Power of a Dollar

The world is divided by the haves and the have nots. The divide is becoming bigger and the middle class is disappearing from America. These are two talking points I hear on the nightly news, message boards, and radio broadcasts regularly. I hear my friends and family discuss the rat race we all find ourselves in as they search for a handle to pull themselves up and out of it. We all know about the corruption in government and industry. I know all about the doom, gloom, and dread. I know how little power a single person holds, however I write today to ask us not to fall into the trap of despair, but to ask us to remember the power of our dollar.

Groceries, shopping, sports, television, movies, etc... are billion dollar industries. They are billion dollar industries that have a homogenous relationship with advertising and through them the consumer. We all feel powerless against these firms that have more power and money than God himself. We may even hate them because they have pull that we will never have. They can avoid prosecution and hide income. The companies that we support avoid taxes in almost every country they do business in and encourage laws and bills that allow them to extort their customer and the public.

We all know this, but I implore you to remember one thing. We give them their power. At its smallest level Walmart, the NFL, Amazon, etc... are only as valuable as we make them. At the end of the day our purchases, our shopping habits, and our dollars fuel their bottom line. We are the lifeblood that keeps them going and in that way we can help shape and create change.

Suspect of my idea? Think for a second about the “organic” movement sweeping the nation. Ten years ago Walmart began bringing in organic products because their customers were asking for them. The section naturally grew as their customers purchased and supported this effort. Right now Kroger has begun a whole marketing and re-branding campaign dedicated towards health and healthy foods.

Companies need us to support them. We give up so much power for convenience. We give it up so we can make the most of our time, but I remind all of us that it is exactly what fuels the infrastructure. It is completely possible to live off the grid, to live on your own volition. You can grow quite a bit of your own food, you can get the rest of your supplies by supporting local owner operated businesses. It may take more time, but it can be done.

And that is what it comes down to. Time, effort. Just like exercising and choosing a more healthy life- style, for the most part we can choose to act in ways that will shape the world we live in. We all think that I am too small, I am only one, but it is that thinking that diverts us from the truth.

I have worked in retail, for private corporations, in music, writing, been self -employed, and worked for a university. In the words of “Mr. Wonderful,” “Its all about the money.” I am in no way endorsing that, because I believe there is more to life than that, but he does have a point. What shapes the world we live in are the choices we make. And how we spend our money.

We live in a day and age where we are able to share knowledge and organize easier than ever before. We live in a day where social media is as large a component of the news as the truth. So I implore you to remember this as you go about your lives.

I am not calling for a revolution, but am calling for an awakening. I am asking all of us to remember that we help shape the world we live in. And more to the point that our dollar supports the industries that run this world.

I once heard that it only takes 30% of a population to support a cause before it snowballs and change comes. So I ask you to remember Miss Parks and Dr. King. Gandhi and mother Teresa. I ask you to remember them to re-live and awaken that drive for change that is inside of all of us. To remember the power of our dollar and the power that a single person holds inside of themselves.