Tuesday, May 30, 2006

"simple living"

Hm. So if you start looking into, say, personal finance management, debt reduction, etc. it'll lead to the frugalistas (who I am down with) and then onward to the "Simple Living" people. Nice idea, yeah: live simply, don't buy too much crap, reuse, recycle, etc. HOWEVER, it seems like 9 out of 10 "simple living" narratives end with "and then [wifey] was able to quit her job and stay home with the kids," where, naturally, she cooks everything from scratch, makes her own cleaning products, sews everybody's clothes, and hangs her wash out on the line outdoors, etc.

It seems like the only person whose life is "simple" in this scenario is Daddy, who now has a full-time housekeeper instead of a wife with a paying job who needs him to do half the housework and childcare. Sure, there are exceptions, but this is the general arc of the simple living narrative. Also, most people who advocate simple living started out wealthy and are downsizing by, for example, selling their multi-million dollar house and moving to a less expensive neighborhood. Wow, I wish I had thought of that! I should just quit my million-dollar-a-year job, cash out my stock options, move to the country, and start making my own soap! What a great idea.

Tuh, I say, and pshaw.

which reminds me of something I heard the other day:
If housewives were paid fair wages for their labor, they'd earn over $100k a year.

Or, put another way: if you hired someone to do all the stuff a full-time housewife does, it'd cost you $100,000 a year.

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