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Mr and Mrs Lili Wedding


Economics with Laura: Lesson 2

The necessities of life

Everyone's idea of the necessities of life are different. Presumably because we're all different. I mean, apart from the biological necessities of life (air, water, food, etc.) there are some pretty diverse opinions on what you need to survive.

Me? Well, I need David (duh), a spacious apartment, white bread-based items, regular sleep, very high speed Internet access, the ability to travel, books to read, a tv to watch, and knitting materials.

(Oh, and the promise of Guinness, chocolate, and yummy goat's cheese.)

Julie has an interesting post on her blog about knitting and thrift, and how knitting is not generally a cheap hobby. Which is all true: knitting is not cheap.

But I'd much rather have knitting than a fancy phone or iGadget or swish car. My priorities mean that while I kind of need a cellphone and car, and my iPod nano is nice, I don't spend loads of money on them, because they are less of a priority.

Which is fine. Even my knitting has some financial constraints, and I am slowly but surely making it my business to discover viable alternatives for many lovely but expensive brand-name yarns.

And if push came to shove and we had no money, I'd put food & lodging ahead of knitting. It pains me to say it, but I would. Because when it comes to the crunch, you have to be realistic and prioritise.

So I get fairly peeved when I hear people - and this is not just in Ireland, it's everywhere - saying how "poor" they are, in their fancy new designer clothes, with all their gadgets. You aren't poor, you just spent your cash on stuff and ran out before you got everything that you wanted.

And while I'm all for social welfare initiatives, I sometimes wonder at what some recipients are spending their cash on. I don't agree with someone spending their benefit on a state-of-the-art tv, or cigarettes, or loads of booze, then saying it's difficult to feed and clothe their family.

It doesn't help that kids are all into getting stuff. For example, do ten-year-olds really need cellphones? And if they do, do they need the latest ones? Wouldn't they be better off with old Nokias, which are far sturdier, and cheaper to replace when they get lost/dropped or whatever?

Everyone seems so caught up in a whirl of consumption that the goalposts on the necessities of life have been dramatically shifted. It isn't about the real necessities, it's about what used to be luxuries.

And so, the lesson in brief: if it isn't water, food, shelter, medical care or love - it probably isn't a necessity of life. And the more the person protests, the less essential it probably is!

(Apart from yarn, that is an addiction. Really.)

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Anonymous Anonymous Says:

I think you'd better add 'clothing' to the list of necessities - especially for those in coool, draughty climates, like Dublin.

Anonymous Worsted Knitt Says:

Hear, hear! You speak the truth there. And - if one should ever be really poor, she could always get a 2 euro sweater from a drift store, unravel and get back on knitting!


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