The Buddha's last words were said to be...."work out your own salvation with diligence." He might have well been speaking of the Swiss.
Many years ago, I visited a friend in Switzerland. We spent the weekend at a mountain chalet of an older couple. I asked the very distinguished wife if there was anything I could do to show my appreciation for her hospitality. She said that she had visited the Frick Museum in New York many years before. She had not gotten one of their books showing the collection. She regretted it. The next time I was in New York, would I get one and send it. I said of course.
As events unfolded, I did not go to New York for more than a year. When I finally did, I got a selection of books on their collection from the Frick and mailed them to her. Several weeks later, I called my friend and apologized that it had taken me so long. He became very serious and said, "Oh now, you see, if you had sent them right away that would have been prefunctory. The fact that it was some time before you got to New York, but you remembered and still cared enough to get the books and mail them meant it was important to you. You cared to keep your promise. That is very good."
My good friend John Edward Hurley once said that "culture is the integration of the divine in every day life." I love that saying. I think about it a lot these days. Before we can right our money, we must right our law. Before we can right our law, we must first right our culture. Reinventing our culture is a global, emergent creation. No one has the answer, no one has the entire picture. However, the Swiss have figured out a lot about risk management. This includes how to prepare for and thrive through the cycles of good and bad times alike and the power of a promise made and kept through time and space.
Hence, Switzerland seemed an appropriate place to report on some of my thoughts about what those of us who live in countries that have pretended rather than prepared should now do to work out our salvation with diligence. Proposals for US retirement plans or the UK proposal that payrolls should be run through the governmental taxing authority remind us that the bill for our collective denial is coming due.
I will cover Money & Markets, answer questions in Ask Catherine and for "Let's Go To The Movies" I will review my favorite TV series, Battlestar Galactica.
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