U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Great Debates
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Closed Thread Start New Thread
 
Old 04-27-2010, 05:43 PM
 
2,759 posts, read 3,310,826 times
Reputation: 3077

Advertisements

Quote:
Originally Posted by Belinda_Cooperstone1 View Post
Ok even if you watch the home shows or not, Americans live to big. The living room/kitchen not big enough, the master bedroom bathroom not big enough. All I ever see or read nothing is big enough. As a Canadian I would say are you Moderator cut: language me I would love this.
Different strokes for different folks. Some Americans think "big". Others think a little smaller, and make do with less (which is a great idea, IMHO).

The "big thinking" is one of the things that got this country (U.S.A.) in this current economic mess. Overspending, getting in debt, wanting too much too soon, too impatient for delayed gratification (gotta have it NOW), etc.

Nothing wrong with living big if one can comfortably afford it. But remember to share the wealth with someone who can't afford it. Spread the goods. ((No, I'm not a communist )

Anyways, all of the above means I agree with you. (Some) Americans live waaayyy too big.

Last edited by Green Irish Eyes; 06-20-2010 at 04:19 PM.. Reason: Edited quoted text

 
Old 04-27-2010, 05:57 PM
 
Location: Duluth, Minnesota, USA
7,653 posts, read 14,751,095 times
Reputation: 6644
Quote:
Originally Posted by MissNM View Post
He who dies with the most toys . . . DIES. We usually don't see that until we are on our deathbed.

There are some toys can help families develop happy memories. Camping gear, musical instruments, a new kitchen.

But most toys (like our computers) are really self indulgant and just keep people from interacting and socializing.
You're interacting with people on your computer right now.
 
Old 04-28-2010, 03:37 AM
 
Location: Oxford, England
13,036 posts, read 21,513,339 times
Reputation: 19858
Why is it that the accumulation of "stuff" or the size of the "stuff" in question equates with success in so many people's minds....

I live in a small delightful Edwardian Cottage which I love, in an area I love, I have no kids and a small cottage is exactly perfect for us. How many rooms can I be in at once anyway. I have a normal size car, which I also love, not particularily big, not particularily small. Everything in my house has character, a story about it of my travels, presents from friends etc... I have a small ish tv , hidden inside a tv cabinet as I do not want the tv to dominate. I do own a mobile phone ( over 10 years old) which I only use in emergencies. There is nothing ever that important that it can't wait. I only buy second hand books and CDs not because I can't afford new ones but because I don't like waste. I try to buy everything I can from non multi national corporations ( electronics being the hardest but once again second hand comes in handy), and try to make sure that as much as is humanly possible everything is fair-trade and as green as is possible.


I don't feel I am denying myself anything. Stuff means little to me. What means a lot to me is being able to travel as much as possible and enjoying my life . I go to the theatre about once a week sometimes more ( live theatre) and the cinema once or twice. I go to Art Galleries, Museums , Historical houses etc... on a weekly basis. I read as many books as I can, and my trusty MP3 was bought on ebay for a tiny proportion of what it would have cost new. It works just as well as a brand new one but I have not had to destroy the environment by creating the demand for a new one.

Some Americans would consider my life a terribly restricted one but I look at them and notice how many are lacking in what matters to me. The time to travel and enjoy life. I know so many professional Americans who get virtually no vacation ( some not at all),healthcare is a big issue. So many people who "do" Europe in a week. We enjoy at least 2 , 4 weeks foreign vaction a year, and a lot of short breaks as well. I personally prefer that.


My now husband has wanted to buy me an expensive engagement ring since we got engaged over 2 years ago. I can't be bothered , I would prefer to spend the money on travelling and also finding an Ethical company to design a ring is quite difficult. I am even considering a lab made synthetic ring ( chemically identical to the real thing) , no destruction or blood diamonds that way. Having an expensive diamond ring really holds little appeal and certainly has little to do with my relationship. All the Jewellery I own was handed down from my Grand-Mother or is carefully selected to be fair trade and non environmentally destructive.


My Husband could be earning 3 times as much in the private sector but we would not have so much time to spend together. We made a choice that life is for living now, not tomorrow and we prefer to enjoy our lives whilst we still can.

I live an extremely comfortable middle class life. I was born into the "upper" class with all the "advantages" money brings like a Manor House, servants, a variety of cars etc... I can't say I lose sleep over having "lost" all this in any way shape or form.

If people need shiny baubles and shiny objects to feel happy then it is their prerogative but don't assume having a smaller house, car or fridge makes you any the less happy or comfortable. Some of us actually like being down-sized. Bigger is not always better.

And despite what some people think there is a high price to be paid by the people providing all those modern "comforts" for the wealthy. Slave labour should be a social issue but most of us want to ignore it. Working pratices which damage people's health and promote further poverty are not something to be rpoud of. Environmental destruction affects us all though of course the poorest of the poor suffer most and sooner from its effect.

We are destroying our planet in the pursuit of greed and conspicuous consumption and I am not quite sure what we are so proud of. I too contribute to all this but at least I try to curb my excesses a little bit and try to shop as responsibly as is humanly possible.

I find it sad "me, me, me" is such a prevalent attitude. We are all linked by a shared humanity and being willing to pay an extra few dollars on sneakers so a worker can actually have a decent wage in Bangladesh would not hurt us a great deal. We can absorb the extra cost but we don't because we simply don't give a damn.
 
Old 04-28-2010, 03:44 AM
 
Location: Bradenton, Florida
27,236 posts, read 40,261,063 times
Reputation: 10915
My contentment is found in being able to work hard--meaning I'm healthy enough to still do so--and to have time to spend on my greatest asset--my mind. Walking to work gives me time to read books or do puzzles, lately it's been sudokus. I couldn't do that if I had to drive myself.

And what makes me happiest is that I'm NOT trying to compete with the other people out there. There's no need for any of that.
 
Old 04-28-2010, 09:03 AM
 
Location: Texas
42,203 posts, read 49,740,662 times
Reputation: 66975
I think the heart of this debate lies in an idea I had the other night. I can't believe it took me 34 years to understand and articulate this to myself. It's mind-boggling.

I was raised to work hard and succeed and always strive for excellence. So, of course, part and parcel with that is constantly reaching upwards. Always doing more, always building more, always trying harder. It's not about when is enough enough. It's about the journey - not the stuff at the end. And yeah, I get to have really nice stuff, too. But the philosophy I've adopted is that nothing is enough and you have to keep going. There's nothing necessarily unpleasant about this, because every new goal is a source of pride. And when you get knocked down, you have the wherewithall and the tools to pick up and try again.

My mistake was thinking that everyone subscribed to this philosophy. So I didn't understand what other people were saying. Because I couldn't understand their feelings and motivations. For some people, it's awesome and plenty to have the basics, do the basics, and get by, happy to have good family, good friends, nice children. And there's nothing wrong with that. That's how they roll.

Similarly, those who have less have to let people who want to strive and succeed go about their business. It's not fair to call them greedy or unscrupulous (I have done not one unscrupulous thing in my career to get where I am) or 'having more than their fair share.' Most successful people worked very hard to get where they are and took risks and responsibilities that many other people would never be willing to. Anyone can have a piece. That's what makes this country great.

Last edited by Green Irish Eyes; 06-20-2010 at 04:23 PM.. Reason: Edited out reference to deleted posts
 
Old 04-29-2010, 10:41 AM
 
5,748 posts, read 10,501,488 times
Reputation: 4494
Want varies from person to person, both in quantity and quality. There is nothing lame about knowing what you want, and there is room in society for people who want different things. The tension between those who are moving forward quickly and those who resist that motion is what keeps the world from going off the rails.
 
Old 04-29-2010, 02:45 PM
 
Location: A great city, by a Great Lake!
15,908 posts, read 9,642,118 times
Reputation: 7449
I wouldn't mind being rich. Who wouldn't? However; money doesn't always buy more happiness, and some times it can cause more problems. Some times simple is better. Now believe me, I work hard, and have a great work ethic. All I want is the ability to live comfortably, provide for my family, take a vacation every once in awhil, have a decent size house, with a lot of land. I don't need a freakin' mansion. Too much maintenance, and cleaning, in which either I have to do, or if had the cash, would have to pay someone to do it. Now the big yard I'd like. I don't mind mowing the lawn, or gardening. Living in a condo right now, I miss mowing the lawn (yeah I'm weird). I also don't need a Cadillac or Lexus (gas guzzlers).
 
Old 04-30-2010, 05:00 AM
 
Location: Oxford, England
13,036 posts, read 21,513,339 times
Reputation: 19858
We live in a society which has taken conspicuous consumption to such extremes of the obscene that our moral values as human beings have been left deplenished and look at how happy we all are , in the pursuit of the mighty dollar .... A real great success. People stepping on others to acquite yet more crap at the extent of other human beings' lives and livelihoods. This might be what moves the "human experience" but it does not make it right.


Our humanity is a shared one and one which relies on the validity of other human beings to exist as they wish.


I came from an extrmely wealthy background, grew up in Embassies around the world and my Family owns two huge mansions ( European chateaux) , I had it all , the private boarding and finishing Swiss schools, the servants, the clothes, the jewellery, the first class travel all the way, a yacht, parties, balls , name it... I was brought up in the lap of luxury.



And you know what ? I couldn't wait to leave that bloody stifling, selfish arrogant environment of "me, me, me" and mindless possessions and obscene luxury. I left home at under 17 and have yet to regret it once. I now live a normal life with normal people who have other concerns than making yet more money and the acquisition of yet more "stuff" .


I chose to do a job I was passionate about ( Archaeology/Anthropology) despite it being very poorly paid because to ME ( not you I accept that) it was something which really moved the human experience along. The pursuit of knowledge and understanding. I went to Yale and Oxford and could have done pretty much anything I wanted and earnt mega big bucks. I did a partial course in International Law because it was FUN. I did a partial course in Forensic Medicine because it was interesting. Not because there was a career at the end of it.

Hubby could be earing 3 times as much in the private sector but money is not what we're after. We're after quality of life, time to spend together and travel. I could now be living in a huge mansion like the one I grew up in but no thanks I would rather enjoy my husband now , and have the leisure to enjoy the human experience at my own pace...




Some of us feel that life is about a little more than making money , buying things and working. Some of us think like is about the relationships with build with people, about knowledge, about self fulfillment, about fun and pleasure , about doing things for other people and about caring about more than the cost of a bloody Rolex or the size of our yacht. Some of us believe a life simplified is a life enjoyed . Working is a huge part of most people's life and quaintly I believe it is better if people enjoy their job before they die of a heart attack a few months after retirement...


Possessions own us , we do not own them. That's my stance on life.


Everything I now own is of modest value but each thing has a story behind it, memories. All my possessions mean something more to me than their financial value.

To me squandering your life is feeling that to be a success you need to be wealthy . What you call "coasting" through life is often actually a very brave choice, turning your back on the received wisdom which tells us that we are failures unless we tow the line and become wealthier and wealthier .

This obsession with money is unhealthy, degrading to the human spirit and contemptible when it feels it can lecture other human beings about their values being skewed.


I appreciate skills, talents, kindness, generosity of spirit, friendship , selflessness and value those qualities way above what a human being has in his/her bank account.

A human being is a little more than a few zeros in the bank. If you are nothing without money , you are nothing with it. A big zero in fact.

Last edited by Green Irish Eyes; 06-20-2010 at 04:26 PM.. Reason: Edited out reference to deleted posts
 
Old 04-30-2010, 07:30 AM
 
9,807 posts, read 12,896,672 times
Reputation: 8127
Things are not as simple as some posters make it sound ( regarding working less hours and having more quality time)

I am retired and worked lots of hours on good paying jobs. I regret missing many family events over my working career.

However, lets look at the whole picture.
The good paying jobs I had were mostly good union jobs where overtime was mandatory.

Yes, I could have quit those jobs and looked for a strictly 40 hour job with no overtime. The problem is most of those 40 hour jobs paid much less per hour.

Most people would like a well paying 40 hour job with all overtime being volunteer.
I never found one.

Most people where I worked weren't enthused over the mandatory overtime but were not going to go to another place, take an hourly pay cut in wages, face layoffs, then cry to the government cuz they couldn't support their family.
 
Old 04-30-2010, 09:18 AM
 
Location: Oxford, England
13,036 posts, read 21,513,339 times
Reputation: 19858
Quote:
Originally Posted by marmac View Post
Things are not as simple as some posters make it sound ( regarding working less hours and having more quality time)

I am retired and worked lots of hours on good paying jobs. I regret missing many family events over my working career.

However, lets look at the whole picture.
The good paying jobs I had were mostly good union jobs where overtime was mandatory.

Yes, I could have quit those jobs and looked for a strictly 40 hour job with no overtime. The problem is most of those 40 hour jobs paid much less per hour.

Most people would like a well paying 40 hour job with all overtime being volunteer.
I never found one.

Most people where I worked weren't enthused over the mandatory overtime but were not going to go to another place, take an hourly pay cut in wages, face layoffs, then cry to the government cuz they couldn't support their family.
It's bit different in Europe where the minimum paid vacation ( janitor or CEO) is 4 weeks - A lot more in certain jobs and it varies from country to country.

My husband for example gets 32 days paid vacation a year, plus national and bank holidays plus up to 3 days off a month if he works a certain amount of overtime ( an extra 22 hours a month) - Which he does because he does a fair bit of travel. In the private sector he would most likely only get the mandatory 20 days off to begin with. A huge difference from our point of view.

I much prefer the European system as I find the work-life balance a little more in favour of the workers. Working in the public sector means a lot less pay but better and safer employment conditions. That suits us as a couple, money not being our ultimate goal.

American workers have the worst conditions of any Westernised first world country that I know , even Japan has better conditions despite their incredible hard work ethos.


We lead a comfortable middle class life and realise how lucky we are compared to many, and don't spend too much time agonising because other people are earning 50 times as much.

Our lifestyle suits us and we are happy as we are without being wealthy.

I don't think struggling for money is an enviable position and I realise only too well how hard people have to work simply to make ends meet . However I do also envy people who have simplified their lives so much that materialism is of no interest whatsover to them.

I can't say I want to be poor, that would be stupid and intellectually disingenuous, but I have no desire to be rich either. Comfortable is all I am after. Anything else is a bonus.
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Closed Thread

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Great Debates
Similar Threads
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2018, Advameg, Inc.

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top