We talk about community and a return to traditional values brought on by the credit crisis and the community that springs to mind as being one of the most traditional is the Amish community.
The Amish community is based mainly in Pennsylvania and Indiana in the States, and continue a strict religious order that stems back to the Swiss Brethren of the 16th Century. Most of us are probably only familiar with them thanks to the iconic 1980s film "Witness", starring Harrison Ford.
The image this raises is of very traditional people trying to maintain very traditional values in a rapidly changing modern world.
Although this is not quite true.
In a fascinating article by Douglas Belkin in the Wall Street Journal, we discover that the Amish are as susceptible to the vagaries of modern finance as the rest of us:
“The great increase in discretionary income spawned a ‘keeping-up-with-the-Joneses mentality,’ says Mervin Lehman, 39, an Amish father of four who says he was making more than $50-an-hour and working up to 60 hours a week as an RV plant supervisor before he was laid off in November … it became common practice for families to leave their carriages home and take taxis on shopping trips and to dinners out. Some Amish families had bought second homes on the west coast of Florida and expensive Dutch Harness Horses, with their distinctive, prancing gait. Others lined their carriages in dark velvet and illuminated them with battery-powered LED lighting … ‘We were all going way too fast,’ Freeman Miller says. ‘This has made everybody stop and realize we're just pilgrims here, the Almighty is in charge.’”