Some relevant links on "Voluntary Simplicity":
The book by Duane Elgin is called: "Voluntary Simplicity:
Toward a Way of Life That is Outwardly Simple, Inwardly Rich "
Also, Jane Jacobs in one of her books ("The Death and Life of Great
American Cities"?) http://www.people.virginia.edu/~plan303/ talks about
the need for "cheap rent" to foster innovation; thus for example you end
up with artist's lofts in the old building no one else wants, or before
internet-IPO-mania you had struggling new businesses in cheap digs in
less desirable parts of the city.
Unfortunately, rents are usually high because that is somewhere many
people want to be (with a concentration of jobs, schools, culture,
medical centers, etc.)
My wife and I found that out when we toyed with "Places Rated" to find a
good place to live. Cheap places often have a lack of good paying jobs.
A good bet might be a college town near a top state university. I used
to live in Ames, IA and rent was cheap and we could walk to the
university, food, and a large arboretum all within five minutes. Of
course, without the internet maybe I would not have liked it as much and
Developers of custom software and educational simulations
Creators of the Garden with Insight(TM) garden simulator
Hirohide Yamada wrote:
> I share the feeling.
> I think one thing we must do is to shift our interests
> from material satisfaction to communicational ( relational )
> I understand that human being has both material and
> communicational satisfaction as its basic need to live.
> In the past, we assumed that material satisfaction enhances
> communicational needs. This was true when we were hungry.
> But the situation has been reversed in the too much material
> environment. Seeking material satisfaction destroys
> communication. Think about TV box. If you have one TV in a
> house, communication will be forced among the family. If
> every body has TV in his/her room, you do not need the
> I believe we now need to seek communicational satisfaction
> (relation) more directly in our activities. Children in
> materially poor countries are so live because they are rich
> in communication.
> Hirohide Yamada, ASTEC Inc.
> Eric Armstrong wrote:
> > In my own life, I have observed the major economic
> > "motivator" is the need to put a roof over my head.
> > I can always get a cheaper car, or fix the one I
> > have. I can less or eat better. But something like
> > 50% of my takehome income goes to rent, and that's
> > a big chunk.
> > Consider if good housing was *not* expensive. Suppose,
> > like in the old days, you lived on the family farm.
> > You probably wouldn't *need* to work 40-60 hours a
> > week to make ends meet. You could get by on part time
> > work, or less. (In Maine, one friend reports that
> > "getting by" is a way of life -- with seemingly no
> > income at all, people somehow manage to "get by" from
> > month to month...)
> > Now, if you wanted more toys, or fancy dinners, or
> > you were motivated by a particular project, you might
> > well choose to work more. But you wouldn't be *forced*
> > to do so by the economic gun pointed at your head.
> > As a collary observation, I observe that rents keep
> > going up at the same rate as wages. So every raise
> > makes you feel better for a little while, but then
> > along comes the rise in rents to chew it up. Largely
> > responding to the raise in rents, I suspect, every
> > *other* price goes up as well. So pretty soon you find
> > yourself where you were before -- and you find yourself
> > running ever harder and faster on that treadmill, just
> > to keep up.
> > As you get older, the picture gets even more bleak. As
> > a youth, you can look forward to ever increasing income
> > as your skills and experience grow. But at some point,
> > you top out. Then, all you can look forward to is
> > steady income, while economic forces push prices ever
> > higher. As you near retirement, you will suddenly be
> > faced with *reduced* income. At that point, what was
> > previously an "effective" reduction in your economic
> > position becomes accelerated to the point that it is
> > inescapable. At that point, you will be losing ground
> > fast -- unless you happen to have amassed a wad of
> > capital -- something which the economic treadmill makes
> > rather difficult.
> > So, how can this situation be improved? How can you help
> > to stop the treadmill so that people can live more
> > humane, fun lives, where fun is found in productivity
> > and helping others, as well as in playful pursuits, but
> > where the hours you spend doing that are not so forced and
> > stressed as to eliminate all joy from the activity.
> > I see one possible way it *could* happen. But it won't
> > help you, or me. There is no way for us to get off the
> > treadmill. But there *is* a way we can help ensure that
> > succeeding generations don't have to stay on it.
> > That possiblity, the way I see it, entails adding certain
> > encumberances to one's real estate, when it is passed on
> > in one's will. I don't know if it is legally possible but,
> > if it is, property in the form of real estate could be
> > passed on so that:
> > * It cannot be sold for more than the cost of
> > back taxes, associated fees, and moving costs.
> > * It cannot be rented for more than the cost of
> > taxes and maintenance expense.
> > Now, the real trick is adding those encumberances to the
> > deed *in perpetuity*. Regardless of who owns the house,
> > it can be lived in -- essentially for free -- or rented
> > without the possibility of deriving income from it.
> > One would still be free to pass on cash and other assets
> > to one's heirs. Real property could be passed on, as
> > well -- but only with those restrictions.
> > If that idea gathers steam, the result over time would be
> > a stiff left jab to the economic forces that produce
> > ever-lengthening work weeks. It might also turn out
> > horribly, given the unpredicable, surprising reactions
> > that result from complex systems.
> > But I expect it is an experiment that may be worth trying,
> > if only because the downward pressure on the economy that
> > would result may well help stem the tide of consumerism
> > that threatens to engulf the world's resources before
> > this century is half over.
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