YouTubesday: The Story of Stuff

Story of StuffI’ve been hearing about this video everywhere, so I’m not even sure who to hat tip. Basically it’s a 20 minute well put together video discussing all the ins and outs of the life cycle of stuff and how we got to be such a consumeristic culture. I think it’s very well done.
Go check out the whole video and website at The Story of Stuff, or watch the video (Teaser or Chapter by Chapter) below.

Teaser Trailer:

Complete Video:

Debt, Debt, Debt, Debt, Debt

(That word starts to look funny when you write it a lot)

As you know, from some previous posts, and my lack of updates, we’ve been in the midst of some major life changes. First, the baby, which has been a joy through and through. And now, a house. I’ve written about the decision to buy a house before and as you can see, we’ve come to the conclusion that it wise an appropriate decision. I’ve also said before that I’m willing to be open to the fact that I might decide later that it was a mistake, but right now I’m pretty sure it was a wise decision. The market is definitely in our favor, we paid about half of what the houses market value is, it’s a duplex which will allow for residual income/future community/expanding family and more. I’m very excited about the decision and the move, except for one thing: DEBT.

I think debt is a bad idea. People argue there is good debt: houses and education, but I’d disagree. I think we could consider those ‘inevitable’ debt in our society, because our current system and way of accumulating things makes them nearly impossible to avoid, but I don’t think that makes those debts good. Many people, including myself, couldn’t figure out an alternative to taking out loans to go to school. I’m glad with the decision I made, but that doesn’t mean it was ‘good’ to go into debt. The same is true for the house. The ability to take out a loan and take on some debt has opened up the possibility for a lot of things we couldn’t have done had we waited until we could pay cash for a house. Yet, I’m not going to consider it a good thing that I owe a bank a large amount of money.

I think I should also mention Kiva here. I’ve raved about Kiva before, it’s a great organization that gives the ability to take out a loan to build and improve your business to millions of people in the developing world. Basic banking resources such as savings accounts and loans are things that have been unavailable to 90% of the world and have been a pillar to economic growth and mobility in a capitalist world. So, I support an organization that gives loans to people, gives them the opportunity to go into debt, but I still don’t think debt is a good thing.

I think if we were more creative and more communal with our money we could avoid debt all together, but for the time being it doesn’t seem to be an option. Mindy and I plan on being completely debt-free in ten years or less. We are committed to it and serious about it, because the opportunity to be free of any debt will allow us to serve others in a capacity far greater then what we’ve previously been able to. Debt is not a good thing, I’ll never agree that it is. In a society as engrossed with debt as ours, it’s important we all take a strong stand against it.