I get the modern American economy, I really do. We were all peasants back in the day and figured out that with our own hard work and the changing industrial/free market/capitalist system, we could climb the ladder and improve our lives.
It worked well too. The growth of the American middle class is unprecedented in human history and really something to be proud of.
But we have seen the Wyrm start to turn.
A generation of Americans that won’t do better than their parents. We have runaway consumerism, and the all-encompassing expanse of Corporatism.
It was always so easy to see the flaws of communism during the Cold war. No incentive to improve, a lack of choices, an uninspiring sameness to everyone’s outcome despite their efforts or talents.
It was harder to spot the pitfalls of our own economic systems. Globalism looked troublesome to our manufacturing sectors, but we were told it was inevitable. Corporate models of efficiency and their emphasis on the bottom line seeped into our government institutions and sidelined many of our best intentions and accomplishments that were not profit driven(yet).
Eventually all this bread and circuses has led to a population of vapid shoppers who measure success not by contentment and purpose but by the accumulation of things and brands.
FIRE (Financial Independence & Early Retirement) interests us as a new way to navigate old waters. What if we didn’t work because we were supposed to, but as a means to an end?
An end that with a little bit of forethought and discipline we could achieve way ahead of schedule?
What if we took back our lives and focused our energy on carving back our time and our freedom?
Leaving the rat race in the rear view mirror sure was a nice fantasy.
Then, Lo and Behold, some people actually pulled it off. Maybe it isn’t just a fantasy?
Now, we openly talk about it as a lifestyle, gave it a name, and encourage each other to pursue it as a legitimate goal and not a crackpot dream.
What if the idea spreads and really becomes something tangible in the American psyche?
There are 11 Baby boomer blogs devoted to ER, 44 for Gen X and, hundreds(?) for Millennials.
I lurked in the shadows of Personal finance for far too long. Stepping out into the light and being open and honest about my progress and my goals has been life changing.
The best part is watching FIRE grow up. I have found the community to be very accepting and helpful.
For one thing, we do not compete with each other.
I look at it more like we are all fellow pioneers settling new lands.
If our community thrives we all do better.
There is no motivation like the corroboration of like minded peers spurring you on or reading about new people waking up everyday to their own financial epiphanies. Our various blogs are little hubs on a spiderweb of social change and the web is getting bigger and stronger everyday.
I can’t wait to see if this paradigm shift takes hold. Imagine a country full of people who believe the American Dream is more about taking your time back and spending it doing what you want rather than chasing a consumer driven 1980’s ideal of success.
What a culture shock!
I can only begin to process the changes such a shift would cause in the macro culture.
To the ramparts brothers and sisters! There is a war to be waged and won for the hearts and minds of our fellow citizens! Viva la FIRE Revolution!
Thanks to DadsDollarsDebts for the inclusion of this article on his weekly Hump Day roundup!