To what degree is "being poor" just a state of mind, in your opinion?

Discussion in 'Free Thoughts' started by Seattle, Jul 25, 2018.

  1. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    Obviously at one level you can just pick an income level and say that for public policy decisions someone is "poor" if they fall below that level in that society.

    However, that doesn't lead to much discussion as it's pretty cut and dry.

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    Since everyone has some degree of control over there lives and some lack of control, oftentimes your income level is what it is. You may be able to change it dramatically or you may not be able to due to personal circumstances.

    Philosophically how do you view the concept of being poor? Many of us are either poor or have had periods when we would fit that description in terms of the government's assessment of our income.

    I view being poor more like being unhappy. We can, for the most part, control our happiness (some do a better job than others) and we can control the degree to which we feel poor.

    Obviously if you are living on the streets or don't have enough food, you feel poor and that's not just a state of mind. You could live in a high crime area, live with those with drug problems, have health issues yourself, have obligations to raising many children on limited income, etc. Some aspects of being poor have more impact for some than for others.

    Therefore, the point of this thread isn't to trash any individual or group that finds itself chronically poor. In general though, just like positive thinking, "poor" can be adjusted to in large degree in the mind as well as in the bank account.

    How do you view the idea of being poor? Have you ever been economically poor but have a fulfilling life? Have you observed others who had more money than you, considered themselves poor when you didn't feel that way about yourself?

    This is an interesting subject to me. My focus isn't on others, in that if someone is objectively poor, then I hope they get help or things improve for them. My interest in this subject is just in how I've adapted at some points in my life and in how some others have and some haven't adapted so well.
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2018
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  3. geordief Registered Senior Member

    "Our love for beauty does not make us extravagant, and our love of things of the mind does not make us soft. We regard wealth as something to be properly used and not as something to boast about. Nobody need be ashamed to admit poverty, but it is shameful not to do one's best to escape from poverty"

    From the Funeral Speech of Pericles

    2000 years ago. Interesting times back then.
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2018
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  5. RainbowSingularity Valued Senior Member

    i can see a few sentences you may have run over your last word inbetween thoughts. maybe you were thinking too far ahead of what you were thinking about typing as you then changed what you were saying as you typed it.

    i mention it because of 1 sentence that i could not understand and see it is probably because you are doing several things at once while typing AND thinking about several different things(or your slightly drunk or slightly high).

    i am guessing you meant "how" instead of "now" as you were thinking about the idea of being poor now or rich then past and present and future as you were composing your post prior to typing it as you typed it.

    Emotionally adapted ?
    or Financially adapted ?
    you are refering to being happy ?
    so you mean emotionaly addapted to "make-do" and be happy inspite of not being the richest person in the world ? (comparative wealth acclimatisation as you mention is a thing but not the thing of this thread ?
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  7. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    I'm not specifically making it about me. I'm not poor and have never felt poor. Growing up we were probably "poor" but it didn't feel that way.

    Early in adult life as a student, I would have been poor in a financial since. At my first adult job I would have been fairly poor but it didn't feel that way because I never got over-extended. I had a fulfilling life even when I was making tough financial choices.

    Most people have probably done some of the same things. Discuss them here if you chose to.

    For instance, some people feel "poor" if they don't have children, a wife, a house, a newer car and a vacation every year.

    You can not have kids, live in a small apartment and go on a vacation every year on the same income that someone else would describe as poor because it wouldn't be enough for the house/kids lifestyle.

    I skied when I was in college. I went to college in the mountains near a ski slope. It was very cheap for students who went during the weekday. I had less money in college than most anyone there. Some felt they were poor and that I was "rich". It was a choice and a mindset. They had a car at a time when I didn't. They lived in nicer apartments. I ate hot dogs frequently during the ski season to be able to afford the skiing.

    Being "poor" is often a state of mind or a choice.
  8. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    Another example is looking at who can and can't afford college for their kids. Some people of very low means send their kids to college (not simply on scholarship) and other families who make much, much more complain that they can't afford to send their kids to college.

    Another example is when someone dies who was a janitor (for example) all their life and then you see how much money they were able to pass on to their kids. You know they never had much in any single year and yet they accumulated a lot to pass on to their kids by saving/investing.

    Obviously this isn't something that everyone can do but it's more common than you might think. The U.S. is a capitalist system. Therefore having capital is rewarded and not income necessarily. Someone of modest means can accumulate assets sometimes that far outweigh any relationship to their income level.

    Again, being poor is frequently a choice or a way of thinking.
  9. RainbowSingularity Valued Senior Member

    ok, so your using the word as a self positioning emotive discriptor.
    Expressing a self perception of the level of material happines that is interfaced with as a form of self fulfilment via exterior materialism vs internal happiness.
    a somewhat philisophical practical discussion of concepts of material happiness as a form of internally happy expresionism.

    society tends to press for greed as it has hundreds of thousands of years of darwinian evolution behind it.
    the likelyhood that it manifests as an actual psychological trait of the species is no real surprise.
    interesting question ...
    about the "god region" of the brain and how that balances off against materialistic greed.

    to breed a drive to aquire excess wealth must be innate.
    though there are some cultures where they share children around so individual wealth is not as important as being a constructive member of the larger group.
  10. RainbowSingularity Valued Senior Member

    some gather more than they need and dont share it and become rich
    others share what they have and never become rich
    some keep and share in moderation to maintain an equal level of participatory wealth equal to their social residential group.

    great wealth is only really acquird by having a dissasociation from larger groups of people.
    though many of great wealth may claim to feel poor in various emotional spiritual & personal aspects.

    would you discribe a rich work-a-holic poor because they cant stop working ?
  11. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    I don't generally describe people with labels like "rich" or "poor".

    Just like I don't consider "working hard" to be a great goal or complement. It's a choice but it doesn't tell us much. Working smarter or more efficiently is a pretty good goal. Being the guy who comes in early and stays late but who is the least productive person in the office...that's not impressive to me just because he is "working hard".
  12. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    My point is that there are some things that others shouldn't really concern themselves with. Who cares if someone is has more money than I do or works longer hours or "harder".

    I should worry about what I do and not be too concerned with what someone else does. Bill Gates effectively lives just across the lake from me (not that I live on the lake). Jeff Besos lives somewhere in Seattle (I'm not sure where). Those are two of the richest men in the world.

    That doesn't concern me or have much effect on my life. They expanded the economic pie. They didn't take any money out of my pocket. Amazon has saved me a lot of money. Microsoft hasn't been a negative influence in my life. I wouldn't be better off if there was no Bill Gates.
  13. RainbowSingularity Valued Senior Member

    children are raised to compete against others.
    thus they measure their own achievement by being better than anyone else.
    "keeping up with the jones" for instance is about the materialistic rienforcment of self attainment of comparative happiness.
    that comparative happines is programmed into children by their parents.

    is being the best something that makes you happy ?
    the usa has an issue around "being the biggest" to be happy.
    ...getting more is getting better... getting better is staying happy in an entropicly defined inner self of materialistic construction.
    different cultures have different models of how they program their childrens minds
    and.. different models of social rienforcement and socital ecconomic rienforcers and frame works..etc...
    it may be helpful to sometimes give a cultural framework to use so it allows cross cultural association.
  14. RainbowSingularity Valued Senior Member

    ideal = Modlling a sense of self achievment by bettering ones self
    as opposed to
    not ideal = negative behaviour instalment/conditioning = modeling a sense of achievment by beating others.
    this is the key
  15. Gawdzilla Sama Valued Senior Member

    [Yorkshiremen]When I was in the first grade (1957) Mom worked in a tomato processing plant, mostly catsup. All the employees got one item from the day's production to take home. I still like tomato soup, even if it's not made with ketchup.[/Yorkshiremen]
  16. gmilam Valued Senior Member

    In some ways, it can be. Years ago I worked in a factory and I knew a guy who made around the same amount of money as me. My monthly rent was $500. He had trouble hanging on to his money from paycheck to paycheck, so he chose to pay $150 a week. I tried to explain to him that if he just hung on to that $150 a week, we would have enough to pay the $500 at the end of the month and still have $100 leftover. But it never sunk in. I suspect that now, 35 years later, he is still living paycheck to paycheck due to his lack of financial management skills.
  17. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    I know people who have to pay their auto insurance a month at a time and I knew one guy who worked at a company for 18 years before getting laid off, it was a decent paying job, he had never put any money in the company 401k plan even though they matched contributions up to a point.
  18. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    I just go by the numbers. Saves mindreading.
    I'm quite sure that the disciplined and intelligent and lucky poor do better than the others, on average.
    Not all of them, because we can't all be lucky etc, but on average.
    Just as I am quite sure that the undisciplined and stupid and unlucky rich do worse than the others, on average.
    Not all of them, because we can't all be unlucky etc, but on average.
    Apparently that does not mean being rich is just a state of mind, so that severe taxation and wealth redistribution would be no big deal.
    So in attempting to re-regulate American capitalism and wealth accumulation, to restore a more prosperous and better governable economic setup, the state of mind among the rich will I think prove but a part of the opposition.
    They did not expand the economic pie. They did take money out of your pocket.
    The Walmart argument.
    Amazon is currently working to shut down public libraries, after severely damaging the book publishing business. (Jeff Bezos has always disliked books, and seldom read them). Microsoft has been a negative influence on the lives of everyone trapped into using their software unwillingly, and many who have never used a computer (but have had suffered due to the software glitches of others). There are estimates floating around of how much damage the market domination of glitch-ridden and poorly secured Microsoft code has done to the US economy - none of them are small. Billions, of course - some go much higher.
  19. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    That's like arguing that Henry Ford did nothing for the economy because at a certain point his company made some shitty cars (or because he had some distasteful political views). Before him there were no cars. Before Microsoft there was effectively no personal computer market.

    Microsoft enlarged the pie.

    You don't seem to like any large company, you seem to think that our economy would be just as strong without any of them.
  20. cluelusshusbund + Public Dilemma + Valued Senior Member

    I understand that i am a product of influences which make my life what it is.!!!
  21. pjdude1219 The biscuit has risen Valued Senior Member

    to this i give this quote
    you focus so much on the latter you forget the former.
    it easy to say one shouldn't be given help when one doesn't need it. i prefer empathy personally.

    so people should just be happy to have been screwed out of the wage gains from productivity gains from the last 4 decades.

    maybe not them in particualr but people in their socioeconomic class have.
    There is always a price and its always paid. thats what conservatives like your self always forget. you think your ideas don't come with costs and trade offs. if your not paying for something somebody else is.
  22. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    I'm not a "conservative".

    I also said nothing about not helping others.

    If you are my neighbor, I don't expect any help but should you lend me your lawn mower when mine breaks down that is commendable and it's much appreciated.

    I don't expect for you to give me a quarter of your income so that I can bring my lifestyle up to yours.

    It's a matter of degree. You say that Iceaura doesn't want taxes to go back to 90%, he says he's OK with that.

    No one has any problem with taxes on the 1% going up by some reasonable degree (except for some of the 1%). That's not what Iceaura is talking about and I doubt if it's what you are ultimately talking about.

    You aren't consistent with your end results when we were talking about the average person's property taxes going up by large percentages. That's probably because you don't own any property and anyone with anything that you don't have is "rich". That's a dangerous mindset to have. That tends to kill the economy in an attempt to make it "equal".

    I'm a conservative only in your mind. You don't appear to be able to conceive of a liberal who has any assets at all or any moderation in his views.

    You also appear to be negative toward any company that makes it to the level of being considered "successful". That's not being liberal. That is be ignorant of the facts. The world isn't about "us" vs "them".

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