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Old 12-21-2008, 06:45 AM   #21
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At any rate, she came back to the bedroom the other morning and complained, "Jeff! It's so cold in the kitchen that I can see my breath!"

"Great!" I said. "It's cold enough now that I can unplug the refrigerator."

Man, that's harsh!

Our thermostat is at 77 F, and I'm wearing thermals, flannel shirt, and a sweatshirt.
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Old 12-21-2008, 10:55 AM   #22
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Man, that's harsh!

Our thermostat is at 77 F, and I'm wearing thermals, flannel shirt, and a sweatshirt.


A comfy 64F at my computer. A couple layers of shirts/sweaters, sock & slippers and I'm good. 61 degrees above outdoor temps.

My inlaws have their thermostat set at 72F. I feel like I'm sitting in an oven when I'm over there. I'm tempted to bring a thermometer, their thermostat must be off!

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Old 12-21-2008, 11:48 AM   #23
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While simple livers struggle with self-change, they work toward the broader goals of a sustainable global environment, sustainable communities, increased equality in access to resources, and economies aimed at human quality of life rather than profit.
I think this is all utopian. The last thing we Americans want is equal access to resorces. We have a big country with much of it cold in winter and hot is summer, big energy hogging houses, a huge investment in big cars.

What we want is a good Navy and world domination so we can keep an unfair share of resources coming our way.

As for economies aimed at human quality of life, forget it. The best thing is for almost everyone but yourself to keep grinding on, living in suburbs, dependent on cars, producing whatever they are capable of producing. You make different choices which you find more rewarding and live the life of an orchid in a tropical jungle.

Ha
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Old 12-21-2008, 11:51 AM   #24
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Nords -

"...you can just ask my poooooor wife if I'm the genuine McMiser or not. She'll vouch for me. Poooor thing.

You know, I have a special device to keep anyone other than me from turning up the thermostat. My pooor wife calls it my "chastity belt" for the thermostat.

At any rate, she came back to the bedroom the other morning and complained, "Jeff! It's so cold in the kitchen that I can see my breathe!"

"Great!" I said. "It's cold enough now that I can unplug the refridgerator."
The part of this that doesn't ring true is the part about her coming back into the bedroom.

Ha
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Old 12-21-2008, 11:59 AM   #25
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For participating I would like to give you something to show my appreciation, which can be discussed between us.


Now when's the last time any of us guys got an offer like this from a co-ed?

(Sorry, Hannah -- we're all part of the involuntary hilarity movement here.)

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Old 12-21-2008, 01:24 PM   #26
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"but apparently real"? Nords, you can just ask my poooooor wife if I'm the genuine McMiser or not. She'll vouch for me. Poooor thing.
No, no, I'm referring to Dolly with that phrase.

She seems legit and apparently was even on talk shows in the 1970s, but she must have dropped out of the media scene.

If she only knew what you're doing there, I'm sure she'd hop right on her bicycle and head on over!

BTW we never mess with our thermostat...
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Old 12-21-2008, 01:41 PM   #27
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No, no, I'm referring to Dolly with that phrase.

She seems legit and apparently was even on talk shows in the 1970s, but she must have dropped out of the media scene.

If she only knew what you're doing there, I'm sure she'd hop right on her bicycle and head on over!

BTW we never mess with our thermostat...

Thanks for the clarification, Nords. You know, I'm just very sensitive about challenges to my Cheaphood.

In fact just the other day a friend of mine questioned my credentials as both a cheapskate and an environmentalist (I'm proudly both) when he found out that I use disposable razors. "What do you expect?" I said indignantly. "I hardly ever find the other kind in my neighbor's trash."


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Old 12-21-2008, 08:44 PM   #28
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I think this is all utopian. The last thing we Americans want is equal access to resorces. We have a big country with much of it cold in winter and hot is summer, big energy hogging houses, a huge investment in big cars.

What we want is a good Navy and world domination so we can keep an unfair share of resources coming our way.

As for economies aimed at human quality of life, forget it. The best thing is for almost everyone but yourself to keep grinding on, living in suburbs, dependent on cars, producing whatever they are capable of producing. You make different choices which you find more rewarding and live the life of an orchid in a tropical jungle.

Ha
This is more along my line of thinking.

This idea of "Voluntary Simplicity" has only a tangential relationship to the goal of FIRE - and then only for some.

I like keeping my life voluntarily simple in some ways - but I certainly don't do it for reasons of trying to change the world - my version of voluntary simplicity is for purely selfish reasons & if it has a small beneficial effect on the rest of the world, well, that's good too I suppose.

(anyone familiar with my avatar?)
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Old 12-22-2008, 12:27 AM   #29
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Is it Zeno? (founder of stoicism)
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Old 12-22-2008, 09:50 AM   #30
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Here's a guy who takes voluntary simplicity to heart. Dang good with a slingshot, too...

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Old 12-22-2008, 10:14 AM   #31
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This is more along my line of thinking.

This idea of "Voluntary Simplicity" has only a tangential relationship to the goal of FIRE - and then only for some.
Well, in terms of VS being a (sometimes exaggerated) form of LBYM and LBYM being a core principle of arranging one's finances to FIRE, I'd say it's more than tangential.

But yeah, sometimes VS means living *at* voluntarily reduced means which isn't necessarily FIRE-friendly, but it does tend to improve the potential for greater self-sufficiency.
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Old 12-22-2008, 10:29 AM   #32
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Is it Zeno? (founder of stoicism)
Good try, but: Epicurus -

(from the Wikipedia article
"Epicurus believed that the greatest good was to seek modest pleasures in order to attain a state of tranquility and freedom from fear (ataraxia) as well as absence of bodily pain (aponia) through knowledge of the workings of the world and the limits of our desires."

Now mind you - I don't subscribe to all of the ideas of Epicurus (esp. the celibacy part, but that was a personal choice on the part of Epicurus) and not really interested in defending them to anybody.

Whether to live simply in some aspect of my life or another is a matter of "value" to me.

I do believe that if the effort/pain required to obtain a material item or participate in an activity is greater than the pleasure to be derived from the item or activity - then it's not worth it. The same if the effort/pain required to abstain from a material item or activity, or to subsitute a more "simple" item/activity in the name of "voluntary simplicity".

The same principle applies to those who live by consumerism as to those who are "voluntarily simple". Being simple won't necessarily bring happiness if it takes a lot of effort/pain to do it. I've cut & split firewood for heat - it get's old after a few years (& I was young then!)
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Old 12-22-2008, 10:36 AM   #33
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Being simple won't necessarily bring happiness if it takes a lot of pain to do it.
No pain involved for those of us born that way...
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Old 12-22-2008, 11:28 AM   #34
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simpleliving.net. The chat boards are very helpful.
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Old 12-23-2008, 12:38 AM   #35
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I think this is all utopian. The last thing we Americans want is equal access to resorces. We have a big country with much of it cold in winter and hot is summer, big energy hogging houses, a huge investment in big cars.

What we want is a good Navy and world domination so we can keep an unfair share of resources coming our way.

As for economies aimed at human quality of life, forget it. The best thing is for almost everyone but yourself to keep grinding on, living in suburbs, dependent on cars, producing whatever they are capable of producing. You make different choices which you find more rewarding and live the life of an orchid in a tropical jungle.

Ha
Well, what's wrong with a little utopianism, haha? I really wonder whether Americans actually want world domination, or it simply has not yet occurred to most of us that there might be another possibility—that reducing our consumption of resources, eliminating the "need" to dominate the rest of the world with its associated military costs (in lives, dollars, and goodwill) might be an improvement in quality of life for both the US and the rest of the world. On a personal level, do you actually take the "I'll get mine and half of yours too, and if you don't like it, tough luck" attitude you've described above? Or is that the attitude you believe most Americans have, based on our past actions? If you meant the latter, I can't really disagree with you—but wouldn't voluntary simplicity be preferable?

I am not sure how to understand your last paragraph. Does "As for economies aimed at human quality of life, forget it" mean that you think Americans will never be sufficiently motivated by ideas of fairness or equal access to the world's resources to voluntarily reduce our own consumption thereof? Or are you saying that an economic system which has the goal of improving everyone's quality of life rather than relying on ever-increasing levels of consumption is doomed to fail—people only work because they have to (debt, "keeping up with the Joneses") not because they want to or to benefit others?
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Old 12-23-2008, 12:51 AM   #36
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Well, what's wrong with a little utopianism, haha? I really wonder whether Americans actually want world domination, or it simply has not yet occurred to most of us that there might be another possibility—that reducing our consumption of resources, eliminating the "need" to dominate the rest of the world with its associated military costs (in lives, dollars, and goodwill) might be an improvement in quality of life for both the US and the rest of the world. On a personal level, do you actually take the "I'll get mine and half of yours too, and if you don't like it, tough luck" attitude you've described above? Or is that the attitude you believe most Americans have, based on our past actions? If you meant the latter, I can't really disagree with you—but wouldn't voluntary simplicity be preferable?

I am not sure how to understand your last paragraph. Does "As for economies aimed at human quality of life, forget it" mean that you think Americans will never be sufficiently motivated by ideas of fairness or equal access to the world's resources to voluntarily reduce our own consumption thereof? Or are you saying that an economic system which has the goal of improving everyone's quality of life rather than relying on ever-increasing levels of consumption is doomed to fail—people only work because they have to (debt, "keeping up with the Joneses") not because they want to or to benefit others?
In my personal life I live very simply. I hardly ever drive. But I think the US economy would fall apart even worse than it has already under a mass movement to simplicity.

As regards the second question, yes debt is a key factor but not the only factor. The way out is the way through I think. The answer to technological challenges is likely more technology.

Anyway Rwanda has a lot of simplicity, but it doesn't work very well for anyone.

ha
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Old 12-23-2008, 01:32 AM   #37
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Well, what's wrong with a little utopianism, haha? I really wonder whether Americans actually want world domination, or it simply has not yet occurred to most of us that there might be another possibility—that reducing our consumption of resources, eliminating the "need" to dominate the rest of the world with its associated military costs (in lives, dollars, and goodwill) might be an improvement in quality of life for both the US and the rest of the world. On a personal level, do you actually take the "I'll get mine and half of yours too, and if you don't like it, tough luck" attitude you've described above? Or is that the attitude you believe most Americans have, based on our past actions? If you meant the latter, I can't really disagree with you—but wouldn't voluntary simplicity be preferable?

.......
I think it's a misperception that American military power has enabled the US to "dominate" the world in order to selfishly enrich itself, at least in the last century. If anything, American military power has improved (or attempted/intended to) the lives of countless millions around the world - and at no small expense to the American taxpayers.

I'm all for the ideal of improving the quality of life in other parts of the world, however, I don't think voluntarily reducing our own quality of life necessarily serves that end.
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Old 12-23-2008, 01:53 AM   #38
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(snip)Anyway Rwanda has a lot of simplicity, but it doesn't work very well for anyone.

ha
That's two different things. If I have the ability to use more than I need, but don't do so, that's voluntary simplicity. If I don't have as much as I need, that's poverty. And I don't know anyone who thinks poverty is a good thing. I know I didn't when I was broke.
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Old 12-23-2008, 02:03 AM   #39
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(snip)I'm all for the ideal of improving the quality of life in other parts of the world, however, I don't think voluntarily reducing our own quality of life necessarily serves that end.
That's counterintuitive to say the least. If the U.S. uses less of some resource, demand falls, which means the price of that resource drops, which means people who can't afford that resource now become able to do so. If the U.S. uses more, the price goes up. IIRC this recently happened with the price of corn—ethanol subsidies increased the demand for corn in the U.S. and as a result the price of tortillas in Mexico went through the roof.
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Old 12-23-2008, 08:57 AM   #40
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If the U.S. uses less of some resource, demand falls, which means the price of that resource drops, which means people who can't afford that resource now become able to do so. If the U.S. uses more, the price goes up.
I'd say that' true *only* in the case that the rise in price from any US over-consumption is the cause (or significant contributing factor) to their poverty.

The really frustrating thing for me (and I'm pretty ignorant on these matters, so fill me in if I have it wrong), is that a great deal of the world's poverty is caused by the corrupt governments in those regions. Weren't some of the recent famines in Africa made even worse because the govt was diverting food or not accepting aid in the form of grain or something? Me cutting back on a few meals won't change that.


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IIRC this recently happened with the price of corn—ethanol subsidies increased the demand for corn in the U.S. and as a result the price of tortillas in Mexico went through the roof.
Good example. However, once again the cause was a corrupt govt, this time the US Congress buying votes/contributions from farmers, agri-business, and pseudo-environmentalists. The normal pattern of consumption in the US would not have driven up the price of corn.

I still think there is merit in what you say, but I question whether voluntary acts would have any significant effect world-wide. I think the involuntary effects will be much greater - the entire world wants a higher standard of living, and they are in competition with us. I just don't see how what we have is sustainable in the face of that. Maybe not total doom-gloom, but I think things will be tougher going forward for those of us who have been lucky enough to be born in a 1st world country, and hopefully, things get better for those in the 2nd and 3rd world. And I cant justify any reason that it should be any different.

What I would hope is that through some advancements we can cause all boats to rise. Maybe, we (or our kids & grandkids) will see.

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