Over a decade ago, while researching in Communist Viet Nam, I expressed to my friend, a student from a prestigious economic university and son of a cadre, that for a socialist country, Vietnamese folks sure seem money conscious, almost greedy. He sighed in agreement but explained it was not always that way. “When we were all poor, neighbors really took care of each other. We always knew we’d be okay because we behaved like a close family.”
During this economic downturn, I often think about poverty. I believe that those who give the most are those who have the least. I’m a self-professed cheapskate, but even I find myself giving more than normal. In the last few months I’ve donated to more political campaigns than I have my entire life. I also tip more than I ever thought I was capable of. Something about empathy that moves people to give in ways they don’t even do when they are well off.
So, if you’re affected by the doom and gloom of the global economy, do you view things differently? Do you find yourself more generous and humbled? I’m curious.