Re: David Green

sandra murphy (
Thu, 16 Apr 1998 21:29:17 -0500 (CDT)


Yes! Thanks for bringing up "Voluntary Simplicity". Some thoughts...

At 13:35 4/15/98 -0400, you wrote:
>Thanks for posting this letter. It's a refreshing perspective in a
>culture which places so much emphasis on acquisition, and which gives us
>the continual message, "You ARE what you HAVE."

And another, insidious version: "You ARE what you DO (your current job title)".

There is, by the way, a
>lot of information on the internet about what has come to be called
>"voluntary simplicity."

For anyone who isn't familiar with it, I recommend highly the book ___Your
Money or Your Life: Transforming Your Relationship With Money and Achieving
Financial Independence___ by co-authors Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin

Now the "simplicity" of the letter's writer isn't
>exactly voluntary, but the point of the voluntary simplicity "movement" is
>to break out of this culture's hard-driving emphasis on buying more, newer
>and better things.

Also recommended: any of __The Tightwad Gazette: Promoting Thrift as a
Viable Alternative Lifestyle____ books by Amy Dacyczyn (I think there are
three out now; she has retired from publishing the newsletter).

Amy wrote an article in one of the newsletters regarding "V-S" and pointed
out that it is not, in fact, always a "simple" proposition after all. There
are huge choices about time and money, skills, lifestyle, and fulfillment.
She also wrote a wonderful essay about college education, costs, value, and
whether it is really necessary...reminds me yet again of "The Emperor's New

The reason I felt this relevant to discuss on this list is because any
aspect of life can be viewed from a frugal, or as I like to put it, "High
fulfillment, low [financial] drag" standpoint, including, and maybe
especially, education. In several SVS titles, Daniel Greenberg discusses
tuition at SVS as having been consistently lower than per pupil costs at
public schools, and the very cool, tightwaddy stuff the staff and parents
have done to make it all fly. Hooray!

The school districts are asking for more money with the not-so-veiled threat
that if they don't get it, our kids will not only not get good jobs but
somehow lack any ability to be successful in life. The whole education
INDUSTRY is a spendthrift disgrace. After all, how can children who exist
in a system of fiscal "waste, fraud and abuse" (the government's own term)
*possibly* learn about value, quality, need vs. want, usefulness, thinking
of solutions that do not involve money, conservation of resources, and when
they have reached ENOUGH?

I agree with John Gatto's call to action to examine every possible way to
help children "grow up well", and that includes learning and living frugally
and respectfully.

Sandra Murphy

(Hey! A moth just fell out of my wallet!)
>On Wed, 15 Apr 1998, Dale R. Reed wrote:
>> Figured some of you would enjoy this letter as much as I do. Dale
>> Letter Published in the Tuesday, 14 April 1998, Wall Street Journal
>> Letters to the Editor.
>> I am a student and clerk here in Washington, D.C. I make $10 an hour,
>> which adds up to, including cleaning the office on weekends, about
>> $200. That's only $800 a month and D.C. is expensive, but I do all
>> right. My efficiency apartment has two big windows. Once a month I buy
>> daisies from a street vendor for three bucks, and they last for awhile
>> if I change the water and cut the stems. I don't have a TV or a car nor
>> do I do drugs. I ride a bike, patch my clothes, eat mainly rice and
>> lentils, sit in the park, hold hands with my girl, and sometimes eat and
>> laugh with my friends. I have a fine time, thank you.
>> I don't like to hear people writing that life on a modest income is
>> hell, or degrading. Live is always what you make of it. Before this
>> job I worked as a busboy. The head busboy had been at it for eight
>> years. I don't think he could read very well, and he could barley speak
>> English, but he was a hard worker. He and his wife have a nice place,
>> their son is doing well in school, and they have saved a remarkable
>> (well into six figures) amount of money with the hope of moving back to
>> El Salvador.
>> Life is hard and we should never be without compassion. However, this
>> is a great country and these are remarkable times. With a little
>> imagination, a lot of hard work and modest goals you can make it here.
>> David Green
>> Washington
>> --
>> $ Seattle, Washington U.S.A. $