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Deliberate poverty  RSS feed

 
                              
Posts: 262
Location: Coast Range, Oregon--the New Magic Land
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Maybe the third time is a charm...I've posted this on a couple forums that say they value frugality, hard work and the simple life, but surprise! condescension(jealousy probably rather!) the woman didn't spend it on herself. Now I did find another article that said she traveled to many foreign countries) and she was in a nursing home so obviously some of her money supported that. But even so, somehow that didn't "count".


http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2011987431_oller30m.html

The thing is, I've know a handful of old farts like this, and they are total golden gems with so much to teach. I can see how people wouldn't understand CHOOSING poverty--or, it's interesting what people consider "poverty"...

So, curious what y'all think. It's been fascinating what this story brings out of people!
 
Robert Ray
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I'm not sure what the question is?
Frugality is a choice and poverty isn't. Neither one is bad.
 
                              
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Location: Coast Range, Oregon--the New Magic Land
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I was just wondering what this woman's story brings to mind--like I said, I'm finding I get or "read" something totally different out of her story than it seems most other people. I've posted this story on two homesteading forums (that everyone rah rahs the simple life--frugality, make do, recycle, use it up etc), and the response has been she's a crackpot old lady and it's sad she didn't blow the money on herself.  I was just curious what you guys thought of her choice (being a "permaculture" board).

I used the word poverty because that is what people call it--why would she choose to live in "poverty". I would say her life was nothing at all "poverty". I had a neighbor just like her, he lived in a garden shed with no utilities--he was one of the most CONTENT people I've ever known. FREAKISHLY content, as in he was like a Yoda or something

Anyways, just curious what y'all's response is
 
Robert Ray
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When I think about many people I know and have interacted with I think that those who have a more frugal lifestyle appear to be more content.
 
 
Burra Maluca
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When Verna Oller was living at the Circle of Life retirement home in Long Beach, friends told her her coat was looking pretty ragged.  So she took a bus to a thrift shop and bought a new coat, for $2. It was so cheap because the lining had ripped out.

Poverty is when you don't have the coat in the first place, and don't have the $2 to buy another.  I noticed that she replaced it when it started to look ragged, not when it it became unusuable - that's not my idea of poverty!

The fire wood thing is funny.  When we moved into this village we noticed one of the old widows would regularly walk back to her house with branches and bundles of sticks on her head.  We tried to drop off a few bits of spare wood at her place to help her out and she smiled at us, told us to follow her, and she took us to her spare house, unlocked the door, and showed us two rooms stuffed full of neatly sawn firewood that her family had prepared for her.  She just preferred to use the stuff she could gather up herself. 

 
Fred Morgan
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Living a simple life for me is much better than wasting my time consuming things I don't need.  My feeling is that you need to set a standard of living and maintain that, no matter how much you may earn. After all, resources are finite. I could easily afford to buy a hummer - but that would mean I would consume resources that wouldn't be there in a future for someone else. Better that I live simply.

One of the greatest luxuries that I know of is being free of worry about money. Things don't make you happy, especially if you could lose it all if you lost your job.

My wife and I live very far below our means - but not like this woman.  Those who get caught in a trap of always wanting more are never happy for long. But when you know you have more than you need, then you can be content.
 
                                
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Location: central NYS - USDA Zone 5a
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Interesting story.

She just strikes me as very unusual - someone who clearly had her priorities straight and, unlike most, didn't give two hoots what other people thought of her lifestyle (zippers for shoelaces?). How many of us make choices at some level or other in part because of "what would people think?" It doesn't sound like that was ever part of her thinking.

It also sounds like she was really selfless - she obviously knew the value of money as a tool for improving life for people.

Doing some quick math, she also was in her 20s during the Great Depression - I suspect that was a lifelong influence, as with so many of her generation.
 
Daniel Zimmermann
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Location: Sacramento
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"Frugality" suggests a choice.  "Poverty" does not.
 
                              
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Location: Coast Range, Oregon--the New Magic Land
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Antibubba wrote:
"Frugality" suggests a choice.  "Poverty" does not.


aye, I thought the choice of words in the article, or people commenting in various places--sayign her decision was poverty (no) rather than frugality(yes)--just shows you where people are at I guess.
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Great thread and amazing story.

I keep trying to live more simply and humbly...and while I've made some little in roads, I think I still have a long way to go. It's really tough to untangle the social conditioning.

Hasn't there been press, or maybe even a thread here on permies, about the US happiness quotient? Somehwere, somebody wants us to track a GDH where H = happiness instead of the GDP (gross domestic product). While I think that's never going to fly, I understand the point.

There seems to be some correlation with the more we make and the more we spend and the lower our happiness. Countries where folks live in mud huts and barely have enough food have far higher happiness than us Americans.
 
charles c. johnson
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I think poverty can be a choice. Some people i know make 4-10 time what i do in a year . Half of them are what i would call in poverty. just not from a lack of money.
 
                              
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Location: Coast Range, Oregon--the New Magic Land
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Jocelyn Campbell wrote:
Great thread and amazing story.

I keep trying to live more simply and humbly...and while I've made some little in roads, I think I still have a long way to go. It's really tough to untangle the social conditioning.

Hasn't there been press, or maybe even a thread here on permies, about the US happiness quotient? Somehwere, somebody wants us to track a GDH where H = happiness instead of the GDP (gross domestic product). While I think that's never going to fly, I understand the point.

There seems to be some correlation with the more we make and the more we spend and the lower our happiness. Countries where folks live in mud huts and barely have enough food have far higher happiness than us Americans.


toally agree with that. My sister lived in Africa for almost 10 years, and saw this miracle first hand. The average American could never grasp the happiness of an African in the midst of (true) poverty(or?), hardship, oppression and the real horrors of tribal warfare, disease and ...

Her kids were born over there, and it's been really hard for them to acclimate to America, and make friends with kids who have. No. Clue.
 
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