Everything a person needs or wants requires some form of resources to acquire it. Those resources typically divide into time, skill, and money, and they can be thought of as the input. The output which the person want or needs typically divides into shelter, food, and satisfaction.
Everything we do involves some conversion from the input to the output.
Working is a process that converts time and skill into money.
Typically this money is converted into products through the process of consuming and the products supposedly provide shelter, food, and satisfaction. This is the “buy–earn” consumer cycle. By investing in stocks and corporate debt a person can feed of this process in a symbiotic form by providing the capital to drive it.
Since many spend all their time and skill, something which is actually their two most valuable assets, on their jobs, their only abundant resource is money. Thus they tend to spend a lot of money. The only thing money is really good for is products and investing. Products won’t make you smarter, stronger, wiser, nor a better person, so it really only makes sense to spend it on investments.
Yet it is also possible to spend time and skill to acquire shelter, food, and satisfaction.
This fact is almost entirely ignored. Consumer culture is blind to it.
Sure people know it is true intellectually but they are not conscious of the fact that they constantly ignore it when they go “shopping” for all their needs and wants rather than taking the time or learning a skill.
As always, I suggest throwing out the TV. It’s an easy way to gain a several hours a week for most people. Spend some of those hours learning a new skill and some of them avoiding having to buy the next solution.
The difference between people like me and consumers is that I think of spending money as personal incompetence. It means I failed to have the skill or that I was too distracted to come up with a solution. Conversely, for a consumer, not having money is an automatic fail because most consumer have few skills outside their job. (Many can barely fry an egg.) Overall we end up with the same result, but the means are different.
The difference is that money not spent on satisfaction can be invested. Conversely, time spent not being satisfied is simply wasted.
Fun fact: This house cost less to live in than what we’re currently paying.
Originally posted 2010-04-27 10:22:52.