Why Frugality is a BAD Idea: 1

Many CONservative types (libertarians and extreme leftists included) have a deep-seated attachment towards the concept of frugality. However their desires have less to do with existing reality than with a more primitive perception of reality.

Frugality is a logical, if not rational, reaction to perpetual scarcity.

Scarcity of resources, things and services was the rule before the second stage of the industrial revolution (pre-1880s), but is no longer the case. Indeed, the converse is true as we can produce more than we can realistically consume, and I am talking about all 7-8 billion people on earth- not just ‘developed’ nations. Just to be clear- we are not talking about ten Airbus 380s for every man, woman and child- but something far more realistic-

It is possible to provide infrastructure, food, education, housing, transportation, healthcare and communication of a quality and abundance that exceeds what an affluent person living in a ‘developed’ country currently enjoys to every single person on this earth. All of this can be done without “exhausting resources” or any of that dying white dog-in-the-manger bullshit.

The real issue is, therefore, not technology or resources but human shortcomings- specifically human attitudes, preconceptions and just plain stupidity. So before we analyse why frugality is bad, let us try to understand the real reasons behind support for frugality.

1] Resources, things or services appear to be scarce, or your belief systems makes it heretical to believe otherwise. (CONservatives, environMENTALISTs)

2] People feel the need to control or screw over other people by misrepresenting the real cost of a better life. (The self-appointed “elite” of all societies and increasingly.. aging whites who have begun to see their rapidly declining relevance)

3] Everybody else appears to be doing it. (Sheeple)

4] Mercantile zero-sum mindset. (Chinese, Japanese, Indian, German, French etc)

5] Need for spiritual purity as required by cults (mainstream religions) that promise a ‘glorious afterlife’ in exchange for sacrifices that benefit the priests of that religion (pretty much all monotheistic faiths including sub-denominations, capitalism, calvinism, communism, feminism, extreme left world views)

Note- those who preach frugality for ‘spiritual purity’ and a ‘glorious afterlife’ or its secular equivalent never practice what they preach.

However the most important reason and logical basis of frugality is the belief that you can realistically save money for enjoying a better life in the future. The next post, or two, of this series will be devoted to eviscerating this flawed belief, on more than one level.

Comments?

  1. Mike
    August 20, 2010 at 8:38 pm

    I keep telling my friends that they are going to hate life once the Fed inflates away the value of their dollars.

    Most have no clue.

    Oh well.
    —-

    Yup.. unless you are a financial insider, large savings are useless.

    • The Plague Doctor
      August 21, 2010 at 5:00 am

      Who said anything about dollars? Obviously, when I refer to frugality, I do not mean money; I am talking about trading the money into (possibly foreign) stock funds, gold, or whatever the investments of your choice are.

  2. Gorilla
    August 21, 2010 at 10:04 am

    Frugality is useless at a personal level unless you can, at the right point in an economic cycle, stumble upon something like a guaranteed 5% annual savings account. For the most part savings are useless since you’ll likely break even against inflation, or lose to it. It’s a Calvinist/Puritan mindset idea that enjoying fruits of good times are bad, so you should hide it away, or in an American twist, give it to your church. In a more modern twist, the church promises your more money in the present life, if you give them all your money.
    —-

    Bingo!

    The same goes on the national level. Austerity and always-balanced budgets are a CONservative and crazy-Austrian-economics-worshipping libertarian scam. Much of infrastructure, education, transportation, healthcare and communication can be provided cheapest and best by a government but austerity and mass privitization makes the bottom 90% pay for another bad faith get rich scheme for the elite and minions. Budgets should have large deficits in bad times and large surpluses in good times anyway.

  3. Rhino
    August 21, 2010 at 10:35 am

    What they hell are you guys doing then? I’m still a student, but I’m sure you guys are working adults.

    You mean to tell me you ain’t saving shit?

    What are you guys doing about it in case shit hits the fan, whatever that means? I haven’t got a clue what this inflation shit means. I can’t imagine the physical appearance in my head. How it will affect the daily life.

    Share some knowledge, credible one, if you have plans.

  4. Herbal Essence
    August 21, 2010 at 11:25 am

    Smart frugality is willing to pay a premium for quality. Stupid frugality is “pennywise but pound foolish” as the saying goes.

  5. c666
    August 22, 2010 at 12:43 am

    I don’t get it. How exactly would it be wise for me to blow all my money on consumerist bullshit, thus increasing my expenses and forcing me to work longer and harder for the sake of paying off all of my debts. One of the reasons why my life is relatively stress-free is because I have no car (I ride a bike), no mortgage, no wife, and no kids. Even with a modest IT job, I can save enough money to travel internationally once a year because I’m not squandering it on pricey dinners, high fashion clothing, big screen T.V.s, etc.

  6. Doug1
    August 22, 2010 at 1:07 pm

    What race or ethnicity are you? My guess is S.Asian Indian. You might have indicated that at Roissy’s a good while back.

  7. George W. Bush
    August 22, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    Go shopping or the terrorists win.

  8. mikeraw
    August 31, 2010 at 10:09 am

    This is why you’re broke… then you get mad at other people:

    https://dissention.wordpress.com/2010/07/12/the-20-40-dollars-test/
    —-

    Read that carefully.. that was a LONG time ago.

    But I learnt one thing from that experience- Theres is no reason to care about those who are unlikely to help you.

  1. August 29, 2010 at 4:23 pm

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