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What If Everyone ERd As Soon As They Could?
Old 12-19-2007, 02:33 PM   #1
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What If Everyone ERd As Soon As They Could?

With a nod to twaddle, who posted: I think it's interesting to ask "what if everybody retired as soon as they earned enough to sustain themselves?" Is there any evidence to suggest society would be worse off?"

Discuss.
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Old 12-19-2007, 03:03 PM   #2
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Yeah, healt care costs would plummet because people would get out of high stress, illness-causing jobs early enough so irreperable damage would not be done.

The travel business would see a boom.
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Old 12-19-2007, 03:05 PM   #3
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"Discuss"? Were/are you a teacher?
It depends how it occurred.
If naturally i.e. part of the culture no affect - society would have incorporated it into its normal operations.
If suddenly those who had the resourses decided to ER at the same time there would be short term and long term disruptions
Short term - e.g. labor shortages; reduced smog; possibly higher wage and other inflation
Long term - Society adapts

Discuss
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Old 12-19-2007, 03:08 PM   #4
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Quote:
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Discuss.
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Discuss
I only take orders from DW.
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Old 12-19-2007, 03:12 PM   #5
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Kids would be happier. Parents would be happier. The monstrous gap between rich and poor would be narrowed.

Basically, it would be nirvana.
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Old 12-19-2007, 03:13 PM   #6
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We'd be living in France.
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Old 12-19-2007, 03:16 PM   #7
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Mais bien sur, mon ami.
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Old 12-19-2007, 03:18 PM   #8
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We'd be living in France.
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Old 12-19-2007, 03:33 PM   #9
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"Discuss"? Were/are you a teacher?
Nah, I just post that way when discussing/debating things on the net.
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Old 12-19-2007, 03:34 PM   #10
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I only take orders from DW.
Merely respectfully requesting, sir.
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Old 12-19-2007, 03:44 PM   #11
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Don't you know where you are? You shouldn't have said "Discuss."

You should have said "Argue."
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Old 12-19-2007, 03:46 PM   #12
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Should not have!
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Old 12-19-2007, 03:56 PM   #13
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heh. Yes, we tend to be a bit on the prickly side.
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Old 12-19-2007, 05:08 PM   #14
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"what if everybody retired as soon as they earned enough to sustain themselves?" Is there any evidence to suggest society would be worse off?"
People would have time to be wise shoppers and the financial incentive to be such, so maybe demand would force survival of only the "best value" or at least the better products, eliminating inferior ones and resulting in channeling of resources more efficiently.
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Old 12-19-2007, 05:25 PM   #15
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If the standard retirement age changed from 65 to something much lower say, 50, then the overall standard of living would go down. People would have less things and more free time, and, most likely, everyone would be better off.


However, if everyone retires as soon as they can then we have a bit of a problem. The most productive people would soon earn enough to retire, and, as a result, work the least. The more incentive you want to give someone to work, the less work you'd get.
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Old 12-19-2007, 05:30 PM   #16
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You seem to be stuck with the idee fixe that we must *maximize* productivity. That's almost as absurd as the idea that we should strive for zero productivity. How about a happy middle ground? You know, like France.
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Old 12-19-2007, 05:49 PM   #17
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The more incentive you want to give someone to work, the less work you'd get.
Man, I'm glad you were never my manager!

I always looked for any incentive (positive incentives!) I could find to encourage folks to work *and* enjoy their work. It could be as simple as bringing in cookies or brownies the DW had baked.
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Old 12-19-2007, 06:35 PM   #18
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Here's what Bob Clyatt had to deal with a couple years ago as he was finishing the first edition of "Work Less, Live More":
http://www.early-retirement.org/foru...ody-17085.html
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Old 12-19-2007, 08:27 PM   #19
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Sustain themselves One man's sustenance is another's view of pure poverty...

Not to be critical, but we all decide our own threshold for sustenance. Further, if more opted for lower levels of consumption (and therefore lower accumulation in that phase of life) then we would probably see the markets retreat, leaving many who thought they were at that "sustenance" level, without enough and having to un-FIRE.

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Old 12-19-2007, 10:27 PM   #20
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However, if everyone retires as soon as they can then we have a bit of a problem. The most productive people would soon earn enough to retire, and, as a result, work the least. The more incentive you want to give someone to work, the less work you'd get.
Wellll.... I'm retiring in a couple months, and am now training up the third person hired to take over my duties. I suppose I was very productive, but that doesn't mean I worked the least. If I'd kept being that productive, I would have produced myself into an early grave or a mental institution. Would that be the most socially desirable result?

You don't really believe that the more incentive you provide, the less work you'll get, I hope. That would make a slavery-based economy optimal. Yuck.

The idea that by retiring early one is somehow stealing from society (a theme I see recurring here) is a bit of a crock. I only 'owe' society production if that society is an inflexible centrally planned economy relying on getting every last bit of productivity to sustain itself.

The society I live in turns out to have a relatively elastic economy. This worker has produced according to his ability for a good long time, and has accumulated a surplus of capital that he now intends to use to better his own life. This will not have a deleterious effect on society as a whole, as the retired worker will continue to expend funds, consume goods and services, and in general still be engaged with society's economic engine as his accumulated surplus funds are reinvested and expended.

But, what if everyone selfishly decided to retire early? Simply put, the rate of production of goods and services would drop below the current demand, resulting in a shortage of goods and services for the early retirees. Prices would rise, consuming more of the accumulated surplus of funds held by the retirees. Demand for workers would also rise, resulting in a rise in wages. Inflation would result, reducing the buying power of the early retirees further. At some point some of the retirees would suffer from the economic pressure, and rejoin the workforce so as to get additional income and restore their purchasing power and lifestyle. The economy would arrive at a new stable state, probably a bit less well off for the remaining early retirees, but with the workforce pretty much unaffected. (Higher prices largely compensated for by higher wages.)
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