Is the credit crunch reshaping our values?

credit crunchToday in Newshour’s meeting we were chatting about how and if the credit crunch has changed our lives? Is having less money changing our values and our behaviour? Are we becoming less materialistic and is it possible that the credit crunch could actually be good for us?

The credit crunch has meant that many of us have had to watch the pennies and cents. We aren’t spending money like we used to, and buying that extra pair of shoes or must-have gadget takes a lot more consideration. But is this a bad thing?

Times of hardship can change how we behave. For example, many New Yorkers said there was a marked improvement in “humanity” after September 11th 2001. The UK shadow health secretary, Andrew Lansley, recently said that the credit crunch would be good for the British public in many ways, as it would mean “people would smoke less, drink less alcohol… and spend time with their families”.

Has the credit crunch made you look at what you value and have you changed your behaviour as a result? Do you think that there could be some positives to be taken from the crisis?

20 Responses to “Is the credit crunch reshaping our values?”

  1. 1 James Ian
    August 10, 2009 at 10:28

    Oh my yes!! We don’t go and do near as much as we use to. We don’t eat out as much and if we do it’s not high end dinning
    We are always on the lookout for a good deal and value, but even then it’s for stuff that is needed not wanted.
    We make do with what we have and get by with the basics.
    It’s good though, makes us feel more responsible.

  2. 2 Deryck/Trinidad
    August 10, 2009 at 11:49

    Of course the economic crisis is a good thing. It will stop or at least mitigate mankind’s wanton consumption and destruction of the Earth. It will teach us to eat little and live long. It will lead to more innovation and greater sustainablility in business and industry.

    Sadly the ones feeling the most pressure are the poor and blue collar workers who I know can’t see anything positive in these dark times.

  3. 3 Jim Newman
    August 10, 2009 at 12:32

    Hello again
    No! Because my values have always been outside of the values that cause crisees. Of course the financial crisis has it’s effect on me but it’s like hitting a small bump in the road.
    Personally I think that a complete change of philosophical outlook is required. An outlook that is less humanocentric and more nature friendly.


  4. August 10, 2009 at 12:43

    Though I’m lucky not to have been affected by the credit crunch by any way, I did notice that I pay closer attention on how I spend every Euro.

  5. 5 scmehta
    August 10, 2009 at 13:46

    Our values, in terms of our hard-earned money/savings, are pretty much the same; in fact, after having suffered the losses at the hands of cruel money-manipulators and selfishly-scheming financial institutions, these are now very cautiously and closely guarded than ever before. May be, it is the financial players, who need to reform, prove their worth & credibility and reassess their values- morally as well as economically.

  6. 6 patti in cape coral
    August 10, 2009 at 13:48

    For me, it’s almost like coming off a drug and getting clean. You have to start getting comfortable just being by yourself and not having to be entertained every minute of the day. The couple of weeks without cable or a restaurant meal are difficult, but you start getting comfortable just being. Hard for me to put into words.

  7. 7 Steve in Boston
    August 10, 2009 at 14:10

    A reshaping of values and behavior is absolutely necessary for the long-term health of western economies, however here in the US at least, the Obama administration is doing everything it can to ensure the continuation of our bad, free-spending habits because 70% of the US economy depends on it. We’re trapped. They’re pumping trillions of dollars into the economy and announcing to all who will listen that happy days are here again. Any student of the human race knows that most of us will soon revert to our irresponsible ways.

    However mother nature has a habit of getting her way, and water seeks its own level. People were spending more than they were earning, and the credit markets accordingly collapsed. Now the governments of the world are attempting to extinguish that fire by handing out free money (called “stimulus programs”), and after a few more years of continuing to live beyond our means, the value of our currencies will decline (called inflation), forcing us once again to change our lifestyles. What’s most frightening is contemplating what happens after that.

  8. 8 Tom K in Mpls
    August 10, 2009 at 15:01

    In the way I think and act, no. I never was one to take on unrealistic debt nor am I a mass consumer. But thanks to a boss/small company owner who thought it was the key to growth, yes. I am in the one out of ten out of work.

    Rapid change is painful in every facet of life, at every level. But in this case it would have been better. Companies around the world are being supported by governments when they need to fail. To do this, we are seeing levels of debt that will cripple the growth of everyone. We need financial Darwinism.

  9. 9 steve
    August 10, 2009 at 15:38

    I doubt any lesson will be learned. Society still is about buying things you don’t need, with money you don’t have, to impress people you don’t even like.

  10. 10 Anthony
    August 10, 2009 at 15:52

    Unfortunatly not really in California :(. People would rather move in with their parents so that they can have a BMW and nice clothes, then watch their wallets/purses.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  11. 11 Jennifer
    August 10, 2009 at 15:57

    No; I still have the same values I did pre-credit crunch?

    August 10, 2009 at 16:05

    I am not affected very directly but rather on the periphery. An economic downturn is good because it will only affect those who rely on speculating. It will mean that people will stop loafing because of expecting others to create windfall for them.

    From around the 90s, there was so much money in circulation in my country. Job seekers became finicky and to be employed was akin to be inferior. It is in the same period that the savings bank account was replaced by loan account en mass and by this means a lot of households ate into their foundations. Obviously it leads to a collapse of the resultant falsified structure. As if that is not enough, they invested heavily in shares thereby driving the value high in a way that did not reflect the real value. This too was a bubble which now must contract to match reality. Sadly, a lot of funds have been lost in this way. People must learn from their mistakes resulting from hypes that are made to jolt one out of their wits.

    I am a skeptic when it comes to speculative ventures and do not invest in shares. I believe in working and making savings out of the excess. I do not have to match a lifestyle that I do not comprehend. I believe that majority of incomes can serve one well if they are realistically structured.

  13. 13 steve
    August 10, 2009 at 16:36

    @ Anthony

    That’s preferable to what I see, people who live in subsidized housing driving around in $70,000 BMWs. At least if they live with their parents, the taxpayer isn’t enabling them to live beyond their means.

  14. 14 Malc Dow
    August 10, 2009 at 16:50

    Very much so. Whatever respect I had for bankers and politicians has evaporated. It is just not possible to take them seriously anymore. It is not a question of a few ‘bad apples’, the core of their ethics is obviously rotten and this is not something that can fixed with platitudes or changing ‘systems’. There is a fundamental change of attitude needed before either the bankers or the politicians can hope to regain what what quite obviously misguided faith and trust. And neither group are worth the vastly inflated salaries, bonuses and perks they receive. So my values have been dramatically reshaped. I would like to think theirs are too, but I fear that would be too much to hope for.

  15. 15 James Turner
    August 10, 2009 at 16:52

    No! Absolutely no! The point of the recovery plan is to get credit moving! A small number of Americans will by choice or because they have no other choice will move to spending only when they have the funds! But 99.9% of Americans can’t wait for things to go back like they were! I have come to the conclusions that Americans are not able to learn from history! As long as we have a two party system where the two parties are so self absorbed, they rather be dead before compromising for the better of the whole!!!!

  16. 16 Dennis Junior
    August 10, 2009 at 17:11

    Yes, in my case…I am glad of the credit crunch since, it has reshaped my values…

    -Dennis Junior-

  17. 17 Ana Gongora, Colombia
    August 10, 2009 at 17:32

    Hi! 🙂
    In my life, the credit crunch has really helped me redirect my perspective, the way I spend money, the way I treasure my work and even the way I share some time with my family.
    I used to take everything for granted. But things started getting tough, so I had to change bad habits: I started cutting down costs and saving electricity, light and other services, which has been effective not only for my pocket but also for my planet!
    Also, I seldom eat out as I would do everyday, which benefits my health and, of course, is more affordable. I don’t use as many taxi services as I did every week, and I’ve learnt many things from this: Although I miss having a chat with the drivers, I can actually interact with more people when taking the bus or simply while walking, I also learn to value the things around me, even traffic jams!
    Additionally, I don’t buy any more useless things. Before I was a compulsive and generous shop-maniac, now I think twice before spending my money.
    I know I’ve still got lots of things to change and, although this new point of view is not global, I mean, not everyone has ‘reshaped their values’, I can certainly tell you that my life has indeed changed! 😉

    So I’ve got to say that the recession is a blessing in disguise!

  18. 18 T
    August 10, 2009 at 18:01

    Who’s missing the point here? Less money means less smoking and drinking for most of us. But for the bankers and Wall Street types, their billions in bonuses means what? They’re entitled to anything they want because they “deserve it”? The gap between the haves and the have nots just keeps getting bigger.

  19. 19 Tan Boon Tee
    August 11, 2009 at 04:34

    In bad times and under harsh conditions, we tend to be less materialistic. But as soon as we are able to make some money, we start following the Jones next door and begin to flash whatever wealth we may have.

    Such is the nature of human. And the economic crisis comes and goes, only to return with greater vengeance.

  20. 20 helen in usa
    August 13, 2009 at 02:09

    When it’s harder to replace something we take more care and act more resposibly. When you can immediately buy something it becomes dispensible. We value what we have less if there’s an easy way to get another one. The way people marry and get divorced proves how careless and without values people are. Also the easy fix of not taking care of health when it’s so easy to get a presciption. For so many conditions this is only psychological because a prescription often only allows you to exist with the disease and not cure it. Does this keep us”dumbed down”?Getting a”quick fix”that fixes nothing and never regaining a healthy state again and not taking the responsibility to maintain one’s own health. We are more careful when we value what we have. Or fear losing it.

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