Adam Smith vs. ERE

Simple living, extreme early retirement, being wealthy, ...
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Jin+Guice
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Re: Adam Smith vs. ERE

Post by Jin+Guice » Sun Sep 23, 2018 6:57 pm

I just read back over this thread and I see that there is a lot of frustration about becoming a generalist. I feel this frustration too. 7w5 has done an excellent job of highlighting how goals for the web of goals could be chosen and how others can be excluded.

I think it's important to remember that there is a bit of minimalism in ERE. There is always the option to eliminate something instead of paying for it or DIYing it. If it adds a lot of value to your life this is not a good option, but if it doesn't this is a good option.

I would also argue that building your ERE life is a skill in itself. Perhaps it is The Skill. Most of us were probably good at components of ERE but lacked others when we were first introduced to ERE. Frugality and doing things unconventionally were already skills I possessed before being introduced to ERE. I've been able to tweak and improve these skills after uncovering a set of principles behind them and goals they may lead to, but the gains were far smaller than for a standard consumer. However, the pain was much less too. I am not a very good generalist, nor am I a good investor and I am somewhat bad at self-managing. These skills will take longer to develop. When I look at someone like 7w5 or Jacob who already have these skills it's frustrating, but they have been working on them for years longer than I have. As 7w5 points out, being envious of others skills points you in the direction of what skills you may wish to work on.

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Re: Adam Smith vs. ERE

Post by Farm_or » Mon Sep 24, 2018 7:48 am

I truly appreciate the different points of view. Sometimes I feel like the dumbest kid in the advanced placement class, but sometimes I can offer my unique perspective. That intellectual challenge has kept me interested in this forum. Especially when I come across something that I think that I may be able to apply.

I often have to go way back on ideas that I have gotten from reading books. Often times, it's my cliff notes attachments are all that I can initially remember and I would have to go back for review. Most recently was my memory of "man without a country" that I read in highschool thirty years ago. Something about Nike's campaign reminded me of that book.

I get the minimalist theory. But one size doesn't always fiit. The conditionalist theory is of overload and cut back. Applied to your health, it's easy to see the benefits of exceeding minimalism. Maybe it's my error in equating capitalism with that concept. The person who works to acquire the capital naturally learns more of it (and gains unique appreciation for it). It takes more capital to retire early than it does to simply eat tomorrow.

Having built muscle with overload and cut back makes it easier, but I suppose it's not the only way? When your skin is thicker from paying your dues at the assembly line, it's easier to get ahead in life. Leaving casual observers envious and jumping to erroneous conclusion instead of accepting the hardships that must be endured?

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Riggerjack
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Re: Adam Smith vs. ERE

Post by Riggerjack » Mon Sep 24, 2018 1:59 pm

@ 7w5 and farm_or

I see your points in this thread as issues of self definition.

In my read, 7w5 values freedom, freedom to do as she would prefer, as her ultimate goal. Towards this end, she has optimized her life.

But Farm_or's goal is different. Freedom is important, but he is driving for something a little different. Capability is the term that comes to mind, but isn't quite right. Farm_or seems to be driving to a life goal that includes freedom, and expressed capabilities, and something else I can't really define.

But I could just be projecting, in that is the difference I see between my goals and 7w5's. I want to maximize riggerjackness, which includes freedom, but isn't a search for freedom. It includes capabilities, but isn't limited to just maximizing capabilities.

I would be miserable living as 7w5 does, in that her need for freedom stops her from maximizing leverage to achieve a bigger goal. If I had an urban permaculture project, it would start with a backhoe rental.

And the " why go to the gym to build muscles to dig?" question is perfect. From a freedom maximizing perspective, one achieves ones goal fastest by working the specialized labor of digging. Each day digging both moves one closer to the goal, and increases strength exactly where it's needed. But each day in the gym increases capabilities across-the-board. Progress in digging is slower, but progress is a bit faster for everything, overall.

So I completely understand Farm_or's point about the importance of working an assembly line, and learning to master it. But 7w5's approach will always seem fragile to me. Too much dependency on others. Too little development of the strengths I want. Freedom is essential, but learning to be free, regardless of external circumstances, is more freeing than simply avoiding tethers.

But I could be wrong.

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7Wannabe5
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Re: Adam Smith vs. ERE

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Mon Sep 24, 2018 6:27 pm

Riggerjack wrote:I would be miserable living as 7w5 does, in that her need for freedom stops her from maximizing leverage to achieve a bigger goal. If I had an urban permaculture project, it would start with a backhoe rental.
Wrings hands and whispers "Observation is the first step in permaculture. Known unknowns disregarded. Second order effects?!!"



Consider the sum total of all the effects of your actions. Since adopting specific actions will led to specific outcomes, all effects can be considered goals, whether you actually want to achieve them or not.- ERE-the book.
Even suffering. Obviously power.

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Riggerjack
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Re: Adam Smith vs. ERE

Post by Riggerjack » Mon Sep 24, 2018 6:50 pm

I seem to have much more faith in mother nature. But that could be because of where I am. It's easier to see natural growth returning, when it's right there, creeping closer, growing taller.

We were away from the Whidbey house all summer. The 40' wide opening we cleared to bare earth and graded to make room to move the house had closed to just the driveway in 3 years. But one summer without traffic, and the native growth on the left side and the right side had closed the gap. They were overlapped and tangled. This is growing over a driveway of recycled concrete and asphalt.

So my observation is to shape the land the way one wants it, plan your drainage, and choose what to plant, and where. Nature will do the rest.

But I imagine it would be different in a city. That would certainly explain the urbanite's view of nature as weak little girl needing constant protection and nurturing.

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7Wannabe5
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Re: Adam Smith vs. ERE

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Mon Sep 24, 2018 7:26 pm

So my observation is to shape the land the way one wants it, plan your drainage, and choose what to plant, and where. Nature will do the rest.

But I imagine it would be different in a city. That would certainly explain the urbanite's view of nature as weak little girl needing constant protection and nurturing.
It's remarkable how you keep pigeon-holing me. Some of the things I would observe before powering up a backhoe would include wind flow, sun through the seasons, soil type and structure, micro-climates, how the species of weeds prevalent correlate with other relevant factors, slope, nearest natural source of fresh water, etc.

Nobody who has been gardening anywhere for over 30 years thinks of nature as weak. Nature will kick your butt in a fresh new way every season, but your butt is part of nature too. Go ahead, back hoe away, shape the land any old way you like, and then learn the hard way just why the land was shaped the way it was previously. I'm not saying coddle it. I'm saying don't be a cocky punk and disrespect it or your ass will quite literally be grass.

SustainableHappiness
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Re: Adam Smith vs. ERE

Post by SustainableHappiness » Tue Sep 25, 2018 7:32 am

Tyler9000 wrote:
Thu Sep 20, 2018 12:45 pm
Systems thinking is very real but I admit that explaining the concept to someone who does not already think that way is very difficult. Nonlinear thought processes combining seemingly unrelated data points into new ways of solving a problem don't lend themselves to easy algorithms. IMO you sorta have to be wired that way and not everybody is.
Cool thread. I was at a bachelor party all weekend and at one point I was moderately fucked up and I had a "step outside the conversation" moment while listening to 15 drunk guys in a room discuss random shit (A stargate teleporting a mcdonalds cup full of water into the center of the earth as an example) and everyone laughing 90% of the time. I realized the conversation was "combining seemingly unrelated data points" and that our combination of brains was kinda creating a more complex structure than most individual brains are good at, primarily because we had more points of perspective to look from (we became a moderately insane generalist). The point is, with lots of us, it was more likely that the conversation moved like a system in seemingly non-linear ways, in that it would inflect on itself and got more interesting and complex as it kept moving (a la The 5th Discipline's virtuous cycle).

Anyways, maybe systems thinking is real.

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Riggerjack
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Re: Adam Smith vs. ERE

Post by Riggerjack » Tue Sep 25, 2018 8:35 am

It's remarkable how you keep pigeon-holing me.
Ah Hah! I knew this had gone all sideways from where I was going, but I was completely oblivious to how. :oops:

I in no way meant any criticism of you, or your choices. I find what you do and how you do it very enlightening, and I really don't have much higher praise than that. You are free in ways I will never be. I probably should have said this at some point before now.

However, your choices are not my choices. I would be uncomfortable to unhappy trying to replicate your results via your methods. That's not a knock on you, it's a statement of who I am, and where my limits are.

Farm_or seems to be describing how he learned a high form of endurance. And I think this goes back to the ladder model we have discussed. G's don't have the same respect for endurance that Ls have. What he was describing was a worthy end of its own.

I had no intention of causing hard feelings, I was just trying to describe what I was seeing.

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Riggerjack
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Re: Adam Smith vs. ERE

Post by Riggerjack » Tue Sep 25, 2018 10:02 am

As long as I am clarifying, I have never used urbanite as a reference to anyone here. The image in my mind when I used that word is my coworkers. People who would fit nicely in Scott 2's description of his bubble.

The kind of people with strong opinions about nature and the environment, based on their extensive viewing of documentaries. People who think planet Earth is best viewed in Imax. People who drive clean, polished, jacked up jeeps with Sierra club and WWF stickers.

Y'know, urbanites.

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7Wannabe5
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Re: Adam Smith vs. ERE

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Tue Sep 25, 2018 7:48 pm

@Riggerjack:

Yeah, I know all about working man with power tools and pack of Kool's style endurance. Try spending the day alone in charge of 22 five year old children and then get back to me on that topic ;) Sorry if I came off a bit grouchy, but after squatting down 100 times to tie shoe laces and wipe play-dough off the floor, my old hip injury (from lifting too many boxes full of books for too many years running my own business) is aching. Also, I spent all day Saturday pulling carpet tack and staples out of the old oak floors my DD27 wanted to refinish in her new house. Did I mention the time I built an entire brick driveway with my "ex" while fasting for Ramadan or the 36 hours of labor giving birth to somebody destined to be 6'3" with no pain killers? :lol: Get it straight. You guys are built for power. We gals are the ones built for endurance. :roll: It's not even a competition.

Actually, I usually appreciate it when anybody manages to push one of my buttons, because it often brings me a bit of clarity. I recently did an experiment with working 65 hrs/week, in part because I was thinking I might buy a house to renovate at auction, so I needed some cash flow. So, even though the pay was terrible, I signed on as garden season temp at a big box home improvement warehouse as my 3rd gig, because I could work the hours around my two other teaching/tutoring jobs. I thought it might be a fairly good fit, because I like gardening and home renovation, and I have a decent amount of experience with both. Unfortunately, the combination of selling toxic chemicals to idiots, mountains of shoddy crap to the masses on easy credit, and watching another employee in his 60s, a very nice, not terribly bright guy who already had a rod in his back (probably needed health insurance :cry: ), out in the blazing heat for hours lifting bags full of mulch and carpet bedding plants for lazy suburbanites, almost had the opposite effect of ruining two of my favorite hobbies for me. So, it's not that I am down on the benefits of manual endurance, and it's not like I couldn't have almost instantly been promoted to management on the basis of my customer service/sales skills alone, it's just that I very much do not wish to allow my skills and labor to be leveraged for purposes directly in conflict with my overall goals, values and concept of best practice. Too much friction - > Too much waste.

Anyways, I noted that you simultaneously described me as somebody who maximizes "freedom" and somebody who is "too dependent" on other people. I know what you meant, and I agree that it is true in the way that you meant it, but it does constitute a bit of a puzzle, doesn't it? I think maybe this is because much of the skill/work I trade at barter level is women's work that has traditionally been performed inside the home and outside of GDP calculations. I mean, if C40 was bartering van-conversions with his lovers, as well as his mother, in exchange for free lodging, nobody would be cautioning him about inability to continue to barter in that fashion when he was 70, even if he was guilty of joking too frequently about getting free lodging in exchange for skills acquired by reading "She Comes First."
The principle is to define a need or want and then proceed to fulfill that need or want with an appropriate response. An appropriate response to a problem is a solution that uses just enough resources to solve the problem- no more, no less. Since appropriate responses are rarely available in the marketplace, taking existing solutions and modifying them for things they were not intended for is a useful tactic to create more appropriate solutions.
Shelter is usually the most expensive component of a 1st world citizen's budget. Studies seem to indicate that happiness does not increase, and eventually decreases, after approximately 350 sq. ft per human is achieved. So, the United States is currently about as over-provided with housing on square ft. basis, as it is in soda pop. Therefore, is seems to me that the most appropriate response to the problem of reducing housing expense is to take advantage of this wasted excess square footage. I actually like Jean's solution better than mine, but they are based on the same principle. I have to admit that sharing a house with one of my BF's best friends this summer was a bit awkward, because it's hard to live alone with a man, help him with domestic difficulties, but then not have sex or cuddle in bed watching movies and eating popcorn with him. Kind of like living with a dog you are inhibited from petting.

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Jin+Guice
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Re: Adam Smith vs. ERE

Post by Jin+Guice » Tue Sep 25, 2018 11:09 pm

7Wannabe5 wrote:
Tue Sep 25, 2018 7:48 pm
I signed on as garden season temp at a big box home improvement warehouse as my 3rd gig, because I could work the hours around my two other teaching/tutoring jobs. I thought it might be a fairly good fit, because I like gardening and home renovation, and I have a decent amount of experience with both. Unfortunately, the combination of selling toxic chemicals to idiots, mountains of shoddy crap to the masses on easy credit, and watching another employee in his 60s, a very nice, not terribly bright guy who already had a rod in his back (probably needed health insurance ), out in the blazing heat for hours lifting bags full of mulch and carpet bedding plants for lazy suburbanites, almost had the opposite effect of ruining two of my favorite hobbies for me. So, it's not that I am down on the benefits of manual endurance, and it's not like I couldn't have almost instantly been promoted to management on the basis of my customer service/sales skills alone, it's just that I very much do not wish to allow my skills and labor to be leveraged for purposes directly in conflict with my overall goals, values and concept of best practice. Too much friction - > Too much waste.
I developed a problem similar to this too after my love affair with working ended. The average job is so massively terrible and soul crushing. The general attitude is so much different from the ERE attitude that having to work with the general public and/ or an employer catering to the general public will make you compromise many values on an almost daily basis. I'll admit that I'm an arrogant elitist, but most of the shit I hear people say at work is so dumb that I want to cry. OTOH, I did extract a lot of value from my dogmatic work devotion days, even if the old faith still haunts me sometimes.

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Re: Adam Smith vs. ERE

Post by Jean » Wed Sep 26, 2018 2:11 am

@7w5
Then why do they always need more break when I go hiking with a woman than with a man? Needing more time to do the same task doesn't make you more endurant.
But let's not compete about this, on which principle are based my solutions?

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Re: Adam Smith vs. ERE

Post by Bankai » Wed Sep 26, 2018 4:15 am

@jean - I read somewhere that males are better in endurance disciplines because they evolved better temperature control (they sweat more). But this is only to a point, i.e. the longer the distance, the smaller the difference (apparently there are women winning super long distance runs etc.).

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Re: Adam Smith vs. ERE

Post by Jean » Wed Sep 26, 2018 6:05 am

I read the same thing, i'm curious about how it works. I'm betting on a lower pain tolerance on the side of women, which leads them into conducting there effort with more respect for ther bodily integrity, thus being able to carry the effort longer once wear comes into play.

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7Wannabe5
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Re: Adam Smith vs. ERE

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Wed Sep 26, 2018 6:41 am

Gin+Juice wrote: I'll admit that I'm an arrogant elitist
Well, I am quite willing to admit that my nominal G2 status, and the fact that my BF who makes $75/hr at the margin was spending an hour of his time each day to pick me up and make or buy me dinner in support of my work marathon, does render my perspective in such a situation not unlike Barbara Ehrenreich on assignment and/or ridiculous, but that's not it. I work with the general public and even groups comprised almost entirely of members of the underclass when I am teaching and tutoring, and I have no problem with that, because in that context I am engaged in what I primarily believe to be good work.

Anybody who says that work is work is full of crap. I am just too damn old to be wasting the time and energy I have left on activities that are counter-productive or useless. I would rather make $2/hr at the margin picking beer cans up off of the frisbee golf course on my morning hike than be engaged in the marketing of Round-Up, although I do have some empathy for the young suburbanite nest-builders and even the drunken Frat boys. There's a time of life for pooping in diapers, and there's a time of life for using your last bit of energy to drive to Target and buy a case of diapers, and there's a time of life for actively, intelligently attempting to close the cycle towards compost, before you end up in diapers again yourself, or preferably self-aware choose to self-compost yourself first.

OTOH, I did eat half a bag of caramel cheese popcorn after dealing with kindergarten all day yesterday, so... :lol:
Jean wrote:Then why do they always need more break when I go hiking with a woman than with a man? Needing more time to do the same task doesn't make you more endurant.
But let's not compete about this, on which principle are based my solutions?
Endurance and efficiency aren't the same thing. Over very long hike, lower body fat reserves give females greater endurance. Also why we live longer on average.

I meant that your shelter solution of buying a house and then renting the main space to tenants while living in the garage yourself is similar to my shelter solution of making use of extra wasted space in homes of those in my social circle. It's the only sort of shelter solution that can result in total expenses being less than 1 Jacob. The advantage to your version is you retain more control. The advantage to my version is that it better co-ordinates with my sex life. My BF is returning from the Middle East this week and the two of us will once again be sharing a bed in a borrowed room in the very modest, rather messy, home of a friend whose net worth is close to 100 million- almost like Ukrainian nesting dolls. It would be an even funnier frugal tableau if I had a little pet dog I brought along with me, and maybe the dog had a stuffed animal toy.

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Riggerjack
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Re: Adam Smith vs. ERE

Post by Riggerjack » Wed Sep 26, 2018 10:20 am

@7w5,
I was speaking of mental endurance.

The ability to have a good time, and excel at a mind numbingly boring job. This takes a mental endurance that is common in L class, and seems pointless to Gs.

This is not trivial. Lack of this trait seems to be the inspiration of this thread. Lack of this trait seems to lead to enormous suffering in America. I've talked about this before.

There is no part of hanging sheetrock that is easy, or pleasant, or creative. Yet drywall crews are usually having a lot of fun, while doing too much hard work. And the most miserable human beings I ever met were token VPs at WaMu. A floor full of corporate vice presidents who used to run their small banks before they were swallowed by WaMu. Now they were highly paid drones with no responsibility and no authority. They had to share a secretary (gasp!).

The ability to be internally happy in externally miserable conditions would have helped them a lot. But they were outclassed by sheetrockers. A few months in a coal mine would do them a world of good.

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Re: Adam Smith vs. ERE

Post by prognastat » Wed Sep 26, 2018 10:49 am

I think there is also a value in seeing results of your work and how it impacts people/the world. Not only are some of those jobs mind numbingly boring, but you are often far removed from seeing the results of your efforts other than your paycheque. As such it is harder to draw fulfilment from such a job.

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Re: Adam Smith vs. ERE

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Wed Sep 26, 2018 11:06 am

@Riggerjack:

I absolutely agree that a manual labor job that leaves your mind free to wander or socialize is more fun than, for instance, a job hooked up to a computer in a cubicle processing data coming at you in a steady monitored stream. I would place modern factory assembly work as somewhere in between.

Also, assembling calculators or hanging sheetrock is not what I mean by useless or counter-productive work. For instance, I would include any white collar job selling swamp land to senior citizens in that description.

Maybe what I was core trying to communicate in reference to the assembly line anecdote is that it isn't the only path to being the boss of your own labor. For simple instance, you can start right from scratch going door-to-door offering to shovel snow rather than ever allowing yourself to be leveraged in a pyramid formation. I have been thinking about how I successfully jumped off with only $8000 in capital last time I started a business, because I want to do it again ASAP. I do not have anything like the patience to deal with years of dull routine necessary to wait until I have passive investment level savings. So, once again it is my own personal experience, not overly optimistic theory, that is informing me that I actually don't have to suffer that long if I am a bit clever.

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Riggerjack
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Re: Adam Smith vs. ERE

Post by Riggerjack » Wed Sep 26, 2018 12:30 pm

Well. I seem to be completely failing to communicate, again. I will try again some other time.

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