Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Illusion of Wealth

You can either learn minimalist living now or it will be forced on you. Very hard economic times are coming they will make the great depression look like slow stock market day.

We have been living under this illusion of wealth, new cars, monstrous houses, maxed credit cards all there to give us a sense of higher economic status. From early in our childhood we are taught that we must strive to make more money to buy more things. If we don't have the trappings of wealth then we are somehow a lesser citizen. We are somehow damaged.

The reality is quite different. This is debt slavery and it is a well designed, deliberate trap to keep America's normal classes in line while the country is raped of its resources and sold off to the highest bidders padding the pockets of the elite.

The more trapped you are by debt the more you will produce for less. You will work harder and harder for less and less to keep your family in that large overpriced home, the Hummer in your garage and thousands of dollars in gifts under the Christmas tree.

If you make a product you want to pay the lowest wages possible to produce that item. This maximizes your profits. It is inconvenient to have a robust lower and middle class that will demand wages that allow a comfortable standard of living in a safe work environment. It reduces profits.

As Americans we will do everything we can to sustain our way of life. This is why both parents are working. It is not to survive, it is to survive at a status level.

I was unemployed for nine months a couple of years back. When my IT job was outsourced I thought it would take me a few weeks to find new employment. Unfortunately it was not that easy, over those nine months I drained my meager savings and went through a large part of my 401k to maintain my standard of living. This lifestyle had me existing well beyond my income level when I was working. It quickly had me drowning and drained my resourced after losing my job. But like most Americans I was comfortable and not willing to give up what I had become accustomed too.

I even had a "well stocked" survival retreat to escape to if I couldn't find a job. Problem was that I only had a few months worth of food and supplies with no useful survival skills. Living at the cabin would reduce my ability to find a job even more. Even though I had planned ahead I was trapped.

Survivalism to me is the ability to survive when your social/economic structure collapses or is removed. How do you survive when you cannot make money, your mind will eventually accept the loss of your living standard but not until you have exhausted every resource to maintain it.

The person with a new fifty thousand dollar Ford F250 bug out vehicle armed with assault rifles, three thousand rounds of ammo and 2 months worth of MRE's won't make it. Even if you have a nice survival retreat to escape to you won't make it. The homeless man who has learned to live off our abundant garbage will survive. He has accepted his loss and thrives, as best you can, on nothing. Do the homeless want the comforts that money will buy, of course. Can they survive without these comforts, again of course.

We all can survive without these comforts we just need to get our minds to that place and get over the false sense of pride that illusionary wealth brings. True wealth comes from the knowledge to survive without money or the useless things you accumulate with it.


theotherryan said...

I think it is essential to recession proof yourself as much as possible. Live atleast slightly below your means and try to find a job that is secure. For the most part government workers (however you feel about them is another discussion) stayed on the job during the great depression; ditto for teachers, mechanics, doctors, soldiers etc.

Having a retreat that is stocked is a great plan, as are survival skills. Grid up disasters are a very different beast then grid down.

If a huge depression happened today it would probably be very different then the last one for two reasons. First our currency was fixed to precious metals so there was only so much of it. During the last one there was actually deflation. These days the government could (and very arguably is) just keep the presses going 24/7. Secondly in the great depression a perponderance if not majority of people in America raised alot of their own food. So back then money was worth something and most people grew alot of their own food.

Nowadays money is not worth alot ( it could definintely get worse ) and a small percentage of people grow enough food to feed the rest.

BigBear said...

I think it will be grid up slow economic meltdown. Jobs will be lost, people will be homeless and hungry willing to take anything. You are already seeing this with 10,000 applying for 300 Walmart jobs in Dekalb in the last couple of weeks.

It may be to late for most to inflation proof their lives.