Arnold Kling  


Deception, Detection, and Demo... The Markets React, and so do I...

Venkat Rao writes

Movement is not expensive if the environment is set up to support it. I am not an extremist or minimalist. I don't want to be living off a few packs on a bicycle for the rest of my life. I like warm beds, hot showers and large, well-equipped kitchens as much as anybody else. I like having access to lots of useful things like washing machines and gyms. It is not inconceivable that the world could be arranged to provide all these in a way that supports both rootedness and nomadism. Thanks to online friendships, and emerging infrastructure around couchsurfing and companies like Airbnb, it is becoming easier every year. I'd like to see trains getting cheaper, tent-living becoming available for the non-destitute classes, health insurance becoming more portable, public toilets acquiring shower stalls, and government identity documents becoming anchored to something other than physical addresses. I'd like to see the time-share concept expand beyond vacations to regular living. I'd like to see executive suites and coworking spaces sprout up all over, and acquire cheap bedrooms that you can live out of. I'd like to be able to rent nap-pods at Starbucks. I'd rather own or rent a twelfth of a home in twelve cities than one home in one city.

This will be an interesting phenomenon to watch. Meanwhile, read the essay.

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CATEGORIES: Growth: Consequences

COMMENTS (6 to date)
Matthew Lee writes:

I agree, the reason why the gap between the wealthy and the poor is so large is because rent payments and living space costs outweigh the minimum wage so it is diffcult for people to find beds to sleep in at night. The government needs to take this issue seriously and start making new policies to assist everyone in our society.

Steve Sailer writes:

"This will be an interesting phenomenon to watch."

There won't be anything to see. This was a more popular idea in 1969 than today. As Douglas Coupland explained, "When you've 27 or 28, your body starts emmiting the Sheraton enzyme. You can no longer sleep on people's floors."

fawful writes:
Technology has evolved to the point where the apparatus of the state should be able to accommodate illegible people without pinning them down.

Such a typical yuppie sentiment. Why, oh why, can't the state subsidize my lifestyle preferences?

Tracy W writes:

To some extent people do this already - travelling contractors, boaties (one of my brother's friends works on luxury yachts as crew, switching jobs as the mood takes him, and my brother every now and then contemplates doing so as a chef). In the Australian outback mines, apparently there's two sorts of groups - people who do it for a few years to earn a lot of money for some particular purpose - and people who do it as a lifestyle - work a few months, then fly out to somewhere exotic in the world, spend all the money, then return back to the mines (or - borrow the money for the spending spree - then work to pay it off).

Doctors and vets can travel as locums, there are people who specialise in teaching at international schools in various countries, in NZ there are people who specialise in running farms for a week or two so the owners can have a holiday.

fawful - There's a difference between the state subsidising something, and a state setting up laws in such a way as to make something much more difficult than it need be.

Seth writes:

In my experience, whenever someone says, "I'd like to see..." they rarely recognize and/or actually choose to use such things when the market obliges.

I think a better exercise for Venkant may be to ask "why don't I see...?" He may uncover some very good reasons why he doesn't.

Peter writes:

Tracy: That's also popular in warzone defense contracting. Did the lifestyle option myself for five years where I worked one year on, blew it all in six months, one year on again, blew it all again in six months, repeat for five years.

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