Eugene Cho

the credit crunch crisis, the economic downturn, and you?

Take a few minutes and check out this video that is, thus far, one of the better visual explanations of how we got into the credit crunch crisis that was the catalyst to the national and global financial downturn.   I’ll be writing couple posts next week on the matter but wanted to share this resource with you.  

We are in a historic time right now – more than we can imagine or possibly understand right now.  But I do want to ask you couple simple questions and I really hope that as many people will respond:

How have you or your family been affected by the economic downturn/recession?

How has your church been affected?

How has your NGO, org, or company been affected?

I’ll share my answers next week.  Stay tuned.  

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15 Responses

  1. Steve K says:

    Thanks for the video. I got laid off three months ago and haven’t been able to find another job. It’s very discouraging right now but trying to enjoy the free time to do some relationship building.

  2. Matt says:

    Going along with this I would also recommend checking out IOUSA. It is something every American should watch.

    http://swainlife.blogspot.com/2009/01/iousa.html

    Cheers,
    Matt

  3. Sue says:

    We’ve really cut down our costs because even before the credit crisis, gas and food prices shot up so much.

    As for our church, our leadership board notified the church that giving has gone down about 30% in the past year. They are needing to make adjustments.

  4. Jennifer says:

    Thankfully my husband still has his job…but late paychecks are the norm now. The check that should have come on Feb 14 actually came on Feb 24.

  5. Corrine says:

    I think that for many people in my demographic (early 20’s, recent university grad), the recession has not changed our lives on a grand scale (besides the lack of available jobs).

    I think for many, the recession has given us an excuse not to spend money on charitable concerns. I am one of the founders of an NGO called The Afri-Can Connection (we work with communities in Ghana, West Africa), and many of my student contacts are hesitant to support the work we are doing “because of the recession”. But I have yet to see any of these students cut back on activities (drinking, taking cabs, stop driving their cars, cut back on travel etc).

    My personal finances have not been affected, because we didn’t have much money before the credit crunch happened. You had to have investments, or the money for a down payment on a large purchase (house, car etc), in order for the current credit crunch to really affect you.

    However, people’s attitudes towards what they “can afford” has affected our ability to earn funding for our projects. People may still be spending hundreds of dollars on Wii games, but they are not spending $10.00 on development programs.

  6. Ann says:

    Asset-backed securities have been around for decades, and when I worked in that area of the financial markets (late 70’s to late 80’s) the only “bad” asset-backed securities were those issued by GMAC, bundled loans for GM cars (which depreciated faster than the loans decreased). Although the clip does a decent job of explaining some of the problems, it neglected to mention one of the key problematic areas. There was/is a complete lack of accountability and transparency in credit default & other swap agreements and derivatives. Simplistically, Wall Street’s traders and institutional investors got involved in off-the-books investing and risk-mitigation based on “known” factors. (Swaps are called swaps, not “insurance” as the clip named them to escape regulation.) Deregulation, too easy credit, and some legislative mis-steps by Congress escalated the speed of the train. While our family hasn’t suffered except in our yet-untouched retirement accounts, we note the heightened anxiety and helplessness around us. My background in economics, asset-backed securities and then working for a prominent swaps trader in NYC helped us to avoid many of the mistakes that others made, yet all of us — in churches, neighborhoods with unsold homes, and in corporations need lines of credit — are affected. Transparency in and re-regulation of Wall Street activities are necessary to protect the integrity of the economy and the capital markets; just as transparency and accountability in our churches to the Word of God protect the members of the Body from ungodly ambitions that naturally surface in us.

  7. Tyler says:

    I haven’t been affected yet, other than my wife making a little less money.

    That said, my church is announcing cuts in the next few days. I believe I’m definitely at risk.

  8. The economic crisis brings good…

    I work for a Christian NGO and this crisis has brought some good to our organization.
    1. We held our annual fund raising banquet last November (the time of the first massive wave of lay-offs in Hong Kong) and raised more than any previous year. This reminded us to aim big and trust God will supply all the resources to fulfill His dreams.
    2. We’re right in the middle of our budgeting phase and most years the budget gets increased a bit but the vision and structure doesn’t really change. This crisis doesn’t allow an organization to just keep doing what “we’ve always been doing”. The restructuring isn’t finalized yet, but I’m 100% certain our organization won’t look the same start our new budget year. The ideas that are on the table now would allow us to serve almost twice the number of current areas and, God willing, have a much deeper impact.
    3. A 17 year old organization doesn’t like change and there’s usually always resistance from some. Having an “excuse” of a financial crisis can be helpful to persuade others.

    So far my personal support hasn’t been reduced or cut…if that happens…I might be posting some other ideas 🙂

  9. Tom says:

    I always enjoy your ‘huevos,’ Eugene.

    Sorry you don’t get more responses on posts like this one and the stuff you do on global poverty and your new organization.

    @ Ann. Many evangelicals–in my experience–don’t have much of a clue about the way the real economy works. Probably better to say, ‘many people.’

    We need someone with your experience to write a book/do a documentary that helps us get a grip.

  10. Risa says:

    Personally, on one level, nothing has changed. Don’t own a home, credit balance is low, we can still buy food. However, it’s been frustrating as we can finally buy a home due to falling prices but the loan is MUCH harder to obtain. It’s like dangling a carrot in front of a starving rabbit who can’t. quite. reach it.

    My company is a manufacturing plant. Our sales have dropped to levels that we had 5 years ago, which wouldn’t be so bad if we had maintained the same number of people. So far we’ve had 2 waves of layoffs trying to avoid a third. For the month of February, we worked 4 days a week rather than 5 (except for salaried). For a the reduction of hours, we were able to send some, not all, to collect unemployement for those lost hours. Morale is low. With the low number of orders, people are working more slowly, trying to “create” more working hours for themselves. However, they don’t realize that working those extra hours without hitting our needed sales quota (because of slow production) hastens that 3rd layoff. Plus a slow turnaround (compared to the norm) loses us repeat work. But people are afraid and they want the money NOW. Plans are being made to move out of CA and into AZ to cut expenses.

  11. I took a pay cut at work so we could extend how long our startup would be able to last. It’s been tough but I can’t avoid seeing that I’m in the lucky generation. We don’t own a house yet, we don’t have a retirement account, etc. and we have plenty of time still to do both.

    My heart is with anybody who has to raise funds for their organization. Hopefully you can find the right supporters to get you through the rough years ahead.

  12. rk says:

    i have good news to share. our church collected 18 million in one sunday for it’s building fund. that was just 2 weeks ago. it was only announced to us 2 weeks in advance that such a collection would be taken. we also saw our highest number of attendence that week. it seems to us that people went specially to give. just thought it’s pretty amazing considering the time we’re in right now. personally, after reading several posts sometime last year from various people (eugene included)about simplicity and strategic living, i felt convicted and have since started positioning myself to free up more money in order to sow into God’s kingdom. i thank god that i still have a job. like corrine mentioned above, the economic crisis has not changed our life on a grand scale because we have always been living on modest income. just that now there is more reason to put our money where it really matters.

  13. randplaty says:

    good video… it only explains one aspect of this recession, but does a good job of it.

  14. Edoma says:

    I see two issues here that relate to me as fairly small player in this in this large and complex economy, one is to do with how, what and why happened what happened to bring the economy to this state, and it is important to understand even if somewhat academic. The other issue is what it means here and now to me personally, the small component, and regarding this I need to understand how it is all affecting me currently and what do I need to do now to weather this economic storm.

    Understanding what brought this crisis upon the big players and as a result on us too, I find is really helping me better understand what it is that I should do now to weather this storm with minimum impact, and no doubt my motto now is living responsibly financially speaking, and not living beyond my means. To that effect I have recently embraced personal budgeting to help me make sure that I indeed am living withing my means. I opened a budgeting account at the Out Of The Dark OOTD free online budgeting website (http://www.myexp.org/OOTD_gate.php) and discovered almost instantly how irresponsible I used to be financially.

    Taking personal responsibility now makes me feel strong with confident that I can weather the storm, and I can only hope that banks and other large financial institutions will also start to act more responsibly.

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One Day’s Wages

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Collaboration.

col·lab·o·ra·tion
kəˌlabəˈrāSH(ə)n/
noun

the action of working with someone or a group of others  to produce or create something.

May we hold our logos, egos, and tribalism have their place. May we hold them loosely for they too shall pass. May we collaborate for the sake of the greater Kingdom of God ... which endures forever. As we honor Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., don't forget the God behind the man. The one true God who deposited this dream into MLK is still speaking to us today. Are we listening?

Be courageous. Be brave.

Being invited by the King Family to speak at the MLK worship service at Ebenezer Baptist Church in 2016 remains one of the most unexpected honors of my life. On the right is his daughter, Dr. Bernice King and his sister, Dr. Christine King Farris. Walking throughstreet markets in different parts of the world is the best. Soaking in the culture. Listening to the local language and music. Enjoying the amazing cuisine. Meeting new friends. Praying for the Gospel to penetrate. #ChiangRai Blessed be the local, indigenous leaders for it is they who live in the very communities they seek to love. For it is they who understand their context and culture...better than a Westerner ever will. For it is they who will continue to tenaciously pursue a better world with hope, justice and love when visitors like me leave.

Yes, blessed be the local, indigenous leaders. What an honor and privilege to celebrate with the on-the-ground local @thefreedomstory team to celebrate the recent opening of their Education and Resource Center for the local youth in Chiang Rai, Thailanf. This was made possible through a partnership and matching grant by @onedayswages and The Freedom Story.

While it was an honor to be there to cut the cord and say a few words, this is an example of collaboration. Much love to the Freedom Story team including their co-founders Tawee Donchai and @Rachel Goble, to their staff who live in the community, who understand their context and culture, and who tenaciously pursue a better world with hope, justice and love. And of course, much love to the students themselves for they each matter. Finally, to each person that donated to @onedayswages to make this grant possible.

May hundreds and even thousands of youth be impacted, encouraged, and mentored. May they capture a glimpse of God's love for them.

Photo: @benjaminedwards Part 2 on my wrestling with the complex issue of human trafficking. In part, documenting my trip to Thailand for @onedayswages...to listen, learn, and visit one of our partner orgs @thefreedomstory. More to come.

There's such painful and poignant irony in pursuing justice...unjustly. One way we do this is when we reduce people into projects...and thus, propagating the dangerous power dynamic of US as heroes and THEM as helpless and exclusively as victims. So dangerous.

Human trafficking is not just an issue. It’s ultimately, about people. Depending on the sources of statistics, there are anywhere from 29-40 million people in some form of forced labor and slavery, including sex trafficking.

And one thing I’ve learned, personally, is how easy it is easy to reduce people into projects which is why mutuality, reciprocity, and dignity are so vital. These are critical because God never intended people to be reduced into projects.

We forget this and we indirectly foster a culture and system of victimization or worse, the pornification of the poor or in this case, "the trafficked." And when you start dehumanizing the poor or trafficked, you have no genuine desire to build relationships with them. You believe or build stereotypes in broad strokes, singular, black and white narratives that have been told about them. You believe the lie that they have nothing to teach us and are incapable of contributing to the larger society.

Lord, break our hearts for the things that break your heart. Give us eyes to see others through your eyes. Give us humility so that we acknowledge our own need to learn and grow. (Photo via @thefreedomstory)

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