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Bonus Post: Depression-Era Grandmothers Can Fix the Economy

I was reading a very interesting article today in the Huffington Post’s Women’s section.

I was initially interested in it because the headline hinted at the amazing Meryl Streep one day playing the role of the also amazing U.S. Secretary of State, former Democratic Presidential candidate, and former First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton.

That’s not really going to happen in the immediate future, but that was the running joke at a recent event both ladies participated in at the Women in the World summit.

All of these powerful females gathered from all parts of the world to discuss progress and leadership and all of that great stuff. They also discussed the national uproar over birth control (which is really pissing me off for a number of reasons, and I’ll save that for another post- in short, controlling our own reproductive organs is best for everyone in the end). The timing of this gathering of about 2,000 global female powerhouses is fitting as March is Women’s History Month.

The one quote that stuck out above all others to me was one from the International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde. “She suggested that the financial crisis might have been averted, or at least been much less serious, if more women had been at the helm of financial institutions.”

“If Lehman Brothers had been a bit more Lehman Sisters … we would not have had the degree of tragedy that we had as a result of what happened,” Lagarde said.

She added that recent studies have shown “what the level of testosterone in a given room can produce when you do trading.”

As one of my boys would declare upon hearing something profound, “That’s a headcrack.”

It is. What would it have been like if more women were a major part of the final decision-making in these financial institutions?

I do think anyone and everyone has the capacity to be greedy and underhanded under the right circumstances, but I do think women have an advantage over men in terms of getting the bills paid and prioritizing on behalf of others.

Yes, we will splurge, but we are going to handle the important stuff, somehow, someway.

Here’s my theory.

Men are historically and genetically hunters and gatherers, while women organize and distribute. Women have to plan and make sure that whatever is hunted and gathered is going to last and will be enough for everyone to survive. She figures out how to store the extra, recycle the extra into something useful, or sell it or give it to someone else for use.

Ask anyone’s grandmother who was a pretty young thang during the Great Depression, and they are going to tell you what miracles they worked for a family of five with just nickles.

I’m not knocking men. I know guys who are far better budgeters than some women I know, but overall, in countless households, I see it over and over. Women handle the day-to-day bill payment and household organization, while the men don’t give it much thought. They hand over their share and it all just gets done.

Would the financial crisis have been averted if women were at the helm? I’m not too sure of that, but I do agree that things could have possibly not been as disastrous.

I think women do think about the future more than men, I think women also think more deeply about the effects of their decisions on the greater good and try to deliver the lightest blow possible if there is a negative result.

Send Depression-Era grannies to Congress to work on our budget. We all may be eating cabbage soup everyday and wearing patches in our clothes and shoes for the next five years, but I bet you we’d have a surplus by the end.

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