The following, written by Paul Rosenberg, is an important article that Fitzroy Mclean of Global Speculations has kindly allowed us to share with you.
Rosenberg outlines the process through which thrift has been largely pushed out of our society making it more and more difficult for people to save like they used to. We get to keep less and less of what we earn and foolish government actions make it less appealing for people to save. One of the board members of the Federal Reserve Bank recently stated that if she could take interest rates into negative territory she would. This is the sort of government insanity that kills thrift--why save if there is less than 0 interest?! It is, however, also the stuff that amazingly powerful speculations are made of.
In this rapidly changing world where governments have hijacked the economy and financial markets, one cannot invest or trade the way they used to. The word ‘speculator’ gets a bad rap in the mainstream media but, unfortunately, the mainstream media is just a tool for the very people who have hijacked the economy.
You must speculate on imbalances in the economy and financial markets worldwide in order to grow your wealth in a crisis era. Global Speculations offers an excellent free e-letter that will give you a taste of the new mindset that’s required to earn a buck in today’s markets. Enjoy the article!
Thrift is far more important than is commonly understood, and I will be explaining why in a future dispatch, but the first we need to dispel the guilt many of us feel about thrift.
I think most of my readers will recognize the feeling I’m referring to: You read great books on success, such as The Richest Man In Babylon, you understand that saving at least 10% of your paycheck is necessary for success and you go out to do it… but obstacles keep getting in your way.
And then you feel bad. You feel that you have failed. You really don’t want to think about thrift any more.
I’m here to tell you that you were far too hard on yourself. It wasn’t your fault. (Okay, if you were out knocking back brews at a bar four times every week, that was your fault, but I don’t think many readers fall into that category.)
Thrift has been systematically strangled over the past century; it is now just barely possible. You’ve been blaming yourself for the sins of others. And remember, most of those success books were written before thrift was dead.
THE SKIM TO THE CENTER
When analyzing the economics of civilizations, the big question is this: Where does the surplus go?
In Greece, for example, surplus was generated by the labor of slaves, and went to the citizen (property owner), who tended to be a very good judge of where and how to use it best. In Western civilization, surplus was generally left in the hands of the person who earned it, who also tended to be a good judge of how best to use it.
Through the past hundred years of a declining Western civilization, the movement of surplus was radically transformed… it was skimmed away, in thicker and thicker layers, to growing governments in capital cities.
The result of this is the current situation: Essentially all surplus is skimmed away from the producer. This is accomplished with direct taxes, such as income taxes, as well as with the hidden tax of inflation, real estate taxes, sales taxes, and dozens of others. (On your phone bill, electric bill, gasoline, liquor, etc.)
We are so used to this situation that we fail to remember that it was not always so. And that is why we feel guilty about not being able to save money. And we shouldn’t – a large army of state employees work every day to remove our surplus from our hands. Aside from acting especially stupidly, it really isn’t our fault.
HOW IT WAS IN 1890
If you’re like most of us, you had great-grandparents worked hard, saved their money, and improved their situation in life. It was normal to do so in the later 19th Century, even until the first World War. Great-grandfather got ahead; you work just as hard, but you don’t make much progress. And there is good reason for this: When Great-gramps worked hard, he kept the money.
In Grandpa’s day there was no income tax and no sales tax. (The government survived anyway.) There was no social security tax either, and – believe it or not – the streets were never full of starving old people. Families were able to take care of their own.
We have forgotten that it was once possible for an average person to accumulate money. Mechanics, carpenters, shop owners and people like them filled their bank accounts with gold and silver. It was common for people like bakers and carriage builders to make serious business loans and to retire comfortably, living off of their investments.
MAKING A FORTUNE
In those days before mass-taxation and fiat currency, young men would go out to make their fortune. (“Fortune” didn’t mean multiple-billions, it meant enough capital for the rest of your life.) Young men would go to where money was being made, work hard, cooperate with similar young men, learn everything they could from the older men, save, invest, learn how to succeed, then return home as a prosperous adult.
Not every young man went out to build a fortune, and some certainly failed, but these activities were not punished at the time – which made them much easier than they are today. Gathering a fortune was common enough that it was built into the mating strategy of the time. Many women would agree to marriage only after the young man had “made something of himself.” This mating strategy was legislated out of existence, which is too bad, because it was generally a far healthier strategy than what developed in its wake.
Here is a graph depicting the difference between you and your great-grandfather:
The top line shows how many years of living expenses your great-grandfather would have accumulated as a hard-working young man. The bottom line shows what you can save.
After working for five years, Great-gramps had seven years of living expenses in the bank. Doing the same things, you’d have less than two.
In the modern world, everyone’s fortune is taxed away as it is being formed, and what is saved is eroded by the creation of currency. Very few of us ever get beyond ‘escape velocity’ to accumulate money. In other words, we work all our lives, just to stay more or less even.
With surplus removed from individuals, all investment capital is forced through institutions. Money is not saved, it is obtained from banks. Finance has been centralized and removed from the hands of individuals.
In the 19th Century, productive people made loans; in the 20th Century, their children shuffled into banks and begged for loans.
Grandpa wasn’t really better than you.
THE WORST PART
And the worst part of this was mass demoralization: People began to feel morally weak, which generally happened in the name of compassion. Here’s how the trick worked:
Your money is taken from you before it can accumulate, leaving you with barely enough to live a reasonable life.
You have nothing left to help those who suffer unjustly; not because you don’t work, but because your surplus is continuously skimmed away.
Politicians imply that you are a bad person for not wanting to help the poor.
Not only do the cultural elite make it almost impossible for you to give, but they insult you for it. Then, of course, they spend the money they skimmed from you on armies of government employees, who deliver a small fraction of your money to the poor.
Your great-grandparents were proud to help their friends and neighbors. They felt good about themselves, they felt compassion for others, and they were proud to make the world a better place. Being robbed of this heritage was far worse than the loss of surplus.
If this is true at all, then it is time for you to reclaim your moral confidence. That, alas, must be a subject for a future dispatch.
Editors Note: Paul is the author of the soon to be launched Free-Man’s Perspective: Dispatches From An Intellectual Outlaw, a weekly newsletter which will cover the important things in life aside from investing: History, science, philosophy, art, honesty, achievement, courage, and much more. Paul is the author of several books including the must read A Lodging of Wayfaring Men. He is also one of the clearest thinkers we know of and a learned man and voracious autodidact. If you are interested in sharpening your critical thinking skills and increase your ability to find clarity in an increasingly foggy world then the Freeman´s Perspective will be for you. Look for the inaugural edition in May.
The term, “division of labor,” means taking a big task, like building a car,
and dissecting it into all of its smaller tasks. You’ve seen assembly lines and
maybe it ‘makes sense’ for businesses to build things in this manner because
they can maximize profits by doing things more efficiently.
We’re not concerned with corporate profits. We’re concerned that, over
decades, our culture has been de-skilled to a certain degree. Practical skills
are less common than they were 50 or 60 years ago. So, who cares? Well, we do
because we believe that it makes our communities weaker. Pushing buttons on a
line, making one motion over and over again and doing little or nothing else
with your brain for 8 to12 hours a day, puts your brain to sleep, in a sense.
Fill a community with half asleep, unskilled people and you have a weak
community. It’s hard to be a critical thinker or great problem solver if you
don’t have any skills.
The film below is stunning. Watch it and see how and why our culture has
been deskilled. Look at your own skill set.
Can you garden, cook, butcher, clean, repair your car, repair your home,
wire your home, fix your plumbing, build a structure, cure an illness, and
maintain great health? If not, you owe it to yourself, your family and your
community to learn! Enjoy the film Human
Resources. Warning: this film contains serious subject matter.
diaper is making a come back folks. It’s about time.
diapers came on the scene mothers and households everywhere welcomed them with
open arms. The thought of no longer having to fiddle with diaper pins or wash
diapers, treat baby’s diaper rash, and, most importantly, having the convenience
of tossing a dirty diaper in the trash and dressing your baby in a new one, was
enough to make mothers and fathers everywhere rush out to their grocery and
department stores to buy the latest in the world of diapering.
fast-forward several decades and more and more people are starting to question
paper diapering and are reverting back to the old cloth diaper. For anyone
that’s at all in to frugal living and finding ways to save money, they know
that paper diapers are NOT thrifty.
diapers are in our opinion the epitome of anti thrift;buying a product that is not only expensive,
will be thrown in the garbage after one use, will fill up our already-too-full
landfills, and have proven themselves to not even be all that good for our
babies’ skin, is definitely not a thrifty way to spend your money.
convinced? Consider the number of paper diapers a baby will go through on
average before they’re toilet trained; close to 8 per day when they’re first
born with a few less diapers dirtied by the time a child gets to be a toddler.
Then, consider how much the average package of diapers sells for; for a package
with 124, newborn-sized diapers, you’ll typically pay about $22 and diapers
only get more expensive as a child gets bigger.
is something to be said for convenience and for some families convenience has a
price that they’re willing to pay. But for regular, everyday living I’m not
buying the old ‘convenience’ excuse. Unless you’re changing your baby on the
back of an elephant while traveling through the mountains in Thailand then,
ok, maybe you need a paper diaper (although I challenge you to find a trash can
to dump that paper diaper when you’re on route). But, if you’re not afraid of
dumping a little solid waste into a toilet and flushing it, then you and cloth
diapering will get along just fine. Be sure to refer further down in the
article where we give some good solutions to make packing a cloth diaper bag a
have a hate on for the companies that make paper diapers and we don’t mean to
judge anyone who chooses to use paper diapers because only you can decide what
diaper fits the needs of you and your baby. But the reason we feel paper
diapers are anti thrift is that there’s such a good, viable alternative to
paper diapers, and you are guaranteed to save money when you use them.
diapers have come a long way from the days when your mother was sticking you
with diaper pins. Just like everything else, cloth diapers have evolved,
they’ve been updated, and made more suitable for modern families to use. For
example, today’s cloth diapers don’t include pins at all and are typically
equipped with little easy-to-use clips or Velcro. The old plastic pull on pant
has been replaced by plastic diaper covers that are shaped more like a paper
diaper, come in a variety of colours and designs, and are fastened with Velcro. For examples, see ClothDiaper.com; they've got excellent selection, really reasonable prices, and regular online promotions.
I would say
the number one reason cloth diapering is such a smart financial move is that
unlike paper diapers that are only good for one use, if taken care of cloth
diapers can be used over and over again and passed on to your other children.
Just think about it; a cloth diaper could be around for five or six years, not
just a couple of hours. So, that initial investment that you make when you buy
a set of cloth diapers and plastic covers will be stretched over the course of
a number of years and maybe a number of children. Makes good financial sense to
another cost to consider is the environmental cost associated with using either
paper or cloth diapers. While it’s obvious that it takes resources to make
cloth diapers, to send them to your home or your local provider, and to wash
them, in our opinion the cloth diaper still fares better in the environmental
cost department. First of all, if a set of cloth diapers lasts a number of
years then there are far less being produced and far less being shipped to
stores than the paper diapers that parents buy what probably seems like
constantly. When it comes to washing cloth diapers, you simply need to employ
some of the thrifty ideas that we discuss below to limit the amount of washing
and, therefore, water that you’re using. And, last but not least, taking the
whole reusable and lasts-for-years thing into consideration, there are far less
cloth diapers in landfills than there are paper diapers.
Cloth diapering really is one of the
best money saving tips for families. Here are some easy solutions to the old
cloth diaper cons:
1) “But I’ll have to do laundry every day of
the week:” Reduce the number of times a week that you have to do washing
and the length of your wash cycles by filling your diaper pail halfway with a
combination of water and either vinegar or baking soda. Both vinegar and baking
soda will help neutralize odours and prevent stains, limiting your use of the
pre-soak and extra rinse cycles (that use more energy) on the washing machine. Then, when you're getting low on your supply of cloth diapers, do a regular load of laundry and hang the diapers to dry. Hanging diapers to dry will not only conserve power but you will also extend the life of the diapers.
2) “Cloth diapers are less convenient for
people on the go:” Let’s face it, when you have a baby it always takes more
work to get where you’re going regardless of whether you use paper or cloth
diapers. With cloth diapers, all you need to do when you’re packing your baby’s
diaper bag is pack it a little differently. For instance, be sure to pack
sealable plastic bags in which you can put the dirty cloth diapers until you
get home to put them in the diaper pail. You can dump any solids in the toilet
of the bathroom in which you’re changing your baby, apply a new cloth insert
and be on your way. Another of the best money saving tips I know is to stop
buying wipes and to pack little dampened wash cloths in another sealable
plastic bag. These little wash cloths can be tossed in the diaper pail when you
get home and they don’t have the same harsh soaps that store-bought baby wipes
3) “My baby will always have diaper rash if I
use cloth diapers:” Although the inserts for cloth diapers are typically
made of natural, unbleached cotton and, therefore, haven’t been treated with
the same chemicals that have been used on paper diapers, if a baby is left in a
wet diaper for too long, they’re bound to get diaper rash. If your baby’s skin
is particularly sensitive or they did go too long without being changed, simply
sprinkle a little cornstarch on their bottom. You can also rest assured that
with cloth diapers the rash that your baby can sometimes get is due to moisture
being trapped against the skin, which is not always the case with paper
diapers. Just last year, I heard a number of mothers complain that a particular
‘super-dry’ paper diaper left their babies with a rash so bad it looked more
like a chemical burn.
already have children in diapers or are planning to have a family some day soon, we encourage you to do your research. Knowing all of the facts with
regards to paper diapering and cloth diapering will help you make a decision
that is right for you and your wallet.
you’re interested in learning more about cloth diapers or want to purchase a
set of very reasonably-priced and reusable cloth diapers, we recommend you check
sure to check out the highly useful videos on how to use and care for cloth
diapers, courtesy of Juliet of Mommyswami (see MikeMac625’s You Tube Channel) and
husband comes from a very large family and it seems every time you turn around
there’s another Birthday to be celebrated – which is fine unless you’re on a
can run you well over your well-planned monthly allowance, not to mention the
price of greeting cards – One particular Company may “help you say it all” but do they have to shout “over-priced?”
up with paying over-inflated prices for an impersonal, mass-produced greeting I
decide to make my own cards…it’ll be a LOT cheaper!
hi ho hi ho it’s off to the local
craft store I go.
first thing I need is one of those card-making magazines – okay7.99 that’s not too bad
after all how can I be expected to wing it?
- cardstock paper.Ooohhh…there’s so many to choose from.Yikes!They’re $19.99 a
package…of course there is 48 sheets per pack AND the paper is extra wide so I
can get at least two cards per piece.Okay I’ll take 1 of the kiddie package (perfect for all the nieces and
nephews), 1 Classic (wedding and shower cards – I’m saving money now), 1 puppies
and kitties (grandma loves animals), and 1 everyday.
now?I flip through the book - embellishments.I turn the corner and BLAMO - There’s an entire aisle dedicated just to stickers – Who
knew?I peruse the options…so many to
choose from…okay…I’ll take 1 of the
sunflowers, 1 of the cute little gift boxes….ooh bows, 1 of the little bridal
set, 1 party hats, cartoon characters, puppies, 1 squiggle-pack, 1 squaggle
(what’s a squaggle…oh well they’re so cute and sparkly), arrows, letters,
numbers, hearts, circles, squares, 1 more flower.. I glance into my
shopping cart – boy…quite a stack
there…oh well they’re just stickers…how expensive can they be?
on, the magazine suggested glue.And not
just plain-ole school glue, but special glue that won’t wrinkle the paper or
leave those ghastly white marks.Lucky
me this was in the same aisle as the stickers and was only 4.99 – a small price to pay for my perfect home-made greetings.
peruse the rest of the shelves and to my delight find that you can also buy
glitter.And not just that silver
sprinkle-stuff, but flowers, stars, circles, hearts, plus all sorts of
different colours – definitely a must have…I’ll
take one of each.
the book suggested some ribbon to really make your cards pop.The ribbon was located
a few yards over, but on my way I spotted this weird looking contraption.Apparently, it’s for cutting nice straight
lines on all my fancy paper…hmmm…what’s
the sense of making cards if they’re going to be a crooked mess?Plus, it’s on sale for 23.99.
then dash over to the ribbon…whoa there’s
certainly a lot to choose from.I
carefully make a few selections ranging from narrow to wide in an assortment of
colours, tossing them on my ever-growing pile. Perfect!I can hardly wait to get started.
proudly step up to the cash and start unloading my money-saving treasures.The girl at the till looks bored as she
begins to ring up my stuff.I dig
through my wallet, pulling out three twenties.
“That’ll be $210.56,”
my cheerless cashier.
“Two Hundred and ten
dollars and fifty-six cents,” she articulates like I’m deaf.
“But…it’s just some
stickers and paper…” I try to reason.
“Uh huh…do you still
momentarily stunned to silence as the cashier inspects her fingernail.
“Uh…I guess that’ll
be on my credit card,” I say barely above a whisper.
The cashier takes my pay-it-later card, runs
it through and I (with a shaky hand) sign my life away.
still in shock as I take my three brimming bags of “money-saving” supplies and
make for the door.As I push my cart
into the corral a big, bright sign catches my eye…
Occasion Greeting Cards 1 Dollar.
WHAT? You gotta be kidding me?Was that there the whole time?!
peek down at my brimming bags and breathe a long sigh…
…Only Two Hundred and
Eleven cards…then I’ll be saving money…
“Next to hydrogen, stupidity is the most common thing in the universe” -Albert Einstein
Recklessly wasteful, spendthrift, uneconomic, extravagant…these are all terms that could be lumped together as ‘anti-thrift.’ In an effort to create a word that is the polar opposite of ‘thrift,’ we have to look at the definition of thrift. Minimalism is associated with thrift. Frugality is related, but thrifty doesn’t mean cheap. One popular American poster from 1929 stated, “Real thrift is the saving and intelligent use of health, time, and property of all kinds, including money.” So, if we are to use this definition then ‘Anti-Thrift’ could be defined as, ‘the stupid use of health, time, and property of all kinds, including money.’ Squandering resources is the opposite of being thrifty.
However, we also have to look at the prefix ‘anti’ more closely. Basically, it means opposed to or against, opposite of, or preventing.
To boil it all down, in this ongoing description of what we’ve decided to call ‘Anti-Thrift,’ we will discuss individuals, businesses, and governments from history and around the world who have been recklessly or stupidly wasteful with resources of all sorts, including but not limited to, health, time, and property, which includes money. There should be no shortage of material.