Advocating for abundance will succeed or fail based on how well we address skeptics’ real emotions, legitimate concerns and understandable fears. Far too often, supporters of an abundance agenda dismiss their concerns or try to beat them back with data alone. This doesn’t work. In fact, it’s counterproductive. To see why, consider how one skeptic—let’s call her Susie—might not think abundance works for her, her family and her community.
Susie lives in Rustington, an imaginary, close-knit community of 12,197 neighbors in America’s “Rust Belt.” She’s the mother of three kids, Rob, Emily and Leah. Her husband, John, has worked at the local factory as a welder for nearly 25 years, starting straight out of high school. The family is lower-middle class, and John provides the family’s only income. Rob’s dream is to enter an apprenticeship program to follow in his dad’s footsteps. The factory is the lifeblood of the community and has been for three-quarters of a century, as long as just about anyone can remember.
One Friday morning, at 10:31 a.m., Susie hears the front door swing open, and it’s John. John has devastating news: The factory is closing and production is moving to Asia to cut costs. He’ll be out of a job in a month. Poof: John’s livelihood and the family’s sole source of income is gone.
Upon hearing the news, Susie is immediately overcome with anger. Rage, actually. How could they, those greedy fat cats? And both Susie and John are full of fear: How are they going to make ends meet? They have bills to pay, a family to feed. The factory was all they knew. What will they do?
A company moving production facilities overseas to cut costs occurs often enough. And in theory, it sounds like a win-win-win: for consumers, who get cheaper goods; for producers, who can make more things at cheaper prices; and for workers in Asia, where the factory will be. On average, that creates abundance.
Susie doesn’t care about any of that—and why should she? Rustington loses. Susie’s family loses. And Susie loses. The decision to close the factory harms all of them. As author J.D. Vance showed in his bestselling book “Hillbilly Elegy,” these communities are hurting, and we can’t ignore their suffering.
What we say to people like Susie will determine whether or not an abundance agenda implodes or flourishes. Will we just dismiss their concerns?
Read the full article on Discourse Magazine.