I Am An Ant

Are you a Grasshopper?

Saving is not something North American’s are generally known for.

Politicians are encouraging the public to do their part by spending ourselves out of the recession. And retailers (and other businesses) are more than happy to make it easy for us by offering special deals where we are practically saving money by spending it.

But isn’t rampant consumerism one of the reasons we got into this mess in the first place?

The savings rate declined fairly steadily from the early 80’s to about 2005 in Canada and the U.S. There is a very extensive article about the decline in the personal saving rate and whether this is a problem- if you are interested in a more academic treatise.

I also found an interesting, slightly more humorous examination of something called saver’s remorse. These are people who take farsightedness to such an extreme that they cannot enjoy the present.

The article talks about the results of experiments that sound like the psych experiments we signed up for in university as a requirement for first year psychology (for credit, of course). The seemingly illogical choices people made (I would have taken the money) and how people were more willing to work for luxuries than practical rewards was very interesting. Things to file away for future use….

According to the research, buyer’s remorse tends to be a fleeting feeling. The tendency is for people to regret not having indulged than the reverse.

In other words, what will you regret more?

Everyone indulges in different ways. I love splurging on a ridiculous bargain, others indulge in their addiction to blogs (I’m talking about you MMH), some have their scarves, a cake does it for those with a sweet tooth and others collect stamps on their passports (lucky bastards).

It is overly simplistic to expect the economy to recover by getting everyone to spend more- that is only part of the equation. An increase in spending may prim the pump but ultimately we need to be developing new industries, new ways of thinking.

Though I firmly embrace my Ant tendencies, the bottom line is balance. The Grasshopper and the Ant have a lot to learn from each other. 

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~ by angryegg on March 27, 2009.

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