Why would people rather choose consumerism and work above poverty and liberty?

Nov 2010
1,583
I never quite understood the reason most people in the world would rather choose a life of wealth and prosperity, and then having to worry about work or losing your job, rather than living a simple life, working only to cook your own meal and provide for yourself and your family and have your liberty.

What is the point of consumerism when you are not really free (because you have to work)?

Work isn't liberty. All work is slavery!

I am not talking about lazyness. I just want TRUE liberty! That people don't just have a choice, but many choices in life.
Currently you have only one choice: To starve to death or to work. At least give people a third choice: A gun with one bullet!

Or, as Patrick Henry (1736-1799) put it: Give me liberty or give me death!
 
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Louise C

Ad Honorem
Jan 2011
7,239
Southeast England
people have always had to work, one way or another. Even hunter-gathering is work of a kind. You have to provide for yourself somehow. But in the Uk at any rate, people who don't work don't starve to death. We have unemployment benefit. And even people who work generally work less than people in the past, most people work shorter hours and have more days off than they did in the 19th century for instance.
 

Toltec

Ad Honorem
Apr 2008
7,923
Hyperborea
Most people in the world have a life of what you call poverty and liberty, it's only the privileged few that have the western way of life.

A life of poverty and liberty can be not knowing where you next meal comes from, being forced to work in a factory for 10 hours a day 6 days a week to pay for your ageing mother's medical bills, she still dies because the money was never enough. Or live in a home so far mortgaged of so back rented you get evicted and wind up homeless.

Now in the developing world you still have some enclaves where you get merchant classes who have their own small trades and businesses, they work for themselves, whatever hours they want, they're comfortable and ok off. These are of course dying as the large companies drive them out of business like in the west.

As for the west, the New Model Army song Ghost of Cain does a better job explainging than me. They equate the western world to a giant TV Game Show.

Invent a splendid party
Where the dreams can be won
And with bright flashing lights
The heartaches are gone

With sex and with money
And with everything for free
Then show tantalising glimpses
Every night on TV

Watch the dirty hands
That laboured hard for you
Stretching out like children
For a crumb that they can chew

for a car and video
A little bit to spare
And go on promising
That more could be all theirs

They tell you when to laugh
They tell you when to cheer
So the audience at home
Will get the right idea

They watch like children
Left out of a playground gang
Conforming the lives
In a way they hope will get them in

It seems to me sometimes
There's only two ways to choose
In this whirlpool made
Of a thousand years

Either live in these ghettoes
And know your place
Or you trample over everyone
In the human race
 

Crystal Rainbow

Ad Honorem
Feb 2011
9,998
Cumbernauld Scotland
Fact of life, you have to work, but these days there is a lot of unemployment and people and people are living in poverty though no fault of their own. You have to be extremely lucky to have money to spare these days, nothing to do with having a job. As rising prices are part of the norm around here, even though you are fortunate to have a job the wages don't cover the cost of living.
 

diddyriddick

Historum Emeritas
May 2009
14,692
A tiny hamlet in the Carolina Sandhills
Trust me poverty is overrated.
I could not agree more. I've had money (a bit) and I've been broke. The former beats hell out of the latter. Moreover, I LIKE working. Money may not buy happiness, but poverty sure as hell can't.
 

botully

Ad Honorem
Feb 2011
3,547
Amelia, Virginia, USA
I never quite understood the reason most people in the world would rather choose a life of wealth and prosperity, and then having to worry about work or losing your job, rather than living a simple life, working only to cook your own meal and provide for yourself and your family and have your liberty.
I'd much rather work 40-50 hrs a week with holidays and weekends than work sunrise to sunset 7 days a week at subsistence agriculture. A drought doesn't mean I'll starve, it means I can't water my lawn. A plague of locusts doesn't wipe out a years toil, it's an inconvenience at worst. Hunting/gathering? fine until your wife has a difficult childbirth or you cut your finger and die of an infection. Those poor but free folk are simply slaves to Mother Nature.
All those "conveniences" we enjoy, from the internet to modern medicine are possible through specialization, meaning that most people don't have to work solely to feed themselves. They can work on other things, like music and poetry. They have the free time to get an education.

I don't know your background, but people who romanticize subsistence agriculture never worked on a farm. Trust me, it ain't easy.
 
Nov 2010
1,583
Maybe we should define poverty:

Not having enough money to buy common luxuries in your country.

I'd rather choose not to have as much luxuries if I can be 100 % certain that I will never be forced to work.

diddyriddick said:
I could not agree more. I've had money (a bit) and I've been broke. The former beats hell out of the latter. Moreover, I LIKE working. Money may not buy happiness, but poverty sure as hell can't.
I think I would like to work too if I was not forced to it or threatened to do it by force.

That thing - by force - just about ruins everything that is good. Forcing me to drink a Coca Cola makes me hate Coca Cola too.

I've done much dirty work voluntarily. I didn't hate it. But the day someone force me to do it, I will do everything I can to get away.
 

botully

Ad Honorem
Feb 2011
3,547
Amelia, Virginia, USA
I still don't see how "work or starve" isn't being "forced" to work.

Maybe along with defining "poverty" you should define "forced".