The Century of the Self. This well done documentary illustrates the concept I was writing about a little while ago in regard to the Homesteading Movement being a return to the old ways of the home being a place of production rather than consumption.
Once upon a time, about a century or more ago, people's buying habits
were entirely different than they are today. Our homes used to be a
place of economic output and were run like a businesses. Dad & the
sons were in the field and barn tending the crops and animals, while Mom
& the daughters were in the house & garden, producing their own
clothes and food, right from scratch. Of course, money was spent on
things back then too, but it was done in entirely different ways.
Quality and durability used to be much more thought of when purchasing
an item, such as a wood-cook-stove. What I mean is, when people bought
such an item, they fully expected not to have to buy another ever again.
My own parents immigrated to Canada in the mid-1950's with very little money
- but no-one had money in those days. It was the norm for people to be
"smart" with their resources and so, like most others, when my parents
married, there were no expensive rings and dresses. There was a party,
which was run almost solely on volunteer labour, and there was no
honeymoon. You could probably pull off a wedding like my parents had for
$2,500 or $3,000 today, and no-one was ashamed of it because everyone
was doing it that way. The ladies back then, my mom & my aunts and
their friends, often all got together to have cooking get-togethers, or
coupon swaps, or other such social events with the side-benefits of
saving money. My father worked over-time for five years until their
first house was paid for. He hunted for moose not for the joy of hunting
- although he liked it too - but much more because it saved them so
much money on meat. When my uncle boarded with them upon his arrival in
Canada, rather than spend oodles of money on various useless trinkets
for Christmas, both my uncle and my father pooled their resources and
bought my mom a hot-water tank as a gift. You may laugh, but think of
how great a gift it is to no longer have to heat water on the wood-stove
every single time you need to wash dishes or bathe yourself, or the
children. My mom still remembers that hot-water tank fondly. Within
about five or six years, after their house was paid for (yes, they paid
it off that quick), my dad borrowed against his house and started his
own business. He remained an entrepreneur and businessman until he
retired. Having saved enough capital to put to good use by
re-investment, he provided handsomely for his family from around his
It is my belief that we are going to be forced back into this paradigm
whether we like it or not. The decades of reckless government spending
and grotesque personal consumption that the Western World has engaged in
since the rise of socialist thought in the 1960's and 1970's are coming
to an end, and there's not much we can do about it. Hey! It was great
getting this new fangled credit-card thingy, but now the limit's been
reached and the bills are coming due. The problem is, we are now going
to have to cut into our lifestyles and our expectations of "quality
living" are going to have to change along the way.
I was recently reading on Zero Hedge that the average size of homes in the USA has again increased.
Despite the scare we had only a few short years ago, showing how
damaging even a minimal increase in interest rates is to the housing
market, the general population has quickly forgotten the lessons
illustrated and is back to building McMansions, making the average sized
home around 2,500sf, bigger and more expensive than ever before.
Studying ways to reduce our consumption while increasing our
home-production is, therefore, one of the best financial plans I can
think of. Can you find ways to live on half your expenses? Can you find
ways to produce $1,000/mo in income from your home? Does the addition of
these two equal more than your present income?
Now think about it this way. If the second income earner - most likely
the woman - returned to staying at home during the day, how much more
money could she save, and further, how much could she earn from the home?
Now what can the other spouse do to decrease consumption and increase
production? How much more can be shaved off, and what is it's true
value? Would this change in lifestyle not only save money, but actually
increase the amount of free-time hours a person has in a day?
The government and the crony-corporations which influence it are
benefiting from our decreased home production and increased
consumption... but how about us, the actual people that our countries
are supposed to be serving? I don't think we've benefited at all. In
fact, I think the price for our consumption-led attitudes have harmed us
even beyond what we can calculate in dollars. The more we can step out
of this paradigm, and be on the leading edge of the return to "the old
ways," at least in attitude, the better off one will be when the
inevitable credit-card bill comes in for our reckless ways.