Ethics of ERE

Simple living, extreme early retirement, being wealthy, ...
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George the original one
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Post by George the original one »

@DVDend - the education wasn't free, since presumably taxes paid for it. Any EREer will continue paying taxes owed, so they've likely paid for any "free" education.
You're also making the false assumption that one's career is dictated by their education. That would seem logical, but most people change careers at least twice in their adult life. To me this implies that education is not worth much as a career predictor. Therefore, how much is that education actually worth to society?


DVDend
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Post by DVDend »

@Jacob: Did you say that since you were paid 20k under the market rate in PhD program, it compensates for all the free education until that point? I have problems with the logic but we can agree to disagree...
My point is wider: It is not enough to break even. The current social contract is based on some working for more than just to cover their own pay. Lets face it: Some people never pay back the investment in their education. Others need to cover the difference.
Without the social contract that we are responsible for more than just our salary, free education (and other things that have benefited all in this forum) would not be possible in current form. I like free public schools. It gives everyone possibilities that they would not have otherwise. It also (in my mind) means that I will be in debt forever to the society that has invested in me without knowing whether I am worth it or not.
BTW: I really wish I could agree with you. It would make life so much easier if I have no responsibilities beyond my own pay!


DVDend
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Post by DVDend »

@George TOO: I know nothing is free and there are taxes. I am saying that educational system (among other things) are based assumption that people work and don't ERE. Sure, one can change career. System will not collapse if everyone changes career a few times. The system (in current form) will collapse if everyone worked just 5-10 years. Education is just an example here. Same goes for social security, social programs, medicare, public trasportation, or lets face it, anything social.


George the original one
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Post by George the original one »

There are a lot of careers where society would collapse if everyone chose them. Does that make those choices ethically wrong?
If everyone chose to be a fisherman, we'd run out of fish and the schools would be neglected and nobody would pick up the trash.
If everyone chose to be a kindergarten teacher, we'd starve and there aren't enough students for every teacher.
If everyone chose to be a subsistence farmer, we'd expand settlements until we ran out of land and water, the kindergarten students wouldn't have teachers, but at least we'd have something to eat and the oil wouldn't run out.
So why is it so awful that we'd run out of investments if everyone went ERE?


Freedom_2018
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Post by Freedom_2018 »

Why does every debate about choices such as ERE have to be "one size fits all"..i.e. what if every one did ERE? what if everyone ate/did not eat meat?..what if everyone drove a hybrid? etc. etc.
Each approach to life (ERE, hyper-consumerism, something in between)..has its own pros and cons..just pick what works for you. It should be as simple as that.
Rest is just intellectual masturbation.


DVDend
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Post by DVDend »

@Freedom_2018: A valid point - why should I care what you do?
If you believe that you are responcible for just yourself, I should be happy that you can live happily without worrying for others.
I believe that I am under social contract for more than just my own income. I should do what I think is right and not worry about what others do.
The challenge here seems to be that it can be hard to respect that others have a different belief system. Specifically, non-ERE person can have hard time believing that ERE person is not gaming the system but is truly acting in what they think fills their part of the social contract.


jacob
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Post by jacob »

I suspect many in here will subscribe to the following quote:
"I swear, by my life and my love of it, that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine." --- Ayn Rand
I also know that there are a lot of people for whom this sentiment is positively evil. It's very hard to reconcile these two differences of opinion since they are so extreme and on opposite ends of the spectrum.


AlexOliver
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Post by AlexOliver »

"Why does every debate about choices such as ERE have to be "one size fits all"..i.e. what if every one did ERE? what if everyone ate/did not eat meat?..what if everyone drove a hybrid? etc. etc."
To play devil's advocate... with every choice you make, you're saying, "THIS IS RIGHT." Your life is not merely your life, but rather a political statement on how life should be lived. /Jean-Paul Sartre.


ffj
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Post by ffj »

@DVDend

You make some valid points. To forget that some or most of our success derives from the generosity or even failure of others is arrogant in my opinion. Not that I am above being arrogant; my J in the INTJ is pretty dominant. Most of us are pretty good at figuring out what system we have to play under and maximizing our standing within those parameters. Is that due to our incredible intellect(sarcasm), or due to the fact our personality types (INTJ's rule here) wouldn't allow us to live any other way? I don't know, but I can't ignore the benefits of living in a time and place that has allowed me to pretty much live my life as I have seen fit.
@JasonR
I've never said it was irresponsible, only that one has an obligation to better society. All of us agree consumerism isn't the way to accomplish this. I think the argument comes from what constitutes a positive contribution.


ffj
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Post by ffj »

@Sshawn

I also work in the medical field, however it is in the pre-hospital setting. When someone calls 911, myself and my crew are the ones that show up and mitigate the situation, whether one is having a heart attack, been involved in a car accident, or just been shot. We also treat many non-emergency patients as well and actually fight some fire from time to time. Although I am a career firefighter, I am also a volunteer with a small dept. where I live. I bring this up to point out that the vast majority of firefighters in the United States are volunteers, people that train, earn their certifications, put out fires, and respond to medical calls all on their own time and dollar, often after working a regular job. I've often wondered what would happen if all of this generosity were to go away and people were forced to pay for that service or do without. Most would choose not to pay and take their chances of ever needing a fire dept's help. It's human nature, I guess.


jacob
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Post by jacob »

@firefighterjeff - When I lived in Basel, Switzerland, they had a system for firefighting which I thought was brilliant.
Basically, once a year you'd get a letter from the city saying something to the effect of "Since you live in the city it's your duty to help fight fires. You can either do that by serving in the fire department for N months or paying this tax."
I thought this was a great way of making the cost explicit and providing a way for those who didn't want to pay their way out of the obligation to help out in person.


Freedom_2018
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Post by Freedom_2018 »

What is the difference between the "social contract" view (I have an obligation to better the world/give back to society) of the world and say a philosophy that says spend..spend..spend to support the economy..it is your patriotic obligation...after all the more I spend the 'better' the economy, right? Or some belief system that says my God is the 'true' God and not yours.
I think any philosophy or morals when touted as the only 'right way' becomes dogma.
And we know what dogma does.


Freedom_2018
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Post by Freedom_2018 »

Oh BTW here is my contribution to society:
Just looked at some stats from the US Census Bureau:
http://www.census.gov/cgi-bin/ipc/pcwe
Amazing!
Net 76 million people added every year. Where are the jobs, resources, food etc. to feed so many come from? Eventually competition will be intense.
Next time my parents, friends etc. give me grief about not having kids (and hence their kids and grandkids and so forth), I am going to give them this statistic and tell them that by not having kids myself, I am giving the kids already born and future generations a better shot at life! I guess I am doing my bit to make the resources last a bit longer. The ultimate selfless act. Ha!


HSpencer
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Post by HSpencer »

"is early retirement (extreme or not) socially responsible?"
Here is my question: Someone finds out they can get a doctor to write them a letter, saying they have an infrequent "emotional instability," which precludes them from engaging in employment that connects them with other people. They file the letter and begin receiving $658.00 per month in SSI disability payments. They take the SSI award, and rent an apartment under Section 8, Title 515, HUD, for 30% of their adjusted gross monthly income (AGMI), and also receive $57.00 off that rent amount in the form of a "Utility Allowance" (USDA-RD, Title 315). If this person is married, they are then entitled to a 2 brm/2ba apartment, and they can even have a live in caregiver (usually an unemployed brother-in-law, or someone) so that the spouse can "seek" viable employment, and not be required to remain home to care for their "disabled" spouse. If children are involved, then there is TEA, WIC, KIDSFIRST healthcare, or medicaid available for all card holders. If they get bored while laying around the apartment, they can engage in money making ideas like "having more kids" paid for by medicaid, and benefiting by raising the payments on their TEA, WIC, KIDSFIRST healthcare, ad infinim.
So here is the deal. I will answer if I think ERE is socially responsible or not. Since ERE is a method that uses Hard work, careful management, frugal living, carefully calculated savings and investments, discipline, and moral character to achieve, then you may already know my answer.
Now do you think the case I wrote on the disability situation above is socially responsible behavior?
If ERE is socially immoral, then I would assume pissing on the pope's house shoes would be a hanging offense!


ffj
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Post by ffj »

@Jacob- Got a kick out of that; I bet most get the checkbook out pretty fast. On a serious note, I don't know if I would want to baby-sit a bunch of people too stubborn to pay the fee.
@Freedom- Nobody said you have to go out and cure cancer. Although if you know how to do it, please share with the rest of us.
@HSpencer- Well said. Most people fail spectactularly if given too many opportunities for others to provide for them.


JasonR
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Post by JasonR »

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Last edited by JasonR on Tue Mar 19, 2019 2:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

ffj
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Post by ffj »

@JasonR- For some reason I enjoy watching end-of-the-world movies; just watched "The Walk" the other day. Even though these are movies, I still think they tell a certain truth: you take away law and order, throw in some scarce resources, and we all revert to a pack of animals. Something to think about when everyone wants to do their own thing and not contribute to society as a whole.

Great example with the fire tax in Philly. They recently had a case I believe in Tennessee where the fire dept let a mobile home burn because the occupants hadn't paid their fire tax. This is in a rural setting, not a city, where funding for fire dept's come from everything from taxes to standing at an intersection holding out a boot hoping passing motorists will be generous. I'll leave others to decide for themselves whether what they did or didn't do was right, I definitely have my own opinion, but it goes to show this is a continuing debate.


celliott
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Post by celliott »

I can't believe this thread hasn't died yet. I just wanted to be the 100th post.


DVDend
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Post by DVDend »

@celliott - I predict that this thread will hit 1000 posts!
@HSpencer - Interesting example: I did not reallize this before you pointed this out but living on social security (SS) is actally very close to ERE. In SS case, you get check from goverment that taxes workers. In ERE, you get dividends from companies that exploit workers. The main difference is that ERE requires 5 years of hard work.
Ok, no need to get offended - we are among friends here and I agree that ERE is socially more responcible than living on SS.
For me, this question is a honest one and it is imperative for me that I solve. I am thinking about Jacob's argument that ERE's contribution to society is the capital that creates jobs. As an example, I buy 100,000 shares of T and live of the dividends. How exactly did I create jobs? I realize that the answer is probably too complex for a forum but pointers to good books are appreciated.


mikeBOS
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Post by mikeBOS »

@JasonR "So let's say there aren't laws against me dumping my car's oil in the stream out back. I live upstream from you. Now what?" I didn't mean polluting violates recorded laws. I meant you have a property right, when you're born, to clean air and water.
But that view is open to critique from the point of a moral relativist who could find an example of someone who doesn't believe in those natural rights. Or who thinks you need to earn or deserve clean air or something like that. Or that other people are born with a right to spew radiation into the air in some circumstances that trump your right to breath.
Your analysis that we just have to accept some things as dogma seems right to me. That we all just have to agree murder is wrong and will be punished, in order for society to function, despite the lack of a strong cohesive logical argument for punishing it.
But I think if we get away from analyzing pax's question from a legal or public policy perspective, the analysis gets simpler.
Pax's argument, whether he meant to or not, to me seems to be based in a christian notion of charity. He's not saying anybody should be forced to contribute. Just that they ought to do it voluntarily in order to consider themselves moral and good.
It's almost an argument based more on etiquette than ethics.


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