Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Financial Intelligence - Part IX

Rumble in the Bronx: Consumerism vs. Frugality

Step right up folks, this is it! . Come one and come all and watch the Greatest Battle about to be fought in the Arena. That’s right! It’s the Rumble in the Bronx, the match you have all been waiting for.

On the left, we have Master of the Universe: Emperor Consumerism, a 800 pound, hairy gorrila with vast financial resources and the global economy backing him. Not only does he have the brawn, he’s a genius as well. Oh, did I mention he also bribed the referee, the judges and the audience. Give a loud applause to Emperor Consumerism!

On my right, we have Lord of the Yesteryears: Mr. Frugality. This puny spectacle of a human is both scrawny and skinny. Heck, he doesn’t even have his own coach. Are those his supporters, I see? One, two & three… Haha, out of millions watching, he has only a handful of supporters.

Round 1: ‘I feel like enjoying myself’

Emperor Consumerism roars:
That’s right you yokels. Enjoy yourself, splurge and spend like there’s no tomorrow. There’s no harm in enjoying yourself on my overpriced goods and services. You’ve worked so hard to save some money. Why don’t you go on a vacation at a luxurious hotel and enjoy yourself whilst I help myself to your hard earned money?

Mr. Frugality timidly speaks:
But Mighty Emperor, sir… what about in our old age. If we spend now, we won’t have enough to last us whilst we are old and sickly. With no income and if our children don’t support us, what are we going to eat?

Round 2: ‘I feel like doing more with my phone’

The mighty Emperor thunderous voice fills the Arena:
You must be truly unhappy where you are slaving, oops, I mean working right now. How long and hard must be you work, to earn those meagre sums of pennies? Why not spend all that hard earned money on the most latest and expensive gadgets. Even though you won’t use 99% of the latest features, doesn’t it feel sooo… gooooooodddd… to show off?

Mr. Frugality cowers and says:
Err…mighty Pharoah, the only reason we’re slaving 9 to 5 is for money. If we spend it all on an overpriced handphone and other expensive gadgets, wouldn’t be have to work for an even longer period at our company? Isn't this just going to increase my period of servitude at my company?

Round 3: ‘I’d love a great meal’

Emperor Consumerism, Master of the Universe burps whilst gorging himself on his feast and intonates:
Food! Ah, one of the many great pleasures of life. Who cares if overeating and feasting will give you high cholesterol, make you fat and unhealthy? I need more people coming to my restaurants so I can fatten them whilst relieving them of their money… Err wait… I mean, so that they can feast on my delicious, yummy foods whilst enjoying themselves.

Fidgeting, Mr. Frugality interjects:
Emperor Consumerism.. isn’t going out for a great meal at those posh and expensive restaurants a little too pricy? Most people would need to slave for many hours to afford such delights. Wouldn’t it be better for them to cook a nice and nutritious meal at home?

Round 4: ‘I’m up for some pampering’

Wobbling over, the Emperor Consumerism looks at himself in the mirror and remarks:
… Hmmm seem to be gaining weight. No matter… Time to pamper myself by going to a beauty salon for some slim wrap. Might as well go to the sauna and massage. Ooo… after that, I need some cosmetics and bodycare products to look good. Why don’t you in the audience join me?

Looking abysmal, Mr. Frugality murmurs:
Sigh… most people spend large sums of money by dining out. Then after overeating, they realize they are a bit overweight. What do they do? Instead of reducing the number of outside meals and exercising, they go to a beauty salon and spend more money trying to lose weight.

Round 5: ‘I’m longing for some retail therapy’

Emperor Consumerism looks at himself and reflects:
Oooh’ I’m not:
1. Hairy;
2. White;
3. Slim;
4. Handsome;
5. Wealthy;
6.[Add your desire here]

Crap, I need to spend my money buying things I neither need or want, so that I won’t feel unhappy. Although it’s not going to make me really happy, at least it’ll get my mind off my Dis-Ease. I call it retail therapy.

Holding up his hands as a sign of defeat, Mr. Frugalty notes:
Yes, but why are we unhappy? Isn’t it because we are bombarded by advertisements everday telling us that we aren’t good enough? Why should we listen to these advertisers? They just want to make us unhappy. Then, they’ll flash their latest products promising that it will bring us happiness. I say, contentment is the highest form of happiness.

Emperor Consumerism delivers punishing blows, one after another at Mr. Frugality whilst the crowd roars in approval. Bloody and blackened, Mr. Frugality has no recourse and retreats into the corner. At Round 5, the referree calls to a stop.

The Master of the Universe, Emperor Consumerism is declared the unanimous winner, 100 points to NIL. Mr. Frugality slumps into the corner. It was an exercise in futility to try to go against the Emperor... Still, he tried to prove his point. Perhaps one out a million in the crowd would heed his advice…




U must try Lord Meyers Kane

In a economic contraction, the government should offset it by an expansive policy. ie by creating more jobs or making ppl feels better thus spending more. Thus in encouraging ppl to use more less ppl will be out of job and we can recover from a recession easily.

Frugally may be good for individual but in macro economy it will provoke a depression as less expenditure means less work leading to less employments .. leading to less expenditure.... and the cycle goes on.

In fact I would encourage ppl to use their income now, to save the country by buying local only but keep your saving for rainy days.

Saving is for autumn,
Spending is for winter.
Now we r in winter


Dear Doc2Mee,

Wow, your first comment! :)

Yes, I agree with you and the arguments on maaro economy. However, I think for people like us personally, they don't matter. Why?

1. There are very few, if any that are frugal these days. My views are very contrarian. Sure, some people may agree in theory, but most cannot apply.

2. Saving is for autumn and spending is for winter...interesting phrase. Unfortunately most people, whether spring, summer, autumn or winter, they just spend, spend and spend, so how?

Buying local, I agree though. Yes, do help stimulate sales of our local companies...Otherwise jobs will be affected.


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