ERE: Should or can?

Intended for constructive conversations. Exhibits of polarizing tribalism will be deleted.
secretwealth
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Post by secretwealth »

So we're through 3 unresolvable political threads, which have gone as close to belligerence as this crowd gets, and I think I have learned something about our community. I think there is a strong division amongst us which may be correlated to other divisions.
On the one camp, you have people who think ERE is an option; it's something that people can do if they choose, but it isn't necessarily a moral perogrative. ERE, rather, is a kind of consumption choice that gives you more freedom at the expense of a bigger house, new dishes and fine crystal bowls.
Then there's the other camp, who think ERE is a necessity: it's something that people should do. This seems largely correlated to the ecologically minded (peak oil, apocalypse is on the horizon) and the libertarian worldview (I'm not sure why this is correlated quite yet).
For the latter group, the middle class consumption lifestyle is unsustainable, immoral, and a scourge that needs to be excised from the earth. For the former group, it's sustainable and moral--but just a less desirable option to the alternative of having Fuck-you money in the artillery.
These groups aren't mutually exclusive and the middle of a venn diagram between the two of them would be fat enough,but I do see them as ideologically poles amongst our little society.
What do you guys think?


bigchrisb
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Post by bigchrisb »

Agree 100%. I tune out the minute politics gets involved (and there are crazies from both sides on here). Perhaps we should all agree just to leave a few topics alone.
I'd suggest that politics and religion would be a good start, and vegetarianism would be a close third. Or option b, have a subform for there, where the protagonists can slog it out to their heart's content, and let the rest of us get on with it!


jacob
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Post by jacob »

I have specifically intended ERE to be digestible by both camps.
http://earlyretirementextreme.com/myths ... uture.html
This is because while I believe ERE is something society SHOULD do, in my opinion such policy action is not nearly as useful in terms of creating real change as letting ERE be something individuals CAN do. (As explained in some of the longer posts I made in this thread.)
(I think the libertarian correlation is latent. It is connected to the fact that ERE seems to attract a lot of INTJs and INTJs as a general rule believe strongly in competence and independence as primary values. Both of these attributes are required for a libertarian society to function. This is something I think libertarian partisans mostly seem to miss.)
(I think the peak oil/apocalypse is my fault/due to presentation/topic selection. It's where I came from and I've cast a lot of my writings in that light. Hence, there's a selection pressure/bias compared to if I had cast ERE in the way like say Ferriss or Tynan would have done it.)


jacob
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Post by jacob »

So it's a bit of a trade off ...
Do you take a 0.1% chance of helping one million people. Or do you prefer the 99.9% chance of helping 10000. I go for the latter. Especially since I believe there's a multiplier effect.
Fun fact: At its peak, the ERE blog had more traffic than regional newspapers and several government institutions. It's still comparable to some of them.
And ERE still outranks ssn.gov when it comes to "early retirement".


Dragline
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Post by Dragline »

Only three? I thought it was more like 30. ;-)
Yet, although one might come up with classifications or differences, I find that the fact there are many disparate people who would come here and share in common ideals that are ancient and timeless to be most heartening and encouraging.
It's kind of like these characters, both swimming against the same tide and recognizing the value in cooperation.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eyPZFi2b380
While you may not agree with why someone values frugality, self-reliance and anti-consumerism or puts a difference emphasis on them, isn't it enough that they do?


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Ego
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Post by Ego »

It seems to me that many of the political discussions revolve not around whether people should or can follow ERE principles but whether people should pay for the consequences of their actions if they decide not to.


tylerrr
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Post by tylerrr »

I will never understand how so many people on an ERE forum, based on self sufficiency, can still proclaim they believe in high tax rates and supporting the DO-NOTHING BUMS of society.
It is amazing the internal strife they must live with on a daily basis.
There are some seriously deranged people on this forum who will run out and vote for higher taxes and then go make a post on ERE.
It's kind of like the leftists from California who always move into surrounding red states where there are lower taxes, better small business climates, etc. and then they vote for the most leftist politicians in the new red state they just moved to....Pure insanity.
Please stop exporting your madness to the rest of us.


shawn
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Post by shawn »

Sounds like a Pre-conventional (whats in it for me) versus post-conventional (Social contract orientation) split. See Kohlbergs stages of moral development.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lawrence_K ... evelopment


RealPerson
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Post by RealPerson »

I second BCB. Religion and politics get plenty of exposure on other forums. Whether to eat meat or not ....well I guess that becomes a personal/financial choice. I vote for these 3 topics to be given their proper rest. I have learned so much from you guys (and ladies), except when people dig into these 3 topics. I would like to continue to expand my horizon....


BeyondtheWrap
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Post by BeyondtheWrap »

I will never understand how so many people on an ERE forum, based on self sufficiency, can still proclaim they believe in high tax rates and supporting the DO-NOTHING BUMS of society.
I don't see it as that much of a contradiction. I'd guess that for many on this forum (and probably according to mainstream criticism), you could say that the goal of ERE is to BECOME a do-nothing bum.
This view is consistent with secretwealth's first group which views ERE as a consumption choice. In this view, ERE is a means to working less. Higher taxes can be too.


Christopherjart
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Post by Christopherjart »

"I will never understand how so many people on an ERE forum, based on self sufficiency, can still proclaim they believe in high tax rates and supporting the DO-NOTHING BUMS of society."
I can't understand how someone who believes in ERE would vote for a politician who wants to regulate morality, deny equal rights, pollute the environment and promote use of semi-automatic firearms.
Politics isn't a simple as voting for high or low taxes. There are a lot of other issues involved when you vote for one side or another.
I actually think it is very offensive that someone would assume that social programs are only for "do nothing bums" when many people who benefit are working poor (people with jobs that barely cover cost of living).
I also think it is a little funny considering how the other party had no problem throwing huge sums of money into corporate welfare.
-----------------------------

as for the original question:
I really see multiple groups not just two because there are many reasons that you could go for ERE once you understand the possibilities.
Financial freedom to be able to do what you want for a living or have more free time should be attractive to many once they understand that yes, they can save more than 10% if they want to and enjoy some or all benefits of it before they are old.
Consumerism is a drug and of course companies want you to spend, but being aware of what you do with your money helps.


secretwealth
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Post by secretwealth »

Christopher: As someone who has travelled extensively, you have probably seen firsthand how the deck is severely stacked against some and for others. I've had an odd enough career and life that I've spent a lot of time with the homeless, British nobility, and multimillionaires in several countries. Of course the engineers in the room will yell about anecdotal evidence, but after seeing multi-generational wealth in Manhattan and multi-generational poverty in rural Guatemala, my patience with those who dismiss social welfare as a giveaway to bums is gone while my contempt is off the charts.


GandK
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Post by GandK »

@sw: "On the one camp, you have people who think ERE is an option; it's something that people can do if they choose, but it isn't necessarily a moral perogrative. ERE, rather, is a kind of consumption choice that gives you more freedom at the expense of a bigger house, new dishes and fine crystal bowls.
Then there's the other camp, who think ERE is a necessity: it's something that people should do. This seems largely correlated to the ecologically minded (peak oil, apocalypse is on the horizon) and the libertarian worldview (I'm not sure why this is correlated quite yet)."
I'm not sure I agree that the latter is correlated to Libertarianism. Specifically, I don't think most Libertarians would say that adopting any specific methodology is a necessity, as it flies in the face of the "anything goes as long as you're not harming others" philosophy.
I think the correlation may instead be along the lines of moral conservativism. Many who hold a Libertarian political stance are also very religious. And people who are practicing Christians (like me) sometimes tend to fall into the "if something is demonstrably 'right' or good, it ought to be made mandatory" trap. It isn't ONLY the religious who get caught up in a sea of 'thou shalts' - I've met some remarkably moralizing atheists - but most of the Christians with whom I interact tend to do this.
Not all Libertarians are religious, however, and I believe the ones who are not would probably tend to fall into the first group rather than the second. Libertarianism is about the individual having as much freedom as possible, after all.


maizeman
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Post by maizeman »

@secretweath
Folks can argue about the details but I think you've captured the difference in world view responsible for the recent threads really well. Thanks!


RealPerson
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Post by RealPerson »

I think the difference is who paid for the do-nothingness. The ERE types pay for it themselves. The types referred to above pertains to doing nothing paid by other people. I am guessing the issue is not about doing something vs. doing nothing, but who finances it.


Seneca
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Post by Seneca »

I believe this lifestyle is a choice today, but I believe in the future it will be less a choice and more of a necessity.
I also am ecologically minded in my own way, but you won't see me out holding a sign or chaining myself to a tree either. I've spent too much time dealing with, and enabling products to ship under new environmental regs in my professional career to think there are easy or straightforward answers beyond one thing. The easiest way to be ecologically minded is simply to spend less money.
I have traveled more than most. Many of my colleagues are Filipinos that rose out of generational poverty thanks to the American corporation we work for. I have a family member that started a foundation to build schools in Guatamala in memory of a son he lost. There seems to be less result in people rising out of poverty from those efforts than my company's manufacturing of microchips in the Philippines, not to mention more sustainably.


acorn
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Post by acorn »

"my patience with those who dismiss social welfare as a giveaway to bums is gone"
Couldn't agree more SW. I also wonder if this attitude isn't something of a more urban perspective. Urban areas are more socio economically diverse which provides more interaction with others less similar to you. Perhaps it leads to more understanding? Perhaps it is why there are so many "leftists from California" "supporting the DO-NOTHING BUMS of society." Not really sure...

I do know I've never met a do-nothing bum personally. Not in the US, UK or China, all places I've lived.
"I will never understand how so many people on an ERE forum, based on self sufficiency, can still proclaim they believe in high tax rates and supporting the DO-NOTHING BUMS of society"

I'll tell you why Tylerrr, it's simply because I don't believe we all get what we deserve. I don't believe success all comes down to hard work, I feel it's much more complex than that. This article is a pretty good glimpse into the challenges some of the less fortunate of society face, well worth a read.
http://www.newamerica.net/publications/ ... riage_cure


acorn
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Post by acorn »

Back on topic, I believe ERE is an option, and at some point will probably become a necessity (diminishing resources). However, I admit to assuming most of those participating in the work-spend-debt cycle aren't so much making a choice, but are blindly choosing the lifestyle as a result of lack of awareness/education. So it is a choice, but often not an educated one.


secretwealth
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Post by secretwealth »

In addition to the do-nothing bums is the issue of the do-negative bums.
For instance, let's look at Bruno Iksil, who caused JPMorgan to lose $7-9 billion last year (depending on who you ask). Here's a well-heeled white collar worker who graduated from a prestigious school and commuted from Paris to London while working for one of the biggest banks in the world. He didn't create wealth, and he didn't do nothing--he erased billions of dollars in wealth.
The do-nothing bums, therefore, are $7-$9 billion MORE valuable to the economy than the wealthy, well-educated, successful Iksil was. What's more, if Iksil had spent his entire life living on welfare, JPMorgan and its investors would be billions of dollars richer.


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jennypenny
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Post by jennypenny »

*Sigh* Are we going for 4 political threads in a row? Can't we just agree that not all rich people are evil, and not all poor people are bums, and move on?
-------
I fall into the second camp you describe, but not just because of the misuse of finite resources. Not 10 miles from my home (in Trenton) I see people who live in cold apartments and go to bed hungry. Here in Stepford, I got invited to a mother/daughter fashion show this week (disguised as a benefit of course) and was asked to contribute $50 for a Coach-themed gift basket for a door prize. The show is being held...in Trenton. It's almost obscene to me.
And don't get me started on how obsessive consumerism is the result of/reinforces horrible cultural trends like the exploitation and objectification of women. (think botox, pedicures, expensive shoes, plastic surgery, cosmetic dental work, waxing, tanning, makeup, etc.)
So yeah, I think as a society we should be throttling back on consumption. I don't think we all need to live minimalist lifestyles, but I do think we've gone overboard inventing ways to spend money.


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