When Forbes labeled New Mexico a death spiral state I don't think they had any way to account for the abundance that is felt by many of the people who live here. For Mikey and I being outside the rise and fall of the national monetary system connected us with abundance. This wealth we found from a more intimate source than we knew in NY when we worked 70 hours a week. We found it in our local domestic economy, we found it in friends and neighbors, community. The stats Forbes quotes about retirees, government employees and folks on welfare hardly say anything about our reciprocity with one another.
Money is different here. Many consider it the low road. Bounties are counted in gifts: food, drink, building supplies, scraps, and knowledge. New Mexicans know how to make things and how things work. But don't confuse our dusty, grease covered, stain spotted clothes with poverty. Many know how to live when there is no system to rely on.
Yes NM is a poor state and sure some suffer. But when the housing market crashed and many cities boasted a 14% foreclosure rate here in Truth or Consequences we had a modest 1%. Why? People live modestly. Fewer invest, fewer are tied to the system and tossed about by its fluctuations.
When Mikey and I pulled out of the market around 2007 we put the cash we had in a savings account earning 2% interest. We used most of our money to buy tools like cement mixers, land, and water. The bankers would say we did the dumbest possible thing. A year later the market crashed and we didnt think it was so dumb. We had nothing to loose. Instead of counting our wealth in money counted the tools we had to build a world with. And we did build a world.
Lately the most glamorous of magazines have been popularizing making things yourself. But I wonder of the people reading those mags, do they have the time? We all know what's coming and its not American's making a mint on the market, its learning how to live when systems we once relied on fail, like the systems that Forbes is known to report on.
I'd give a minute of thought to what it means to be hitched to the national economy and what it means to live outside of it before I let Forbes convince me that NM is a "death spiral state." Admittedly locals kinda like it when we get "bad press." They say things like, "it keeps out the rif raff."
Image: seasonal holiday store selling handmade goods, Monticello NM