Running Downhill


It is sad to see how more and more houses become empty, with a sign “For Sale”, waiting to be occupied again.

We could compare the economy of a society with walking. When times are complicated and the economy is bad for the majority, it’ll be like walking uphill -lots of efforts to cover very little ground.

But for the past several decades in the US the economy was at continuous growth, becoming a slight but increasing downhill walk for the people.

“Only a slight amount of energy is required to get in motion when walking in a flat, level surface. Once in motion, the amount of energy required is even smaller”

By the simplification and increased efficiency in many areas of work by the companies leading the economy, more and more was imposed the “learn at the job” structure and mentality. It worked well for several decades, but the price tag is a society that doesn’t consider or even hold, the need for a strict and pushing educational system.

“A downhill walk requires us to reduce the amount of energy applied in order to remain in motion. Less energy to acquire the same original intended result”

By consuming, thus generating movement in the market, the economic growth became independent of the production needs. A system that feed itself in its own circular motion, based in buying and discarding to buy more. The temptation of reaching dreams by credit became the flag and promotional tactics of corporations in search for bigger profits.

“Walking in a downhill, taking more and more ground at a faster speed becomes a temptation due to the very small amount of energy required”

Having the possibility of acquiring more and expensive items no longer was a privilege of the wealthy. Every one with a decent credit could “afford” by credit the possession of luxury items that would reinforce his/her image and self esteem.

“At first, gaining speed and covering more ground faster becomes intoxicating and motivating for having more”

By the time momentum has been gained, the elements of luxury became a standard need, rather than the luxury they suppose to be. The need for reaching then the next step became the norm in a cycle repeating itself time and time again.

But the economic system, relying in the continuous movement of a circular process of consuming, like a wheel spinning faster and faster until it reaches speeds that set it out of control, started to fall apart, disintegrating the basis of the economic system.

“Running downhill then becomes scary and the realization for the need of slowing down to a safer speed takes in”

The level of expenses incurred in became too much for the capabilities of the transforming economic system, so people had to adjust to new standards already forgotten, or simply considered “sub-standard”.

The amount of credit taken, based in an economic system that didn’t suppose to change, created a burden on people living at a dreamed social level. But credit incurred in (mortgage, car payments, etc) couldn’t be discarded so easily.

“Running downhill we realize we are going to fast for safety, but it’s too late to regain control, and only the attempt of just not falling while running scared by the situation is the only option”

The once high life by credit became a continuous struggle for survival. Deterioration of the luxury elements by not being able to renew as often as the economic system suggested, became the first signs of the end of the party, the awakening of the dream.

From then on, for many it has become just a continuous fight to remain “alive” financially, not knowing when the personal situation will finally collapse, and throw them into the unknown.

“Running downhill at an uncontrollable speed, waiting for the moment were we know we will fall and get badly hurt, but also know it’ll be the only way to stop this runaway situation. We just don’t want to face the moment, so we keep trying harder to keep up, until we succumb by exhaustion and total lack of control”


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7 Responses to Running Downhill

  1. Sara says:

    Raul — I really like this comparison and I think it’s very accurate. It does seem so easy to buy things and to keep on buying. But as the saying goes, “all good things much come to an end,” with credit the end often comes up to hit us in the face.

    My daughter once got into a lot of trouble with credit. She’s safe now and I believe learned a good lesson, but even while she was struggling with her credit issues, she was still getting credit card solidification.

    You raise some good points in this post:~)
    Sara´s last post ..Story Photo- Old Picture

  2. Sara says:

    Raul — Oops, I think I meant “credit card solicitation” instead of “solidification.” Sorry about that:~)
    Sara´s last post ..Story Photo- Old Picture

    Raul Ojeda Reply:

    Hi Sara,

    The only good thing about messing up our credit is that we can stop worrying about identity theft. We could even become aggressive and challenge the thief to get something in our name! Just remember to tell the thief “If you get something we go 50/50” :) Just kidding!

    I’m glad to hear your daughter is safe now, and learned about responsible credit use without too complicated consequences. And as you mention, companies keep sending offers for more credit…after all that is the ideal situation for them. You become able to pay just the interests every month and never the principal, so for the next several years you keep giving them money and never able to break free.

    Credit is great when used in a responsible manner, but it’s also a knife with two sharp edges.

    Raul Ojeda´s last post ..Running Downhill

  3. Patricia says:

    Nice job and I think this is just a great description of what is happening Naomi Klein detailed this process in The Shock Doctrine….by creating crisis ( which wall street did with the housing and greed need) and the politicians played into and now the Tea Party has jumped into the frey….it creates Disaster Capitalism, which is based on nothing solid only bling for the people ( not even food) and extreme wealth for a few powerful people…

    the people need to get clear and EDUCATED in order to come back and return us to a democracy with meaning and meaningful lives….the wealthy never give up willingly even when their gains are just for power and greed.

    Some of us are caught into a tough situation…in Poland the Unions gave up their voice only to understand their mistakes years and starvation later…
    Patricia´s last post ..2 Memorial Services- an Earthquake and Hope

    Raul Ojeda Reply:

    Hi Patricia,

    By our instincts we all tend to take the easiest path, and if the situation allows it we will rest rather than be alert, and the consequences are seen only after years, maybe decades. Fortunately the human creature is very adaptable, and after the first shock it’ll start the required transformation to get back to the original path. I guess it is all cycles after all.

    Raul Ojeda´s last post ..Running Downhill

  4. Rajan says:

    Hello Raul,

    You have rightly summaized the prospect of the deterioration and ultimate collapse of the corporate driven consumer economy. Your comparison is excellent but scary!
    Just where this mad downhill run is going to take me I do not know. Have you noticed one thing? Decades back, things were made to last a lifetime. Now no one worries about the quality of a product. The corporates make them to last for a short while so that more and more is produced to feed the dragon of consumption economy. Apart from waste of resources and environmental damage, the system will bring an end to sanity and harmony in life.

    Raul Ojeda Reply:

    Hi Rajan,

    When products used to last longer, life and dreams were simple, but not many purchases were made. With the population increase, resulting in reduced proportions of jobs, the repetitive purchase of the same products helped create more jobs. The problem seems to be the discovery of “infinite” wealth through massive sells, which in turn, slowly but surely, developed the new mentality of “the sky is the limit”. After seeing what some have reached, it became the new dreams for everyone. No longer was the dream of owning a house, but now it has to be a mansion; instead of a car has to be a fleet of Hammers, etc.

    Is my opinion that changing the quality of the products to last less could be a good thing, if it is used as a way to keep up with new technologies and create more jobs. The problem starts when the opposite is made: New technologies are created to have more products to sell, which leads to the consequences (among others) to what your mentioned: waste of resources and environmental damage.

    At some point it’ll have to collapse and we’ll have to go back to a simpler life, which will also bring back forgotten values like family, parenthood and friendship, instead of class competition.

    Thank you for stopping by and contributing to the conversation :)

    Raul Ojeda´s last post ..The Spirit in the Mirror

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