Money, Financial Inequality, and RC

Below are some observations about money and financial inequality and their impact on us in the RC Community. Also included are some thoughts about how we can take charge to move forward even within an oppressive economic system.

THE CURRENT SITUATION

Income inequality is increasing in the United States and around the world. The number of millionaires, the wealth of the richest citizens, and the number of people living in poverty are all increasing. In the United States and Western Europe there is a hollowing out of the middle class. A small percentage of middle-class people are becoming rich, and many more are struggling financially and dropping out of the middle class. This is a result of the workings of our current economic system—a system that thrives on generating profits that economically benefit the owning class, and its highly paid service support (lawyers, doctors, accountants, financial advisors, middle managers, and so on), while exploiting the labor of the vast majority of people and maintaining a permanent class of the unemployed and underemployed.

This situation has an impact on us in the RC Communities. It affects us both as individuals trying to live good, re-emergent lives and as a Community trying to spread the tools of RC to more people and develop the leadership of RCers—especially people of the global majority, who, because of racism, are disproportionately affected by the harshness of our economic system.

Sites where we hold workshops are demanding advanced deposits. They are also charging higher prices, which leads to higher fees for workshops. More RCers are needing financial support to attend workshops, and some are simply choosing not to attend, in part because they cannot afford to miss the opportunity to earn money during the workshop time frame. The amount of money donated to the Re-evaluation Foundation (which supports the spread of RC and the development of RC leaders) is for the most part not changing, while requests for funding are increasing. And the impact of the oppressive economic system will only be greater as the RC Communities continue to grow among lower-income people and people of the global majority.

WHAT WE CAN DO IN THE RC COMMUNITIES

As RCers, we all benefit from having the broadest possible diversity within the RC Communities and seeing that no one is excluded for the lack of financial resources. To move the Communities forward within an increasingly oppressive economic system, I think we need a multi-pronged approach. Here are some beginning thoughts about what that approach might be. Some of them apply more to those who currently have more than they need; others to those who do not have the financial resources to meet their needs.

1. Work to transform the economic system.

 The current economic system, capitalism, is destructive to all of our lives and to the planet. Although it is an improvement over some previous economic systems, it has demonstrated that it is unworkable and unsustainable due to contradictions produced by the system itself.

We can ask people thoughtful questions to help them find and express their thinking about the economic system and future alternatives. We can initiate discussions—in our families, friendships, neighborhoods, schools, and workplaces—about money and finances, thus breaking the oppression of silence about money. We can participate in organizations, like labor unions, work cooperatives, and social change organizations, that have an explicit goal of changing the economic system. We can organize people in whatever settings we find ourselves to talk about and work on money and class issues.

2. Handle our present economic situation.

 We cannot fully have what we want for our own and others’ lives until oppression ends and we transform the economic system. However, there are things we can do to take charge and manage as best we can under present economic conditions: 

  • We can accurately assess our personal economic situation. What are our resources (savings, income, income potential, assets, and so on)? What are our liabilities (debts, obligations, mortgages, loans, and so on)? In what direction are we presently headed (increased debt, reduced debt, increased savings)? What do we expect in the future, and how have we planned for it (health crises, children’s future needs, elder care, and so on)?
  • We can understand our expenses. This could mean keeping track of them for several months. Where does the money go? What do we buy? What would we like to buy? What do we really need versus what are we manipulated into buying (by an oppressive society intersecting with our distresses)? Does it make sense to reduce our cost of living and, if so, how? Marcie Rendon1 has challenged us to think about cutting our consumption in half. What would we need to discharge, and what actions would we need to take, to move in this direction?
  • We can become competent in handling money—balancing our checkbook, creating a personal budget, managing our spending against our budget, implementing a savings plan, computing our own taxes. Many of us struggle in these areas. If you do, you are not alone. We also need to understand basic finance and economics, like inflation, the stock market, and interest rates. To do so we might need to act outside of old distresses about math, business, and learning. Becoming competent in handling money will help our lives go better. Economics and finance are inherently interesting, and we need to understand them in order to think well about ourselves and those around us.
  • We can face that we must see to2 our own financial well-being within the oppressive economic system. Our greatest security is in our principles and our close, committed friends and allies, but those principles and friends are not always sufficient. If there is a shortfall between our financial resources and our financial needs, how can we close that gap?
  • We can recognize that we are not to blame for any difficulty we have in “succeeding” within this economic system. If we have a financial shortfall, it is due to an oppressive society, plain and simple. It is not a personal shortcoming; it is nothing to feel bad or beat ourselves up about. That the oppressive society has put so many roadblocks in our way is something to be outraged about.
  • We can figure out what we need to discharge in order to take charge of generating more financial resources for ourselves. We can identify the steps we can take within an oppressive economic system, and act accordingly.

3. Contribute to the RC Communities.

We can pay as much as is appropriate for RC workshops and classes, using sliding scales as a guide. Sliding scales are an attempt within the RC Communities to have “progressive taxation” and provide the resource of RC classes and workshops to people regardless of their financial circumstances. Those of us with higher incomes or with accumulated or inherited wealth need to pay what we can afford.

If we have more financial resources than we need, we can also donate money to the Re-evaluation Foundation or directly to the RC Communities. No other organization has the tools and theory that RC does for transforming individuals and our society. Each of us has benefitted tremendously from participating in RC. Why wouldn’t we donate to the organization that has played such an essential role in improving our lives and the lives of people we care about? I think we need to discharge anything in our way of putting RC at the top of our list of organizations to which we contribute financially.

In addition, all of us can do fundraising for the RC Communities and the Re-evaluation Foundation. In my experience, both with myself and in counseling many others, raising money for RC is an excellent way to reclaim power and share RC with those closest to us.

Let’s support RC financially so as to make it as widely available as possible. Reaching people with RC is the only way we will have the lives and the world that we truly desire.

4. Initiate Regional,3 Area,4 and constituency-based work to help people discharge on money and see to their economic health and well-being.

Discharging on money and toward economic health and well-being needs to be a more consistent focus of the RC Communities. People are up against an oppressive society as well as their internalized oppression. They cannot be expected to figure out economic health and well-being without counseling assistance and the perspective outside of distress that Co-Counselors can offer. In addition to discharging on the topics described above, we can all benefit from discharging on the following:

  • Earliest money memories
  • Pulls toward greed, often based on scarcity recordings5
  • Discerning real needs from pseudo-needs
  • Facing the destructive nature of our current economic system and stripping away any pretense that things are okay as they are

We can completely discharge the distresses we have about money. We can take steps to see to our own economic health and well-being within an oppressive society. And we can act to make the world right so that everyone’s real needs are met.

 “George Bailey”
USA


1 Marcie Rendon is the International Liberation Reference Person for Native Americans.
2 “See to” means take responsibility for.
3 A Region is a subdivision of the International RC Community, usually consisting of several Areas.
4 An Area is a local RC Community.
5 Recordings means distress recordings.


Last modified: 2019-05-02 14:41:35+00