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Ethics of working or not working for money  RSS feed

 
Posts: 583
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I find the concept of not choosing to work  interesting.
I am considered in Australia a 'Socialist' one who is prepared to help the community support those in need.
But I have also run my own business with staff for 45 years.
I think people need to work  and expect to be involved in work as one of the obligations of living in a community.
If you have a skill, somebody taught that to you, and you should feel obliged to teach the next generation.
If you don't have a skill, get one and get the benefit of working in a community, ' Man is not an Island"
If you use facilities in the community, roads, rubbish removal, street cleaning, bridge construction etc, then some contribution is essential.

In Australia I have heard people try and argue they don't use any facilities, I don't accept that it would be impossible unless you lived in the backwoods and NEVER used a road etc.

I have seen layabouts who feel they don't need to contribute, who get government welfare and expect it, when they are capable of doing something.
My cousin had cystic Fibrouosis and was incapable of doing anything, even wiping his nose, so he deserves community help, he dies at about 13 years of age.

Margaret Thatcher, somebody I don't admire much did make this comment , ' the trouble with socialism is that one day you will run out of somebody else's money"
 
pollinator
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Choosing to reduce one's work for money does not mean that one is not contributing to one's community.  There are more ways of contributing than simply by spending money and paying taxes.
 
John C Daley
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Tyler,I don't agree, at the end of the day, local authorities need cash to pay wages and for materials for the good work the community expects them to carry out.
Somebody has to pay cash, bartering to replace a water main or fix a pothole will not work.
Doing work at a local church working bee, does not replace the needs of the local authority for cash payment and can not be accepted as suitable effort
to contribute to the costs of running the municipality.
If may count for brownie points in some peoples eyes and I guess thats ok forthem, but not myself.
 
Tyler Ludens
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I for one do not begrudge people choosing to reduce their work for money for health reasons, as I did (among other reasons). I would rather they reduce their working for money than continue until they become seriously ill and a burden on the system. I honor those able to work for money to support the system which helps those who can't work for money, or can't work for money as hard.

I hope nobody is leaping to the conclusion that choosing to work less for money means becoming a burden on the system.

Also, I think that the more people do support work at church or wherever, the less the state may be called upon to provide those services.  The more we help support each other, the less the state may need to support, and therefore the less money needed by the state.

I currently only work about 40 hours a week caring for my dad with Alzheimer's, and I don't do much non-paying support work except helping friends when they need it and cleaning the roadsides in my dad's neighborhood and my own.  I wish I were a person with the stamina to volunteer doing stuff, but I'm not that person.



 
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John C Daley wrote:Tyler,I don't agree, at the end of the day, local authorities need cash to pay wages and for materials for the good work the community expects them to carry out.
Somebody has to pay cash, bartering to replace a water main or fix a pothole will not work.
Doing work at a local church working bee, does not replace the needs of the local authority for cash payment and can not be accepted as suitable effort
to contribute to the costs of running the municipality.
If may count for brownie points in some peoples eyes and I guess thats ok forthem, but not myself.



Permiculturaly speaking, we should all be reducing our dependence on water mains and black water systems so that they are directed to much lofty end goals then a city life, and water treatment plants, not rallying behind the ill-fated concept that larger government would only work better if it got even bigger.

A case in point is where I live. Here 60% of the population works for the school, and so when a school budget is developed it immediately passes because so many people's paychecks are at stake. The problem is 75%, of that school budget is based on local property taxes, and with a school budget that does not get any form of reality check, property taxes have skyrocketed.

It is now to the point where local farmers cannot compete on their limited scale of farming, and so only the bigger farms with the economy of scale can pay the property taxes. The small farmers are gone, the mid-level farmers are struggling, and we are talking farms that have been here in existence for some 100 plus years. My own farm is 280 years old and it is all I can do to pay the property taxes. The exact number is $10,200 a year in US currency, about $200 a week just to keep what I got. In livestock terms, that is (2) lambs per week going to slaughter without paying other taxes, feeding my family, or paying for other expenses.

Is it an honor to pay property taxes? It sure is, and a duty, and what modern society is based upon, but only if they are kept to reasonable levels.

As for churches, here they are tax exxempt and for a very important reason, they provide so much more to society then just a place to worship the God of whomever's particular choosing. There is fellowship of the local community, a place for familys to celebrate when people marry, a place for friends and family to mourn when someone dies, a place to provide meals for those who are hungry, a place to stay for the homeless, child care for the couple who needs alone time to solidify their marriage, and a place of marriage resolution when that same marriage is in trouble, and a place to teach children. That barely scrathches the surface of the services a local church provides to the community they are situated in, because if a church is like ours: Glocal (global/local) it means sending people to Gatamela or other places around the world to buildrocket stoves for the poor, helping to build gardens, teaching adults and children to read, and on and on...
 
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I quit my job 2 years ago to stay home with my impossible daughter. So I suppose you could say for 2 years I was doing nothing. Ya know, except for all the things. Now that I'm back at work I might have to hire someone to do some of those things. The house, The house is a disaster!
 
John C Daley
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Stopping work to help somebody is admirable.
I was thinking people were choosing to cut back simply for lifestyle reasons and expect welfare.
I have to disagree about water and black water systems, I believe there is an good case to prove large scale systems are practical and cost effective.
In Australia in the 109702 we had massive pollution of waterways from septic tanks that were not working or there were simply too many in a given area.
I notice very few people collect rainfall in North America to use and rely on wells.
From what I can see, in closer communities reticulated water is practical, no dust borne pollution, usually supply at all times and cost effective compared with tanks etc.
 
Tyler Ludens
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John C Daley wrote:
I was thinking people were choosing to cut back simply for lifestyle reasons and expect welfare.



There is no welfare of that kind available in the US, even if anyone wants to do that, which I don't think anyone in this thread has said they do.

 
pollinator
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The existence of money and its circulation between the reserve bank, government and citizens requires us (citizens) to "work for money" and pay "tax" so that the artificial debt created between the reserve bank and the government can be paid.

The "money" and the "inflation" is only exist because we are forced to circulate the "banknotes" to "pay" for goods and services.

If we stop working for money and use our own currency (barter, chicken, promise etc.) this system will tumble down and I am hoping crypto currencies will do that at some point (but not in their current usage scheme).

In the larger scheme of things, in a society where money is already used, there may be some people who choose to not work for money and that is okay. But this is a small percentage of people.

If you own a land, there are taxes, if you own a car, there are taxes, if you own a mortgage there is still a tax on top in the name of "interest". I remember Stevie Ray Vaughan's Taxman song :-)

If you are truly nomad, own nothing, roam around and eat what you find, you can then be out of this system

It is a choice I would honor.

 
Tyler Ludens
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Gurkan Yeniceri wrote:
If you are truly nomad, own nothing, roam around and eat what you find, you can then be out of this system



You might still be using public roads to move around...

 
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Travis Johnson wrote:

A case in point is where I live. Here 60% of the population works for the school, and so when a school budget is developed it immediately passes because so many people's paychecks are at stake. The problem is 75%, of that school budget is based on local property taxes, and with a school budget that does not get any form of reality check, property taxes have skyrocketed.

It is now to the point where local farmers cannot compete on their limited scale of farming, and so only the bigger farms with the economy of scale can pay the property taxes. The small farmers are gone, the mid-level farmers are struggling, and we are talking farms that have been here in existence for some 100 plus years. My own farm is 280 years old and it is all I can do to pay the property taxes. The exact number is $10,200 a year in US currency, about $200 a week just to keep what I got. In livestock terms, that is (2) lambs per week going to slaughter without paying other taxes, feeding my family, or paying for other expenses.



Holy cow!!! Where are you at again and how many acres? I might have seen but I've forgotten.
 
Gurkan Yeniceri
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Tyler Ludens wrote:

You might still be using public roads to move around...



You've got me there :-)
 
Travis Johnson
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John C Daley wrote:I notice very few people collect rainfall in North America to use and rely on wells.



We should collect rainfall probably, but unlike Australia, we have a deep aquifer and thus do not have too. This sounds strange, but because of global warming, in the State of Maine we are actually increasing our already high rainfall per year by an additional 5 inches of rain. Add in snowmelt from deeper winter snows (last year was the 4th highest snowfall on record) and we are in really great shape in terms of aquifer. Now I know this is not the case in Australia, but that is the problem when we start being judgmental of how others do things.

 
Travis Johnson
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J Anders wrote:Holy cow!!! Where are you at again and how many acres? I might have seen but I've forgotten.



I live in Maine which has the highest taxes per capita of the entire nation. I also own a house in New Hampshire which also has high property taxes.

As for acreage, acreage matters little to me. What constitutes a lot or a little is subjective. One neighbor of mine has 3200 acres while another has 6. The real issue is, when I retired two years ago, I failed to properly calculate in the cost of property taxes which was a big miscalculation. I have what I have, and I owe what I owe, but it is staggering to think that 104 lambs have to be sent to slaughter every year JUST to pay for property taxes alone. It really puts the cost in perspective, which of course is why I express it in such a way.
 
Travis Johnson
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John C Daley wrote:I have to disagree about water and black water systems, I believe there is an good case to prove large scale systems are practical and cost effective.
In Australia in the 109702 we had massive pollution of waterways from septic tanks that were not working or there were simply too many in a given area. I notice very few people collect rainfall in North America to use and rely on wells. From what I can see, in closer communities reticulated water is practical, no dust borne pollution, usually supply at all times and cost effective compared with tanks etc.



To some degree I agree, and to some degree I do not.

I know what it is like to operate a city, and the benefits that stem from that, we had a 1200 cow dairy farm in the family after all. In essence that was just a cow-city, since you cannot exactly let 1200 cows out to graze three times a day. The amount of grass they would stomp on would be 80% of what they took in (4 hooves versus 1 munching mouth). So we brought food to them from distant fields, and pumped their manure into a pond and then spread it out later on those same distant fields. I will not go into the details, but the economics of concentrating cows into a big series of barns was financially rewarding.

But there are some ethical questions in all of that, and hardly ideal for the individual cows. Granted they did not know better because a concentrated feed lot is all they knew!

Is this any different than a human in a city where their food is brought to them via truck, and their waste removed via pipeline (and their municipal trash by truck)?

When I worked for the railroad in Jamacia New York City, I could not believe people lived like that, but then they did not know any different life then that. But they in turn could not understand how I could live in a town with 750 people spread out over 52 square miles. In fact I watched a show where death row inmates escaped from a Viginia prison, and one made it to upper state New York and was within 6 miles of the border with Canada and yet turned himself in to the authorities; he was scared to death of spending another night in the forest. Me...I would be scared to death to spend a night in the city alone! I say all that so people do not think this is a city versus country living debate...it is not.

In fact, here, as great as it is to have farms, without our ability to ship our food to Boston, New York City, Hartford, and Providence (not to mention our lobsters around the world), we would be in more of a deprived state then we are now. That has always been true of Maine, since  the 1600's when Cod fishermen came here to catch their fish, salt them on our beaches, and send them back to Europe; we have grown food, caught fish, and provided forest products throughout the world.

Today we live in a global world and that is not going to change.
 
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Travis Johnson wrote:it is staggering to think that 104 lambs have to be sent to slaughter every year JUST to pay for property taxes alone.



It took 800 dozen ears of corn to pay the property taxes on my 2 acre field.
 
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John C Daley - I find that definition of a "Socialist" interesting. In the US, it's generally reserved for political use, not personal. I don't work outside of the home, but I have always been one to help people. We almost always have people living with us who need some help. It started with teenagers, so many teenagers. My kids friends would be kicked out, or abused. One parent moved and told her teenage daughter that she couldn't come with her. There are many ways people can contribute.

I can't make enough money to make it worthwhile working, but I can help others get back on their feet.

I don't like property taxes because they are not transactional. I haven't done anything. Income tax, sales tax, these things make more sense to me. I think that it's fine for everyone to engage with society at whatever level they feel comfortable. Not enough people are going to completely drop out for it to make a big difference in the economy, picking on the few that do seems petty.
 
John C Daley
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Stacy, the word socialist is a political word here, but it also means your mind set is different from the ' Greed is good" mindset.
I have nothing against socially good capitalist systems, I think Australia is moving to a 'greed is good ' form of capitalism and
that is not a nice scene.
As for your property taxes being  'non transactional', what does that mean?
 
Stacy Witscher
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Typically one is taxed when something happens. If I make money, the income is taxed. If I buy something, the purchase is taxed. If I sell stock or real property, the profit is taxed. These are all transactions. Property tax doesn't require an active transaction. I didn't do anything, my property is taxed just for still being mine, that's weird. This differs from vehicle registration because that's really more of a fee, a nominal fee to help cover the costs of that agency.

Growing up in the US in the 80's, I'm very familiar with the 'greed is good' form of capitalism, compounded by the crazy silicon valley entrepreneurs.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Stacy Witscher wrote: Property tax doesn't require an active transaction. I didn't do anything, my property is taxed just for still being mine, that's weird.



And your property taxes can go up because your neighbors sell their property.  This is especially hard on long-term residents in areas where property has become desirable.  The market value of our land has quadrupled during the time we've been here because of the area becoming so popular.  Fortunately we were able to get agricultural status on the land which helps keep the actual taxes low.
 
Stacy Witscher
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Tyler - yes, although how this happens varies from state to state. In California, we have proposition 13 that limits this to a large extent. We are moving to Oregon where things are different, although the realtor said that there is a limit on how much your property taxes can be raised in a year. We will see.
 
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Travis Johnson wrote:We should collect rainfall probably, but unlike Australia, we have a deep aquifer and thus do not have too. This sounds strange, but because of global warming, in the State of Maine we are actually increasing our already high rainfall per year by an additional 5 inches of rain. Add in snowmelt from deeper winter snows (last year was the 4th highest snowfall on record) and we are in really great shape in terms of aquifer. Now I know this is not the case in Australia, but that is the problem when we start being judgmental of how others do things.



Actually, Australia has a large number of ground water systems. The largest is the Great Artesian Basin making up about 20% of the total landmass - so about the same percentage of mainland USA.

Due to decades of misuse e.g. bores that were once uncontrolled and left to free flow, have been capped to re-pressurise the basins and ensure natural springs remain flowing. Many of the inland communities rely on these basins for their water supplies. Recharge is very slow - the age of the water coming out has been dated between several thousand to a few million years old.

Fracking is a relative newcomer and has been exceedingly unpopular to the point of 'affirmative action' by many land owners and subsequent mind changes by politicians.

In general, water resources are 'carefully' managed and, for the most part, are kept honest by Joe Public.

Tank water is just a bonus, but often difficult to rely on because of low rainfall.

Thankfully, we don't have the long history of nuclear testing and chemical dumping as several other countries, and the connection to the political system is very open and robust (less corporate control), so groundwater remains part of the Commonwealth's resources and is pretty safe to use - except in some instances of naturally occurring minerals e.g. Arsenic.

It is certainly a problem for any community to rely solely on groundwater as it is a finite resource and so easily polluted. Why not capture rainfall in tanks, nature is working free of charge!
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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From a purely pragmatic standpoint, those people that choose to not work for money, are casting a vote. They are voting for less money to be spent on roads, schools, social projects, etc. In a true and honest democracy, their vote is as valid as the vote of those people who vote to spend their lives paying for roads, schools, libraries, welfare, etc. My personal preference favors gravel roads over paved. My hometown doesn't even have stop/yield signs on intersections. That pleases me. 

 
John C Daley
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Capturing rainwater is not an entirely free of expense operation.
Reasonable size tanks 5000Gal cost about $AU2400, pumping and plumbing may be an extra $AU2000 and multiple tanks are worth looking at, depending on rainfall and consumption levels.
BUT, compared with wells I think its better, IF the ground does not freeze.
But it begs the question, how do the wells wok if the ground is frozen?
Does the lower level of the water means its not cold enough to freeze and get to the house somehow?
 
Travis Johnson
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John C Daley wrote:BUT, compared with wells I think its better, IF the ground does not freeze.
But it begs the question, how do the wells wok if the ground is frozen?
Does the lower level of the water means its not cold enough to freeze and get to the house somehow?



Here the rate of recharge for the aquafer is a lot higher. Rain that falls today, will be able to be pumped out of my well in two years time.

Freezing is not a problem at all. Since the ground temperature below the frost line (4 feet in Maine) is a constant 57 degrees. After a 8 inch well is bored, at my house 290 feet deep, a pump with wires and pipe is dropped down the well. About 4 feet down there is a "Pitless Adapter" which is sort of a Tee and sort of an elbow. Water wise it is an elbow, and changes the direction of the water flow by 90 degrees, but shape wise it is a Tee so that a tool can thread into the upper part of it. Here a trench is dug at least 4 feet deep to the house. A hole is drilled into the side of thee well casing at 4 feet and then using the handle, you position the pitless adapter through the hole cut in the side of the well and then bolt it to the well. Once bolted to the side of the well, the tool is unthreaded from the pitless adapter and the well is capped off. Water is then run horizontally in the trench to the house. After the plumbing connections are made, the trench is backfilled with soil. Since water never gets within 4 feet of the top of the ground, the water never freezes.
 
Travis Johnson
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I really struggled with this issue before I retired 2 years ago which then I was only 42, kind of early for retirement.

The issue was, I worked as a welder for a shipyard building US Navy Destroyers for our nation. There is pride in that, and I took pride in what I did, and ended up rising within the shipyard to weld critical areas of the ship. Bow sections, rudders, and then in the end, welding up the missile silos. I was not so concieted to think I was the only welder that could weld that stuff, there is 500 other welders there, but I had a good reputation for working hard and producing good welds. I felt kind of guilty for not using a skill I had to help defend a nation I obviously am devoted too (just as people in other nations should be proud of the nation where they live).

But I did have the means, or at least, I did have the lack of bills that allowed me to retire. A workaholic by nature, and 23 years of working everyday meant I had the resourses to provide for my family in other ways. I run across a lot of people that I feel are jealous of that decision to retire early, but this is a free nation, people can do exactly the same thing I did. For me it was working in well paying industries like railroading, maritime shipping, and then shipbuilding. With only a high school education and a skill set (welding), it is not like I had special opportunities. I just made good decisions.

It was kind of like in High School. I knew how many credits I needed to graduate, and in my Freshmen, Sophmore and Junior years never took a study hall so I could get more required coarses in. Then my Senior year I I had just English to take, then went to vocational school and did that all day, (2) half-day courses. It was a VERY easy Senior Year, but people cried unfair. NOT SO...they could have done the same thing I did, they just chose to have a study hall where they threw spitballs, talked, or even did homework. All my studying was done at home (a tough gig when you live on a dairy farm mind you).

What I find is, the most disguntled people are in situations where they feel trapped, and know deep down inside it is from their own undoing. I have been in situations like that myself. But one thing I love about Permiculture, and this forum because it is structured to let some of us who have experience say...there is hope. You can have confidence. You can get out of the rat race. I do not just type like this on this forum, I teach classes in the community on taking hobby farms to full farm status, and making money with sheep. But those things take doing, those things take risk, and some people would rather list reasons they cannot do something and then be jealous of those that are risk takers.

Retiring at age 42? A HUGE risk, and I made some mistakes, some were not my fault (getting cancer), but some were (underestimating property taxes). It is never too late to change the direction of someone's life, often times though it takes being humble. For us, in 3 weeks we are moving to a tiny house, but I would rather do that, then return to building ships. For a lot of people, they want things to change, without a willingness to change.
 
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Joseph Lofthouse wrote:From a purely pragmatic standpoint, those people that choose to not work for money, are casting a vote. They are voting for less money to be spent on roads, schools, social projects, etc. In a true and honest democracy, their vote is as valid as the vote of those people who vote to spend their lives paying for roads, schools, libraries, welfare, etc. My personal preference favors gravel roads over paved. My hometown doesn't even have stop/yield signs on intersections. That pleases me. 


I love seeing geographically where people live. I saw Cache Valley in your signature and it sounded familiar so I Googled it , wow!
We watched Woman Walks Ahead last night, well I did my wife can't watch sad stories. I don't know why I mentioned that, maybe looking at that terrain did it. Damn.
Here in New Mexico we're seriously poor, except for the fancy pants running the universities and schools and a few other extraordinarily high paying jobs. This does keep the property taxes reasonable, plus we get a tax break for having cows graze.
One of the ill results of corporate greed here is the earnings for working isn't enough to buy health insurance.
So while the Republican think-tanks keep pumping out the anti-socialism rhetoric about the burdens placed on society (them) by people who don't work and "chose" instead to be on the dole, they take no responsibility for creating this situation by keeping minimum wage below what people can live on.
This situation will put organised human life to a the test and probably pretty damn quickly.
My two cents
Brian  
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Tyler,I don't agree, at the end of the day, local authorities need cash to pay wages and for materials for the good work the community expects them to carry out.



If people in a community want something done then they should be willing to pay for it. Crowd funding could easily be used to fund all things currently run by city governments.

Instead of a few people sitting around deciding how much to raise taxes in order to cover the debt they keep garnering they should have to show people what each needed task requires, justify the expense, and then use crowd funding to pay for it.

If people won't pay for the overpriced "art" that some council members cousin is going to provide then it shouldn't happen.

If people won't pay for road construction projects, fire departments, police departments, or anything else financed by "public" money then they should either be forced to downsize or cease to exist.

Maybe it is different in other places, but where I live the majority of people are either (a) poor, (b) on welfare, or (c) retired.

The small minority that consists of city hall pays themselves about 100k each per year (plus benefits), holds public meetings during times when most people will be working, and pretty much works with the relatively wealthy to push through anything they want. Some things I've seen getting funded by "our" tax dollars:

- a half city block Tesla charging station (The mayor is the only one I know of with such a car)
- a bunch of over priced metal art to put all over the sidewalks
- the purchase of the land the homeless moved onto (wasn't being used before that) so that the homeless could be kicked off of it
- the building of new schools because the current ones were "old" (no, not defunct or problematic... just not shiny and new)
- the paving of roads that were already fine when plenty of roads in poorer neighborhoods are in bad shape
- huge tax breaks to get walmart to create a store in the area

I could probably fill a book with the dumb things being done with our money... without any recourse.

I have nothing but respect for people that work less, enjoy life more, and contribute less to the systems that are being used to bleed us slowly dry.

Me, I'm working on completely opting out. Within a few years I want to be to a place where I no longer need to buy anything (no food, no fuel, no nothing) and my only expenses consist of any taxes I cannot find a good way to reduce/avoid and/or any wanted expenses that I'm actually willing to pay for.

I'm definitely voting with my actions.
 
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