Thursday, January 22, 2015

Live With Less, Little People

Kleiner Leute; Was Nun?

This just in from Davos, via Bloomberg:
Billionaire Jeff Greene, who amassed a multibillion dollar fortune betting against subprime mortgage securities, says the U.S. faces a jobs crisis that will cause social unrest and radical politics.

“America’s lifestyle expectations are far too high and need to be adjusted so we have less things and a smaller, better existence,” Greene said in an interview today at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. “We need to reinvent our whole system of life.”

...Greene, who flew his wife, children and two nannies on a private jet plane to Davos for the week, said he’s planning a conference in Palm Beach, Florida, at the Tideline Hotel called “Closing the Gap.” 
I'm in favor of a society less entranced by possessing and amassing wealth -- of being defined by income, possessions and lineage. It's what I thought America became a country for (though our history certainly wouldn't support that view, now would it). But to me, a movement towards a more collectivized culture means it would by definition be more egalitarian.

However, I don't think that's Jeffy's Big Vision. What I imagine he's on about is that the "Common Person" will be the ones to lower their expectations -- to accept pay cuts, after years of flat wages, and thereby reduce our possessions. To live more simply, as befits our station.

How this can support an alleged Free Market society by reducing the amount of things made, and purchased, and so eliminate jobs, income... I don't believe Jeffy has thought this through. Perhaps we're going back to a Pre-Downton Abbey, Lord-and-Peasant society for real, and all of us Little Folk will till the soil on the estates of the Masters? Sort of a 'Tom Jones', landed Gentry sort of thing?

The Oligarchs, who already have such expectations of their world, will love it.  And those at the top of the pile will not, of course, have to lower any expectations, as they are the "job creators" and all.

Das wir sagen kann, "Hopla -- Wir Leben!" nicht genug ist.


  1. with regard to living more simply, i am reminded of the notice posted in the bed and breakfast in maine, many years ago - "if there is something you require that is not provided here, please enquire of the staff, who will explain how to do without it"

    these are the same staff who, when asked if they had lived in maine all their life, replied "not yet"

    when asked directions to a remote rural location, they informed the tourist "you can't get there from here" ["you cahn't get theyah from heyah" in an approximation of their regional pronunciation]

    1. Actually, I'm reminded of a joke told to me years ago -- presumably that of a radio comedy program, but which I could only find via the Google machine in some odd pastoral sermon (I paraphrase):

      TOM: I heah they found a body down th' beach.
      BERT: Oh, ayuh. 'Twas it anybody we know?
      TOM: Well, I didn't get that close t' see.
      BERT: What was he wearin'?
      TOM: Had on a Slicker -- somethin' like yours. And boots.
      BERT: (Pause) Was they low boots, or high boots?
      TOM: (Pause) Ah, they was low boots.
      BERT: Ayuh. (Pause) Oh, Well then; 'twerent me.