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Part 4 of 6: Idle Spending
We have a tenacity to accumulate what we donít need. We have an over-enjoyment of shopping for the sake of shopping.
Leads to a mis-perception that our wealth/life is average
[Those with gross assets of $600,000 or more represent 2.5% of the US population, but own more than $6.7 Trillion in assets or 27.4% of the total U.S. wealth. After a debt of $660.4 million their net worth equals $6.1 Trillion, or almost 29.5% of the total U.S. wealth.] [Http://www.irs.gov.]
[According to a survey of the USA Today newspaper: Of those whose assets range from $1 million to $5 million, 55% donít consider themselves wealthy.] [USA Today, November 11, 1991.]
We get accustomed to 2 or more cars, 2+ TVís, a bed in every room, A/C-Heating, running water, a complete dining room set, a computer in nearly every home, etc. We become so accustomed to having these amenities that we believe this is how life is. Our life is "normal". This is an ethnocentric viewpoint.
[From the standpoint of material wealth, Americans have difficulty realizing how rich we are. Going through a little mental exercise suggested by Robert Heilbroner can help us to count our blessings, however. Imagine doing the following, and you will see how daily life is for as many as a billion people in the world.
1. Take out all the furniture in your home except for one table and a couple of chairs. Use blanket and pads for beds.
2. Take away all of your clothing except for your oldest dress or suit, shirt or blouse. Leave only one pair of shoes.
3. Empty the pantry and the refrigerator except for a small bag of flour, some sugar and salt, a few potatoes, some onions, and a dish of dried beans.
4. Dismantle the bathroom, shut off the running water, and remove all the electrical wiring in your house.
5. Take away the house itself and move the family into the tool shed.
6. Place your "house" in a shantytown.
7. Cancel all subscriptions to newspapers, magazines, and book clubs. This is no great loss because now none of you can read anyway.
8. Leave only one radio for the whole shantytown.
9. Move the nearest hospital or clinic ten miles away and put a midwife in charge instead of a doctor.
10. Throw away your bankbooks, stock certificates, pension plans, and insurance policies. Leave the family a cash hoard of ten dollars.
11. Give the head of the family a few acres to cultivate on which he can raise a few hundred dollars of cash crops, of which one third will go to the landlord and one tenth to the money lenders.
12. Lop off twenty-five or more years in life expectancy.] [Steve Williams. Http://www.sermonillustrations.com.]
We hold great bonds to our belongings. The rich man says, "Letís build bigger barns."
[personal experience as a mover in Kansas City.]
We are a nation of collectors. We support a large industry of storage facilities for the sake of keeping our "stuff". We have the disease of "Walmartitits".
Listen to these statistics: Walmart, net sales for 2001 $191,329 million [Annual Report. Http://www.walmartstores.com.]
Venture, net sales for 2000 $36,903 million [Latest figures, Annual
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