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Overconsumption in Britain .

A culture of middle-class complaint?

Luxury fever

The sense of deprivation felt by most Britons is closely related to the phenomenon of "luxury fever". The desire to emulate the lifestyles of the very rich has led to boomingsales of trophy homes, luxury cars, professional quality home equipment and cosmetic surgery. The scaling up of 'needs' generally outpaces the growth of incomes so that many people who are wealthy by any historical or international standard actually feel poor. Previously the lifestyles of the rich were seen to be out of reach of ordinary people. But rising incomes and television images have meant that many average families now aspireto luxury items previously reserved for the wealthiest. There is a relentless ratcheting up of standards and increasing pressure to consume at higher and higher levels. While addictions to alcohol, gambling and eating are widely accepted as pathological, the spread of "affluenza" suggests that consumption in general has taken on a pathological character. Overconsumption The extent and nature of overconsumption in the United Kingdom today can be best illustrated by examples. Despite the fact that the average size of households has fallen steadily − from 2.9 people per household in the early 1970s to 2.3 today − the size of houses has grown rapidly. The number of households that can boast two or more rooms per occupant has risen from 37 per cent of the total in 1971 to 57 per cent in 2001, and rooms themselves are bigger. The proportion of new private houses with four or more bedrooms rose from 24 per cent of the total in 1991 to 36 per cent in 2001. Standard refrigerators are priced at £250 to £300 and more advanced models cost from £500 to £600. But luxury models retailing for £2,500 to £3,000 have recently entered the general market. Although refrigerators priced at £2,000 or more sell well in certain markets, their real purpose is to escalate the level of desire on the part of the ordinarycustomer. Instead of paying £250 for a fridge that would meet their needs perfectly well, customers pay £500 or £600 for one that has only marginally better performance. The higher price itself is interpreted as signalling higher quality and leaves the customerwith the feeling that they have a higher social status.

Edited by BuyingBear

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How sad...

...everything revolving around money and status (class)!!

I'm not a church goer put surely most people must be missing something in their lives. They need to get outside more away from their possessions. Maybe help those less fortunate in the community, join a club or take up a hobby or sport!!

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Look I'm going to be blunt.

Most of you here are "different" from the "mass".

You engage, to varying degrees, in analysis of the world around you.

Realise that most don't.

They "go with the flow".

That's how the whole system works.

Keep them wanting more, show them the more, provide the means (debt) to that more.

Mind, I can rationally justify my selection of consumer goods. :)

Yes also, for me the more space the better.

So, am I also a victim?

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Look I'm going to be blunt.

Most of you here are "different" from the "mass".

You engage, to varying degrees, in analysis of the world around you.

Realise that most don't.

They "go with the flow".

That's how the whole system works.

Keep them wanting more, show them the more, provide the means (debt) to that more.

Mind, I can rationally justify my selection of consumer goods. :)

Yes also, for me the more space the better.

So, am I also a victim?

is it not about growth, aspiration, progress?

while I do not seek to dismiss these ideas entirely, modern consumer society seems to have lost the counterbalancing sense of simply "being" that is both a wonder in itself and acts as a useful brake on futile and illusory notions of betterment.

Do we progress or merely exist?

Strictly for the purposes of debate y'unnerstan?

B)

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Not just an anglo problem. Look at hong kong or tokyo. Pretty conspicuous with lables there too.

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is it not about growth, aspiration, progress?

while I do not seek to dismiss these ideas entirely, modern consumer society seems to have lost the counterbalancing sense of simply "being" that is both a wonder in itself and acts as a useful brake on futile and illusory notions of betterment.

Do we progress or merely exist?

Strictly for the purposes of debate y'unnerstan?

B)

To debate.

You are positing the question asked down time.

"What's it all about?"

Many "isms" have sought to answer that question.

So, we have religions and political ideologies that tell folk "this is the way".

You might pick one to follow and give you a reason to face the day.

My view is basically very simple.

We are, like the rest of the animal kingdom, merely here to reproduce, to ensure the continuance of our species.

The rest is just "froth". OK, we have to deal with that and try to find a way to deal with an existence that we are conscious of.

But, put simply, once you've had kids, raised them to be self sufficient, you've done your job.

Now, how to fill all that extra time?

Just be?

Yes, a good approach if you are sure of your "self" and can resist the pressures to measure that "self" against others.

Most can't. So what you see around you. Identify your "self" in terms of baubles and beads.

Progress?

There is no other option. It's what we do.

You might disagree with the direction but discovery and development will happen.

All this till, inevitably, we disappear from the face of the planet to be replaced by another dominant species.

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All this till, inevitably, we disappear from the face of the planet to be replaced by another dominant species.

my money's on the insects... <_<

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is it not about growth, aspiration, progress?

while I do not seek to dismiss these ideas entirely, modern consumer society seems to have lost the counterbalancing sense of simply "being" that is both a wonder in itself and acts as a useful brake on futile and illusory notions of betterment.

Do we progress or merely exist?

Strictly for the purposes of debate y'unnerstan?

B)

Progress? Sometimes, sure. But, for example, SUVs that get 8MPH? No.

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Mushroom,

what if you don't have children?

Then even more of an existential nightmare.

If you care to think about it.

Or unless a choice.

Look what lengths, regarding cost and trauma, people go to to have children though, if they have problems.

Does seem to be an imperative, both biological and social.

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Look what lengths, regarding cost and trauma, people go to to have children though, if they have problems.

Does seem to be an imperative, both biological and social.

I have a couple of step-children but won't have any children of my own.

I'm gonna whop Darwin's ass!

As for your original post on meaning in life, I enjoyed reading it.

I would say that existence is it's own meaning. End of story.

Once we attempt to over-intellectualise, this meaning runs through our fingers. Insodoing we have detached the original self-experience from the ground of being that forms our existence. <Edit> Or something.

Edited by Starcrossed

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I have a couple of step-children but won't have any children of my own.

I'm gonna whop Darwin's ass!

As for your original post on meaning in life, I enjoyed reading it.

I would say that existence is it's own meaning. End of story.

Once we attempt to over-intellectualise, this meaning runs through our fingers. Insodoing we have detached the original self-experience from the ground of being that forms our existence.

so you're a "be-er" rather than a "progress-er" :)

we exist in order to continue existing. One day my body will fail me and my programming will unravel. By that stage I hope to have successfully replaced myself, as is my biological duty.

sounds like you are doing pretty much the same thing. :)

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yes,it's only the US, Uk, Aus and NZ and Ireland where excessive borrowing has boosted consumption to excessive and unsustainable levels........Irs have risen accordingly as a response......except in poor old Ireland where Euro(sclerosis)rates prevail.......combined with a consumer boom.....the correction/crash there is going to be catastrophic

Edited by Michael

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What does the worker gain from his toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on men. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil—this is the gift of God. I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that men will revere him.

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Good quote.

You don't have to be a follower of any faith to agree with the sentiment though.

In truth, if you want Heaven on Earth, there are conflicting Heavens to deal with.

You see I look at say, Canterbury Cathedral, full of the Great and the Good and think, hypocritical t@ssers.

If you enacted what you profess here, things would be a lot different.

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Progress?

In a few repects yes but these are far outweighed by what this so called progress has done and is doing to individual and family lives. What happened to politeness, decency, manners, personal pride, smiling?

We've brought in "the blame culture", money rich/ time poor people, kids in nursery at 6 weeks old, rampant consumerism etc etc..

We are overpopulating the planet and exhausting it of its natural wealth. We are a disaster and many care too little to see it.

We have been far too preoccupied with inventing devices that just enable us to do less and less physical activity. Many then spend the time saved staring a screen of one type or another living virtual lives watching soaps and so called "celebraties".

We're getting fatter, lazier and more dependant on the worlds energy reserves than our own.

Educationally much of the country is regressing. As a society are we forward thinkers or are we living for now? Much like the housing market many don't want to look into the future and see where we are heading.

The scramble to control energy supplies is on and will intensify. Countries will soon try to gamble with nuclear again to satisfy energy demands as fossils disappear. We would rather gamble than go back to living within our means.

Progress?

The clocks ticking.. and not just for a HPC.

PS

I wonder how people will fly when there's no oil left? Can't see an electric plane can you?

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The world was created by a satan and is fundamentally flawed. As we have a sense of perfection buried inside our own nature we can see this flaw and strive to 'fix' the universe around us - we try to do away with pain, scarcity, adversity of whatever kind we can. However, because the basic problem is the universe itself such efforts are always futile - some people recognise this and either despair or turn inwards, others don't and keep striving for outer perfection.

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What does the worker gain from his toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on men...

Indeed, I've seen an essay on him in the latest New Statesman

NS Essay - 'Unless Gordon Brown can get a grip on government policy, and soon, and reverse course on some of his cherished policies, he will almost certainly lose to the Tories, who seem to be selecting a little child to lead them out of the wilderness'

NS Essay

Irwin Stelzer

Monday 7th November 2005

By Irwin Stelzer: The leading American economist, who has advised both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, foresees almost certain doom for the Chancellor

Despite talk of "generation-skipping", Gordon Brown will most likely, although not certainly, lead the Labour Party into the next general election. After all, it is one thing to skip a generation that includes the likes of Ken Clarke and Malcolm Rifkind, mired in a hankering for past personal glories, and quite another to skip the likes of Gordon Brown, a formidable Chancellor with a vision of Britain's future that appeals to a large segment of the electorate. But unless he can get a grip on the government's policy machinery, and soon, and reverse course on some of his cherished policies, he will almost certainly lose to the Tories, who seem in the process of selecting a little child to lead them out of the wilderness. And it will not be for the reasons most frequently bruited about, even though it is fair to say that the Chancellor, having sown the wind with his spending spree, should be forced to inherit the whirlwind of voter disapproval. But he won't inherit it, as a cool consideration of the problems in store for the country suggests.

Britain might indeed be headed for a recession, although the structural flaws in the retail sales figures are producing an unrealistically gloomy view of the outlook, as is the assumption that oil prices are on a new, permanent plateau. But should there be more than a blip in the national growth curve, polls show that voters trust Brown more than any other politician to restore economic growth - as well they should, given his record as a superior manager of the economy.

Brown might have to raise taxes - but only "might". The nation's balance sheet is sufficiently strong, with debt low relative to national income, to permit him to borrow rather than raise taxes, the prudent course should there indeed be a recession. And if he dips once again into private purses, rest assured that it will be done with sufficient stealth (failing to escalate the bands with the rate of inflation, raiding insurance company reserves, taxing the previously exempt bonuses of City high earners), and soon enough to be forgotten by 2009. Besides, the Tories have yet to decide whether - and if so, how - they can offer voters lower taxes without creating a panic about the funding of public services. Uninformed yearning for a flat tax is no substitute for the hard work of devising a growth-oriented tax reform.

The failure to reform the National Health Service has resulted in increased waste and a decline in value received for money, for which the Chancellor is clearly responsible. But voters will be able to see and experience such improvements in service as are occurring, and unable to visualise the hundreds of millions of pounds wasted. Brown has thrown money at the NHS, much of which has disappeared into the pockets of trade union members and clipboard wielders, many of whom are marking time until sumptuous retirement at an early age. But some of the money - how much is subject to debate - is improving services, often thanks to competitive reforms pushed through over the Chancellor's objections.

Brown's divorce from prudence has left Britain with a bloated civil service and an (in)famous "black hole" in the public finances, but he has cleverly positioned himself in the vanguard of those calling for a paring down of the public payroll - a call for reforms that never materialise being a favourite tactic of old, as well as new, Labour. Moreover, voters cannot distinguish between a government workforce at its present bloated size and one with some tens of thousands fewer mouths for them to feed, any more than they can imagine some mythical black hole of billions of pounds. Just ask any voter how many zeros there are in a billion.

Brown's forecasts of growth and revenue have been very wrong. True, but the voters hired him as a Chancellor, not as an economic forecaster, and he has delivered inflation-free prosperity, at least so far.

Tony Blair will stall and stall until the handover comes too late for Brown to establish himself. But the Chancellor is hardly a politician desperately in need of a long lead-time in which to establish name recognition.

No, it is not for any of these reasons that Brown may never inhabit No 10. It is because of policies currently being pursued by the government that voters might decide it is time for a change, especially that swathe of voters generally classified as "Middle England". This is the group with which the Chancellor's standing is weakest - a fact of which he is so well aware that he has taken to emphasising his Britishness. After all, he will be asking this group of English voters to allow him to determine policies that will apply to their children and their sick and ageing relatives, but not to the Scottish constituents who sent him to parliament.

Start with crime, as worrying to voters as is the inability of the schools their children are forced to attend to educate them. Where citizens have decided to rely on themselves, and have privatised the crime-fighting function by installing anti-theft devices in their cars and burglar alarm systems in their homes, crime is down. But the most feared crimes - violent assaults using guns and knives - are on the rise. The Prime Minister has made it clear that he is no longer as concerned with the causes of crime as with crime itself, and has warned judges that the game has changed and that he plans to get tough, really tough, this time - no fooling.

In a startling response, the Home Secretary announced the accelerated release of convicted criminals because there just aren't enough jails to house even the small percentage of miscreants who are both apprehended and sent down. Elderly voters, already cowering behind double-locked doors, are unlikely to want to keep in office a government that has unlocked the cells holding thousands of recidivists, or to send to No 10 a man culpable in the policy of release due to overcrowding.

The Home Office's position is clear: "Blame it on the Treasury, which won't give us enough money for new jails." Whether or not Brown's countercharge - that ample funds have been allotted to the Home Office, but have been wasted by its (mis) managers - is correct, matters little. He will have considerable difficulty persuading voters that he has no power to get jails built so that the bad guys can be kept off the streets. Unless the Chancellor believes that jail makes the bad guys worse, or that Asbos rather than jail contain the predators and protect their prey, and can persuade wavering voters that is the case, he will find them wondering why there are sufficient funds to fight poverty in Africa but not enough money to make them secure in their homes and on their streets.

Then there is the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, busily at work adding to the angry voters whom Brown will have to woo. Since I have in the past been involved with BSkyB, I don't want to get into the rights and wrongs of the planned digital switchover. Right or wrong, it will force millions of viewers to spend quite a lot of money replacing tens of millions of television sets (40 million by one estimate) and VCRs (perhaps 27 million), whether they want to or not. This, after the government will have approved still another inflation-busting increase in the television licence fee - rather like a poll tax, since the duke and the dustman, the one with perhaps five sets, the other perhaps with merely one, will pay the same. Imagine these millions of voters tuning the television sets they were forced to buy, only to confront the image of Brown asking for their votes.

In fairness, all of these accumulating grievances should not be laid at the door of the Chancellor: many are part of his unwanted inheritance. Or so he will have to argue. But a man famed for using his control of the purse strings to extend his reach into other departments, and quite capable of enforcing his will on them when he chooses to do so, will find that a hard sell. No one imagines for one minute that crime, broadcasting and other policies are made without substantial input from the Chancellor, and without increasing deference to his views, as the time nears when he will decide who gets to keep those precious red boxes and ministerial cars.

So now is the hour - the time at which policies are being made and implemented that will determine just how attractive still another Labour government will look to voters who might, just might, finally find a plausible alternative candidate on offer. The Chancellor's own baggage - higher taxes, pensioners cheated of their savings by means testing, pension funds raided, a state growing so rapidly that it is forsaking the US for the EU model, and therefore losing its ability to increase economic wealth - has so far been offset by the sustained prosperity and low inflation for which he deserves much credit.

A full-employment, relatively stable economy might be enough to win approval for a Chancellor content with residence at No 11. But a masterful performance as a manager of the macroeconomy, even if unblemished with recession, does not a prime minister make. At least, not one who is seen as capable of affecting policies throughout the government.

Which is the reason Brown is so upset by Blair's long goodbye. The Prime Minister plans to exit, smiling, claiming credit for having reformed the education system, for having increased patient choice and reduced waiting lists, and for having saved the financially troubled university system, with his team whispering into journalists' ears that all of this was accomplished over the opposition of the Chancellor. Brown will be left to explain not only the consequences of his own high-tax, high-regulation, state-expanding policies - a difficult chore made possible only by his debating brilliance and the absence of well-considered alternatives - but all of the failed policies of the government, many of which he could not influence significantly.

He will have to convince justifiably sceptical voters that his egalitarian instincts do not connote a fundamental preference for poor African farmers over richer English voters, with whose materialism he is not terribly sympathetic; that he does not see the fear of crime as an exaggerated response to lurid tabloid tales; and that he will not treat the desire to save a bit to supplement a state pension as a personal affront to his tax-credit, means-testing policies.

In short, Brown's greatest danger comes not from the Tories, even if led by a young man who already has some voters saying that the Chancellor is "so 20th century!" No. Brown's problems are twofold. First, he is a known quantity, unable to evade responsibility for a very distinct set of policies that reflect his intention to expand the role of the state. Second, his future is bound up with policies over which he may have no control, leaving him in the uncomfortable position of responsibility without power, and watching as the Prime Minister forces through policies uncongenial to him, which he will nevertheless have to defend if he is to hold Middle England for Labour, but attack if he is to hold on to his party's trade union base.

The (blue-rinse) ladies or the (public service) tiger? My guess is that some deeply held conviction about how the world's goods should be distributed will incline Brown to prefer the tiger, with all that implies for the policies he will be defending a few short years from now.

Irwin Stelzer is director of economic policy studies at the Hudson Institute, Washington, DC, and US economic columnist for the Sunday Times

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Progress?

In a few repects yes but these are far outweighed by what this so called progress has done and is doing to individual and family lives. What happened to politeness, decency, manners, personal pride, smiling?

We've brought in "the blame culture", money rich/ time poor people, kids in nursery at 6 weeks old, rampant consumerism etc etc..

We are overpopulating the planet and exhausting it of its natural wealth. We are a disaster and many care too little to see it.

We have been far too preoccupied with inventing devices that just enable us to do less and less physical activity. Many then spend the time saved staring a screen of one type or another living virtual lives watching soaps and so called "celebraties".

We're getting fatter, lazier and more dependant on the worlds energy reserves than our own.

Educationally much of the country is regressing. As a society are we forward thinkers or are we living for now? Much like the housing market many don't want to look into the future and see where we are heading.

The scramble to control energy supplies is on and will intensify. Countries will soon try to gamble with nuclear again to satisfy energy demands as fossils disappear. We would rather gamble than go back to living within our means.

Progress?

The clocks ticking.. and not just for a HPC.

PS

I wonder how people will fly when there's no oil left? Can't see an electric plane can you?

You see, that is exactly my point.

We, as a species, are doomed to tread this path.

Of course the clock is ticking, it has done since the start.

Then our time will be up.

Don't ask me when, our ingenuity will produce some solutions, but I have no doubt that we are temporary custodians of the planet.

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its not consumerism.

its SEX. (phwoor)

deep down it is the inbuilt desire to reproduce yourself that drives it.

buy almost anything above the function and you are cruising for hot sex.

Q. why do people buy 140mph red sports cars that are limited to a max of 70mph.

A. to pull steaming fanny batter.

Q. why do women spend amounts on fashion and not warm clothes.

A. to score a night with well hung meatheads, on a bed of cocaine.

Q. over the top texting mobile phones ?

A. to show off = sexual attraction/competitiveness.

Q. vacuum ***** expanders.

A. goes without saying.

anything we may that does more, or costs more than it really needs to. its to score sex.

thats what drives us to even go to work for miserable scrotes.

the need to buy thigns which will increase our chances of attracting a partner in order to keep reproducing ourselves. remember. if you do not reproduce you cant reincarnate yourself. your body will be burned like that of a witch. goblins will dance on your ashes, which will be then scattered into the pit.

Edited by right_freds_dead

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That's how the whole system works.

Keep them wanting more, show them the more, provide the means (debt) to that more.

Mind, I can rationally justify my selection of consumer goods. :)

So, am I also a victim?

I don't think you're a victim of your own making. This is not mainly to do with consumerism gone mad. It is, partly, of course, but on the whole I think the price of even basic things has soared because retailers know we can all get easy credit now. If this hadn't happened, things would be a lot cheaper. For instance, if you're mortgaged over your head, or even by three and a half times your salary, after all the insurances (contents, buildings, car, mortgage protection!, health), pension, council tax, etc you have to pay, you're left with nothing to put aside for a rainy day, eg when the washing machine breaks down or the car needs a new alternator. Therefore, you have to buy it on credit. I recently bought carpets for my flat - tufty carpets great for gliding on and the old ones I'd lived with for seven years while I slowly transformed my flat from a slum to something comfortable, were crap. Cost £2,000, and nothing special, just durable. No way could I have saved that. So MEW to the rescue (yes, I know - idiot).

But as I've said before, I believe it's been Blair's policy to get us all into debt - how easy is a population in heavy debt to control, especially his potential future opponents - university graduates now starting life with debts of £20,000 plus (and no hope of buying a home in the next 15 years unless, God wiling, there is a crash).

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  • 301 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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