What do you consider a reasonable standard of living? - Page 2 - U2 Feedback

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Old 02-19-2007, 01:00 PM   #16
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Originally posted by u2fan628


I think it will be very hard for people to find ways to change that lifestyle.As long as MTV is around young people will be sucked into asking for or spending their own money on unnecessary shit!
Parents often give in to kids because they want them to be happy ,probably from guilt of not being home enough for the kid.

I agree with the second part more. Kids want more b/c of what parents give them in the first place. If you aren't given a lot, it barely crosses your mind, even when you see friends that have more or people on TV that have more.
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Old 02-19-2007, 02:58 PM   #17
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Great post, sula.
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Originally posted by sulawesigirl4
Life in a country like Mali, which is one of the 5 poorest in the world, would seem to be an unending stretch of doom and gloom. And for many it is full of backbreaking work and heartbreaking losses of children due to preventable illness or loss of income due to uncontrollable forces of nature (global warming actually affects those who contribute the least to it in the harshest ways). And yet, for all of that, I was always surprised at how Malian people were some of the most generous and open people I've met. They'll share their last bowl of rice with a complete stranger and would put you up in their home for a month simply because you are a friend of a friend. I don't want to sound like one of those patronizing Westerners going on about how "good" those poor people have it, but I will say that there is something to the idea that when you have little, sometimes it is easier to share. And sometimes you would be surprised at how far a little can go.

I've said this before, but I'll repeat it here...one of the reasons I so dislike living in the States is that I don't like the person I become when I stay there too long. It is insidious, the commercialism and consumerism, and it is everywhere. I always come back here ready to live simply and continue the habits I've picked up while living abroad, but it is so much harder to do here. The constant bombardment of messages from so many outlets can really make you start to think that your "wants" are actually "needs". It is scary to me to sit down and really look at my spending habits and name them for what they are - wasteful and indulgent.
I've seen a similar thing in India, where I did much of my grad fieldwork in urban slums, and on a lesser scale in what by US standards was the very poor rural community where I grew up. I do very much dislike the sort of easy rhapsodizing one sometimes hears about the "simple joy" of the very poor--those people are also terribly, horribly vulnerable in many ways, and it's seldom very "joyous" when the effects of that periodically assert themselves in force--but I agree there is something to the idea that they are often readier to share, and at least in my experience, often smile and laugh more as well...I think maybe partly because the social distance between people is less, at least that's what it seemed like where I grew up.

I do think Ormus is right on target about debt burdens and the collective delusions that overreliance on credit encourages, but it's certainly also true that unrealistic, consumerism-fueled expectations and perceptions about "needs" only worsen matters and make it that much harder to get an accurate fix on the scope of the problem. Granted it's an easy target to pick on and I've made this point before, but one of the things I most intensely dislike about mass "bargain" retailers like Wal-Mart is that fantasy of, "Yes, you too can own three sofas, two TVs, thirty toys, two stereos, twelve pairs of shoes and assorted 'minor appliances'...sure, the furniture is all crap particleboard and most of the toys and clothes and electronics aren't meant to last more than couple years, but the point is you can have it all now!" Because it really is true, the more stuff like that you accumulate, the more inflated your instinctive sense of what you "need" tends to get. We didn't have a car or a computer at home until a couple years ago and we did OK without them, but I have a feeling it'd be a major stressor if we had to go back to not having them now that we do. (And true, some towns and cities and some kinds of jobs can't be negotiated much at all without those things.) But the circumstances I grew up in were broadly similar to Lies' and I'm determined to maintain much of the same frugality my parents raised us with with my own kids (not least because I'm still paying off my grad school debts myself and don't need to accumulate any more). It really is easier to give priority to the things you want to have priority in your life when you aren't surrounded by distractions, and accumulating lots of possessions you don't need is a great way to provide distractions and increase your urge for more.
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Old 02-20-2007, 10:11 AM   #18
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I really think it depends on where you live and what the standard is in that region. In some poor small towns you can get by with less money and less 'stuff' but in California it's very different. Then look at how other countries are all very different too. I don't think there's one 'standard' to label for everyone everywhere.

If you're around others who have big houses and two expensive cars, and you live in a bungalow and drive a pile of junk, your standard is low, but to someone in the poorest part a third world nation that standard might be high, though it is still low for the person in America, Canada or Europe who is used to being around people with much more. It can even get depressing seeing all the things you know you'll never have.

If I were to set a standard of barest necessities, it would be:

food every day
a vehicle of some type
a home with heat and air conditioning and indoor plumbing

There are millions of people all over the world and in this country (America) who do not have those things.
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Old 02-20-2007, 10:18 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally posted by Butterscotch

If I were to set a standard of barest necessities, it would be:

food every day
a vehicle of some type
a home with heat and air conditioning and indoor plumbing

There are millions of people all over the world and in this country (America) who do not have those things.
True.

But I'd set the baseline standard even lower. First I'd knock out all but the first item on your list and add the following:

clean drinking water
shelter that protects you from the elements
sanitary living environment (i.e. sewage, plumbing such that your food, water supply isn't being contaminated)
access to adequate medical care
safe work environment with hours that allow for adequate rest and time with family and friends.

But here's the thing, for me PERSONALLY, I would want a little more than the above, but if we're talking about what it takes to live a safe and healthy life, I think the above is it.

I'm really grateful for the life I have. . .that I get to travel, use the computer and other "extras." I try not to feel guilty about what I have or feel envious of what I don't. I just try to be grateful.
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Old 02-21-2007, 08:41 AM   #20
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^ I'll go w/ that and add that I'd like those basic things without debt hanging over my head or worrying that I will have to literally work myself to death b/c of no pensions or retirement savings. There's not many people besides a farmer that absolutely could NOT get by without a vehicle. We've never had AC in our house or cars, so I'm fine without that.
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Old 02-21-2007, 10:21 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally posted by Butterscotch

If you're around others who have big houses and two expensive cars, and you live in a bungalow
Does living in a bungalow mean you're worse off than the person in a house or something there?
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Old 02-22-2007, 01:55 PM   #22
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Re: Re: What do you consider a reasonable standard of living?

Quote:
Originally posted by LarryMullen's_POPAngel



Exactly. I remember it was a big deal that I got a little thirteen inch color tv in my bedroom when I turned ten. Did I need one? No. At that point I was just happy that I had a decent environment to grow up in. (Ok, being able to watch "Growing Pains" in the comfort of my own room was pretty cool, but still... )

Nowadays, kids are SO spoiled. You read articles about kids who rag on their parents if they don't get the same video iPod Joey or Susie has, or a new car on their 16th birthday. Sadly, I see this spiraling even more out of control in the future, even with the fact that this country is far worse off economically thatn it has been in years.

Why aren't kids just happy coming home and having a talk with their mom and then going outside to play with their dog anymore? It saddens me.
Because that's what kids are raised to be like - We adults do it to them by telling them over and over and over that material wealth and appearance is what makes them happy. Evenwhen I was in school - not so long ago, I'm oly 30) you were so not-cool if you didn't have the latest Nikes, Starter team jacket, and brand name clothing, and believe me, my neighborhood was full of dirt-poor people, my family included. And yet, somehow, I didn't quite buy it. Oh, I wanted Nikes and whatnot, when I got to high school, but not so badly I wanted to harass my mother about it. I think I got maybe 1 pair of L.A. Gears (high fashion in the 80's!) out of her, from a store that sold them wholesale. After that, it was made perfectly clear that if I wanted something pricey, I had to work for it. Although, my mom was pretty good about trying to get us what we wanted, we were under no illusion that we were going to get /everything/ we wanted handed to us.

People these days are trying too hard to fix their own 'deprived' childhoods to actually remember that kids need to know how to do without material garbage.

I mean, hell, right now I live in a grubby SRO - and after about two days of a bit of prissy 'Ew!' I find myself perfectly happy with it. It's my grubby little room and I'm stickin' to it.:P
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