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 Waffling, Shiny Cars & Anarchy

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PostSubject: Waffling, Shiny Cars & Anarchy   Sat Sep 27, 2008 2:27 pm

Times of turmoil seem to me to also be times of opportunity. As someone learning the trading game, I've been following the various markets closely as well as the economic-political shennigans that have occured during this time of turmoil. I'm not looking to profit from the turmoil simply because I don't have the acumen to deal with the changing rules that are be instituted as the big players shake out the markets to their immediate advantage. Trading is a long term game. One could despair or one could review one's position relative to what's happening in the big bad world.

That's what I've been doing for a couple of months now. Strangely enough I've come up with a new strategy based on advice given to my niece whose still in Uni and watching a youtube video about buying a new or used car. Go figure.

A couple of quotes have been floating around my head for awhile now:

"The Truth. You want the truth? You can't handle the truth!" (Jack Nicholson in some film) and
"The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation." (Henry David Thoreau)

The first quote strikes me not so much in terms of the context of the film but what it says about how people view the world and what they actually want to know about the world around them. Being wholey cynical at this point, I truely believe most people don't want to know their own particular truth or status. For example, imo the government sees our economic bubble as a mere excercise in public relations. Manage the news, the stats, and the trot out a few suitable soundbites to quell the nerves of the average punter and everything will turn out just swell. (Of course there are very many people interested, and some very knowledgeable, and willing to share their knowledge and insights. But for most of us, just getting by is hard enough and we don't want to expend the energy on thinking too deeply or maybe worse coming to the wrong conclusions and being mocked for doing so.)

The second quote strikes more deeply and into the heart of the matter. Do we ever do an audit on our lives in any meaningful sense and juxtapose the life we lead against how the world makes us lead our lives? Without going into the whole macro-economic-socioligical thing, we mostly accept we have little room for manouvre in how we earn a basic living. How many people trained to be programmer, for example, will suddenly change into eco-farmers? Very few and most wouldn't have the captial nor the experience to do so.

So I did a wee personal audit. I needs the mulla, cash, dosh or whatever but I amn't no politician nor an entrepenuer. Most likely never going to be rich nor am I connected into the national market (Dublin) and have no desire to do so. So, I won't be able make an above average wages unless I retrain as an accountant or something. Ahh. No way. I'd rather be on the wrong side of the daises. (Apologies to all well meaning accountants). But I've worked in such diverse activities as investment banking to building stone walls. I always have some sort of income.

Which brings me to cars. I fella pointed out that the average new auto in the US loses $4,000 dollars the moment you drive it off the dealer's premises. Yeah, you say, but you need a car. It's like a tool for everyday living. But another person pointed out that she/he bought only used cars with a gaurantee and only at book value. If he/she bought 10 cars over his live span, she's/he's saves $40k in value. That $40K in value gave him/her more options. If you equated the car to a joiner's hammer, she/he could do the same carpentry job as some one with a new hammer but make more profit, undercut the new-hammer rival, or just spend more time with his/her family. Plus, they had turned the entire notion of keeping up with the Jones' on it head. While Jones bummed about the quality of his lifestyle as evidenced by the new car in the drive, the used car person realised how absurd the notion was. The new car guy had trapped him/herself into the "accepted" notion of quality of life whilst the used car guy realised he a tangible quality of life (£40K's worth) and many more options.

Now this is something I can get on board with. I can't really control the income side of the equation but I certainly can control the spend side. Was on the verge of buying a new telly. Plasma is so sexy. Ain't gonna happen until yon tube in the corner broadcasts its last episode and its replacement will be utilitarian. Ramping up the vegitable patch and greenhouse. Luckily I have a green thumb and a menacing manner. I stick the seeds and soil and tell them in no uncertain terms what I expect. They always comply Neutral . I also cut turf this year and this will continue to do so in the future. Great exercise and I like the lonely bog mountain of the Bragan anyway.

Of course, you can take any philosophy or strategy to its extremes but I don't wish to do so. Rather, I'm just beginning to think about all the things I've collected and spent money on over the years. Do I need all this junk? Is it making my life better? Is it constraining my quality of life through debt? Is it limiting my options? Is it curtailing my freedom to make other decisions and choices?

Also, I'll give the anarchist side of my political views a bit more leeway. Every party, including the one I've supported for donkey's, is too hampered by pc'ism, pr'ism and are just too removed from the everyday lives of ordinary punters. The think (when not thinking about getting re-elected) only in terms of projects, ideals or whatever and almost never the impact of policies on individuals or communities. Most parties have accepted "trickle down" economics as the basis for all social policies whereby if it's good for the business community is automatically good for society. Basically, they're saying shareholders are more important than the entire community and laws should be propulgated in the interests of shareholders with scant regard for anything else. Let the plebs consume and they can be manipulated through greed or fear and controlled through their consuming. Not sure how this'll pan out but I'm seriously thinking of not voting anymore. It's just a distraction in so many ways.

Anyhow, that's my waffling over for awhile. Has anyone else adjusted their lifestyles given what's been occuring? Does anyone think the above thoughts totally absurd and that I need quality medical attention - and fast? Does anyone know of a forum where other such head cases might congregate? Cheers and gl.
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PostSubject: Re: Waffling, Shiny Cars & Anarchy   Sat Sep 27, 2008 3:20 pm

Rocky, that's a great post. It doesn't strike me as waffle at all.
I've been turning away from mainstream for quite a while now. I've also been sticking the seeds in the soil. On top of that I've been swotting up on how to preserve wild berries etc. On the case of making elderberry wine this weekend.
I'm a firm believer that current world politics is based on keeping the plebs in ignorance and fear. It's the best way of keeping control of the masses. However, I think that more and more people are copping onto this and seeing it for what it really is.
The entire system needs to be turned on its head. There will be casualties, mainly those who have blindly believed that their elected representatives will actually look after their constituents' interests. Sometimes I get stressed about the inevitable upheaval and sometimes I get quite excited about it. Being a parent of a teenage daughter gives me the impetus to make sure that I minimise the damage on a personal level.
I feel like I'm the one waffling now!


Last edited by floatingingalway on Sat Sep 27, 2008 3:23 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : spelling)
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PostSubject: Re: Waffling, Shiny Cars & Anarchy   Sat Sep 27, 2008 3:23 pm

Quote :
Has anyone else adjusted their lifestyles given what's been occuring? Does anyone think the above thoughts totally absurd and that I need quality medical attention - and fast? Does anyone know of a forum where other such head cases might congregate? Cheers and gl.

Yes. I never bought into the boom madness too much even though I work in a property related field. On the cars - I buy a car two years old and nurse it along carefully for its lifetime - I'm half way through my second and they haven't cost me more than a thousand a year averaged out. New cars are the biggest financial trap going - I remember reading that the old rich rarely bother with them. My next car will be the tiniest most oil efficient, or electric, car I can get - they don't use much more than a big motor bike. We were lucky enough to be able to mainly self-build our house, and don't owe on it. For the last year its been very clear that a big crunch had arrived and we've been cutting and cutting back on non-essential costs.

We are growing a lot in the garden and the chicken coop went up today. Very Happy

We've insulated the house and got solar hot water and are really hunkering down for a long hard few years. I don't expect the level of consumption that the big spenders in the top quarter of Ireland's population went through to ever return, unless for a much smaller minority, if we fail to get any change to social equity.

I think that the fact that a lot of people in Ireland are only a generation from the farm stands us in very good stead to deal with difficult years.

I want to reply more to your post, but have to go out for a few hours. I think that individual change can only go so far and that what is happenening demands big social change and a big turn to renewable and other new technologies.

See you later.
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PostSubject: Re: Waffling, Shiny Cars & Anarchy   Sat Sep 27, 2008 3:32 pm

Well I'll be in the market for a new job soon - doing a few hands-on nixers at the moment and not overly pushed about getting back to work. The mood in general (not mine in particular) seems to be very depressed and this is the first time I've been out of work for a long time (since just after leaving UCG Laughing ) but I'll manage I think because I've had a bit of practice with "time off" over the years having worked in schools and experiencing the summers blissfully off. It's addictive I tell you. Thankfully I've no family to support just myself, my car and rent and thankfully I don't look at life in monetary and trophy terms at all and never really have and probably never will. For me things have basic function primarily so I've no problem whatsoever buying second-hand cars all my life nor do I have a problem with second-hand books, clothes or most other stuff. Food I like fresh, however.

There's not enough depth to our lives in general which is why i think people pad their lives out with shiny shite on view for everyone. They feel they need to upgrade the car because it's tantamount to upgrading themselves or something... but it's not of course. As you say, the second-hand car buyer is living in the moment more than the other fella but what are the implications of that? For me the 'Environment' as a thing and a theory are useful and it also ties in with politics. So, buying a second-hand car fits in with this - the impact of driving the car and maintaining it for as long as you can is both a challenge (I service it myself) and an effect - I benefit from driving it and someone else benefits from the trade and the environment isn't as adversely affected nor is my pocket and my financial hemisphere. But my image and the Joneses ? Luckily I have Joneses who are worse than me at times - wearing/driving stuff until it absolutely falls apart. I went out with a girl who had a television that her granny bought in the seventies and she had no intention of buying a new one Shocked (and she was someone who invested in the stock market too scratch ) I'm seriously into renovating the house too and making it energy efficient instead of pumping fuel into it. Sometime in the future I'd love to build one from scratch in the passive-style but that's only a dream even though I have an eye on a property. I'd take on most of the work myself.

On the other hand I'd love a small new plasma and a big new plasma tv but I can wait. It's important to find the balance I suppose.
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PostSubject: Re: Waffling, Shiny Cars & Anarchy   Sat Sep 27, 2008 5:38 pm

I'm back. Very Happy We have a video linked on the Venezuelan or Bolivian threads which is an interview with Evo Morales. He says on it that "land is life, and a car is only a heap of metal" or words to that effect.

I remember a friend years ago telling me that people want to make things right for themselves and it seems to be a natural reaction that we have to try to make the best of change that is forced on us. To some extent, I think we are saying we'll make the best of whatever life throws at us. On the other hand there is this economic and environmental crisis of our whole human species, with millions of people who had a living until this last year beginning to go hungry. I am convinced that it isn't necessary to let masses of people, who may include ourselves, go under, while the likes of Paulson and Bernanke insulate themselves in glossy bunkers. If we don't want that, we will need our political organisations, and unions or whatever, and need them to be good, and fearless.

Auditor #9 - you're a born educator. I hope for the benefit of would-be learners you go back to some congenial paid employment doing it in one form or another or inventing the educational software or whatever that involves getting people up and running doing new stuff. A break can be very good though and all kinds of thinking can be done and new opportunities sniffed out. If the public market won't oblige, there may be thousands of people who may want to invest some of their redundancy lump sums in upskilling.

I just see that Drumm says today there will be 1,000 HSE redundancies. I may be wrong, but by the time we pay redundancy and pensions, will it save anything? A lot of these people are decent useful civil servants; imo its the dysfunctional system and slack culture from the top down that is the problem. Would it not be better to deploy them to other work? And would it not be better to offer people the option of a shorter working week on less money, rather than paying redundancy and the dole ? The Anarchists thread here brought up some very interesting stuff about how workers co-operatives in Spain and Italy have proved more robust in recessions than private sector firms. There are a lot of better options on how to cut our cloth according to our means than the usual aimless hacking about at budgets and programmes.

What I'm thinking is that when there is a recession, we have to sit and listen to the geniuses who have presided over our economies tell us how we have to accept cuts and unemployment and so on, while they protect their own positions. Why would we have any faith on the lines they spin? It an opportunity to reassess everything.
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PostSubject: Re: Waffling, Shiny Cars & Anarchy   Sat Sep 27, 2008 6:38 pm

Another fine post Rocky.

You catch me out each and every time you post. You left foot me. You seem to always start what it is you want to say by setting your stall in the capitalist enclave. I always shake my head at this point and say to myself, "Aw shite - here we go..." It's at this point that you usually take a sharp left turn and restore my faith in humanity.

I'm a simple guy and have a tendency to reduce stuff to very simple terms. I see the capitalist game from a very simple viewpoint. Money is a tool and man (or woman) is a tool user. The problem with capitalism is its ability to turn most tool users into tools.

Keeping up with the Jones' family is a tool's game. It's all about manipulating the concept of individuality so that it becomes an exercise in conformity. You're not a unique individual unless you have that new plasma screen thingymajig, etc. Buy into that way of thinking and you sacrifice your individuality in the belief that you are asserting it. I haven't owned a tv for more than a decade at this point and believe that prettying up the viewing tool won't enhance the shite that it's showing, unless one is only about aesthetics.

I'd say more at this point, but unlike yourself, I'd just be waffling.

Good post as I said. I like what you've got to say, more importantly, I like the way you say it. Aesthetics are not the be all and end all by any means. This does not mean that they are unimportant however.
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PostSubject: Re: Waffling, Shiny Cars & Anarchy   Sat Sep 27, 2008 7:47 pm

Cars are a waste of money, devalue the minute you buy them. One should base a car purchase on the function for which it will be used. My girlfriend's dad came home with one of these a few months ago Rolling Eyes

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PostSubject: Re: Waffling, Shiny Cars & Anarchy   Sat Sep 27, 2008 9:22 pm

johnfás wrote:
Cars are a waste of money, devalue the minute you buy them. One should base a car purchase on the function for which it will be used. My girlfriend's dad came home with one of these a few months ago Rolling Eyes


Its his age, you know Rolling Eyes
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PostSubject: Re: Waffling, Shiny Cars & Anarchy   Sat Sep 27, 2008 9:36 pm

It's a stage two midlife crisis - this was and remains stage one: -

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PostSubject: Re: Waffling, Shiny Cars & Anarchy   Sat Sep 27, 2008 9:39 pm

I'm not so sure that its a personal crisis, more of a triumphal celebration of mature life stage and inflated bank balance.
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PostSubject: Re: Waffling, Shiny Cars & Anarchy   Sat Sep 27, 2008 9:41 pm

Oh it is a crisis when you see these on him too: -

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PostSubject: Re: Waffling, Shiny Cars & Anarchy   Sat Sep 27, 2008 9:44 pm

Any sign of bungy jumping yet?
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PostSubject: Re: Waffling, Shiny Cars & Anarchy   Sat Sep 27, 2008 9:46 pm

Johnfás have you seen this Levi's ad from way before you were born? Maybe your father in law (2B) was inspired by this very sexy of ads, evil godamm ads

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PostSubject: Re: Waffling, Shiny Cars & Anarchy   Sat Sep 27, 2008 9:49 pm

Goodness, bungee jumping, that would certainly tip it over the edge. I wouldn't be entirely surprised but no at the moment its Ray-Bans, Convertibles and Wine Clubs. We'll see how the current conditions effect it all.

Teehehe at the ad Auditor! I'll have to show that to the girlfriend.

I should be shot for the way I'm talking about them pale .
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PostSubject: Re: Waffling, Shiny Cars & Anarchy   Sat Sep 27, 2008 10:09 pm

I wouldn't worry. Conspicuous consumption was made to be talked about.
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PostSubject: Re: Waffling, Shiny Cars & Anarchy   Sat Sep 27, 2008 10:32 pm

I use only Colgate toothpaste. I am very brand orientated.

We do most of our shopping in Lidl but that Dentalux does not do the job.
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PostSubject: Re: Waffling, Shiny Cars & Anarchy   Sun Sep 28, 2008 5:19 am

I like to think that within reasonable limits I basically do whatever I want. The problem is knowing what I want to do. There is a sense of satisfaction derived from making something work and in creating. It may be a the best vegetables in Ireland, restoring some furniture or building office block that will be used for the next 100 years. It could equally be a ramble in the mountains, a walk in the park with the spring flowers or a night at the theatre.

Unfortunately for most people in this world they just do not have the same choice. Their choice is doing what is necessary to keep themselves and their family alive and anything in addition to that is a bonus.


rockyracoon wrote:
Times of turmoil seem to me to also be times of opportunity. As someone learning the trading game, I've been following the various markets closely as well as the economic-political shennigans that have occurred during this time of turmoil. I'm not looking to profit from the turmoil simply because I don't have the acumen to deal with the changing rules that are be instituted as the big players shake out the markets to their immediate advantage. Trading is a long term game. One could despair or one could review one's position relative to what's happening in the big bad world.

What is going on at the moment is an utter disgrace.

There are opportunities in the bust. Where there is muck there is brass. If any of the toxic can be acquired at a good price and you see a use that others don't then there is very easy money to be made. Looking to the future you have to consider where other bubbles may occur for again there is profit for those in early who exit.
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PostSubject: Re: Waffling, Shiny Cars & Anarchy   Sun Sep 28, 2008 11:38 am

Some nice insights and views on how various people view the world and what's occuring at the moment. The more I think about this semi-anarchist type of lifestyle the more I'd like to use it as a framework or as a guide going forward. It's at best only a subtle change in thinking about ownership of assets and the utility they provide or don't provide, but the subtle change may bear fruit in addressing one's financial position vis-a-vis being the owner of assets or the assets essentially owning you. This in turn might have an affect on what you perceive freedom to be and what actions you takes in relation to others in your community.

As someone pointed out there are limitations to any strategy or philosophy. The absence of a TV is an interesting point. I did without telly for over a year when I moved back in 2000. Didn't miss it all at. However, my SU (spousal unit) likes the telly so I have to bend to the majority will Laughing . However, this issue also addresses the modern concept of personal freedom which another poster mentioned. To my mind, if you took the issue of personal freedom to its logical conclusion you'd essentially be lead into a narcisstic lifestyle which would most likely limit many options on how you inteact with other people and what mutual benefits are provided by common concensus.

To me personal freedom is at best a fleeting concept. We all have some constraints through personal relationships, work relationships and so on which limit our options. Many knowingly choose to enter into relationships which require compromise and limitations on choices, while many enter relationships with scant regard as to what is involved. The limitations on personal freedom are highly magnified, imo, due to the nature of our modern economic society where we rely on others to provide almost every basic commodity of life from food to medicine. Acquiring the knowledge as to what limits one's personal freedoms (choices?) or at least acknowledging the limitations imposed by ourselves and others is probably the first step to truely realising what personal freedoms each individual requires. Then it is up to each person, a freeing and free action in and of itself, to take steps to define what limitations on freedom they choose; and maybe experimenting with various lifestyles before finding one that is comfortable.

The concept of a job for life is now largely a thing of the past. In fact, the concept of a job whereby some level of security through pension accumulation and advancement within an organisation is quickly being replaced by outsourced labour so that the owner's balance sheet can be freed from fixed costs is now becoming the common economic model. The wage earner is actually being turned into a commodity with no regard to their social-economic needs or indeed the community's wider needs. The wage earner is being cast adrift. So be it. It is up to wage earners to decide what inputs they are willing to give the company. It is up to wage earners to scale back their spending habits in order not to be constrained by asset accumulation and debt. Never more so in human history is the very items which we perceive that make our lives easier (auto, tellies and indeed electricty, etc.) are the very things which are being used to control populations while their earnings potential are being eroded. Unions are laregly ineffective as the problems don't just address a particular job or job function. Politics is largely ineffective because the requirements of individuals massively diverge - a spectrum defined from a self-sufficient lifestyle to a coterie of large asset owners who can influence govt policy in their favour. It is up to individuals to free themselves in whatever degree they choose from the constraints imposed upon them. Whether vague notions which identify core concepts as a platform for community advacement such personal freedom, choice and advancement in society can be harnassed by a broad common concensus and formed into a representative body is very difficult to envision.
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PostSubject: Re: Waffling, Shiny Cars & Anarchy   Sun Sep 28, 2008 11:56 am

rockyracoon wrote:
It is up to wage earners to scale back their spending habits in order not to be constrained by asset accumulation and debt. Never more so in human history is the very items which we perceive that make our lives easier (auto, tellies and indeed electricty, etc.) are the very things which are being used to control populations while their earnings potential are being eroded. Unions are laregly ineffective as the problems don't just address a particular job or job function. Politics is largely ineffective because the requirements of individuals massively diverge - a spectrum defined from a self-sufficient lifestyle to a coterie of large asset owners who can influence govt policy in their favour. It is up to individuals to free themselves in whatever degree they choose from the constraints imposed upon them.
Now, in the light of the admissions here that a few of us purposely buy second-hand cars (EVM says he prefers/buys the older mechanical models too and he's an electronic engineer Shocked) isn't it peculiar that rakes of us besides choose to buy into the slavery of a financial trap? Is it a bit of excess money some of us have i.e. those who have disposable income to dispose on anything but a house because they're too expensive so they buy a 16k Renault like they'd buy a handbag (I'd have more value in a 3-4k diesel that I could tinker with) so it's either an imbalance in disposable income - yep I'm blaming the housing bubble again - or it's to do with cultural pressures. Green thinking was fringe thinking not so long ago and look at it now - very few are laughing at you because you talk about CO2 emissions and energy efficiency.

Culture of the herd is an interesting one and is a bit right-wing of me to point it out or attempt to at least but I get the feeling it's very real ... People may largely be prone to mobbishness which looks like snobbishness but is in effect herd mentality. All the individuals down in Foxrock with their Beamers, Sunglasses and blonde look actually all look the same as each other.

Culture - it's weird and deserves a small bit of regulation/moderation when it gets out of hand. It should be allowed to arise though - it's when it takes off as an epidemic ...
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PostSubject: Re: Waffling, Shiny Cars & Anarchy   Sun Sep 28, 2008 2:41 pm

Well I had a chat with a lovely man after the church service I attended this morning (not my own church). He had come here from Malawi five years ago. Aside from his daily job he cut grass on a Saturday and just bought his first car to drive his family on day trips. He showed it off like his pride a joy - 1988 Ford Fiesta.
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PostSubject: Re: Waffling, Shiny Cars & Anarchy   Sun Sep 28, 2008 3:39 pm

rockyracoon said [quote
Quote :
]The concept of a job for life is now largely a thing of the past. In fact, the concept of a job whereby some level of security through pension accumulation and advancement within an organisation is quickly being replaced by outsourced labour so that the owner's balance sheet can be freed from fixed costs is now becoming the common economic model. The wage earner is actually being turned into a commodity with no regard to their social-economic needs or indeed the community's wider needs. The wage earner is being cast adrift. So be it. It is up to wage earners to decide what inputs they are willing to give the company. It is up to wage earners to scale back their spending habits in order not to be constrained by asset accumulation and debt. Never more so in human history is the very items which we perceive that make our lives easier (auto, tellies and indeed electricty, etc.) are the very things which are being used to control populations while their earnings potential are being eroded.

This is the big picture and you have updated what Karl Marx wrote about back in 1844 when people came off the land into the factories and cities:

Quote :
The worker becomes poorer the more wealth he produces, the more his production increases in power and extent. The worker becomes an ever cheaper commodity the more commodities he produces. The devaluation of the human world grows in direct proportion to the increase in value of the world of things. Labour not only produces commodities; it also produces itself and the workers as a commodity and it does so in the same proportion in which it produces commodities in general.

http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1844/manuscripts/labour.htm

This is only a page or two of Marx that well repays reading as it goes to the heart of what happens when we go to work for someone else for money and talks about our relationship with the commodities we produce.
Quote :

...All these consequences are contained in this characteristic, that the worker is related to the product of labour as to an alien object. For it is clear that, according to this premise, the more the worker exerts himself in his work, the more powerful the alien, objective world becomes which he brings into being over against himself, the poorer he and his inner world become, and the less they belong to him.
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