I must be a very simple minded dude. I look at our world and it does not seem overly complex. Whether it is food, energy, transportation, housing, clothes, or technology, we create stuff.
People buy that stuff. If there isn’t enough we either create more or charge more for what we have. If there is too much we lower the price to where it becomes attractive. Man, am I a rocket scientist! Nobel prize here we come.
The Federal Reserve wants to micromanage this. We can’t have inflation or at least it can’t be above 2.5%. Wall Street wants to analyze this ad nauseam. If you miss their interpretation of your earnings by a few cents the the stock gets pummeled. No demand. If you beat it by ten cents it is off to the races.
I am trying to dissect this further. You and I are integral parts of this whole production process. We create the demand side. We want to update, rehabilitate or just buy something for the fun of it. We need to eat and put petrol in our soon to be outmoded internal combustion car. We want to watch sports, news and the latest idiot show on network TV. We gotta have it.
The first question I ask myself is what if I did not buy anything? Not because I am unAmerican but because I just don’t need anything else. Okay, I will give you food but do we have to do everything in such ginormous portions. 24 ounce T Bones, Big Gulps, Obscene Chocolate bars. Do we really need all of this or is it just filling our desire to be entertained in some way? Life is so boring otherwise.
We all buy cars. These are modes of transportation. So are bikes and motor scooters but I digress. Whether it is gas or electric we use these puppies about 5% of the time unless you are a traveling salesman or long haul trucker. Think about it. We insure it, maintain it, wash it, coo over it and this ungrateful bastard depreciates faster than your stock portfolio in a Monday crash.
Yet when we get bored with it or feel the urge for a new gizmo or power source and dump it every 2-3 years. It is perfectly good but we have to keep up with the Jones. Wait TTG, it is out of warranty. It will cost a fortune to fix. Correct me if I am wrong. You shell out X amount to upgrade and that tidy sum would more than cover a complete engine overhaul. I guess I am stupid. How about boats or vacation homes?
When was the last time you went out on your yacht or spent time in Vail or Alta? At Desert Mountain we could calculate the length of time you stayed as a correlative to the size of the house. The bigger the mansion the more you had other places to go.
Moving right along to clothing. The shirts, shorts, dresses, shoes, baubles and bangles…the whole shebang. I not asking you to wear hair shirts and sackcloths, but go into your closet right now and tell me how much is necessary for you to appear in public? I know you would not be seen in that.
Last but not least is electronics…computers,TV’s, sound systems, phones, earbuds…shall I go on? I look at my five year old TV and think there has to be something on the market with a sharper picture because of a gazillion pixels. Of course there is and I will put the old one out at the curb.
People, I am not a Scrooge. I love the good stuff just the same as you but what are the ramifications? We are all in the “end of the world as we know it” syndrome. Global warming, pollution, nuclear threats all wrapped into one. Yet we party on and want more and more. It is the American and probably the world way.
If I did not want so much would there be food to spare on the planet. How much do I need to survive and even have a dessert every now and then? 38% of the world’s surface is used for food. How much energy, water and chemicals do we need to produce to feed our faces.
We recently went to the Ford F 150 factory in Dearborn, Michigan. It was an incredible display of our ingenuity to create something. One of these beauties rolls off the line every 54 seconds. For a moment think of what went into that truck from frame, to windows, to seats, to tires etc. How much energy did it take to create just one with thousands of parts, whether it be gas or electric?
Where am I going? Let’s try for a moment to look at our lives as a pleasant meal rather than an all you can eat Smorgasbord.
What if we took it down just a couple of notches? I get this horrible feeling we have gone way over the top. Our lives are fantasy rather than reality. We are obsessed with this Eden like dream that we will do anything and everything to make come true.
Please don’t take this as a downer but maybe just a minor pause to look around at what we have all created. Is there a basic plan or are we just plowing willy nilly into the future without a care of what possible disaster we are creating? We have a vast supply of some very smart people. Let’s create the demand for some critical and strategic thinking. It might work!
Ted The Great
Standard of living refers to the level of wealth, comfort, material goods, and necessities available to a certain socioeconomic class or geographic area. Quality of life, on the other hand, is a subjective term that can measure happiness. Objective and subjective measurements.
A need is an essential requirement or a necessity whereas a want is a desire.
The fulfillment of needs is essential for one’s survival whereas fulfillment of wants is not essential for one’s survival.
The average carbon footprint for a person in the United States is 16 tons, one of the highest rates in the world. Globally, the average carbon footprint is closer to 4 tons.
Burning fossil fuels emits CO2, with coal releasing twice as much of the gas as petroleum. Worldwide, fossil fuels generate 85 percent of electricity.
Transportation: Whether for business or pleasure, locomotion is the second largest source of U.S. CO2 emissions. International travel is also a factor. A study of cruise ships found that vacationing at sea emits 12 times more CO2 than vacationing on land.
Building: Industrial manufacturing emits lots of CO2, but it only accounts for 2 percent of U.S. emissions. Iron and steel manufacturing and cement production are the biggest offenders.
Trees are potent organisms for absorbing and removing CO2 emissions from the air.Loss of forestlands account for 20 percent of global CO2 emissions.
Not sure how this all adds up but it was interesting to this inquisitive mind.