Last week I heard someone use the phrase citizen beware while remarking that we had all become consumers. We’re used to hearing consumer beware of course, and it got me wondering what the connection is and what they had to do with money beliefs.

The world seems crazy right now with citizen revolts all over the world:  Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and even my home state Wisconsin. What’s going on?  One thing is clear, most of it is about money.  Citizens are revolting in the Mid-east against dictators who stripped government coffers while keeping their constituents in poverty.  And government employees are battling to keep their right to collective bargaining and, consequently, power over their financial lives.

Are these examples of the intersection between consumers and citizens? Perhaps. I think we can agree that we have become consumers; we’re told it’s the only way to keep our world growing and stable. But it’s that consumer mentality that pushed us into today’s financial mess.  Is it possible that our consumer focus dimmed our role as citizens and eroded our rights?

What rights am I talking about? There are many to be sure, but here are a few to consider:  the right to a reasonable gap between those that have and those that have-not, the right to a balanced position in earning a living and providing employment, the right to access reasonable credit and to earn reasonable profits from providing credit.

Is it possible that if we focus too much on being a consumer or servicing consumers, we too easily forget about the balance and acceptance that we owe each other as fellow citizens? Because without balance and acceptance, we will continue to head towards unrest – both financial and otherwise.  After all, wasn’t sharing one of our earliest lessons?

One for you, one for me. What do you think?

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