10 000

Well, I haven't posted for a while (can't believe I completely missed the federal election ... I probably should say something about the "coalition" in another post), but I realized something this week I thought I should say: I could live quite comfortably on $10 000 a year. I was looking at how much I've spent over the last four months, and, discounting tuition, it was only about $2 500. This isn't trying to be holier-than-thou, it just made me think about how much we demand as "basic necessities " as a society. For one person, in the size of city I live in, the poverty line is about $17 000. Sure, I don't own a car (which would probably eat up another few thousand dollars a year)), but in the city I live in, I don't have to - public transit (which is very good here) and my own two feet serve me well enough (Here's a link to a guy's blog about why cars are largely unnecessary - he's full of vitriol, absolutely spitting acid, but he makes some decent points nonetheless, I think). My furniture may be second (or third) hand used, but it gives me a comfortable place to sit, and somewhere to store my stuff. I have money for real food with real meat and vegetables, and even entertainment (cable TV, the high-speed internet connection I am typing this on now, the occasional movie, dinner out, etc.). Sure, people usually want a higher quality of living - bigger, nicer places to live, and newer, better stuff - when they get out of university, but I wonder a bit why - do I really need that? We hear newscasters talking about the present economic crisis until they're blue in the face, and I know a lot of people are in real pain from it - lost jobs and bankruptcies - but we really brought it on ourselves as a society. We've let capitalism and materialism run out of control, and forgotten the value of hard work, savings, and making things to last (not saying I haven't done this too, by the way). I just hope it doesn't take another Great Depression to make us all remember.