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Our bondage is self imposed

There are a few people living in london self-storage spaces. You can rent a nice sized space for 40gbp/month. They have a kitchen on each floor, and a toilet. Obviously you are not paying for your water and electricity use, because they do not allow you to live there oficially, but even if we include those, it seems like it would be possible to provide very basic living arrangements for <100gbp/month in London (and once again, snowcrash predicts the future).

If we add very basic food (rice, beans, milk, eggs, cheap seasonal veg) and some money for clothing etc. (a few pounds will do in our world of uniqlo and primark with 3gbp t-shirts) you can imagine people living comfortably on 200gbp a month.

(David Friedman and Gwern have also covered this, and come to much lower numbers, but Gwern imagined eating dogfood, which may be suboptimal health-wise.)

Our person has access to public libraries, museums, sport and exercise, etc. If they were able to scrape together another 10gbp/month, they could afford a powerful smart phone and internet access to also get access to youtube, gutenberg, news, articles, learning, university courses, etc.

This is around 7gbp/day. It assumes NHS, free libraries, etc. are still around, so I am not making a political point here (Of course, due to Removing choices for the poor it is illegal to live in storage spaces, so there is a political point to be made).

I am simply noticing that we have options, that our bondage is self imposed. We do not need to work as much as we do if we do not wish to. We do not need to have a new car, a large house, an amazon echo, a gym membership, a new sofa (they are free second hand, this country is amazingly rich), many different pairs of shoes, etc. Every time we pay more for more comfort or enjoyment we are making a tradeoff, freedom for stuff. It is fine to make this tradeoff, but it is not fine to expect it or enforce it. Most people do not seem to even be aware there is a tradeoff to be made.

There seems to be a sense of entitlement to having a certain standard of living, with a large TV, fast-food, holidays to the sea-side. Can we give this to everyone without instilling a sense of Complacency Without overly infringing on the rights of others in society? Why should we do so? If we accept that people can live good lives with very little, then we free ourselves from the illusion that this is an issue in the first place. We can have freedom without people 'starving in the streets'.

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Last modified 2019-07-12 Fri 09:06. Contact max@maxjmartin.com