THE 2007-2009 FINANCIAL CRISIS
At 1787 we are the first to admit that, before the 2007-2009 Financial Crisis, our self-interest had started to overshadow our self-sacrifice. Many of us had become so seduced by the glitter of the American Dream that we lost sight of its glory.
But then the wakeup call came. The first few days of the crisis felt like the last day of a four-day Vegas trip. You know the one — where you live daring and carefree and throw all caution to the wind…the one where, although you really don’t know what the heck you’re doing, you throw that dice like a high roller and double down and hit 18 like the gambler you are. The trip where, on the final morning, you suddenly feel irresponsible and reckless as you mentally calculate the little cash you have left as you fearfully check for a wedding ring.
After a few days, fear quickly turned into anger and frustration because most of us felt blindsided by the financial disappearing acts in the markets. But then, unexpectedly, something else started to tug at our subconscious. Although it would be far easier to ignore the rude intrusion and continue to blame uncontrolled traders and corrupt executives, feelings of regret, responsibility and guilt crept in as we tried to answer a question that in retrospect was as inevitable as it was disturbing:
Why did we allow things to get this out of control?
It would have been painful enough to look at our 401(k) statements if we were unaware that a day of reckoning was coming, but many of us had a gut feeling that a debt far costlier than our Visa bill was about to come due — the nagging sensation that most of us had tilted more toward the glitter than the glory. We knew it was rampant on Wall Street where a few bad apples showed blatant disregard for responsible governance and basic morality. We knew it dominated Congress, where our leaders used our tax dollars as their very own re-election fund. But we also knew that the trend extended beyond Washington and Wall Street.
From the edge of the abyss — where an international crisis of confidence crashed into a citizen’s crisis of conscious — it was impossible to ignore that we all needed to make changes. But have we?