On Friday, July 20, 2001 7:09 PM J. R. Molloy email@example.com wrote:
> > On the contrary, I think that the rich can afford to
> > be much more irresponsible (at least for a while) than
> > the poor can. When I was poor, I had, in order to escape
> > poverty, to be quite responsible in saving every dollar.
> > Now that I'm no longer poor, it doesn't matter if I blow
> > a hundred dollars on something.
> You're right, I hadn't thought of that angle. Of course it's the rich
> than the poor) who get to define what's responsible. Economic
> can enable one to become rich enough to scoff at responsibility of another
I think part of it is character. Back when I was poor and lived in poor
neighborhoods -- which is where I've spent most of my life; it's only been
in the past four years that I've managed to move up a little -- I noticed a
lot of people who were spendthrifts when they did happen upon any money.
These people were poor and, I reckon, to them, the extra cash was thought of
as nothing more than a reason for celebration. There was no thought about
putting it away for a rainy day. I noticed, too, as I moved into the
workforce, there were people who when they got any extra money, did much the
same. Heck, I sometimes did that too.
Maybe, in some way, there are incentives and disincentives to doing this.
After all, if savings are heavily taxed or if inflation is high, then
there's no incentive to put money away and a strong disincentive to spend
right now. I do think that has an impact, but I also think that some people
just don't think long range for whatever reason -- ignorance, ideological
commitment, genetics, etc. -- and maybe at certain times in their lives
their behaviour might change.
A friend of mine, Kevin, is 23 and he's starting to shift from being a
spendthrift to thinking in terms of his financial future. I'm not sure what
made him change. I also have friends who are older than me, in their early
30s, who still haven't figured it out. A lot of them also spend like they
are rich and wind up just making minimum payments on their credit cards.
I've also noticed poor people who become rich or just not poor partly
through frugality and remain frugal. So, there does seem to be a character
component. For instance, I participated in a local philosohy club where the
meetings are held in the member's homes. I was astonished to find a friend
of him, who is rich by my standards, was offering what I considered to be
cheap -- very low quality -- food at the meeting. The guy makes about four
times what I make, but apparently he doesn't spend it on his guests.:)
Of course, this doesn't refute your claim.
See me singlehandedly defeat pancritical rationalism at:
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