An ERE hypocrisy?

Should you squeeze the toothpaste tube in the middle or from the end?
CoffeeSnob
Posts: 10
Joined: Fri Mar 09, 2018 2:45 am

An ERE hypocrisy?

Post by CoffeeSnob » Sun Mar 11, 2018 6:18 pm

*Disclaimer: I am new to ERE, and this opinion is based on zero data and 100% speculation... as such, I reserve the right to be wrong.

In reading through various parts of the forum there is a general disdain towards consumerism and wastefulness... which makes sense, of course, because this is after all... ERE, right?

It seems to me hypocritical that the answer then is to save up fiat currency aggressively, and investing it in indexes and markets that are comprised of the very companies who drive the consumerism that is so “bad”.

Ironically, if everybody woke up tomorrow and become ERE die-hards and stopped consuming, the market would crash and the vast majority of your wealth would be wiped out in an instant (assuming you don’t live off the grid).

So basically, you rely on companies that drive more consumerism and debt, and rely heavily on a large portion of humans to continue to operate in “bad” behavior in order to support your goal... like monks who are against materliasm but are yet state sponsored.

Me personally? I’m a proud consumer and a big believer in Capitalism... I just want to be a sustainable consumer (efficient too), but i don’t pretend to have other motives like changing the world or anything.

Alrighty, tell me how I’m wrong!


User avatar
BRUTE
Posts: 3541
Joined: Sat Dec 26, 2015 5:20 pm

Re: An ERE hypocrisy?

Post by BRUTE » Sun Mar 11, 2018 7:26 pm

not wrong, but what's wrong with hypocrisy?

CoffeeSnob
Posts: 10
Joined: Fri Mar 09, 2018 2:45 am

Re: An ERE hypocrisy?

Post by CoffeeSnob » Sun Mar 11, 2018 8:08 pm

Daylen, great links... they seem to be more an exploration of what the world would look like if everybody ERE’d.

My point above is the hypocrisy between hating on “the system” and then investing massive assets to support “the system”.

Brute, i was hoping you’d join :) ... nothing inherently wrong with hypocrisies, they’re just fun to poke at :) .

User avatar
Tyler9000
Posts: 1443
Joined: Fri Jun 01, 2012 11:45 pm
Location: Austin, TX

Re: An ERE hypocrisy?

Post by Tyler9000 » Sun Mar 11, 2018 8:43 pm

IMHO, just do the best you can with the opportunities you're given and don't waste precious life energy worrying about ideological purity. ERE to me is not about fighting against the system but simply about making better personal choices.

CoffeeSnob
Posts: 10
Joined: Fri Mar 09, 2018 2:45 am

Re: An ERE hypocrisy?

Post by CoffeeSnob » Sun Mar 11, 2018 8:49 pm

Sounds like you and I see eye to eye, Tyler9000

jacob
Site Admin
Posts: 10344
Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2013 8:38 pm
Location: USA, Zone 5b, Koppen Dfa, Elev. 620ft, Walkscore 73
Contact:

Re: An ERE hypocrisy?

Post by jacob » Mon Mar 12, 2018 6:56 am

Render unto Caesar(*), ...

I think in terms of changing the world [in terms of wastefulness], ERE, FIRE, and the likes ... are a way for to convince people to consume less insofar they weren't convinced or inspired by the back-to-nature, gift-economy, ... people.

The way I see it is that over a lifetime, I will consume less than $7000*90 years or less than $630,000 worth of goods. If I had a full-time job as a researcher and worked a full career spending everything I made, I would have consumed $50,000*90 years or some $4,500,000 worth of goods. That's a big difference.

(*) Taxes and insurance costs comprise the majority of my total spending leaving only about 1/3 going to actual stuff. Those are practically unavoidable in the current society unless I want to break the law.

Farm_or
Posts: 411
Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2016 8:57 am
Contact:

Re: An ERE hypocrisy?

Post by Farm_or » Mon Mar 12, 2018 7:03 am

@Tyler 9000 +1

The secret to success is saving your energy from railing against things that are. And using saved energy to benefit from that situation.

If you are looking for perfection, look to religion.

CoffeeSnob
Posts: 10
Joined: Fri Mar 09, 2018 2:45 am

Re: An ERE hypocrisy?

Post by CoffeeSnob » Mon Mar 12, 2018 12:42 pm

Good responses, everybody.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts as well Jacob.

Jason
Posts: 1412
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2017 8:37 am

Re: An ERE hypocrisy?

Post by Jason » Mon Mar 12, 2018 4:09 pm

I think there is a false equivalency between anti-consumerism and anti-buying consumer products. From my personal vantage point, it has more to do with the why than the what. It's more of a critical response to the advertising agencies than the producers. I'm not opposed to myself or people buying consumer products. I think one just needs to be more thoughtful in the process. I am a consumer with an anti-consumer sentiment. Admittedly, I never owned a pair of Nikes but I own their stock because people literally kill each other to wear their ugly ass sneakers. I don't consider that hypocrisy. I consider that as effectively monetizing human nature. And I also happen to be a big fan of retail brawls.

However, I recently had a moral reckoning. I happened to hit a home run with Abbvie. It pretty much doubled over the past year. Plus nice dividends. Then I read this:

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/06/busi ... rices.html

In all honesty, it got me thinking about divesting. I mean my coke dealers were more scrupulous than these guys. They would front me and if I got to much in the hole they would cut me off until I made them whole so they wouldn't have to beat the crap out of me. They would just drive me to a really a bad neighborhood and lecture me on fairness while they took bumps off of a really big fucking knife. These pharma people don't care if your limbs start falling off. That's kind of fucked up. But man, I just can't seem to be able to hit the sell button.

IlliniDave
Posts: 2198
Joined: Wed Apr 02, 2014 7:46 pm

Re: An ERE hypocrisy?

Post by IlliniDave » Mon Mar 12, 2018 5:49 pm

I agree with Tyler9000. We're in the world we're in, and may as well proceed through it as efficiently as possible.

Augustus
Posts: 513
Joined: Sat Apr 02, 2016 10:15 am

Re: An ERE hypocrisy?

Post by Augustus » Mon Mar 12, 2018 6:00 pm

ERE is basically 1 part capitalism and 1 part minimalism. When you own the means of production by investing your capital, you try to get a return on your investment. If you practice minimalism and earn more than you need, it doesn't take much time to make the return on investment exceed your expenses.

Wasting money is just stupid. But even if everyone stopped doing that, there would still be demand for goods that are not wasteful, and the people on this forum would be investing in those companies instead. The point is not to encourage waste, it's to own the means of production and live off the returns.

User avatar
TopHatFox
Posts: 1602
Joined: Thu Oct 17, 2013 10:07 pm
Location: NY; 23

Re: An ERE hypocrisy?

Post by TopHatFox » Mon Mar 12, 2018 6:08 pm

CoffeeSnob wrote:
Sun Mar 11, 2018 6:18 pm
Yes, it is absolutely hypocritical. But -

I'd rather be the minimalist-capitalist travelling the world any day. (y)

And if communism suddenly took over, then I'd rather be the good-with-the-government citizen travelling the world. :P

Jean
Posts: 533
Joined: Fri Dec 13, 2013 8:49 am

Re: An ERE hypocrisy?

Post by Jean » Mon Mar 12, 2018 7:17 pm

Consumers are just cutting in half our accumulation time. I they all went for ERE, our specie would be saved. I would gratefully trade non-destruction for 5 more years of work.

CoffeeSnob
Posts: 10
Joined: Fri Mar 09, 2018 2:45 am

Re: An ERE hypocrisy?

Post by CoffeeSnob » Mon Mar 12, 2018 9:49 pm

I fundamentally agree with all the recent responses... I particularly enjoyed yours Jason.

Jason
Posts: 1412
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2017 8:37 am

Re: An ERE hypocrisy?

Post by Jason » Tue Mar 13, 2018 5:27 am

Tyler9000 wrote:
Sun Mar 11, 2018 8:43 pm
IMHO, just do the best you can with the opportunities you're given and don't waste precious life energy worrying about ideological purity. ERE to me is not about fighting against the system but simply about making better personal choices.
Working off this template, the individual has existential options as to how to respond attitudinally, ethically, etc. to the world in which they find themselves. And there are some very loud voices expressing their opinions about this i.e. "He who dies with the most toys wins." In this context, ERE reminds me of what Winston Churchill said about democracy: "Democracy is the worst form of government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time." It just seems to me like the best response to a non-negotiable.

Seppia
Posts: 615
Joined: Tue Aug 30, 2016 9:34 am
Location: Italy

Re: An ERE hypocrisy?

Post by Seppia » Tue Mar 13, 2018 11:17 am

In my life I found it most useful (and fulfilling) to become "above average" in many things as opposed to highly specialize in a few and suck at everything else (I still think becoming "very very good" at one thing and making it your job is still a monetarily efficient use of one's time).
I was all-in the Renaissance Man ideal before knowing what it was.

It is relatively easy to be better than 66% of all human beings at any particular thing, while it is insanely hard to get into the 0,1%.

I use the same approach to ethics/the environnement/anything that peeks my "moral" interest.
So, I content myself in being

a below average spender
a below average thrash/waste creator
a below average energy consumer
a below average water consumer
etc etc etc

when you put all these things together, I am probably WELL above average in terms of environmental impact if you exclude my job duties (I work in international sales so my many flights make me a top polluter)

so in the same way, maybe pursuing ERE is slightly suboptimal from a moral point of view, but it for sure is way better than the average, and that makes it worthwile for me.

jacob
Site Admin
Posts: 10344
Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2013 8:38 pm
Location: USA, Zone 5b, Koppen Dfa, Elev. 620ft, Walkscore 73
Contact:

Re: An ERE hypocrisy?

Post by jacob » Thu Mar 15, 2018 9:19 am

There's also this:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nirvana_f ... on_fallacy

The key here is whether low-consumption(*) FIRE(**) reduces or increases total consumerism(***); not whether it eliminates it entirely. This is part of the "Render unto Caesar" answer. Idealism always faces practical constraints. Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good and all that.

(*) As opposed to standard consumption FIRE at $50k/household/year with $1.5M invested.
(**) You can of course decide to be more selective in your investments by avoiding consumer stocks (e.g. apple, amazon, walmart, disney, p&g, ...) and concentrate on non-consumer stocks (e.g. water companies, wind turbines, hospitals, campus living, ...).
(***) Specifically, when a FIRE candidate decides to invest $1 instead of spending it, does that increase spending (GDP) by more than $1 elsewhere.

ThisDinosaur
Posts: 929
Joined: Fri Jul 17, 2015 9:31 am

Re: An ERE hypocrisy?

Post by ThisDinosaur » Thu Mar 15, 2018 9:51 am

CoffeeSnob wrote:
Sun Mar 11, 2018 6:18 pm
It seems to me hypocritical that the answer then is to save up fiat currency aggressively, and investing it in indexes and markets that are comprised of the very companies who drive the consumerism that is so “bad”.
Maybe its too oversimplified to say consumerism is "bad." Consumerism is neither good nor bad, it just is. And it may have undesirable consequences. Such as too many people being dependent on a vulnerable system.

ERE is partly about resilience to certain kinds of foreseeable collapse. Part of the way to do that is to take advantage of the shortsighted economic behavior of others.

User avatar
7Wannabe5
Posts: 3969
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 9:03 am

Re: An ERE hypocrisy?

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Fri Mar 16, 2018 11:18 am

I don't believe that concept of hypocrisy exists at systems level of analysis. That said, depending on perspective, a larger problem might be the "waste" of emergy (embodied energy) due to the early retirement of a highly educated young member of a technologically advanced society. Given minimalist model of one person capable of earning $40,000/year retiring at age 30 on largely passive income from $200,000 (maybe $7000), the efficiency of whatever capital tool set is chosen as investment vehicle will be dwarfed by the inefficient use of the tool that is self, if, for example time gained for retirement is spent watching "Laverne and Shirley" reruns. OTOH, if time gained for retirement is spent in the manner of Johnny Appleseed, then the much greater value of the operation of the tool that is self will render relatively moot the choices made regarding the tool that is invested capital. IOW, it's kind of like saying that recycling is hypocritical because recycling trucks run on gasoline.

The reason why emergy related to unique individual is generally not considered in such discussions is that both Christianity and Western Secular Humanism assign equal value to each human. In other human societies, a grown skilled hunter would be assigned much more value than, for instance, a two year old child with a shrunken leg.

Post Reply