recycling a bottle of cola is now more that the price of the whole drink with bottle not many years ago.

But let’s look deeper. For instance:
• How many TV channels are available now? Do you get the same value from watching?
• What is the cost of using foul language now compared to a number of years ago?
• What is the price of the hours you work compared to the value of your salary, health, stress, etc?
• What is the price of accessibility (with mobile phones, e-mail, etc.) compared to value of your (health, stress, free time)? Which is increasing / decreasing?
• How much value do you receive from your taxes and all its paperwork?
• What is the current level of trust you have for authority figures?
• What about family values? (Some Swedish children were recently asked what home was and their answer was “a place that you always cleaned".)
• Finally how much time do you have nowadays to just reflect?

In each of these cases, which way is the cost trending compared to its value?
Can we agree that while the value of each either remains the same or is being diluted, the cost continues to increase?

The consmer society
Let’s now return to the subject of money and our seemingly endless need as a society to purchase more stuff.

It is interesting to note that as our need for more stuff keeps increasing, the values mentioned above (and many others) seem to be weakening. These values and other so called "human" and "societal" factors seem to be slowly breaking down, but in such a benign way that the process does not seem to cause much concern.
Just like the proverbial frog who will eventually boil to death in a slowly boiling pot of water, we seem to be numbed to inflation’s effect.
Yet, the more we lose these precious properties and qualities that make us human, the more we seem to becoming machines "stressed" to perform better. How much of your life has become about performance and effectivness?

“The lights on, but nobody’s home"
Some brilliant person recently coined the term “human doings" to describe how many of us run around from task to task like chickens with their heads cut off. Have you ever dared to count the inflation in “have to-s", “musts" and other obligations you have in your life? Think about about paperwork inflation, alone.

It may also be interesting to look at the the loss of personal freedom compared to the escalation of violence in our society while remembering the old adage “obligation breeds resentment".
How much conscious choice and how much freedom do you really have left?
More importantly, how often do you exercise it?

The opportunity, “You never go sightseeing in your own town".
For those of us that see this inflationary trend as a struggle for maintaining our human dignity, we offer a suggestion as to the most powerful and vulnerable (NOT weakest) place to start, yourself!
With the risk of becoming more monotonous than the “human doings" that seem to be multiplying around us, we invite you to do an inventory of your own qualities and values to monitor the inflation going on in your own backyard. For instance:
• How solid are your ethics and morals?
• How clean is your language?
• What is the value of your word?
• How “close" are you to your family? What is the quality of those relationships?
• How is your health, weight, stress level, etc?
• How many people do you really trust? How many trust you?
• How much peace of mind can you muster before craving something to do?

In Swedish, the word for behaviour patterns is beteende mönster, we invite you to ask yourself how many of your beteende mönster are really inflated beteende monsters? We hope the message is clear enough, if you don’t maintain values, in these inflationary times, they will erode.

"So what" you ask?
Our answer: How is your quality of life?
How is it compared to what you expected when you dreamed of it so many years ago?
If you are like most of us there is probably been a certain amount of price inflation since you first dreamed about how it would be. It also seems that the price for many of us is finally beginning to show its ugly face. Sick leave is increasing drastically, stress is an epidemic and we just keep working more.
If you watch the news, you are probably seeing inflation’s effect on the world around you. If you are trying to raise children you are probably feeling its effect close to home. Now ask yourself what is the direction of the trend?

Living your life in a Spreadsheet
We are in danger of becoming a society of individuals living in a spreadsheet; and don’t forget that each box on a spreadsheet is called a “cell".
The more we allow our values to deteriorate the more desensitized we become. For instance, what is your reaction to the level of violence on TV? Has it degraded over the last 20 years?
What about the inflation of democracy compared to the power of lobbyists? Some have likened the degradation in the process of voting to a legal form of monetary "mob rule". What do you think?

Your "human being" use it or lose it.
We think it is past time to address this inflation/degradation process of what makes us human.
Regardless if you believe in a great conspiracy, plain old chaos or nothing at all; the result might just turn out to be the same. We may be losing our dignity as humans even faster than we collectively seem to be losing our wealth. Trust, respect and confidence are in danger of become relics of the past.
Has your child been assaulted in school yet?

Hope through action
As grim as it may seem, the solution to this personal form of inflation maybe so simple that it defies logic which may, ironically, be just the point.
What if the leverage point to lower inflation starts with being present and expressing your true emotions? Observe what happens in your world if you:
* Choose to be consciously friendly towards others
* Make someone’s day by just acknowledging them
* Say or do something that really “moves" someone
* Just breathe more... do you know where the word inspired comes from?

If these questions interest you also and if you see a connection between the quality of your life and the depth with which you dare to answer them, then we would like to hear from you!
Inflation can be beatenFind Article, but you have to feel it first!

Money Management

» More on Money Management