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  1. #1
    Senior Member chasingAJ's Avatar
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    Default What are you willing to sacrifice?

    I'm not sure if this is the proper place for this thread but several other threads have come to the conclusion (or maybe just I have...) that the root of social ills is over-consumption. We vote with our dollars (euros, etc). When we buy something, we are telling the corporation that their advertising works and that they should make more of what we bought. We tell retailers that we accept their business practices and we tell the people around us that this item meets our standards. Depending on how they view you, they may want the item more or less after you purchase one. Every purchase that we make has a ripple effect that spreads throughout the rest of the economy. What would you be willing to give up for overall economic improvement? I'm not debating what would happen or going into the "if you don't buy people lose jobs" side of things, simply wondering what other people prioritize and consider a "luxury" in these well below luxury times.

    For me, it's eating in restaurants. Despite my healthy ideals, not having to wash dishes is often the highlight of my day. With the money I spend I could easily buy the uber-dishwasher but there's something bratty about other people fetching your food. I could buy all organic local food for the price of a good meal out but I do it anyway. This is my guilty consumer pleasure that I know I should give up. What's yours?

  2. #2
    Order Now! pure_mercury's Avatar
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    Do we really have to sacrifice anything? I mean, if we really want to change our country for the better, we'd give up being spending over our means in general and use any extra money to pay down debts and increase savings. Giving up going out to eat won't send much of a message. For my current poor situation, I have cut down drinking and eating out, but that is only because I have no money. It's not as if I am sending a message to restaurants and bars.
    Who wants to try a bottle of merc's "Extroversion Olive Oil?"

  3. #3
    The Architect Alwar's Avatar
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    I am pretty minimalist compared to most people, but I do have a guilty consumer pleasure: beer. However, this is not a character flaw so much as a genetic requirement that Wodan required of all Volksdeutsche. Or at least, that is what I tell myself.

    I have plans to learn how to brew my own beer and only consume that which I myself brew. But really I don't drink that much overall.

  4. #4
    Free-Rangin' Librarian Jae Rae's Avatar
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    Coffee - I drink inexpensive New Mexican pinon coffee (in a can) from Trader Joe's. I like the taste and it keeps me from buying lattes, which I love. Every morning when I have coffee at home I think "I just saved $3.50." And now going out for coffee with a friend is even more of a treat. I used to have coffee out nearly every morning, now it's down to 1-2 times/week.

    Health club - I don't belong to one; instead I walk in local parks or swim at our local outdoor public pool. I can't stand the idea of driving downtown to pay for parking, only to exercise in a stuffy room with a bunch of other people.

    Clothing - I rarely buy new clothes and have gotten more creative with the ones I already have, accessorizing, buying used or consignment pieces, etc.

    Subscriptions - I almost never buy new books or magazines. My local library has a great magazine exchange where I get current issues for free. I use my library extensively; we have a superb ILL system and I can get almost anything I want within a week or two.

    What would I have a hard time giving up? Cable service (phone, computer, tv). After that, I'd be most affected by the loss of excellent library and recreation services.
    Proud Female Rider in Maverick's Bike Club.

  5. #5
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    I'm fairly minimalist as well. I can't stand clutter in any area of my life. My one excess is books. I purchase 40 non-course related a month on average. Sometimes more, if I've developed a special interest or two. I'm really into encyclopedias on just about any subject.

    I don't think overconsumption is causation of social ills. Are you alluding to "Tragedy of the Commons" by chance?

  6. #6
    & Badger, Ratty and Toad Mole's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chasingAJ View Post
    For me, it's eating in restaurants. Despite my healthy ideals, not having to wash dishes is often the highlight of my day. With the money I spend I could easily buy the uber-dishwasher but there's something bratty about other people fetching your food. I could buy all organic local food for the price of a good meal out but I do it anyway. This is my guilty consumer pleasure that I know I should give up. What's yours?
    I find there is little more delightful than sharing a meal with someone. However if I have to cook it myself it takes off some of the pleasure. So I love to sit down to a beautifully cooked meal with a smiling, and sometimes not so smiling face, opposite me.

    Of course Nirvana for me is a dinner party - with the conversation and the food and the excitement of the whole table.

    I am reliably told that dinner parties are de rigueur in heaven, but in hell you eat alone.

    The nicest dinner party I ever attended was where we were forbidden to feed ourselves but we could feed someone else. So we all fed each other. It was surprisingly hilarious and intimate.

    It was in a way a wonderful spiritual exercise where instead of meeting our own needs, we met the needs of those around us. It was touching and robust at the same time.

    Of course dinning with someone is a form of communion where in some ineluctable way we become one with each other as together we eat.

    I think it is the food and the conversation. We not only eat the food but each other. We nourish the body and the spirit. And we walk out into the cool night air replete and happy.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by chasingAJ View Post
    I'm not sure if this is the proper place for this thread but several other threads have come to the conclusion (or maybe just I have...) that the root of social ills is over-consumption.
    While it certainly is a contributing factor - you certainly cannot claim it's the major cause of social ills.

  8. #8
    Senior Member chasingAJ's Avatar
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    I didn't say that the root of ALL social ills is over-consumption and I agree with living below your means but I think that this thread was more like a gauge of what people consider their "treats" considering the economic situation and/or what they would be willing to sacrifice in order for the economic situation to improve. Arguably this mess was caused by people taking more than their fair share of everything (credit card debts, over-inflated housing prices, political and business thieves, using too much oil, etc.). If over consumption isn't the root of social ills, what is? Studies have shown that crime rates increase NOT when the level of poverty increases BUT when the level of inequality increases. Inequality comes from some people taking more than they should. Eating out is not the reason that other people are starving but I could use that money to buy local organic produce and "vote" for a better way of life. Not exactly like the "Tragedy of the Commons" but I do see how that can fold into things... I was thinking about the state of things and about how our ancestors all had war rations and victory gardens and women went to work (shocking!) because they banded together to fix something (okay, so they THOUGHT they did... )

    So I was wondering... if we THOUGHT that we could fix the situation by making a few sacrifices... what would we be willing to give up?

  9. #9
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    Actually....our economy depends on frivolous consumption to keep the wheel spinning. Notice how the government is giving out free money to encourage consumption.

  10. #10
    & Badger, Ratty and Toad Mole's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Not_Me View Post
    Actually....our economy depends on frivolous consumption to keep the wheel spinning. Notice how the government is giving out free money to encourage consumption.
    This is true.

    We live in the consumer economy.

    And advertising tells us how to enjoy its products.

    And the consumer economy is one of the greatest achievements of mankind.

    For the first time in 200,000 years the consumer economy has overcome scarcity in developed nations.

    Yes, for 200,000 years we lived in an economy of scarcity, but all of a sudden around about the middle of the 20th Century, we started to live in an economy of plenty.

    However although we are living in an economy of plenty we still tend to think in terms of an economy of scarcity.

    In fact we even feel guilty for having overcome scarcity and we fear it will be taken from us. So every now an then we make blood sacrifice, in terms of war sacrifice, to the 'gods' to placate their anticipated jealousy at our good fortune.

    And this thread, asking us what we are prepared to sacrifice, is a perfect example.

    But rather than making sacrifice, we need to change our thinking so that we may enjoy the abundance around us.

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