Justin Wertz
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Found this on Reddit, where it is being discussed quite heavily, but found it more than appropriate for here at BGG.

This article looks into the idea that Western society is designed to keep time scarce and force us into continuing to spend our money in order to make the most of the little free time we have.

I often see threads here talking about how people have spent too much on games that they haven't even had the chance to play.

So, are we really doomed from the get-go to such a monotonous life? We get such great joy out of our individual game nights, but is that really any way to live a life? It's actually kind of depressing.

Quote:
The ultimate tool for corporations to sustain a culture of this sort is to develop the 40-hour workweek as the normal lifestyle. Under these working conditions people have to build a life in the evenings and on weekends. This arrangement makes us naturally more inclined to spend heavily on entertainment and conveniences because our free time is so scarce.


Quote:
We’ve been led into a culture that has been engineered to leave us tired, hungry for indulgence, willing to pay a lot for convenience and entertainment, and most importantly, vaguely dissatisfied with our lives so that we continue wanting things we don’t have. We buy so much because it always seems like something is still missing.


http://thoughtcatalog.com/2013/your-lifestyle-has-already-be...

ETA - I know that the subsequent discussion could border on RSP territory, so, mods, if necessary, this can be moved.
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I think that all right-thinking people in this country are sick and tired of being told that ordinary, decent people are fed up in this country with being sick and tired. I’m certainly not, and I’m sick and tired of being told that I am.
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Interesting article. I will need to re-read it and ponder it.
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fightcitymayor
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"This is a really weird game, and you’ll find that most people will not want to play this."
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Good article.

I took a course in college about the rise of "the leisure class" and how the idea of having an occupation that didn't take up 90% of your time was actually kind of a recent (late 19th century) thing. Just like the idea that kids are some kind of sacred, protected resource also occurred in the same time frame (once upon a time kids were put to work & told to shut the F up until they were old enough to move out.)

Personally, I believe people DO have enough time to do the things they want, they just budget that time terribly, then love to bitch about supposedly not having it. It's like we've grown to love our existentialist angst about life being essentially worthless, and thus all about what you make of it. Some people have grown accustomed to enjoy bitching about the free time they supposedly don't have, but actually do have.


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Looking at these stars suddenly dwarfed my own troubles and all the gravities of terrestrial life. I thought of their unfathomable distance, and the slow inevitable drift of their movements out of the unknown past into the unknown future. H.G. Wells
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40 hours a week would be a nice break for me. I work at least 45 hours a week, and it's not unusual for me to break 50.
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Brian Bankler
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So ... we don't have much spare time; therefore we pay through the nose to fill it up?

Uh, ok.

People waste a lot of money; however, conspicuous consumption existed well before corporations ... read your Dante. People want more stuff sometimes because the stuff is fun/useful/etc, but often because it's a status race.

On average, everyone alive today in the 1st world is much better off than anyone alive 3+ generations ago. However, we don't typically compare our lives to people who lacked modern health care, indoor plumbing, the internet, modern communication or (going back a bit further) refrigeration, clean water, antibiotics, etc.

We compare ourselves to that douchebag in accounting who just got a new sportscar/clothes/watch/etc.

If you find yourself racing to one-up that person, the flaw lies not in the stars. It's not "The Man" keeping you down. It's your inner peacock raging against someone's superior plumage.
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¡dn ʇǝƃ ʇ,uɐɔ ı puɐ uǝllɐɟ ǝʌ,ı
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I remember all of the old predictions, from the '50s and '60s, about how we'd all be flying around in hovercars and eating meals in pill form.
The Jetsons was considered attainable by many people)
Everything was based on the prediction that our lives would be simpler because of all of the time-saving devices that were going to be invented.
The vicious circle is that those time-saving devices cost a lot of money, and to get the money you need to work harder to afford them, so you have less spare time because you're working.

The other major problem with the hovercar prediction was that the dreamers didn't take into account the fact that people love to drive cars/ trucks.
The only time I'd really be interested in a hovercar would be to bust out of a traffic jam. But the cost involved in regulating hovercar movement, and the technology needed to maintain some sanity during a traffic crisis, and the insurance headaches and costs, etc, etc., means that we will never have personal hovercars.
I predict.
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M C
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fightcitymayor wrote:

I took a course in college about the rise of "the leisure class" and how the idea of having an occupation that didn't take up 90% of your time was actually kind of a recent (late 19th century) thing.


Work back then was much less structured and most workers didn't have bosses. In early colonial America,artisans for example, mostly worked out of their houses, took long breakfast, lunches and dinners as well as ample breaks and naps AND they were drunk a good bit of the time. The leisurely middle class is a lie in my opinion. We have lost leisure time compared to those people.

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Adrian Hague
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RAWKET LAWNCHA!!!
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compulsive_buying_disorder
Curiously, 80% of the people who suffer from this are women.
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The Seal of Approval
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Interesting article.

I consider myself an unusual (in the view of a typical salesman, probably a "bad") consumer: I don't have a smartphone, I still have an old TV, household appliances are replaced only when they are in bad shape (and then I try to find a new one that promises to stay in service for many years - hard to do nowadays). I have no car. I have no big apartment, nor expensive furniture.

Nevertheless...

Over the years, I noticed that my lifestyle always managed to adjust so that the money I earn is spent. Never went into debt, always had something left for hard times, but still, I basically spent what I earned.

For a while it was eating out. Or traveling. Top-notch chocolate and coffee. Food that actually tastes like food, not like polymers. Singing lessons. Medical expenses (in many cases, prophylactic).

In that, the article is spot-on. But I believe that at least some of the ways I spend my - moderate - amounts of money actually improve the quality of my life. Enjoying the moment. Learning. Staying healthy (hopefully to a ripe old age).
It doesn't always work, naturally, and I have sometimes wished my life was less cluttered with junk.

Which is more because I have a hard time throwing things away than because I buy so many things.
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Tony Ackroyd
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Very interesting article. Quite a lot of logical flaws there, but a lot of truth.

The biggest truth there is that we in the West have a culture of unnnecesaries. This is mainly because our economies depend on us buying lots of unnecessary luxuries. But also because the vast majority of us have all our basic needs completely met. This means that our disposable income can therefore be used on unnecessaries.

I don't agree with this idea that keeping us in work 8 hours a day drives consumer demand in the rest of the time. If we had more time we'd do more consuming. I can see that when I look at people who don't have full time jobs but do have the money to spend. They spend more. The comparison he makes to the backpacker lifestyle is incorrect. I've done that lifestyle. When travelling there is always new amazing things to go and see and do. A lot of these things don't cost money. When you stay in one place there aren't lots of new things, so naturally people buy stuff to entertain them.

I'm not sure about applying the logic in the article to BGG either. Yes, people on here buy far too many games for the amount of boardgaming time they have. Partly that is driven by the fact that lots of the users on this site have a lot of disposable income. But mostly I think it is that there is a continual bombardment of information about great games. In marketing terms, by voluntarily spending lots of time on this site we are exposing ourselves to a vast amount of positive product placement, endorsement and positive reviews. Given that we love games the result is not at all surprising. We buy too many. Games take a lot of time to play. Most of us here are full time workers. Most of us have partners. Half of us have kids. We don't have much free time.
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Green Dan
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A similar article: www.monbiot.com/2012/12/10/the-gift-of-death/
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Justin Wertz
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Greendan wrote:


Very good read. My favorite line:

Quote:
The best things in life are free, but we’ve found a way of selling them to you.


The discussion on Reddit seemed to have a minority who were saying that people just aren't good at prioritizing & sacrificing, but, to me, that is the crux of the problem.

We have to prioritize and sacrifice the things that are supposed to matter (time with friends, time relaxing, time keeping ourselves healthy). I find it terribly disingenuous to say, "You just have to sacrifice certain things...that's life." No, life, for as short as it is, should be spent being able to enjoy and share it. At the end of the day, how many people can honestly say that they feel they have spent an adequate amount of time doing the things that should matter.

My friend's kids have a 7:30 bedtime. By the time he gets home from work at 5:00, eats dinner, and helps the kids with homework, they have, maybe, an hour to actually play together. He could push their bedtime back, but that's sacrificing sleep, that they need, in order for them to be able to get through the next day. He could skip homework, or dinner, but who would honestly suggest that? So, in the end, he gets about 5 hours of playtime during the week to bond with his children.

The weekends? He gets more time, but there's also the weekly grocery shopping to do, the odd jobs to ensure the roof over their heads doesn't fall apart.

It just sucks, and I'm convinced it's the reason why our society has become so widely medicated and depressed. Not sure what we can do about it.

We consume at ever increasing rates, and it's not only about keeping up with the Joneses. We have to overwork ourselves just to put food on the table! For the current cost of groceries, someone in the family is forced to work the 40+ hour job, and their life suffers because of it.
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Randy Cox
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I would think that, if this theory were true, people outside of big cities who work 8-to-5 (rather than this 9-to-5 thing) should be spending even more money. Here in SC, we'd be spending more and more because we have 5 fewer hours per week to spend it.

And I can't speak for the younger crowd, but I think a lot of people my age (and particularly my parents' age) are quite content not to consume. I don't even pay for cable TV and never go to malls. I think that a generalization doesn't work, at least not for me.
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Thanks for the links.

I would likely rate a "bad to poor" consumer since I am not a big spender. I grew up dirt poor so I think that has some influence on my spending habits of being fiscally conservative. What always fascinated me is that I have seen other people who were also from a poor background who come into money and then spend like crazy buying all sorts of things.
surprise

The more things you own, the more the things own you. (can't remember who said that...)
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I have no time to read that article, does someone have an iOS application that can distill it into just the important line items?
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