The Amish and credit
Freelancer Geoff Williams has written an interesting article on the Amish, credit cards and the credit crunch. Geoff asked me for an estimate for the number of Amish with credit cards and so I took my best shot at it, basing my figure on the raw numbers I had seen while selling books in five states. You'll see my number is a lot (lot) lower than the one the Amish informant he spoke with gives, but I was shooting for a nationwide estimate, while the Amishman in the story was referring to the local community.
It was interesting to hear the high estimate for this community, but I wouldn't be surprised if that was really the case, as West Union, Ohio is a small settlement of four church districts. In some settlements they are quite common and in others, much less so. The actual national number may be higher but it's difficult to say for sure. Even if more Amish have them nationwide, I'd say there is definitely a greater tendency among Amish to use the checkbook than plastic (compared with non-Amish consumers).
In any case, a nice piece. Also, here's a link to a past post on the same issue, Paying with Plastic.
I think I communicated privately with you before about how sharp (financially) I found the young man to be that I dealt with earlier this year in the Borntrager Amish community in South Texas. This article on how the Amish manage credit just reinforces my belief that their common sense approach to managing their $$$ could be / should be emulated by more of “our” people.
I think we in the mainstream society tend to make several mistakes with our credit. We often cut things a little too close; we tend push things to the limit & ignore some obvious truths on how real world economics work. Consequently, the first time things go “bump” we are in a bind. The Amish, regardless of which technologies they care to use, don’t tend to make these mistakes. Basically, they are fiscally conservative & don’t seem to get themselves in a financial mess as easily as some of us do. If anything, I would look for their culture as a whole to ultimately be neutrally affected or even positively affected by an economic downturn of the magnitude some are forecasting.