Self-Reliance vs. Government Reliance
The world has arguably become more polarized than ever before over the direction of governments. While a healthy debate is welcome, ideology is winning out over over sobriety. As a result of this unbending ideology, government leaders have made some catastrophic decisions. I’ve listed just a few current events that have disrupted societies across the globe:
- The Brexit disaster is costing the UK 600 million pounds a week.
- Roughly 10% of all Venezuelans are leaving the country due to the economic crisis Maduro caused.
- China has a widespread surveillance program that could eliminate privacy altogether.
I could spend a lifetime attempting an exhaustive list. Time will tell how each of the above situations turn out, but I certainly don’t like the direction we’re heading in. The absence of responsible leadership created room for ego and ambition. Governments that should be accountable to their people face few repercussions following failed terms (if their terms are even limited). As governments grow more fractured, we need to increase our self-reliance. Below are three trends that underscore why we should rely on ourselves more than our governments.
1. Disaster Preparedness (or lack thereof)
We have seen time and time again how poorly prepared both federal and municipal governments are for disasters. Many of us may remember that the levees in New Orleans broke, causing widespread flooding throughout the city. The US Army Corps of Engineers, a federal agency, failed to properly construct levees strong enough to withstand the hurricane. Moreover, the government response was so poorly coordinated that people who wanted to offer their help were prevented from doing so. It was ultimately heartwarming to see our nation come together to contribute to the relief effort, but much of the destruction could have been avoided. I also can’t pass up an opportunity to lighten the discussion a bit with Kanye West’s rise to fame:
The government has undeniably learned from its mistakes during Hurricane Katrina, but we can learn a lesson as well. Placing too much trust in a government could put us at risk following a disaster. We need to personally prepare for disastrous events, especially as catastrophic weather events occur with increasing frequency. Hurricane Katrina proved that self-reliance is of critical importance. We cannot wait for a disaster to strike to see whether our government will come to the rescue.
2. Mismanagement of the Economy
If there is one thing global governments have in common, it’s addiction to debt. While debt could be a strategic way to achieve growth, our governments seem reluctant or altogether unwilling to pay their debts off. As interest rates rise, we will begin to see cracks spread throughout the foundation of our economy. We saw how devastating of an impact the last financial crisis had, so we need to protect ourselves from overexposure to the next one.
I previously detailed ways in which we can prepare for Black Swan events, so I’ll avoid a lengthy discussion here. Simply put, it’s important to build up a rainy day fund, diversify income streams, and perform exhaustive due diligence before completing a transaction. We saw how some of those who caused the last financial crisis were not held accountable for their irresponsible actions. When the government to penalize bad actors, there is little disincentive to act badly going forward. We therefore need to insulate ourselves from future financial harm.
Government partisanship can immobilize a nation’s progress. United States politics, as an example, are growing more extreme. With political parties as divided as they are, it’s nearly impossible for the government to reach bipartisan agreements. Societal and industry developments, therefore, are outpacing legislative and regulatory responses. This is one reason why we are seeing problems rife within the technology industry.
The recent emergence of extreme partisanship isn’t just frustrating for the nation’s citizens. It’s also unrepresentative. Moderate candidates are becoming scarcer, which forces many voters to choose between the lesser of two evils. What do you do when your government’s interests grow misaligned with your own interests? You take action into your own hands.
Self-reliance isn’t easy. To truly become self-reliant, you need to develop both the right skills and the right mindset. The above trends will not reverse their course any time soon. Because self-reliance takes time and effort, I suggest you start the journey now.
I’d love to hear your stories of becoming self-reliant. Write a comment below or contact me directly.