Author Topic: Enabling Anti-Mustachian Lifestyles  (Read 5098 times)

Oscar_C

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Enabling Anti-Mustachian Lifestyles
« on: June 11, 2014, 10:53:21 AM »
I'm not sure if this belongs here or on the Anti-Mustachian Forum Please Move If Needed.

Whenever I read a finance article from a news website, I always see stories about people who are irresponsible with money, and cannot understand the simplicity of cutting back.

It seems like the news is trying to keep American's poor (Tinfoil Hat) by saying debt is normal, almost like a conspiracy.
Sadly I'm only semi-joking regarding this conspiracy, but I'm still crazy.

Can any of you elaborate on your opinions of these articles?

CarDude

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Re: Enabling Anti-Mustachian Lifestyles
« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2014, 10:54:35 AM »
Oh, I definitely agree that they work to normalize the idea of debt. If they didn't, there wouldn't be much point to all of the credit card, new car, and other trinket ads that run rampant on the websites.

Oscar_C

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Re: Enabling Anti-Mustachian Lifestyles
« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2014, 11:01:30 AM »
Oh, I definitely agree that they work to normalize the idea of debt. If they didn't, there wouldn't be much point to all of the credit card, new car, and other trinket ads that run rampant on the websites.

I'm pretty naive so bear with me.

What is the point of normalizing debt? Why encourage it though? Is it because everybody loves spending, and want to keep readers happy, or some other reason?

warfreak2

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Re: Enabling Anti-Mustachian Lifestyles
« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2014, 11:58:47 AM »
What is the point of normalizing debt?
What is the point of anything else the media does? They serve the advertisers, not you. Advertisers can sell more if everyone buys with money they don't have.

CarDude

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Re: Enabling Anti-Mustachian Lifestyles
« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2014, 12:01:10 PM »
Oh, I definitely agree that they work to normalize the idea of debt. If they didn't, there wouldn't be much point to all of the credit card, new car, and other trinket ads that run rampant on the websites.

I'm pretty naive so bear with me.

What is the point of normalizing debt? Why encourage it though? Is it because everybody loves spending, and want to keep readers happy, or some other reason?

No problem. As warfreak2 noted, it's to serve their true base: advertisers. Our entire economy is set up on the idea that we're supposed to just buy things, regardless of whether we need it or can afford it or not.

warfreak2

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Re: Enabling Anti-Mustachian Lifestyles
« Reply #5 on: June 11, 2014, 12:06:20 PM »
A bit less tinfoil-hatted, it could also easily be explained by the fact that what many of the advertisers are selling is debt itself.

Greg

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Re: Enabling Anti-Mustachian Lifestyles
« Reply #6 on: June 11, 2014, 12:16:45 PM »
Debt is encouraged to "strengthen" our economy.  In the USA anyway, the economy is driven by consumer spending.  Industries live and die on how much they can get people to finance; think cars, appliances, homes, cell phones.

gimp

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Re: Enabling Anti-Mustachian Lifestyles
« Reply #7 on: June 11, 2014, 12:44:11 PM »
The dollar is debt.

If you own a thousand dollars, you don't have a thousand dollar's worth of hard assets; a dollar isn't land, or gold, or coal or iron or water or food. If you own a thousand dollars, you have a thousand dollar's worth of other people's debt. Society owes you precisely one thousand dollars' worth of goods and services. It's an IOU you may cash at any time.

That's not necessarily a bad thing. On an individual level, sure, you might not want to deal with owing and owning debt. On a national scale, it works remarkably well; there are occasional corrections (2008 - if you're a company, don't buy assets you don't understand with only 5% as collateral where the 5% is based on a value you don't understand...) but it works pretty well. The strength of the world economy, in which almost every participating country's currency is debt just like the dollar, shows that it works quite well.

When you borrow money, thanks to fractional reserve banking, money basically... appears. This makes no sense, of course, until you realize again that dollars are debt, not property; the person with the dollars owns debt. The long-term effects of this I wouldn't hazard a guess, but in our lifetimes it will probably continue to work remarkably well. What that means, of course, is

When you borrow money, you create money; this money is then used to grow our economy.

As Greg said, "debt is encouraged to 'strengthen' our economy" and it's not wrong, and you shouldn't dismiss it out of hand because only stupid people owe debt instead of own debt. Regardless of your feelings on the subject, it works quite well. It's a system designed by people way, way smarter than us when it comes to economic policy, and it's participated in by all of us.

Rural

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Re: Enabling Anti-Mustachian Lifestyles
« Reply #8 on: June 11, 2014, 01:28:40 PM »
The dollar is debt.

If you own a thousand dollars, you don't have a thousand dollar's worth of hard assets; a dollar isn't land, or gold, or coal or iron or water or food. If you own a thousand dollars, you have a thousand dollar's worth of other people's debt. Society owes you precisely one thousand dollars' worth of goods and services. It's an IOU you may cash at any time.



Gold is exactly the same unless you happen to be in a few very limited manufacturing environments. It has (virtually) no intrinsic value. That makes it essentially unlike land, coal, iron, water, or food, all of which have utility in and of themselves and thus inherently have value.

snshijuptr

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Re: Enabling Anti-Mustachian Lifestyles
« Reply #9 on: June 11, 2014, 01:59:37 PM »
The dollar is debt.
...
When you borrow money, thanks to fractional reserve banking, money basically... appears. This makes no sense, of course, until you realize again that dollars are debt, not property; the person with the dollars owns debt. The long-term effects of this I wouldn't hazard a guess, but in our lifetimes it will probably continue to work remarkably well. What that means, of course, is

It always frightens me a little when I realize that the world economy is predicated on the vast majority of people either not knowing this at all or fully understanding and accepting this fact. Its like religion: you either follow out of blind faith or deep study. It's the ones in between that lose faith in the system. I have a small worry that too many people will fall into this in between category.

warfreak2

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Re: Enabling Anti-Mustachian Lifestyles
« Reply #10 on: June 11, 2014, 03:00:52 PM »
The dollar is debt.
Well, dollars do have intrinsic value: you can pay debts with them. So long as there is lots of US$-denominated debt, dollars will remain valuable (at least to the people in debt) without anyone having to "believe". (Hey, we just came up with another reason for the normalisation of debt.)

gimp

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Re: Enabling Anti-Mustachian Lifestyles
« Reply #11 on: June 11, 2014, 03:21:50 PM »
Of course gold has no real worth beyond its uses in jewelry, manufacturing, and science; it's a form of soft currency whose value is predicated on faith. But it's a different beast from the dollar, and interesting one, and one I avoid because I don't want it or understand it well enough.

The fact that you can pay debt with dollars is tautological. Certainly if you owe debt and own debt you can combine a plus and a minus and cancel them out.

mozar

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Re: Enabling Anti-Mustachian Lifestyles
« Reply #12 on: June 11, 2014, 05:03:00 PM »
Well I think there are several issues here that can't be lumped in together. One is being irresponsible with money. As with many things if you
« Last Edit: May 10, 2018, 11:50:24 AM by mozar »

Pegasus

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Re: Enabling Anti-Mustachian Lifestyles
« Reply #13 on: June 11, 2014, 05:47:38 PM »
IMO, the media are largely journalists who are not financially savvy themselves, working for editors who want to sell ads and papers.  So I can see why we see more portrayals of people as victims who need the government to bail them out at taxpayer expense, versus anything extolling the virtue of taking responsibility for one's decisions and living below one's means (I.e., telling the bulk of readers it's their own fault).

Oscar_C

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Re: Enabling Anti-Mustachian Lifestyles
« Reply #14 on: June 12, 2014, 01:51:29 AM »
IMO, the media are largely journalists who are not financially savvy themselves, working for editors who want to sell ads and papers.  So I can see why we see more portrayals of people as victims who need the government to bail them out at taxpayer expense, versus anything extolling the virtue of taking responsibility for one's decisions and living below one's means (I.e., telling the bulk of readers it's their own fault).

Sounds logical, but sad. I guess advertisers try to exploit anybody they can. Victim mindset usually irritates me, it rarely makes me feel sympathy for foolish decisions on the grounds that it makes people look helpless. I can sympathize if somebody is genuinely helpless, but if it's a result of many bad choices, well...