On The Money;
Economic Advice for the 99%
Standard of Living
People make a big deal about our “high standard of living”. Just last week local blogger Eric Kirk invoked the “high standard of living” in western Europe as evidence of the unrivaled superiority of the democratic system, as though democracy were an economic system rather than a political one, and completely ignoring the environmental impacts of the European lifestyle. Apparently, to Kirk, a high standard of living, regardless of how fleeting, or how high the price paid by the rest of the world, is the sole measure of success, but what do we mean by “standard of living”?
When was living standardized? Can’t we customize our lives individually? Do we have standardized tests to measure our standard of living? If so, how much do we “live to the test”, so to speak, just to artificially elevate the results? …and what do we mean by high? I know how high I have to be to reach my standard, but that’s a very personal thing. My partner Amy hardly smokes any pot at all. Does she have a lower standard of living than I do? If so, I think we’d all be better off with more people like Amy and fewer people like me, rather than the reverse.
Amy is a smart attractive woman who takes care of herself, me, two cats, two snails, our home and a few non-psychoactive potted plants that I would never bother with. She takes no drugs, has no interest in mass media, the internet, or fashion. She cherishes her interactions with wild plants and animals, enjoys living close to the earth, and has learned to do so responsibly.
I, on the other hand, am a fat, bald, multi-drug addicted middle aged white guy who spends his time thinking unclean thoughts about Bratz dolls, playing with electronic children’s toys and filling web servers with pointless blog posts about it. I can’t wait to try those new “bath salts” I’ve been hearing so much about, and even though about 80% of my waking thoughts revolve around sex, I still find it easy to blather endlessly on subjects I know nothing about, and I expect everyone to listen. Clearly I exemplify a higher standard of living than does my partner Amy, but who would you rather spend your time around?
While raising our “standard of living” has opened a Pandora’s Box of previously unimaginable new opportunities for fat, bald, sex-obsessed, drug-addled white guys with huge egos, like myself and Eric Kirk to amuse ourselves, those gains have come at tremendous cost to bright, good-looking people who know how to live on this planet without fucking it up, like Amy. In fact a rising standard of living is always marked by the extirpation of healthy good-looking people who had quietly lived, in the same place where their ancestors lived for tens of thousands of years, without depleting their resource base, and by the rise of fat, bald, white egomaniacs who shamelessly exploit everything, and for whom, sustainability is, at best, an abstract concept.
Fat, bald, white egomaniacs, around the world, all live pretty much the same way. We all want anything we see any other fat, bald, white guy with. We think its great to live in a world where every fat, bald, white guy gets to have anything that any other fat, bald white guy has, so long as he has enough money. That’s what we mean by “high standard of living”.
On the other hand, the people who inhabited this world before this new “high standard of living” all lived differently. They all developed cultures adapted to the peculiarities of the places they lived. Nothing about human culture was standardized, but all of it was sustainable.
In the “high standard of living” world of fat, bald, white sex-obsessed egomaniacs, we have building codes, a general plan, and college educated, taxpayer funded eggheads who are full of advice, but none of it is sustainable.
This is why we should value our “high standard of living” over the rich diversity of our human cultural heritage. For unless we exterminate what remains of human cultural diversity, exploit the Earth’s natural bounty, and sacrifice generations of our own progeny in the name of our “high standard of living” fat, bald, white egomaniacs with money will not be able to use economic extortion to compensate for being so sexually repulsive.
There’s a view of our “high standard of living” that’s On The Money.