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Subject:  Re: The New Luxuries Date:  10/11/2000  6:16 PM
Author:  LilithD Number:  21505 of 876335

Great topic! I've been thinking for years about this outdated idea that consumables are the only measure of wealth. It's simply not true anymore, and countries should perhaps more often measure their quality of life and environmental status as well as GDP. Perhaps then the World Bank would stop forcing people into the cash (ie taxable) economy. I'm not idealising the tough way many people in 'underdeveloped' countries live, I just believe they should be able to continue their lifestyle (that has often served them for millennia) if they wish.

It is very noticable where I live that it tends to be the lower-paid/unemployed people who conspicuously consume items (eg TV in every bedroom, lots of jewellery, flashy-looking new cars). People with money are more likely to invest in the freedom of running their own consultancy from home, living near the sea, looking after their health etc.

Has anyone read Lionel Tiger's 'The Pursuit of Pleasure'? His premise is that humans really desire the same things our ancient, even animal ancestors desired: status, a clean environment, security but enough freedom etc.

Consumable luxuries of the past implied status and freedom and the clean environment was simply taken for granted. Many consumables, now easily accessible to most people in developed countries, are no longer status symbols. But having the money to buy yourself some space, some freedom and a clean environment is growing in importance.

I wonder if so called 'underdeveloped' nations will be able to resist the temptation of overconsumption and recognise what luxuries they really have? Again, I don't mean doing without the basics of clean water, enough food, medical care and birth control. In other words, can we find a balance between the different forms of luxury?

This is subversive to a board that is really all about share investing only if you believe that economic growth should be fast and cancerous.

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