What if everybody did it?

Should you squeeze the toothpaste tube in the middle or from the end?
Post Reply
jacob
Site Admin
Posts: 10346
Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2013 8:38 pm
Location: USA, Zone 5b, Koppen Dfa, Elev. 620ft, Walkscore 73
Contact:

What if everybody did it?

Post by jacob » Tue May 19, 2015 11:44 am

http://fortune.com/2014/08/21/an-easier ... nequality/
We could have a future where technology creates a low feudal serf class—people with low wages or flat wages or high structural unemployment, or, we could have a future where we have a smaller workweek and citizens broadly have more capital ownership.”
Of course, this economist's implementation [of the latter choice] takes a somewhat different approach than the DIY ERE approach.

User avatar
Felix
Posts: 1272
Joined: Fri Nov 05, 2010 6:30 pm

Re: What if everybody did it?

Post by Felix » Tue May 19, 2015 3:35 pm

Libertarians of the Benjamin Tucker persuasion thought that a small government would result in an even distribution of capital.
Ironically, this maps the ideas of marxists hoping/fighting for a widespread ownership of capital by the masses.
It is also quite similar to the idea of the citizen's dividend, where people deserve a share of redistributed non-labor income simply because nobody made land or invented the basics of science and technology most of our modern wealth creation requires.

The proposed solution in the article seems like a capitalist's version of syndicalism.

The goal is similar, but the path to get there divides people based on their political/economic favourite theory (dogma?) to the point of ruining any progress.

One question is how to get from the current massive unequal distribution of both income and (worse) wealth to a more even one.
Based on past experience on this forum Pareto efficiency, freedom, inheritance, socialism, meritocracy, Ayn Rand, debt, taxes, rent and wage-slavery are bullshit-bingo terms for this thread.

workathome
Posts: 1300
Joined: Sat Jun 29, 2013 3:06 pm

Re: What if everybody did it?

Post by workathome » Tue May 19, 2015 7:00 pm

What a tragedy, think of all the useless paper shuffling that wouldn't happen.

Myakka
Posts: 70
Joined: Thu Sep 13, 2012 3:39 am

Re: What if everybody did it?

Post by Myakka » Mon Jun 15, 2015 5:54 pm

Unfortunately, I think if too many people do ERE, the system will shift to make it impossible. AND the rise of austerity in southern Europe may even be the beginning of such a move.

SimpleLife
Posts: 771
Joined: Wed Aug 21, 2013 8:23 pm

Re: What if everybody did it?

Post by SimpleLife » Mon Jun 15, 2015 7:13 pm

@Myakka: I disagree. I think a whole economy will form around a growing population of people living the ERE lifestyle. I already see this with all the blogs, Tiny Houses, services geared toward travelers, etc.

User avatar
bryan
Posts: 1025
Joined: Sat Nov 29, 2014 2:01 am
Location: mostly Bay Area

Re: What if everybody did it?

Post by bryan » Tue Jun 16, 2015 12:27 am

I think the the main hitch of "everybody doing it" is housing. Shelter near work or school or where people generally want to live is limited. Government taxes/subsidies (in the US at least) for shelter are not beneficial for your typical person; the whole system is tilted heavily towards the wealthy who can buy up more and more property e.g. monopoly.

E.g. people start doing ere and moving into vans since renting or owning a more traditional shelter is much more expensive. All of a sudden too many vans are parking in public areas and parking gets more regulated and more expensive.

edit: @jacob, I could have sworn you had a blog post or somewhere in your book where you stated clearly that not everyone could do ere as that would just shift the average making it necessary to do ere extreme. But then again you wrote more often that of course everyone should/MUST shift to ere. Maybe it's just the "retirement" bit that is less obtainable if everyone did it. Not that we have to practically worry about everyone doing it (well maybe except for too many people moving into vans in the Bay Area...).

saving-10-years
Posts: 512
Joined: Thu Oct 31, 2013 9:37 am
Location: Warwickshire, UK

Re: What if everybody did it?

Post by saving-10-years » Tue Jun 16, 2015 2:06 am

Shelter near work or school or where people generally want to live is limited.
I'm thinking that where you want to shelter is driven by where you are in ERE. If you are working for 40 years (not the ERE model) and need to live near work then you pay the relatively high cost of housing in the city and tie up housing in the obvious work-friendly places for decades. But if people find ERE in 10 years (say) then they could choose where to live. Which for some here would be in rural areas where they could grow their own food and live cheaply once they don't need to commute. There would be a problem if everyone decided to do ERE in the same way at once. I don't think that that is likely to happen.

jennypenny
Posts: 5917
Joined: Sun Jul 03, 2011 2:20 pm
Location: Stepford USA

Re: What if everybody did it?

Post by jennypenny » Tue Jun 16, 2015 5:24 am

bryan wrote:edit: @jacob, I could have sworn you had a blog post or somewhere in your book where you stated clearly that not everyone could do ere as that would just shift the average making it necessary to do ere extreme. But then again you wrote more often that of course everyone should/MUST shift to ere. Maybe it's just the "retirement" bit that is less obtainable if everyone did it. Not that we have to practically worry about everyone doing it (well maybe except for too many people moving into vans in the Bay Area...).
What if everybody decided to work much less

Myakka
Posts: 70
Joined: Thu Sep 13, 2012 3:39 am

Re: What if everybody did it?

Post by Myakka » Tue Jun 16, 2015 10:19 am

I regret my pessimism in my previous post. My despair focuses on the illusion that the chief destroyers of our planet are all powerful. They are not; they merely skew the cards I get to see to make it seem so.

The best indication of what it could be like if everyone did it is to look at those eras in the past when everyone really did live ERE. They ate what grew locally. They did the work they needed to do to survive and not much more. They had leisure to laugh and play and schmooze with the people around them.

I think the worries that the need to live close to work and shopping and all are overblown. The very mobile apartment-dweller's ERE is just one way of going about it. There are other ways. In suburbia it would entail trading a yard that gets used as an ornament for one that becomes a source of food and building material and medicine, as well as also looking attractive -- if that is important to you. Combine this with the advent of internet shopping that arrives right at your door, then many more locations look completely viable for an ERE lifestyle.

jacob
Site Admin
Posts: 10346
Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2013 8:38 pm
Location: USA, Zone 5b, Koppen Dfa, Elev. 620ft, Walkscore 73
Contact:

Re: What if everybody did it?

Post by jacob » Tue Jun 16, 2015 10:25 am

Myakka wrote:There are other ways. In suburbia it would entail trading a yard that gets used as an ornament for one that becomes a source of food and building material and medicine, as well as also looking attractive -- if that is important to you. Combine this with the advent of internet shopping that arrives right at your door, then many more locations look completely viable for an ERE lifestyle.
This is essentially exactly how our current "suburbia"(*) setup works. Okay, I use Home Depot for building material and Walgreens for medicine. One of the great things about Chicago is that the metrarail system covers all of Chicagoland up to about 1.5 hours of traffic free drive away. Our house is a 33 min walk from the end of the L-train, but there are busses. Whereas, commuting by car happens at an average speed of about 15 mph during rush hour. Solving the transportation problem would simply require inserting more trains. If that takes some pressure of the streets, it would make it a lot easier to bike commute. If they could make a bike path or a street without crossing traffic lights so it would be possible to hold ~20mph, I could ride downtown in <30 minutes or twice as fast as either car or train. Unfortunately the entire traffic layout is based on stop and go.

(*) Rows of single family homes but still close enough to the city to have many small shops 1-2 blocks away... anything from banks and dentists to funeral homes and general stores.

User avatar
bryan
Posts: 1025
Joined: Sat Nov 29, 2014 2:01 am
Location: mostly Bay Area

Re: What if everybody did it?

Post by bryan » Tue Jun 16, 2015 4:06 pm

saving-10-years wrote:
Shelter near work or school or where people generally want to live is limited.
I'm thinking that where you want to shelter is driven by where you are in ERE. If you are working for 40 years (not the ERE model) and need to live near work then you pay the relatively high cost of housing in the city and tie up housing in the obvious work-friendly places for decades. But if people find ERE in 10 years (say) then they could choose where to live. Which for some here would be in rural areas where they could grow their own food and live cheaply once they don't need to commute. There would be a problem if everyone decided to do ERE in the same way at once. I don't think that that is likely to happen.
It's true but also moot. Even in the case of plateauing population, i think desirable land will continue to steadily decrease in availability as roi margins are minimized.

Maybe it's one good/bad side effect of climate change... Shifting the desirability of a given plot of land. Not sure if anyone has done research into if it will be a net increase or decrease in (TBD) "desirable land."
Thanks. Don't think it was this specific post though.

jacob
Site Admin
Posts: 10346
Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2013 8:38 pm
Location: USA, Zone 5b, Koppen Dfa, Elev. 620ft, Walkscore 73
Contact:

Re: What if everybody did it?

Post by jacob » Tue Jun 16, 2015 6:32 pm

bryan wrote: edit: @jacob, I could have sworn you had a blog post or somewhere in your book where you stated clearly that not everyone could do ere as that would just shift the average making it necessary to do ere extreme. But then again you wrote more often that of course everyone should/MUST shift to ere. Maybe it's just the "retirement" bit that is less obtainable if everyone did it. Not that we have to practically worry about everyone doing it (well maybe except for too many people moving into vans in the Bay Area...).
I'm not sure what the difference between ERE and ERE extreme is? Do you mean ERE as in the systems theory construct or ERE as in early-early retirement?

Frankly, I think ERE as the systems theory construct is only complicated because it was formulated by an academic. I think people, as most people do, can certainly live by the principles using the method that most people do to make any choice: copy someone else around them. The main two things that currently make ERE "hard" is that 1) There's nobody to copy aside from a few people on the internet (we're very rare in the general population and perceptively even rarer because few of us talk about; 2) We only have a bunch of principles and a few examples to learn from, lacking the experiental knowledge that comes from a lifetime of experience.

Essentially, it's like learning to walk given that one has never walked before; never seen anyone else walk either; and been given a manual on how the muscles work and the principles of putting one foot in front of the other. Putting it that way, it's really hard. Just see how long it took researchers to make a robot walk. Conversely, any human possessing legs over the age of 1ish can walk.

Alternatively, systems theoretic behavior can be codified. See e.g. Confucianism. This should make it "easy" for everybody. When I say "can be" I am of course skipping the hardest step. How to do it. Traditionally, all you needed was to convince the king or emperor. Today, ... ha! You need to convince at least the entire internet.

If it's early-retirement in the traditional sense (lets call it EER instead of ERE to distinguish them) where consumerism remains high and renaissance skills remain low which can only be facilitated in an extremely early fashion by earning a ton of money ... that's going to go away. If everybody did it, there simply wouldn't be that many opportunities to profit from since all the systems-theory EREs would take them away (we're poor consumers); alternatively if everybody was aiming for ER, there wouldn't be enough high income jobs to pay for it. Basically, the world is not rich enough for everybody to afford early retirement at a high consumption level. This is the lesson that Greece is learning. If Greece can't afford universal ER, then nobdy can afford universal EER.

In reality, the answer and path is somewhere in the middle. Financial methods still work in most countries, but I don't think they are going to work as well going forward because the economy (the real one, the one that produces value) simply can't get much bigger without destroying its foundation. All ecological considerations point in that direction. The only way we can get it bigger are for 15 billion people to eat a vegan diet and live in tube hotels while playing world of warcraft all day long never really leaving. Measured in WoW transactions, THAT economy could keep growing for a long time. But there'd be no travel, no meat, no space. But maybe they wouldn't care as long as they get a 2D+15 Vorpal sword.

Again, that's an ultimate solution. In between, you can see what's happening now when far from everybody does it. Those who do it (only middling incomes) are able to do far better (have much more value in their life) than the people who cling to the outdated patterns of behavior like consumerism and single-skill careers. It could also be that these patterns will persist for much longer since after all this is how we built our cultural values and institutions. This is actually a somewhat dangerous situation for the non-diversified EER as they may be perceived as being too well off compared to their less-prepared/lagging neighbours. Things like mean-testing, capital controls, and sumptuary laws come to mind. ERE should be able to "hide" better but this still might involve camouflaging oneself by working 12 hours in the turnip fields. Keep in mind that personal freedom for everybody is a rather new concept and is far from the default state of how humans have traditionally organized society.

User avatar
bryan
Posts: 1025
Joined: Sat Nov 29, 2014 2:01 am
Location: mostly Bay Area

Re: What if everybody did it?

Post by bryan » Wed Jun 17, 2015 9:26 pm

jacob wrote:
bryan wrote: edit: @jacob, I could have sworn you had a blog post or somewhere in your book where you stated clearly that not everyone could do ere as that would just shift the average making it necessary to do ere extreme. But then again you wrote more often that of course everyone should/MUST shift to ere. Maybe it's just the "retirement" bit that is less obtainable if everyone did it. Not that we have to practically worry about everyone doing it (well maybe except for too many people moving into vans in the Bay Area...).
I'm not sure what the difference between ERE and ERE extreme is? Do you mean ERE as in the systems theory construct or ERE as in early-early retirement?
...
If it's early-retirement in the traditional sense (lets call it EER instead of ERE to distinguish them) where consumerism remains high and renaissance skills remain low which can only be facilitated in an extremely early fashion by earning a ton of money ... that's going to go away.
I didn't think to separate them in this case. Separate them and your post makes a lot of sense and addresses what I was wondering. Who's the numbskull that came up with these terms? :lol:

User avatar
Riggerjack
Posts: 2517
Joined: Thu Jul 14, 2011 3:09 am

Re: What if everybody did it?

Post by Riggerjack » Thu Jun 18, 2015 9:55 am

It's almost like nobody read the link in the OP.

I don't see any real advantage to "sharing the wealth" through stock plans vs through pay. The whole concept of the book seems to be taking the income inequality theme in a slightly different direction, to sell books. But I'm cynical like that.

Truth be told, I'm not sure that income inequality is really a problem.

Poverty is a problem. It isn't made worse by rich folks. Mostly it is made worse by those in poverty and those just out of it, in my experience.

Stahlmann
Posts: 417
Joined: Fri Sep 02, 2016 6:05 pm

Re: What if everybody did it?

Post by Stahlmann » Thu May 17, 2018 7:08 pm

.

Post Reply