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Guest Post: Is Anybody Else Tired Of Buying And Owning Stuff?

Tyler Durden's picture


Submitted by Charles Hugh Smith from Of Two Minds

Is Anybody Else Tired Of Buying And Owning Stuff?

We are suffocating in stuff, physically, psychologically and spiritually.

I know this is a sacrilegious question, but is anybody else tired of buying and owning stuff? Is anybody else tired of dealing with all the junk cluttering up every corner of the room/house/nation?

Has anyone else noticed we have surplus stuff coming out our ears? And that therefore we don't really need any more stuff? Has anyone noticed the psychological consequences of constantly buying and managing possessions? Here is how correspondent B.D. recently put it:

Kids have a melt-down when they don't have the latest iteration of the (insert trendy electronica here) or if they are asked to tidy up the gargantuan collection of "stuff" they are slowly suffocating themselves with. Most kids these days don't have bedrooms anymore ... they have a small warehouse of goods in which they have a sleeping space.

Everybody has a warehouse of goods, even "poor" households. Of the four households on my block with one-car garages, we're the only ones who actually park a car in the garage. Everyone else's garage is jammed with stuff. And this is not an upscale neighborhood, it's working-class/renters.

Have you been to one of the many gigantic swap meets recently? You know, the kind with hundreds of sellers hawking everything under the sun. Our young friends (newlyweds renting one bedroom in a house, they don't own a car, both seeking fulltime work but currently living on one-part time job) recently described their visit to just such a sprawling cornucopia of over-consumption.

People are selling any and everything to raise some cash: birds, snakes, used iPhones, laptop computers, clothing, furniture, you name it. A guy was selling a guitar for $15. Our friend offered $5. The seller took $8. $8 for an acoustic guitar. Granted it was a cheap one, but $8? Was it even worth hauling it to the swap meet for $8? A set of strings costs $4.

"Almost new" bicycles--again, cheap, poor-quality versions--were being sold for $35. You can't even buy a replacement bicycle wheel for $35.

Were these stolen goods? Our friend asked the seller how he could sell bikes for so little money. The seller replied that he buys the contents of abandoned storage lockers for a few dollars and then sells the contents. (Apparently there is a reality TV show based on this process of acquiring the contents of abandoned storage lockers.)

This raises an interesting question: why bother stealing stuff when it is basically worthless? Smash-and-grab burglars are only stealing electronics (and jewelry if it is laying around in plain sight). Nothing else is worth stealing. Bicycle thieves abound, of course, but they're picky as well: a rusty made-in-China bike with a cheap (and easily snipped) cable lock will be left untouched; only the expensive bikes will be ripped off.

As I keep saying: what's scarce is not stuff, it's cash and reliable income streams. People are trying to convert stuff into cash, but it's tough because there is a surplus of stuff.

No wonder organizations that promote giving stuff away such as are so popular. People are giving up trying to get any cash at all for old TVs, etc.; they are delighted if someone hauls it away for free.

Is anyone else sick of the "buying experience"? No wonder online buying has become so ubiquitous--the experience of shopping to acquire stuff is a form of torture, at least to some of us. Getting there is a nightmare (unless I can bike to the store), parking is a hassle, clerks generally don't know much, and the selection is often limited or skewed to the high end. The "fun" is in leaving empty-handed.

I suppose other people can't wait to get a new mobile phone; I live in dread that my old "dumb" phone will expire and force me into buying another one. Ditto for everything else we own.

There is so much stuff floating around America that we end up with stuff we didn't buy or even ask for--old laptops, bicycles (abandoned on our property, left by neighbors moving away, left to us by elderly neighbors who passed on, etc.) and clothing, to mention but a few of of the things that we have "inherited."

I make a point to be a "good citizen" by taking outdated printers, modems and other electronics to the recycling yard; others aren't so civic-minded, as proven by the piles of high-tech detritus that litter street corners and dumpsites around the nation.

When the university students leave town in May, dumpster after dumpster is filled with broken Ikea furniture and old mattresses, many of recent vintage. It isn't worth hauling any of it home. They will buy more future-landfill at Ikea when they settle down somewhere else.

My new mantra is "please don't give us anything we won't consume in a few days." What with all the insecurity in the world, a lot of people have assembled stashes of precious metals. Quite frankly, I don't want physical wealth I have to store, manage, protect, etc. I am not at all sure I want any "wealth" at all other than the "wealth" of productive land, a functioning infrastructure / civil society, and the "wealth" of freedom of movement and choice.

I just want to get rid of stuff, not acquire more. I welcome the digital age because "entertainment" no longer requires physical collections. I have already accepted that most digital stuff will be lost with time, just like physical stuff. Who wants to lug around 50 years of digital files? Yes, it might fit on a small drive, but who will sort through it all or even look at it/listen to it?

The clutter of all this stuff, physical and digital, clouds the mind and spirit. I think it was Sartre who noted that our possessions own us, not the other way around. I am tired of being possessed by possessions, of any kind or nature. I would be delighted if the can of WD-40 in the toolshed lasts the rest of my life. If it doesn't, then I will replace it, grudgingly.

More than likely, I will find an almost-full can in somebody's trash, along with everything else anyone could possibly want. The only thing missing from sorting through all that's been abandoned is the drug-like "hit" of the purchase. Sadly for a consumerist society, some of us are immune to that potent drug.

Many others will suffer consumerist withdrawals as the cash and credit needed to complete the purchase become increasingly scarce.


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Fri, 09/07/2012 - 11:58 | 2771960 glenlloyd
glenlloyd's picture


Fri, 09/07/2012 - 12:01 | 2771970 Abraxas
Abraxas's picture

Exhausted, actually.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 12:03 | 2771986 goldfreak
goldfreak's picture

sick; just go to the home of a family with a couple of kids and there are mountains of useless toys

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 12:12 | 2772012 francis_sawyer
francis_sawyer's picture

 "The things you own end up owning you"


Tyler Durden

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 12:15 | 2772029 HungrySeagull
HungrySeagull's picture

And draining your future dry with the endless labor in vain to clear it out.


Then you get tired.


Then you become a reality show on hoarding.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 12:20 | 2772047 doomandbloom
doomandbloom's picture

no stuff, no jobs....


...need more jobs...doing random stuff..

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 12:26 | 2772073 Surly Bear
Surly Bear's picture

What the fuck is this shit? Am I tired of owning stuff? Fuck no, I don't own anything now. I have some money...I keep it in a jar above my fridge...I want more, and that's where you come in....


Fri, 09/07/2012 - 12:35 | 2772102's picture

At a certain season of our life we are accustomed to consider every spot as the possible site of a house. I have thus surveyed the country on every side within a dozen miles of where I live. In imagination I have bought all the farms in succession, for all were to be bought, and I knew their price. I walked over each farmer's premises, tasted his wild apples, discoursed on husbandry with him, took his farm at his price, at any price, mortgaging it to him in my mind; even put a higher price on it—took everything but a deed of it—took his word for his deed, for I dearly love to talk—cultivated it, and him too to some extent, I trust, and withdrew when I had enjoyed it long enough, leaving him to carry it on. This experience entitled me to be regarded as a sort of real-estate broker by my friends. Wherever I sat, there I might live, and the landscape radiated from me accordingly. What is a house but a sedes, a seat?—better if a country seat. I discovered many a site for a house not likely to be soon improved, which some might have thought too far from the village, but to my eyes the village was too far from it. Well, there I might live, I said; and there I did live, for an hour, a summer and a winter life; saw how I could let the years run off, buffet the winter through, and see the spring come in. The future inhabitants of this region, wherever they may place their houses, may be sure that they have been anticipated. An afternoon sufficed to lay out the land into orchard, wood-lot, and pasture, and to decide what fine oaks or pines should be left to stand before the door, and whence each blasted tree could be seen to the best advantage; and then I let it lie, fallow, perchance, for a man is rich in proportion to the number of things which he can afford to let alone.

My imagination carried me so far that I even had the refusal of several farms—the refusal was all I wanted—but I never got my fingers burned by actual possession. The nearest that I came to actual possession was when I bought the Hollowell place, and had begun to sort my seeds, and collected materials with which to make a wheelbarrow to carry it on or off with; but before the owner gave me a deed of it, his wife—every man has such a wife—changed her mind and wished to keep it, and he offered me ten dollars to release him. Now, to speak the truth, I had but ten cents in the world, and it surpassed my arithmetic to tell, if I was that man who had ten cents, or who had a farm, or ten dollars, or all together. However, I let him keep the ten dollars and the farm too, for I had carried it far enough; or rather, to be generous, I sold him the farm for just what I gave for it, and, as he was not a rich man, made him a present of ten dollars, and still had my ten cents, and seeds, and materials for a wheelbarrow left. I found thus that I had been a rich man without any damage to my poverty. But I retained the landscape, and I have since annually carried off what it yielded without a wheelbarrow. With respect to landscapes,

"I am monarch of all I survey, My right there is none to dispute."

I have frequently seen a poet withdraw, having enjoyed the most valuable part of a farm, while the crusty farmer supposed that he had got a few wild apples only. Why, the owner does not know it for many years when a poet has put his farm in rhyme, the most admirable kind of invisible fence, has fairly impounded it, milked it, skimmed it, and got all the cream, and left the farmer only the skimmed milk.


Thoreau's Walden

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 13:11 | 2772230 Badabing
Badabing's picture

 “a rusty made-in-China bike with a cheap (and easily snipped) cable lock will be left untouched; only the expensive bikes will be ripped off.”

So true,

I ride a bike to work in Manhattan and had two nice mountain bikes ripped off. Now I ride a lady Schwinn from the 60s it looks like a real fag bike. Now no one touches it and it has no top bar to hurt my mangina!  


Fri, 09/07/2012 - 13:20 | 2772283 Michael
Michael's picture

When the USA gets cut off from trade with the rest of the planet because of national debt default, we'll still have a 5 -10 year supply of Chinese shit to buy an sell on Craigslist and Ebay.

I told my friends before the dotcom bubble bust, storage unit construction will be big business, and before the housing bubble bust, people who lose their homes to foreclosure will need all that storage space.

Now, no problem.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 14:15 | 2772538 AldousHuxley
AldousHuxley's picture

Americans pay to rent storage space to store all their junk.


go drive to a poorer area of the town and you will see quick cash, dollar stores, tattoo parlors and storage spaces.






Fri, 09/07/2012 - 14:42 | 2772590 redpill
redpill's picture

I fucking hate shopping.  I'd rather spend the money on a massage.  I could throw 3/4s of the shit in my house in the garbage tomorrow and not miss it a bit.  And then there's the kids toys....arrrggghh grandparents constantly giving them big bulky plastic shit.


Anyway, there is a solution to this.  Repeal the 16th amendment and replace the income tax with a revenue-neutral consumption tax on new retail goods and services.  Poor people can save money buy buying things second hand.  People would save more, and think more before they consume because they would have a choice in how and where they would pay tax.  They would take better care of things and sell them to others who would take better care of them.  People would be rewarded for saving, and punished for being wasteful.  It would not only help solve our addicted-to-Chinese-crap problem, it would be a boon for our economy to have more savers.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 15:03 | 2772732 recidivist
recidivist's picture

The last thing worth owning sold in March, 2012: The yin and yang coffee table from Fight Club

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 15:56 | 2772961 Thomas
Thomas's picture

I don't own anything, save a lot, but do get a little testy watching my wife collect detritus.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 18:44 | 2773398 Ben Dover
Ben Dover's picture

et tu, Thomas?

Sat, 09/08/2012 - 05:10 | 2774133 Element
Element's picture

Notice how when you go to do the groceries now there's always someone who's set-up a stall near the door, to intercept you on the way in, or on the way out, and they always try to grab your eye with a fake smile and greeting to try and engage you.  To give them money for something of other, or for a raffle, or to buy a pay-TV contract ... of all things ... it's just disMall ...

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 13:24 | 2772300 Son of Loki
Son of Loki's picture

one...more...iPad....only one...PLEEEEEZZZEEE !


Fri, 09/07/2012 - 13:30 | 2772320 Ahmeexnal
Ahmeexnal's picture

I make a point to be a "good citizen" by taking outdated printers, modems and other electronics to the recycling yard

That's a load of crap.  That's what the power elite want: SHEEPLE, PLEASE GIVE US YOUR GOLD FOR FREE.

Those "outdated" electronics have some serious gold on them.  Why?? BECAUSE GOLD WAS A LOT CHEAPER BACK THEN.

The next thing you know, the fascist "eco-friendly" police state will determine that silver and gold are "hazardous to the environment" and politely ask SHEEPLE to deposit all of their PM's into HAZMAT recycling bins....


Silver – a toxic threat to our
health and environment

By none other by socialist swedish uppsala crappersity acting as a peon of the EU fourth reich!


Fri, 09/07/2012 - 15:07 | 2772745 Kassandra
Kassandra's picture

But where are the Spongebob silver coins? Inquiring minds want to know.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 19:29 | 2773506 MisterMousePotato
Fri, 09/07/2012 - 12:37 | 2772106 AlaricBalth
AlaricBalth's picture

Come on people. Just take your Soma (or whichever prescribed psychotropic drug you have had chosen for you) and let the "weath effect" wash over you like a warm summer rain. Watch television and allow the Bernaysian reflex to permeate into your mind as you feel the need to consume. Get out there and spend, spend, spend. Your protector, the government, will give you a safety net and provide for all of your basic needs. All you are required to do is desire and covet that which the plutocracy directs you to. 

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 13:02 | 2772186 FEDbuster
FEDbuster's picture

77 days till "Black Friday", ROTFLMAO.

Looking forward to this year's "shopping death count".

Festivus for the rest of us!

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 14:36 | 2772608 AldousHuxley
AldousHuxley's picture

Tired of overpaying for cheap chinese slave wage made shit and owning it until shit breaks down 1 day after warranty period.


black friday = defective shit on sale



Fri, 09/07/2012 - 12:45 | 2772142 greenEagles
greenEagles's picture

After my freshman year of college finished up I stuck around for a few days moving my things from my dorm to an offsite apartment.  The amount of stuff left cluttering dormitory halls was unbelievable.  Stuff so cheap that it was easier to throw it away and buy new then to haul it back and forth for the next semester.  I ended up scoring a brand new couch and a brand new backpack with a brand new camera inside, mistakenly left behind no doubt.  The future of America will look entirly different then the one we currently inhabit.  The miles and miles of shopping centers hawking imported consumer goods will eventually be replaced by miles of flea markets, swap meets and second hand stores.  Americans will not be able to afford new imported goods.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 13:25 | 2772310 NotApplicable
NotApplicable's picture

Garage Sale Nation! Get your barter on.

Here in my large college town, at semester's end you could move into an apartment with no furnishings, and easily fill it just by watching the dumpsters as the stupids go home for the summer. (been there, done that)

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 17:17 | 2772954 FEDbuster
FEDbuster's picture

The "Craigslist Index" will be a hot new American economic indicator.  Gotta love the "curb alerts" on Craigslist, "come and get this crap out of here" at it's finest. 

Our dump transfer site has a "no scavenging" policy.  They have employed a couple of guys to do all the scavenging on behalf of the dump, they grab anything of value to be recycled. 

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 13:00 | 2772187 Cranios
Cranios's picture

You have a fridge... and a jar...

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 19:05 | 2773449 A Nanny Moose
A Nanny Moose's picture


"A house is a place to keep your stuff, while you go out and get....more stuff" - George Carlin.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 12:27 | 2772078 SWRichmond
SWRichmond's picture

The clutter of all this stuff, physical and digital, clouds the mind and spirit. I think it was Sartre who noted that our possessions own us, not the other way around.

Amen, brother.  Though Sartre was a douchbag, right along with that crazy bitch DeBeauvoir.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 14:38 | 2772621 Totentänzerlied
Totentänzerlied's picture

Name a single French philosopher who wasn't a douchebag; Camus doesn't count, he was pied-noir. All the way back to Descartes, a progression of ever more entertaining douchebags.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 17:07 | 2773164 mccoyspace
mccoyspace's picture



Fri, 09/07/2012 - 15:54 | 2772948 midtowng
midtowng's picture

I long ago figured out that I got more joy out of getting rid of things I didn't need, than getting things I didn't need.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 15:53 | 2772944 midtowng
midtowng's picture

I'm currently living in an extremely poor community in the Dominican Republic.

No one has anything worth stealing here.

It's interesting to see the kids make little toy cars that they haul around on a string from an old, empty plastic oil bottle, a couple wires, and some soda pop tops for wheels.

It didn't cost the kids anything. Just some time.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 16:11 | 2773005 11b40
11b40's picture

Just some, they probably worked together to MAKE their toys, learning and socializing along the way.  At the end of the day, they have had more fun than the kid who was handed a new game boy by the parent who uses "things" as a substitute for their time.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 12:03 | 2771989 Pool Shark
Pool Shark's picture




He who dies with the biggest pile, wins.



Fri, 09/07/2012 - 12:20 | 2772050 doomandbloom
doomandbloom's picture

He who dies with the biggest debt, wins...

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 12:22 | 2772059 Pool Shark
Pool Shark's picture



Jeez,... you guys have no sense of humor...



Fri, 09/07/2012 - 15:10 | 2772758 Anusocracy
Anusocracy's picture

He who doesn't die, wins.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 19:18 | 2773477 A Nanny Moose
A Nanny Moose's picture

Hang around this rock forever? Be surrounded by mouth breathers forever. I'll pass.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 12:38 | 2772111 Anglo Hondo
Anglo Hondo's picture

He who dies with the biggest (anything), dies.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 13:01 | 2772193 DCFusor
DCFusor's picture

He who has had the most fun, somehow won this game.  You guys had better start running if you wanna catch up to me.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 13:11 | 2772235 johnQpublic
johnQpublic's picture

on a long enuf timeline....



                              .....everything ends up in the craigslist 'free' section

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 13:25 | 2772311 Umh
Umh's picture

No need. Just set the broken crap out in the front yard with a cardboard for sale sign on it. Some low life will carry it away for you.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 14:18 | 2772544 WillyGroper
WillyGroper's picture

ROFLMAO-----so true, did it with a desk.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 19:21 | 2773483 A Nanny Moose
A Nanny Moose's picture

Pretty smart of that "low-life" to have obtained for free, that which you paid for, and are now giving away.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 13:51 | 2772436 TruthHunter
TruthHunter's picture

Uhuh, He who dies....wins?


Not for a Post Secular Modern

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 15:36 | 2772877 Anusocracy
Anusocracy's picture

Save your energy.

Boycott the Christmas buying season.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 12:18 | 2772041 glenlloyd
glenlloyd's picture

The whole consumption thing is draining. The stuff all requires so much maintenance and responsibility. Insure this, lock up that so no one steals it etc etc.

I've been divesting of stuff for a couple years now, slowly and methodically clearing out to get out from under all the responsibility.

In a way I feel the same way about (the fallacy of) home ownership and the NAR propaganda about it. Better to be light and mobile in the future IMO. A house can be taxed to death...generally supports the idea that you didn't really 'own' it to begin with.

If someone wants to buy something I have I generally don't argue much about it, or what they want to spend, most likely it was going to the trash anyway. Productive tools are a different story however.

Looking back, the whole buying just to be buying era was a huge mis-allocation of scarce resources...

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 13:27 | 2772322 Cathartes Aura
Cathartes Aura's picture

Looking back, the whole buying just to be buying era was a huge mis-allocation of scarce resources...

. . . like brain cells. . .

re-cycle, up-cycle, borrow tools with care, loan time with respect, share.

and realise how much time in your life is saved when you don't chase the products they prod you with.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 17:12 | 2773174 MBOB
MBOB's picture

A few years volunteering in our storefront church's thrift shop has cured me forever of acquiring more stuff. Most of the intake is barely used. A lot of it is from recently dead people. 

Now I cherish more the moments I still have while alive. Loved ones, friends, pets all get first priority. 

Pyramids as storage units for the afterlife went out of favor long ago. 


Fri, 09/07/2012 - 11:58 | 2771961 bank guy in Brussels
bank guy in Brussels's picture

eBay, bitchezz

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 12:01 | 2771975 Race Car Driver
Race Car Driver's picture

The fees are ridiculous to sell there. Any suggestions for a workaround?

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 12:08 | 2771995 scatterbrains
scatterbrains's picture

If it's rare  and collectable (gold for example) ebay pulls in more eyes and potential bidders.  If it's a lawn mower or refridge craigslist and maybe price it  .20 cents on the dollar.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 13:06 | 2772215 Midas
Midas's picture

What is the economics term for a system that gets more valuable with each new unit?  The first phone was worthless since you couldn't call anyone, the second phone was better, and so on.  That is the only thing ebay has going for them is people always go there.  I think their fees are too high, but my attempts to sell on have failed since nobody goes to that site.  Don't get me started on bitcoins....

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 15:58 | 2772975 scatterbrains
scatterbrains's picture

I agree their fees are too high but when it comes to listing something rare, like an antique tiffany ice tongs or an 18kt tissot auto chronograph watch etc. Ebay is the most liquid market bringing the best prices even after your fees and commissions.  Dealers and collectors maintain email alerts that trigger when certain key words are found in a new sale description and will step in before something goes off too cheaply.  I wouldn't use ebay to sell common household whatnot though.  The "pickers" out there would agree we me I think... if there are better markets I'm all ears though.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 22:41 | 2773837 traderjoe
traderjoe's picture

Economies of scale? Critical mass?

Sat, 09/08/2012 - 10:49 | 2774451 aka_ces
aka_ces's picture

"network effect" ?

Mon, 09/10/2012 - 00:44 | 2777613 awakening
awakening's picture

'What is the economics term for a system that gets more valuable with each new unit?'

Manufactured Obsolesence; making something that can become obsolete with a newer model is IMO the same as making things that will breakdown after a set period of time.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 13:31 | 2772340 NotApplicable
NotApplicable's picture

Problem with Craigslist is the extremely low signal to noise ratio. For every legitimate response, you'll likely get a dozen scammers trying to either rip you off, or question you long enough to build a profile to sell (phishing).

Then there's the legitimate people who seemingly have no awareness of managing to plan well enough to actually meet some(time/where).

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 12:19 | 2772044 vast-dom
vast-dom's picture

even with fees ebay is killing it! people will eat the fees gladly and ebay will profit handsomely.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 23:12 | 2773870 stacking12321
stacking12321's picture
if you do it right, ebay isn't the only one profiting handsomely.

from my ebay seller dashboard:

Your lifetime transactions   View status in: 

Sales to date:  $2,317,993.32

Transactions:  14072

First eBay Sale:  05/11/2003

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 12:20 | 2772054 ElvisDog
ElvisDog's picture

Use CraigsList instead of Ebay

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 15:00 | 2772716 ejmoosa
ejmoosa's picture

Hell, just use and get rid of it locally....

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 16:24 | 2773041 Bastiat
Bastiat's picture

A Bay Area cop referred to Craigslist as "Robbery by Appointment."  I use it sometimes but you need to be cautious in setting up those exchanges.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 12:23 | 2772063 glenlloyd
glenlloyd's picture

ditto on the fee extortion on ebay. I seldom bother with that anymore unless it's something really good that I can't sell locally via CL. If these two venues plus a couple other auto related forums don't get it sold it just belongs in the trash.

talk about illiquid assets...even CL sales are slower than slow. besides that there's a glut from everyone else trying to unload stuff.

the path of least resistance is sometimes to the dump.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 13:50 | 2772439 El Viejo
El Viejo's picture

Went to the dump with a couple of monitors and a tower Unix business computer. Came back with a nice manual Remington typwriter. Only cost me $3.00 The guys at the dump were smiling.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 22:59 | 2773859 Cosimo de Medici
Cosimo de Medici's picture

The guys were smiling because one of them was sitting on a box of ribbons @$100/copy.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 12:40 | 2772122 Zap Powerz
Zap Powerz's picture

Craig's List.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 15:43 | 2772893 RKDS
RKDS's picture

Definitely don't look at Amazon as an alternative.  20% commission kills anything that's not rare or didn't fall of a truck.  The only real upside is that listings are free until they sell...but stuff can sit a looong time.  I've actually been thinking of giving eBay another shot :/

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 12:05 | 2771997 Meatballs
Meatballs's picture

Having been on ebay since 1998, I can tell you that I've NEVER seen it slower- very little is moving.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 12:16 | 2772035 HungrySeagull
HungrySeagull's picture

Yep, very little.


And where I am Silver is quite hot and the rest ... the sellers refuse to drop prices to get bids. So they eat fees.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 15:46 | 2772918 RKDS
RKDS's picture

I've noticed this alot lately too.  I was opening an online store and turned to eBay to pick up some more diversified stock than what I had on hand.  You would not (or maybe you would) believe how many times I saw lots started at about 3X MSRP and relisted 3-4 times at that price.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 12:30 | 2772088 aerojet
aerojet's picture

eBay blew themselves up years ago.  When it was new, it was pretty cool and the deals were good. Then came "Power Sellers" and millions of suckers who would pay more than retail just for the endorphin rush of "winning" an auction.  What's that quote about winning an argument with a retard?  The same holds true for "winning" on eBay.  Countdown to implosion.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 12:34 | 2772100 fuu
fuu's picture

Up until 2010 it was very easy to snipe silver under spot including shipping.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 12:57 | 2772174 smiler03
smiler03's picture



eBay turnover(yoy)  in 2012 is up 23.1% 

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 20:38 | 2773624 Overfed
Overfed's picture

I used to love to sell on ebay up until a few years ago when they jacked up the fees, started automatically locking up your $ if a buyer wants to just fuck with you, and took away a seller's ability to leave negative feedback.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 12:30 | 2772087 Blasé Faire
Blasé Faire's picture

Did a quick search.  Currently over 3,200 auctions in progress for "junk" priced at less than $5.

The most intriguing option I saw was for a half pound of pre-1965 US Silver Coins priced at $0.99.  Alas, there is an - as of yet - unmet reserve.

Sat, 09/08/2012 - 11:10 | 2774513 RockyRacoon
RockyRacoon's picture

Always look at the seller's feedback -- especially the negatives:

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 12:00 | 2771968 Ying-Yang
Fri, 09/07/2012 - 12:01 | 2771980 Shizzmoney
Shizzmoney's picture

Just written in an email to me on some items I had to setup:

This is basically what we would do in the USA but we prefer to use China labor.   

All you need to know on why people are getting a bit sick and tired of buying "McShit".

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 12:01 | 2771981 howenlink
howenlink's picture

Our family is stuck in the stuff trap.  I want out but don't know where to start.


Does anyone know a good book for getting rid of stuff?

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 12:16 | 2772037 HungrySeagull
HungrySeagull's picture

Your town dumpster is a good place.

Goodwill is another.


Fri, 09/07/2012 - 12:39 | 2772118 juangrande
juangrande's picture

small towns could start a "free box".

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 12:58 | 2772181 smiler03
smiler03's picture

A "book of matches" should do the trick.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 12:42 | 2772132 Zap Powerz
Zap Powerz's picture

Gasoline and a match work pretty well.  Entertaining too.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 12:43 | 2772135 aerojet
aerojet's picture

It's funny you ask because I was going to write exactly that book--"On Stuff".  I never got around to it.  I'm spending too much time managing all our stuff!  What I do is quietly throw things away and not tell anyone I'm doing it and then play dumb if they ever come asking about such and such, which almost never happens. 

I'm not a hoarder, but it amazes me how much "stuff" my family has acquired in the six years we've been living in our current house. When we moved across the country, I got rid of at least 1/3 of our stuff--throwing good things away is a mentally exhausting experience.  The real answer is to ask yourself when buying something:  "Do I really need this?"  "When will I get rid of it?" and actually plan for its lifecycle in your possession.  I like the author's comment about the buying experience--the relief I feel when I shop for something only to not buy it is tremendous.


Fri, 09/07/2012 - 14:26 | 2772568 WillyGroper
WillyGroper's picture

It's fun to go to car dealerships & jack with them as if ur going to buy. They swoop like vultures.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 12:52 | 2772163 startingnow
startingnow's picture

"Buying stuff" is like any other addiction, to quit you have to work a program.  And I suppose the first step is owning up to it.  "My name is Howie, and I'm a spending addict." 

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 15:28 | 2772842 Anusocracy
Anusocracy's picture

Go on a long distance, long term, bicycle tour and live in a three foot by seven foot tent.

Works wonders.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 17:25 | 2773192 Think for yourself
Think for yourself's picture

A tent? What a pack-rat! Use a bivy bag!

Sat, 09/08/2012 - 23:52 | 2775621 Anusocracy
Anusocracy's picture

I like luxury.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 13:30 | 2772338 steve from virginia
steve from virginia's picture


Best place to start is to get rid of the TV.


Then, get rid of the car(s). If you have 2 sell one, 3 sell two, etc. Getting rid of the car is a big step (and saves thousand$ per year).


No car, no TV you are largely out of range of marketers.


Next, get rid of the credit.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 13:34 | 2772359 Umh
Umh's picture

I hate to throw out something and then have to buy another one so I'm pretty slow at tossing things. To counteract this I try not to but anything that's not needed.

If it's broken and you're not fixing it it's trash.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 13:38 | 2772375 Henry Hub
Henry Hub's picture

One trick: when you move don't unpack. Only open a box when you need something. After a year throw out any boxes that are unopened(without peeking).

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 14:27 | 2772446 cbxer55
cbxer55's picture

My wife told me, four weeks ago, that she wants a divorce. When I left then and moved into a one bedroom apartment, I left a shitload of stuff at the house. My wife asked what to do with it all? I told her to just toss it all in the trash can, or take it to the city dump, I don't want any of it anymore.

What I brought with me to the apartment was all of my exercise equipment (because I actually use it  ;-)  ), a couple of boxes of some old books I want to read again, two very nice bicycles, my motorcycle and my 2004 Ford Lightning. I left behind a bunch of stuff that I had not used or even looked at in years.

I am 51, most of it will not be needed in whatever remains of my life. Work, sleep and eat (with exercise thrown in for good measure) until I cannot any longer. If this big crash occurs that everyone here espouses, most of us will probably not see the other side of it anyhow. I won't.

I've got a simple cell phone and a desk top computer, nothing else electronic at all. No home to tie me down now, I want to be able to just throw some stuff in the back of the truck and split should it be necessary. As long as the can-kicking continues, my job as a Sheet Metal Mechanic at Tinker AFB is secure. But if the big collapse occurs, all bets are off.

Soon-to-be-ex-wife has the house, her 28 year old daughter and 4 year old grandson (possibly autistic) that she supports, two dogs two cats, etc. She'll be up shit's creek without a paddle when it all comes down. Would not want to be in her shoes then.

I am self-imposing austerity on my life so I do not have to when it all falls apart. Cardboard box under the overpass coming soon?

Coming to a theater near you. Wait for it!

Sat, 09/08/2012 - 01:10 | 2773990 e-recep
e-recep's picture

it sounds like you are running away from responsibility. i can't blame your wife, she seems to be doing the right thing. you think you can survive the collapse better on your own? think again.

Sat, 09/08/2012 - 01:41 | 2774008 cbxer55
cbxer55's picture

No I am not running. She told me either she or me was leaving. And since she has her daughter (not mine) and her grandson (not mine) from a previous marriage, I let her stay in the house. If this had not happened, nothing would have changed. But since I am basically having to start from scratch, I can choose to try another option. Don't particularly like that this happened, but it's what she wants.

Frankly I do not care if I can survive TSHTF or not. It's going to be tough for everyone, I am afraid. I got guns and ammo, no problemo. But I am not going to be willing to kill others to feed myself. Far easier, when the going gets rough, do the old self-checkout and be done with it all. And by rough I do not mean the normal everyday shit that happens, I can hang with that. I mean no food, no water, and no idea where I am going to get the same in the foreseeable future. Not going to beg, not going to steal. Just going to say adios.

Sat, 09/08/2012 - 05:24 | 2774137 Colonel Klink
Colonel Klink's picture

@ e-recep

Hahahaha, this is fight club, not DICK club!

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 12:03 | 2771987 Boilermaker
Boilermaker's picture

Worst article in quite some time.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 12:27 | 2772053 Rick Blaine
Rick Blaine's picture

I understand why you say that...

Now, maybe I am reading WAY too much into it and/or really grasping at straws...however...

Although it's not explicitly stated, I THINK the point is that there is a growing number of people who have reached, or are getting close to reaching, a point of "stuff saturation."

That is, it seems TO ME like a lot of people are trying to simplify their lives, which includes living within their means...which includes not buying extra shit just for the hell of it - like I used to do a lot.

IF that is the case, that's not good news for the "recovery"...or at least some would claim so.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 12:38 | 2772110 Boilermaker
Boilermaker's picture

Why jump the shark and post an article like this?  I have no clue why ZH goes from very good valuable articles to horrid red-meat articles for uneducated idiots that now swarm the site.  It seems to be getting worse, in my opinion.

If we can follow this up with a 'Amerikkkans are fatties' article, we'll be all set for the day.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 12:58 | 2772183 Bullionaire
Bullionaire's picture

Where's my can of troll spray?



Fri, 09/07/2012 - 13:15 | 2772255 Boilermaker
Boilermaker's picture

Case in point...

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 13:22 | 2772286 ParkAveFlasher
ParkAveFlasher's picture

+1 boilermaker.  500 Obama-charged characters in search of a meme.  Not that the Romneyites are any better, btw.

Hey everybody, let's be monks!  The world needs more impoverished pacifists. RIGHT.

ZipCar today!

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 16:26 | 2773047 ggm
ggm's picture

Since when does buying less junk lead to more impoverishment?

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 13:12 | 2772243 smithcreek
smithcreek's picture

No doubt.  I was stuck that it was written with a "look what I just figured out" mentality.  People have too much shit in this country?  No shit Sherlock.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 13:45 | 2772408 NotApplicable
NotApplicable's picture

"I have no clue why ZH..."

It's called "Guest Post."

Just skip them if you don't like them.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 23:20 | 2773878 Cosimo de Medici
Cosimo de Medici's picture

Oh yes you do have a clue.  Tyler runs Guest Posters up the flagpole to see who---and how many---salute.  Notice who has come and gone, and who remains.  The ones that draw the eyeballs and the comments stay---and generate revenue.

So who do we have here...this Brandon Smith, as well as Mike Krieger, write the same thing every time.  The exact same thing.  Despite that, Tyler gets 10K-20K "reads" and 200+ comments.  Ka-ching!

Know your market.  Tyler---a skilled bond and credit analyst steeped in higher level math---tosses out red meat that can be consumed by the nearly illiterate.  He knows the audience's go-button, at least the audience toward which the site has drifted since its original trader-geared inception.

Now here's the parlor game.....Tyler can now get a sit down with just about any market guru or member of the banking/hedge fund elite.  Does anyone think he would sit down with David Pierre or i-dog or Lennon Hendrix or, heaven forbid, Freddie?  Please.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 12:43 | 2772133 CrimsonAvenger
CrimsonAvenger's picture

Where's the evidence that there's a "growing number" of people who feel this way? I haven't seen GDP drop. Every single person on ZH may feel this way - but we're what % of the population in a nation of mouth-breathing consumer hounds?

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 12:44 | 2772139 aerojet
aerojet's picture

I gather you're an executive at Target or Wal Mart?

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 13:19 | 2772273 Nobody For President
Nobody For President's picture

Where the hell you coming fromBM? Or have you been putting down too many of your namesakes drinks? As a long-time homesteader, I learned a long time ago that every single 'thing' I bring to the land needs a 'place'. Consumables like food have the frig and the pantry, but non-consumables like tools need a place. A very specific place. And useful scrap wood, and extra pipe fittings and fencing, and seasonal stuff like tarps and hoses - out in summer, in in winter - cans of paint, nuts, bolts, screws, tools, stuff to maintain tools - I have one entire building devoted to storing useful 'stuff', and 1/4 of my metal shop and 1/4 of my wood shop devoted to a place for tools and consumables (paint, screws, sandpaper).  And there is the hanger at the local airport wirh more stuff...

A number of Smith's columns have been so-so or less, but this column is right the fuck on. In the last 10 years, I have had, as a only child, to deal with first my dad, then my Mom's 'stuff' after their death. Then my in-laws. There is just a huge amount of stuff left over after a lifetime, even of a very modest lifestyle (my parents) much more an affluent (effluent?) lifestyle (in-laws).

It made me consider what kind of chore I am leaving to my children when I die, and I have been consciously working on getting rid of stuff that is not specifically passed in in trust and wills - and I have an incredible amount of 'stuff' as well. It is embarrising how much shit I have accumulated, no matter how many trips to the dump, or donation to the local library and used bookstores and benefit sales for the local fire department - it is a slow process to unwind. 

Smith's point is both obvious, but stated clearly - we, as a culture (speaking loosely) are fucking drowning in 'stuff'. 

Look around your own space right now - do you not have enough stuff? Is all the stuff you have making you happy? If there was a fire, and all that stuff disappeared, what would you really miss? If the great fire was headed toward you, and you had to grab and run, what would you grab? Everything else is probably superlative.

Smith is right - we need to think about this, and clear up our life of uneeded stuff.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 13:45 | 2772406 Boilermaker
Boilermaker's picture

Thanks for that.  Moreover, good luck with that.

Sat, 09/08/2012 - 05:40 | 2774144 Colonel Klink
Colonel Klink's picture

Completely agree about the passing of parents.  I asked both of them to go through their stuff before something happened.  Well my mom passed a few years ago.  Low and behold, who was left to deal with handling and getting rid of things?  Moi!  Even though my dad was still around, he's still too fucking lazy to go through what remains.  Looks like I'll have the next tranche of shit to go through again in a few years.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 12:05 | 2771992 gbresnahan
gbresnahan's picture

I got tired of owning things years ago.  I much prefer experiences to things.  Friends tend to be envious when they visit because my place is so free of clutter. I've moved a lot so this came about out of necessity.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 12:13 | 2772017 Shizzmoney
Shizzmoney's picture

I feel the same way about pictures.  Just a waste of time, mostly. 

I have the perfect photo album.  It's called "My Memory"

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 13:00 | 2772190 smiler03
smiler03's picture

My 32GB USB stick doesn't take up very much room.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 14:10 | 2772519 cbxer55
cbxer55's picture

Just about all of my pictures are on Photobucket. I have two albums of photos that I would like to scan and place on PB as well. But I got no scanner.  ;-)

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 12:06 | 2771998 Rick Blaine
Rick Blaine's picture


It's now at the point where I specifically ask my family not to buy me anything for my birthday or Christmas...well, besides a gift card or cash.

Even a lot of the stuff I buy for myself, which I initially think I want/need, basically gets wasted.

One of my favorite things to do now is look through my stuff for things to give to charity...

...which is a solid indicator of how meaningless my life has become.


Fri, 09/07/2012 - 12:14 | 2772025 Shizzmoney
Shizzmoney's picture

Totally....I'm gonna write to my parents this year NOT to buy me any stupid shit made in China, just right me a check/hand me cash and buy me socks/underwear/grooming stuff. 

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 12:47 | 2772149 FEDbuster
FEDbuster's picture

Checks and gift cards to restaurants is what we exchange.  Once and a while some wine or interesting food items.  NO MORE STUFF!  

If something we use breaks, we fix it or replace it.  That's it.  Stuff we don't use or wear we get rid of, sell it or give it away. 

The only exception is long term storage food (seems like you never have enough).  The accumulation of Chinese made McShit is over for us.


Fri, 09/07/2012 - 13:16 | 2772263 johnQpublic
johnQpublic's picture

i ask for socks, underwear, liquor


i prefer liquor

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 13:23 | 2772294 Bicycle Repairman
Bicycle Repairman's picture

I am a dedicated re-gifter.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 15:16 | 2772783 Cathartes Aura
Cathartes Aura's picture

give up commercialised "holidays" that exist only to promote the shopping addictions.

including birthdays - at most I'll head over to a friend's house with a fancy edible, and everyone I know realises I don't "do" family holiday gatherings, which are mainly stressors for whoever "hosts" that year.

I don't want or expect any "things" for assigned special days either - again, if it's an edible or drinkable shared with the giver, fine, but beyond that,   *shrug*

when one really thinks about the days set aside as shopping prompts, the cynicism trumps.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 13:23 | 2772297 Nobody For President
Nobody For President's picture

...which is a solid indicator of how meaningless my life has become.


Hey Rick - it is a solid indicator of how smart you are getting.

Sat, 09/08/2012 - 04:58 | 2774127 Rick Blaine
Rick Blaine's picture

LOL - nice.

I've seen a couple comments here that suggest that those who are making comments similar to mine have to be socialists or something...

Nothing could be further from the truth in my case - I'm a registered libertarian...

The way I see it, if someone feels like buying stuff just for the hell of it, go for it - so long as others don't have to bail yout out if/when you run out of money.

...and I used to be like that...but the last couple of years my attitude about spending money has totally changed.

For the first time since undergrad, I don't have a car payment, the only "unnecessary" purchases I really make any more are things that I think/hope are going to hold their value pretty well, and the last thing I want to do is take on any more debt.

I'm sure as hell not doing this "for the greater good" or anything - I'm just sick of pissing away more money than I have to...especially on crap I don't really need.

I'll turn it into a political statement if/when the idiots in D.C. pass a which point I will hunker down like we've gone Mad Max.


Fri, 09/07/2012 - 12:06 | 2772000 doomandbloom
doomandbloom's picture

Stuffed, bitchez

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 12:07 | 2772001 i_call_you_my_base
i_call_you_my_base's picture

"Everybody has a warehouse of goods, even "poor" households. Of the four households on my block with one-car garages, we're the only ones who actually park a car in the garage. Everyone else's garage is jammed with stuff. And this is not an upscale neighborhood, it's working-class/renters"

So working-class/renters are now what "poor" is?

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 12:40 | 2772121 edifice
edifice's picture

4/5 of the U.S. population are poor; it's simply a matter of degree.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 13:05 | 2772210 i_call_you_my_base
i_call_you_my_base's picture

Everyone can be poor if you define it as a matter of degree. Poor to me means you can barely afford food and are constantly on the verge of being thrown out of your rental. That is poor. Poor people do not have "a surplus of stuff". Poor people don't have shit, and if you want to see what that looks like, you can go to Detroit, Philly, or Baltimore, or the backwoods of West Virginia if you prefer a more natural setting.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 14:45 | 2772650 Umh
Umh's picture

Many poor people have a surplus of stuff. Mostly because they can't resist the urge to buy stuff they can't afford when they should be paying their rent and buying better groceries.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 15:28 | 2772838 i_call_you_my_base
i_call_you_my_base's picture

Really? So when given a choice between food or stuff they buy stuff? Also, wouldn't they die if they did this consistently?

It's interesting to me that you believe the very foundation of human thinking and motives, ie sustanance can be completely overcome by the draw of "stuff". Is this unique to our time, or do you think this happened throughout evolution in humans?

Anyway, tell me how often you spend time with people living in poverty. You seem to be extremely in tune with their thinking and spending habits.




Sat, 09/08/2012 - 16:24 | 2775088 jemlyn
jemlyn's picture

I don't know about the city but in the country poor people surround their houses with rusted out cars, piles of junk, etc.  It's because they think they might need it sometime.  If they threw it away they might be sorry because if they needed a piece of it they wouldn't be able to buy it.  I've been sort of poor a couple of times and I noticed that I saved old purses and shoes that had some wear left in them.  When I was confident that I would have the means to replace them, I threw the old things away.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 13:26 | 2772313 aerojet
aerojet's picture

Having more "stuff" is something poor people do.  Rich people aren't hoarders, it's the poorer people who think that having things raises their status.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 13:55 | 2772460 NotApplicable
NotApplicable's picture

I'd say that the rich just don't hang on to old stuff, knowing they can always afford a newer, better version. That said, they've still got plenty of stuff, it just doesn't look like it since they've got McMansions to store it all comfortably, with lots of space left over.

Joe Sixpack, OTOH, has no leftover space, and has to decide what the garage is to be filled with. Add to that, everything represents a sunk cost as well as potential value in the future, so rather than losing both types of value only to have to possibly repurchase it with additional cost later, they hang on to it.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 14:40 | 2772626 WillyGroper
WillyGroper's picture

 Rich people aren't hoarders

I know a couple of people cash n/w at least 2M that are hoarders extraordinaire. One just died & I feel so sorry for his daughter. She'll need a bobcat.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 12:07 | 2772002 hannah
hannah's picture

everyone i know has 4 of every item....they have 4 cars and 4 motorcycles and 4 jetskis and 4 houses and on and on. they dont even use most of the stuff. most of it doesnt work because they dont make the right battery for it any longer.


Fri, 09/07/2012 - 13:55 | 2772458 aheady
aheady's picture

planned obsolescence bitchez

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 12:37 | 2772004 moonstears
moonstears's picture

Translation: You'll actually enjoy the future poverty, America, and make sure you get your discounted carbon tax vouchers before the Sept deadline! All hail Mr Gore, secret author, bitchez!

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 12:12 | 2772005 ParkAveFlasher
ParkAveFlasher's picture

Hey Charles Smith, first go clean your own garage and then make a broad comment on humanity.  It's nobody's fault buy your own that you buy useless, valueless, cr@p.

I might be harsh, but whenever I read something like this I feel like it's a prelude to a "let's share everything" mentality, itself a prelude to "you will have no access to anything valuable, not even to education on value", which is ultimately a prelude to ... wait for it ...

Why take delivery?


Fri, 09/07/2012 - 12:37 | 2772105 El
El's picture

That's You can buy and maintain as much junk as you like. It is quite a leap to think that because one person has recognized that he does not want clutter in his own life he doesn't think you should have clutter in yours. This article resonated with me because I've already reached the same conclusions as the author. You can not imagine how little I care what conclusions you reach for yourself.

On another note, a couple of years ago I stumbled across several studies on the effects of materialism and it turns out that the "acquisition mentality" produces much lower levels of psychological well-being. In fact, studies have unequivocally linked materialism to an overall sense of dissatisfaction, anxiety, aggression, alienation, anti-social behavior, narcissism, pain, and self-destructive behaviors. (If you are interested in the studies, Google keywords: research, materialism, and well-being you will come up with tons of information.)



Fri, 09/07/2012 - 13:06 | 2772217 ParkAveFlasher
ParkAveFlasher's picture

The concept of minimal possession resonates within me as well, trust me.  I'd rather build than buy, I'd rather sweat than hire. 

However the problem is not in "materialism", the problem is the manipulated view on the real value of anything.  Blaming it on "materialism" is obfuscation.  Like blaming our economic woes on "capitalism". That's like blaming "geometry, mass, and conservation of motion" for stubbing your toe on the coffee table.

You should want things.  You need things to live. Cats have claws and fur, and sharp eyes and ears, we do not. You need practical things.  You need practical things of a certain material quality that makes them practical for a long time.  In fact it is in the practice of proper valuation that wealth is unlocked.  You can not behold this unless you first crawl, walk, fly, limp, or lurch through materialism. 

Western society has forgotten what "value" is.  Our food comes in boxes.  Our lives come in boxes.  Our work is on paper, theoretical.  We export time.  Our manufacturing is done elsewhere.  Our "wealth" paradoxically equals our "debt". 

"Value" is further confused with "price", itself the victim of that arbitrary, sliding-scale denominator of  fiat money.  "It is a high price, therefore it is valuable".  In this statement, lies the great confusion of our times.  The confusion of "value" is enforced and dispersed via fiat currency.

There are material things that have value.  This value must be unlocked.  It is an active process.  It is soul-searching, it is experimentation, it is study. However in the value of things, upon unlocking this, what may be reflected is the value of endeavor, the value of human action. 

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 13:45 | 2772407 El
El's picture

Errr...I think that was the author's whole point. Most folks acquire junk and store it in the garage before dragging it to the curb.

I agree with your comments about the disconnect between value and price, and perhaps materialism wasn't the best choice of words to use to make my point, although I do believe that the reason we acquire junk is because of a materialistic desire to own lots and lots of stuff. Again, I don't care if you are or are not materialistic. I'm just trying to figure out what could possibly have given you the idea that Mr. Smith (or anyone) wants to prohibit you from acquiring whatever you like?



Fri, 09/07/2012 - 14:35 | 2772562 ParkAveFlasher
ParkAveFlasher's picture

Errr - Emmm - Uhhh - you're either illiterate or setting up scarecrows.  The author's own words:

[after first bloviating about taking delivery of PM] "Quite frankly, I don't want physical wealth I have to store, manage, protect, etc. I am not at all sure I want any "wealth" at all other than the "wealth" of productive land, a functioning infrastructure / civil society, and the "wealth" of freedom of movement and choice."

Movement of what?  Your land?  Or is your ass now the only thing worth owning according to the author?  Choice of what? If you want nothing, what choices to you have?  Are we all to be tenant farmers now?  What do you exchange your fruits for?  A song?

The author isn't seperating useful material from useless material.  He is lumping all material together, as junk and bad that people do not know the value of.  You have seperated one from the other by your own creation.  The author made no such seperation.

I agree that no one knows value, I make that clear, however I disagree that you just throw it all away and live on a collectivist farm without ever probing deeper into the concept of material value.

You to me:

" I'm just trying to figure out what could possibly have given you the idea that Mr. Smith (or anyone) wants to prohibit you from acquiring whatever you like?"

Errr - Emmm - Uhhh - I never said that.   Although, you (may) giveaway that the author presents a backdoor to that very same end.  How?  If you would like to see fewer apples eaten, you can grow fewer, or you can tape everyone's mouth shut (or make them tape their own mouths shut, which would cost you a minimum of hollow point rounds).  The former would be seen as a some kind of supply embargo, could be bad for your ekonomikz, but the latter would make the assertion, "we are not producing fewer apples", a true statement, thus squaring the circle of your own absurdity. 

Every dangerous lie wears the perfume of a distant truth. 

Look at my first comment.  It's all there.  The author's comments, framed as the author frames them, are INVARIABLY a prelude to some oblique promotion of COLLECTIVISM.


Fri, 09/07/2012 - 15:09 | 2772735 El
El's picture

Oh, my humblest apologies. I must have mistaken you for someone else who stated:

whenever I read something like this I feel like it's a prelude to a "let's share everything" mentality, itself a prelude to "you will have no access to anything valuable, not even to education on value"

Oh wait...that was you. I'm not sure why you are so offended to the point of apparent anger that the author of this article is tired of buying and owning junk, but hey...have at it.

I've only been on this site for about 7 months, and maybe I've missed where the author has written that he supports collectivism. I just haven't seen it, so I have nothing which leads me to the conclusion that you reached...i.e.  that the author's thoughts are a natural prelude to collectivism. I think it's a reach. A long one.

Question: If I write an article stating that I hate broccoli, are you going to take the position that because I don't want to eat you you can't either? Seriously...where does the author say you have to believe what he believes?

I actually agree with much of what you wrote. I just don't see the relationship between what the author wrote and where you are trying to take it.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 15:20 | 2772797 ParkAveFlasher
ParkAveFlasher's picture

Your apologies are anything but humble, but warranted, given you started your first response with an ol' fling of monkey poop.  And I don't give a hoot if you were Tyler himself.  I've stated my verbal calculations, to which you've responded, what justification do you have to calculate?  WTF kind of response is that?  You practice the martial art of obfuscation.  I dive in deep waters.  You traffic in kiddie pool piss.

You are not so much a dim bulb, but a light that refuses to be turned on.  So, I leave you to darkness.  You are wrong to drag others in to darkness.

To anyone else, my final words: Own.  Accept responsibility of possession.  Leave nothing of your own in another's hands.  All things you are, and hold, define you the individual, are the power of the individual, are the power of you. 

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 15:55 | 2772953 El
El's picture

Okay, then. I'll leave with with a thought. While you are afraid of collectivism (which I am also opposed to), I am afraid of those who try to shove things I don't want down my throat "for my own good." I don't WANT to own more stuff; what I own does not define me; and my individual power is not dependent upon stuff...nor is my happiness. :)

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 16:56 | 2773140 ParkAveFlasher
ParkAveFlasher's picture

I have no fear of collectivism, I revile collectivism because it is the underlying foundation of oligarchy.

You should not fear what you have the power NOT to buy. 

Actually, what you own, or do not own, DOES define you.  Reap that reward.  It is your power, do not deny it. 

If I can advise, Hermann Hesse's STEPPENWOLF (written during the immensely relevant Weimar episode, btw) and SIDDHARTHA are excellent allegorical essays of the futility of trying to kill yourself by denying yourself. 

The only way out, is deeper in!

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 12:10 | 2772007 yogibear
yogibear's picture

The young people these days are forced into driving junker cars ($1000) because of all the student loans and debt.

Their being forced to cut spending and their getting used to it.

I know of a couple of young people that dribe $500 junkers. 

Baby boomers are also being forced to eat and live cheap with having spent their money and being broke.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 12:40 | 2772119 spentCartridge
spentCartridge's picture

What's wrong with a bus ride?

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