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Old 12-19-2007, 07:51 PM   #201
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Old 12-19-2007, 08:00 PM   #202
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Goodnight Gracie!

Does this mean I dont find out where the boot goes?

(Come on REW...slow and easy, right over the plate...)
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Old 12-19-2007, 08:03 PM   #203
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Old 12-19-2007, 08:06 PM   #204
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Goodnight Gracie!

Does this mean I dont find out where the boot goes?

(Come on REW...slow and easy, right over the plate...)
Too easy...even for me!
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Old 12-19-2007, 08:19 PM   #205
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I'm sure someone else will take up the slack...
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Old 12-19-2007, 09:07 PM   #206
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Old 12-19-2007, 09:13 PM   #207
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Purron, that was a great post detailing your situation in ER. I think there are others here who have sound reasons for ER'ing. When I contrast your comments with Bongo2's it makes me want to .... well never mind. I'm sure Bongo2 will wiggle out of his "obligations" which are really to apologize to ER people like yourself. He has caused a lot of unnecessary angst.
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Old 12-19-2007, 10:43 PM   #208
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Just because you don't like a convention doesn't mean you can break it.
I agree.

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It is still selfish to park in the handicapped spot even if you think there are too many.
I agree. In fact, it's not just a convention, but actually illegal!

Neither of those statements addresses my claim that said convention (that folks are supposed to work between ages 20-60) is unwarranted and breaking said convention is not a moral problem, provided that said ERd person is paying his own way. You claimed that ER causes actual direct and indirect harm to society. I'm still waiting for you to state the harm. I'm still waiting for you to demonstrate how someone with $100 million in investments who spends most of his time in leisure activities is harming society while if he went to work at Burger King for 40 hours a week he's not harming society.

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Just becuase other people aren't breaking a convention doesn't mean that you can. Handicapped parking again. When you break that convention, if there are no police around, you get dirty looks. Just like when the 45 year old software engineer retires.
Are you shifting your position? This looks more like you're claiming that breaking a convention is by definition wrong. I don't equate parking in a handicapped spot with ER, and not just because the first one is illegal. I don't agree that breaking a convention is wrong because many people disagree with it.

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flispstress: "there is value to one's being happy that positively affects others around them" With that isn't it pretty hard to be selfish? I don't think the word is going to have the same meaning if you restrict it to only things that are pretty awful.
I'm going to break in on this one: do you claim that someone being happy doesn't positively affect those them? I think it does. I think that being happy has value, both to the happy person and to those who interact with him.


In the end, it seems to me that your issue is with having 'too much' leisure time.
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Old 12-20-2007, 07:38 AM   #209
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I'm going to jump into this discussion here and hopefully add something useful. It appears to me that Bongo's point is basically that ER is immoral, because if everyone did it then society would collapse. I can completely understand his rationale. That makes sense to me.

However, the problem is that that premise presumes that everyone can ER, but the majority of people choose not to do so out of some sense of moral obligation to society and recognition of the inherent "selfishness" of stepping out of the workforce. This is the part I disagree with, for 2 reasons.

First, obviously ER is not available to everyone. If you think that there is a huge crowd of folks out there with more than enough cash in the bank to retire, but who choose to keep working "for the greater good," then you're delusional. There is no shortage of hardworking 60 year olds out there who would love to stop working, but simply can't afford to. They made different choices throughout life. They chose to have 5 kids. They chose to live in an enormous house or drive expensive cars or take expensive vacations. Now they're reaping the consequences of those decisions. The people who are in a position to ER are there not because of luck (OK, luck had a small part to play but was certainly not the deciding factor) but because they sacrificed frivolous luxuries, lived below their means, educated themselves on financial matters, and invested wisely. Now it's their turn to reap the consequences of their decisions.

Secondly, as another poster pointed out, the simple principles of economics would correct the situation in which society is starved for a workforce. Manufacturers would be forced to raise wages to attract the necessary workers. This would be reflected in large-scale price increases in the goods, as the increased costs are passed on to consumers. Inflation would lurch forward. Those who ER'd would suddenly find that their previously ample nest egg no longer cuts the mustard, and would be forced to step back into the workforce. Only those with an abundance of savings would be able to remain ER'd.
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Old 12-20-2007, 08:58 AM   #210
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I'm going to jump into this discussion here and hopefully add something useful. It appears to me that Bongo's point is basically that ER is immoral, because if everyone did it then society would collapse.
Interesting point. He also stated that ERing to, say, take care of children is not immoral, yet if everyone ERd to do so (or take care of elderly parents, or others with disabilities, as not everyone has children) there would be no production and society would collapse. In fact, if everyone did [insert just about any activity here], society would collapse. I don't think that's a good argument.
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Old 12-20-2007, 10:36 AM   #211
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Interesting point. He also stated that ERing to, say, take care of children is not immoral
Unless you're a man, it seems. But I didnt get much clarification about whether it matters if the man was financially independent, or if by performing househusbandly duties invoked the bad morality clause of this particular misdemeanor regardless of financial independence.
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Old 12-20-2007, 11:26 AM   #212
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FinanceDude: I saw your post. If people contribute to society by spending then surely ER is a problem - just for a very different reason than I thought. The LBYM side would be the problem. If you contribute by spending and also by not spending. . .

As I said before it's the spending side of the equation that aligns society's actions with your desires. You aren't contributing here, you're consuming. It's the producing side of the equation that aligns other people's desires with your actions. There should be a balance of both.
You never studied economics..........we are talking about a measly 5 PERCENT of all Americans.......the other 95 PERCENT are out working and spending themselves into oblivion........

I understand you believe ALL should work until they die, but I fail to see how the choices of OTHERS affects YOUR obvious choice to work until you die...........
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Old 12-20-2007, 12:57 PM   #213
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Purron, flipstress, Sarah, sunshine, and others: You are probably right. This is a big forum and I donít read it all. We are also naturally going to have a lot more posts from the people who donít spend their time on more important things Ė almost by definition. I also tend to focus on the financial threads, which are probably more likely to lead to ďmeĒ centered posts. Perhaps I have gotten a skewed view of early retirement.

CFB: I thought you were ignoring me? Iím sorry the ďhousehusbandĒ comment appears to have so gotten under your skin. In the other thread I said that ER was against ďmores.Ē You asked if it was selfish to retire to take care of your kid, and I made a joke that being a househusband broke a ďwhole different set of mores.Ē I used the word ďmoresĒ specifically because it does not imply morality, but just social taboo. I was making a reference to this post where you said you like the way people think less of you when they find out youíre a househusband. Canít we all just get along?

http://www.early-retirement.org/forums/showpost.php?p=581272&postcount=24
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Old 12-20-2007, 01:04 PM   #214
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Tick Tock: ďAre you shifting your position?Ē

The last post did shift my position a little bit. In my posts Iíve been muddling two viewpoints: the perception of ER as selfish and the ďrealityĒ of it (if there is one). I have mostly been arguing that ER is selfish in some absolute sense, but, in that case how do we distinguish between the 65 yr old and the 45 yr old retiree? You can argue that the 65 yr old is just assumed to be unable to work, but that isnít very compelling in a philosophical sense. The age when retirement becomes acceptable appears to be somewhat arbitrary.

Perhaps this is closer to the truth. There is a balance between self-centered and other-centered actions that is assumed to be acceptable in our society. The exact nature of this balance (like the exact number of handicapped parking spaces) is arbitrary, but that doesnít mean that you can unilaterally decide to break it.

ďI don't agree that breaking a convention is wrong because many people disagree with it.Ē I donít agree with that either, but I think just breaking a convention because you feel like it is selfish. It will certainly be perceived to be selfish Ė but it probably is selfish as well.

ďI'm still waiting for you to state the harm.Ē Iíve tried. I donít know if thereís much more to say on this. It is externalities, consumer surplus, and the fact that when you work for pay you are doing what other people want. ďdemonstrate how someone with $100 million in investments who spends most of his time in leisure activities is harming societyĒ Perhaps our problem is this. Iím not trying to say that leisure harms society actively. Itís the removal of production that is a loss to society. The removal of something good is a harm. The person above may have been productive in the past to make that $100 mil, but they arenít contributing anything now. Taking someone away who is contributing greatly causes greater harm.

ďdo you claim that someone being happy doesn't positively affect those them?Ē No, Iím just saying that if doing something for yourself is unselfish because it makes you happy, then I donít know how to use the word.

Kombat: I agree that society would self-correct so we wonít have an ER crisis. With the rest of your post I think that you are arguing more that people who ER have earned the right to be selfish, rather than that they are not selfish.
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Old 12-20-2007, 01:12 PM   #215
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Kombat: I agree that society would self-correct so we won’t have an ER crisis. With the rest of your post I think that you are arguing more that people who ER have earned the right to be selfish, rather than that they are not selfish.
But it's universal, isn't it? Take 2 people who each earn $100,000/year. The first spends it on expensive vacations, high-def TVs, and BMW's. The second makes do with trips to the family cottage, basic cable, and a used Honda. He invests the difference.

30 years later, the first guy has no savings, and the second guy has a nest egg capable of supporting retirement. Wasn't the first guy selfish for all those years? If so, then what would you call what the second guy did? Wouldn't it be unfair to deny the second guy the pleasures of all that he's sacrificed for, while the first guy was busy indulging his every whim all those years? You seem to be saying it's OK to be selfish as long as you have a job. But if you live below your means and choose to take those pleasures later in life, that's immoral. I don't get it.
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Old 12-20-2007, 01:23 PM   #216
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Apparently, it boils down to the fact that Guy #2 still has some life in him that must be donated to societal good. Both Guy 1 and Guy 2 worked hard, so they were both worthy. But, when Guy 2 decides to take a break--whoa! Until the lemon has been wrung completely out and then put in a desiccator, he's not fulfilled his societal obligation.

"Row, Row, Row for your lives!"
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Old 12-20-2007, 02:19 PM   #217
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Apparently, it boils down to the fact that Guy #2 still has some life in him that must be donated to societal good. Both Guy 1 and Guy 2 worked hard, so they were both worthy. But, when Guy 2 decides to take a break--whoa! Until the lemon has been wrung completely out and then put in a desiccator, he's not fulfilled his societal obligation.

"Row, Row, Row for your lives!"
Aha, it is clear now. Bongo is a neo-communist - "From each according to how long he lasts before collapsing. To each a retirement of sorts after he can't enjoy it any more."
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Old 12-20-2007, 02:32 PM   #218
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The last post did shift my position a little bit. In my posts Iíve been muddling two viewpoints: the perception of ER as selfish and the ďrealityĒ of it (if there is one).
Ah. Iíve been arguing about the reality, not the perception. I will continue to do so; perception is a different matter.


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I have mostly been arguing that ER is selfish in some absolute sense, but, in that case how do we distinguish between the 65 yr old and the 45 yr old retiree? You can argue that the 65 yr old is just assumed to be unable to work, but that isnít very compelling in a philosophical sense. The age when retirement becomes acceptable appears to be somewhat arbitrary.
Exactly! Iíll come back to this later in this post.


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Perhaps this is closer to the truth. There is a balance between self-centered and other-centered actions that is assumed to be acceptable in our society.
Perhaps, although I think youíll find a range of opinions on where that balance is. In any case, this is again talking about perception instead of reality. Iím addressing the reality, not the perception. Maybe this is where we were getting crossed up before.


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The exact nature of this balance (like the exact number of handicapped parking spaces) is arbitrary, but that doesnít mean that you can unilaterally decide to break it.
Why not, providing I pay my own way? In fact, I can break the convention if I have enough savings. Many folks here have broken the convention. In any case, this is again talking about perception, not reality. In this thread, I have not been and continue to be not interested in someone elseís perception of it.


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ďI'm still waiting for you to state the harm.Ē Iíve tried. I donít know if thereís much more to say on this. It is externalities, consumer surplus, and the fact that when you work for pay you are doing what other people want.
Youíre mixing economic and moral arguments here. Iím not sure what you mean by Ďexternalitiesí, so Iíll set that aside until thatís better defined. Iíll address consumer surplus in the next quote. I absolutely disagree that doing what other people want is by definition a good thing, and that not doing what other people want is by definition causing harm.


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ďdemonstrate how someone with $100 million in investments who spends most of his time in leisure activities is harming societyĒ Perhaps our problem is this. Iím not trying to say that leisure harms society actively. Itís the removal of production that is a loss to society. The removal of something good is a harm. The person above may have been productive in the past to make that $100 mil, but they arenít contributing anything now. Taking someone away who is contributing greatly causes greater harm.
Itís removal of production thatís the harm. Then a person who retires at any age when they can continue to work is causing harm. Then staying home to raise a child or take care of elderly parents is causing harm. Then retiring from a high-production job to teach starving children in
Africa is causing harm. Then working 40 hours a week instead of 50 is causing harm, working 30 hours a week instead of 40 is causing harm, and so on. Yet you have repeatedly posted that these things are not what youíre talking about! From your initial post: ďThe ER we are generally discussing around here is someone who is perfectly able to work deciding to leave their job in order to pursue ďleisureĒ activities.Ē If it reduces production, then it reduces production, which harms society by your above definition, regardless of the reason. But you donít claim that any of the above are selfish or harming society. Based on this thread, I do think that your issue is with an able-bodied person having leisure time.

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ďdo you claim that someone being happy doesn't positively affect those them?Ē No, Iím just saying that if doing something for yourself is unselfish because it makes you happy, then I donít know how to use the word.
Thatís not what Iím saying. Iím saying that positively affecting those around you is a good thing, and if doing something for myself makes me happy, which makes me deal with other people better, which positively affects them (for example, I donít blow up at every small inconvenience or setback since I'm not stressed out from working 60 hours a week to contribute to society) then that is a good thing.



I think youíre not only mixing perception and reality, but also confusing economic and moral arguments.
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Old 12-20-2007, 05:11 PM   #219
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Hey folks,

Just a heads-up; DW and I are going to visit family for Christmas, and I may or may not post for the next ten days or so. Just wanted to let you know so no one is waiting for a quick reply that won't be coming.

Merry Christmas everyone!
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Old 12-20-2007, 05:34 PM   #220
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Thats okay, I think everyone is done feeding the troll.
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