Money Is…

One thing you will hear if you adopt an extreme savings program is the popular refrain “It’s only money”, “There are more important things than money”, etc. I agree with the last statement, but it is NOT just money. It is what money represents that matters.

In preparation for our upcoming money-themed issue, I enjoyed this vintage post from the Early Retirement Extreme website.

ERE’s Jacob Lund Fisker will appear in the aforementioned money issue of New Escapologist, writing about how money is a system of government akin to an electric fence designed to keep dogs in.

Here’s a tiny excerpt from his new article to tickle your fancy:

Metaphorically speaking, in the 1950s, a person would take his paycheck and buy an ice cream cone, eat it, and then walk home and be happy. Today, thanks to increased productivity, a person takes his paycheck, buys four ice cream cones, eats one and gets happy, drops the other one on the ground while getting into his car, has another one melt on the way home, and puts the last one in the fridge at home and forgets about it.

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Buy the complete back catalogue of New Escapologist with a 10% discount.
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Bullshit Jobs

In the year 1930, John Maynard Keynes predicted that, by century’s end, technology would have advanced sufficiently that countries like Great Britain or the United States would have achieved a 15-hour work week. There’s every reason to believe he was right. In technological terms, we are quite capable of this. And yet it didn’t happen. Instead, technology has been marshaled, if anything, to figure out ways to make us all work more.

This essay about “Bullshit Jobs” by David Graeber from LSE has been doing the rounds on Facebook. It explains why (or is at least a good take on why) we are yet to have a Keynesian 15-hour workweek as standard.

The ruling class has figured out that a happy and productive population with free time on their hands is a mortal danger (think of what started to happen when this even began to be approximated in the ‘60s). And, on the other hand, the feeling that work is a moral value in itself, and that anyone not willing to submit themselves to some kind of intense work discipline for most of their waking hours deserves nothing, is extraordinarily convenient for them.

If you’re interested in the phenomenon of wage slavery being pointless in the age of productive technology, I’d also recommend Productivity and the Workweek (referenced by Jacob Lund Fisker in our upcoming ninth issue) and also a book called How Much is Enough? by Robert and Edward Skidelsky.

Pre-order Issue Nine in print or on PDF today.
Buy the complete back catalogue of New Escapologist with a 10% discount.
Or buy the complete back catalogue on PDF, with £1 off the price each issue.

You can’t get an app for that!

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Fans of “But I need It!” will want to hear about the latest catchphrase to evolve in our house.

It is mainly used in moments that witness human ingenuity.

For example, instead of eating pistachios from the bag like some kind of hooligan, I’ve taken to eating them from a cup-and-saucer. I fill the saucer with the salty nuts and, as I eat them, flippantly discard the shells into the waiting cup.

This little system prevents me from eating too many pistachios and helps to perpetuate my reputation as an eccentric Englishman. It’s also good if you enjoy slightly salty tea.

Amazed at my improvisational genius at inventing this neat little technique, I smugly announced: “You can’t get an app for that!”

It was met with much amusement. In my house, I am the king of comedy.

Of course, the joke works even better when you use it for something for which there’s obviously an app. Scheduling, say, or goal motivation.

I like the new catchphrase. It’s a slight rebellion against iPad culture and, at the same time, recognises the futility of rebelling against it.

I’m not very fond of iPads or other forms of “jabscreen”. At worst, they remind me of the game. At best, they remind me of Fisher Price Activity Centres (pictured above).

The word ‘app’ (can it even be described as a word?) ruffles my feathers slightly. It’s not a cause of great stress: it’s a similar level of irritation one might feel when receiving an unsolicited pizza menu in the post. My new catchphrase lambasts it, while admitting that I’m silly to even care.

Anyway. A toast, ladies and gentlemen, for those things which might prompt you to say “You can’t get an app for that!”

Pre-order Issue Nine in print or on PDF today.
Buy the complete back catalogue of New Escapologist with a 10% discount.
Or buy the complete back catalogue on PDF, with £1 off the price each issue.

An Escapologist’s Diary. Part 34.

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I’m about to break my own first rule of blogging and apologise for the hiatus in my posting for a while.

(Why apologise? You owe nothing. No vows of regularity were promised. Nobody loses money. Maybe the world is even better off without your usual twopence worth!)

But it’s been two weeks: it’s all I can do not to fall to the floor and initiate a full-blown grovel-a-thon.

I feel guilty. Especially as there are so many new readers since my recent blossover with the prolific Mr Money Mustache. Why, they must be baffled, kicking at the dust in this blogless void, shrugging at each other and saying, “The mustachioed one is usually right about these things! We’ll wait a while longer.”

Do not worry. Godot arrives after all and the hiatus can be explained with ease. My companion and I have been travelling. Specifically, we made a two-week journey across Canada by train.

It was beautiful! We saw the Rocky Mountains; paddled in the Athabaska River; photographed an elk and a grizzly bear; went for a ride in a cable car; visited some old X-Files shooting locations; met the thoughtful David Caine of Raptitude; went hiking and generally saw sights. More than anything, we were humbled by the stupendous scale of this humongous country.

But this isn’t a travel blog, my good friends. I won’t bore you with the slideshow. (Though if you’re into that, please go ahead and enjoy the slideshow).

Travel by train is a most Escapological way to go. The journey is more leisurely, more fun, more scenic, more communal, more impressively gentle than air flight. You’re more likely to clap your eyes on a grazing moose and less likely to end up with chapped lips and a migraine. Want to escape the strong force? Try the train.

Some of you are likely wondering where the upcoming Issue Nine of New Escapologist has got to. We’re still working on it! Despite travel, we have not taken our eyes off it for a moment. We’re trying to fulfill our promise of an August release, but we may run a week or so late. Time to close this diary entry in precisely the same way it opened: “Sorry”.

Pre-order Issue Nine in print or on PDF today.
Buy the complete back catalogue of New Escapologist with a 10% discount.
Or buy the complete back catalogue on PDF, with £1 off the price each issue.

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