Not even the Amish are immune to hardship

When we think of the goods times and going on spending sprees buying things we might not really need the last thing we would think of is the Amish doing the same thing. Well think again because according to a post on the Wall Street Journal Online the Amish men of northern Indiana enjoyed the economic surpluses of the early 2000’s just as we did.

Some Amish bishops in Indiana weakened restrictions on the use of telephones. Fax machines became commonplace in Amish-owned businesses. Web sites marketing Amish furniture began to crop up. Although the sites were run by non-Amish third parties, they nevertheless intensified a feeling of competition, says Casper Hochstetler, a 70-year-old Amish bishop who lives in Shipshewana.

“People wanted bigger weddings, newer carriages,” Mr. Lehman says. “They were buying things they didn’t need.” Mr. Lehman spent several hundred dollars on a model-train and truck hobby, and about $4,000 on annual family vacations, he says. This year, there will be no vacation.

Source: Douglas Belkin – Wall Street Journal :: A Bank Run Teaches the ‘Plain People’ About the Risks of Modernity

Just as with us in the more ‘modern’ world it all came crashing down for the Amish as men who had earned anywhere from $50.00 to $30.00 per hour in various industries found themselves out of work. During the high times even the most treasured traditions of ‘helping thy neighbor‘ seem to go by the wayside as the cash rich Amish hired outside companies to do work for them so that they wouldn’t have to repay in kind. Now that the hard times are here though there has been a slow return to their traditional values.

In Indiana, a back-to-basics movement appears to be taking root. More patches of produce have sprouted behind Amish homes this summer. Restaurants are entertaining fewer Amish customers. Mr. Lehman says neighbors “are more considerate of each other now.”

Some men have started their own businesses close to home. Mr. Lehman makes mattresses in his workshop. Harlan Miller, a 34-year-old father of five who was laid off in February, started making fruit butter, which he sells at a local market. Freeman Miller (no relation), 54, who was laid off after 30 years in manufacturing, builds wooden caskets for pets.

Source: Douglas Belkin – Wall Street Journal :: A Bank Run Teaches the ‘Plain People’ About the Risks of Modernity

It’s amazing how the power of money can easily corrupt even a faith and community like the Amish.