Monday, August 31, 2015

Preppers vs. Stockholders

Preppers and stockbrokers: Two very different approaches to living!
A “prepper” is somebody who believes society is on the verge of collapse, which will soon result in events such as mass riots and traditional money becoming worthless. This collapse may be due to anything from financial crisis, to tyrannical government takeover, to extraterrestrial invasion. As a result, they prepare (hence the name “prepper”) for the imminent breakdown, and do things such as stockpile food, acquire and train with guns, and build underground bunkers. The TV show “Doomsday Preppers” highlighted people into this type of behavior.
Prepping (like many concepts in life) has some valid points, but can be done to excess or for the wrong reasons. Negatively, prepping is rather selfish. One withdraws from their community, focuses only on their own survival, and “raises the drawbridge" so to speak in order to keep everybody else away. Prepping is also the ultimate in paranoia and pessimism, in assuming that the world is going to burn, and in response one needs to abandon it. Also, a prepper has an unpleasant daily life, with one example being that they don’t eat fresh food. That’s because all the food they’ve stockpiled eventually goes bad. Therefore the prepper is either replacing spoiled food (which is a big waste and expensive) or else they’re continually eating food that’s on the verge of spoiling. All that effort would be better spent getting involved with society and fixing or improving it as a whole, so whatever doomsday scenario they’re worried about doesn’t happen in the first place.
Responsibly approached, prepping can be a positive thing. It’s good to have some amount of food, water, and most of all a plan ready for events ranging from a minor power outage to a major earthquake. Such a happening can keep aid away for days or even weeks, and when government assistance does arrive it may not be enough or appropriately handled. Ronald Reagan (love him or hate him) said the nine scariest words in the English language are, “We’re the government and we’re here to help you.” ;) The best prepping and long term survival for the human race after a doomsday scenario involves a community coming together and working together. Many people today don’t even know their neighbors! Crossbows and army rations are good for the start of the zombie apocalypse, but months down the line when you get a toothache you’ll really wish you had access to a dentist.
In contrast to preppers, a stockholder is one who believes and operates under the assumption that society is improving. A stockholder (which really is anybody who has investments, including IRA or 401k accounts) is one who owns part of a company. They contribute their energy and wealth into collective efforts, and as a result receive a percentage of the results and profits produced. This is similar to the story of “The Little Red Hen”, in that those who help make the bread get to eat the bread. In spite of occasional bubbles and downturns, over long periods of time stocks grow money faster than any other method. That’s because wealth isn’t tied into something static, like land or gold that only yields benefit based on scarcity of the resource, but rather it’s tied to human ingenuity and evolution which has no limit. While a prepper withdraws from and is pessimistic of society, a stockholder embraces society and is optimistic. The problem of economic inequality and the “rich getting richer” is very serious and important to address. However, perhaps a very small part of it is caused by certain people connecting with society and letting the wave of collective progress carry them forward, while others choose to reject society and are left behind.
As with prepping, many people approach the stock market negatively. They treat it impersonally and only seek to selfishly gain money from it, and therefore only choose companies they expect will earn money the fastest. That’s no different from corporations themselves when they are only out to acquire money in the short term, instead of trying to make a difference in the world long term. It’s better to support companies that you want to succeed, such as are involved with new or efficient technologies. Similarly, having some investments doesn’t mean you put all your eggs in one basket, or put all your resources in stock or in a single company.
In summary, both prepping and stockholding are two sides of the same duality, and both can be approached selfishly or altruistically. Ultimately, each of us are challenged to be independent and able to take care of ourselves, but also be connected with and contributing to society and the Oneness of humanity. ♥