Hey Jacob and ERE community,
Rob here. Found my way through Ran Prieur's link a couple days ago. Really digging the scene. I've been living a largely ERE-inspired lifestyle for a few years, though I've not been making much money generally, so my savings are fairly low. But I've no debt, and keep my expenses pretty low (probably around $9k this year).
I'm looking to relocate soon after finishing up seasonal work as an innkeeper, and will continue to try to keep expenses low, while perhaps building some savings if I can find a job that allows me to save that suggested $1500-2000/month.
I think what most draws me to this approach is the emphasis on quality possessions that really contribute to quality of life, and a ruthless excising of everything that doesn't. Ridding myself of the mental clutter that results from physical clutter is a draw. A few years ago I gave away much of my stuff (and left more of it with family) and departed with just a big camping back on my shoulders. Even that was a bit heavy and cumbersome to carry along, but the sense of exhilaration of having everything I need right at hand, ready to be packed up in a few minutes, was great.
I'm wondering if folks who come from a permaculture/energy descent/anti-fractional reserve banking background have grappled with the ethics of having money invested and bearing interest. I'm not opposed exactly, but do feel strange about it. If returns on investment have come mainly due to energy supply increases channeled through the economy, and those are declining, does it make sense to invest? Is it ethical to feed a system that wants 'Earth, plus 5%'?
Charles Eisenstein says that increases in money (from increased goods and services) can be understood as simply turning more of the living world into dead commodities (goods) and monetizing functions (education, child care, health, etc.) that previously were done through relationships (services). A part of me doesn't want to live in a world that sees that continue and thus can't bring myself to feed it with my surplus money. If I advocate and believe in negative interest, to discourage hoarding and combat the leveraging of power/wealth into more power/wealth, how can I reconcile that with a 3 or 4% return on investment each year?
I could be wrong- maybe there are other ways to look at this. Maybe it's worth it because it's in the service of living a life with a small footprint and lots of free time to learn how I can uniquely contribute.
Any ideas, y'all?