Could You Live Like the Wojtowicz Family?

The Wojtowicz are a family that have been dubbed economic survivalists. To simplify their life and cut expenses they have torn up credit cards, canceled satellite tv, planted a garden, and more.

The Wojtowicz are a family that have been dubbed economic survivalists.  To simplify their life and cut expenses they have torn up credit cards, canceled satellite tv, planted a garden, and more.  This is all chronicled on their Blog True North.  Their story seems to have struck a chord. 

USA Today ran an article about them this week entitled Economic survivalists take root.  And today, the WSJ ran an opinion piece by Peggy Noonan on both the Wojtowicz and her thoughts on the end of conspicuous consumption in the United States.  The article happens to be the most read on the WSJ today.  In the article entitled Goodbye Bland Affluence, she makes some interesting predictions:

"More predictions. The cities and suburbs of America are about to get rougher-looking. This will not be all bad. There will be a certain authenticity chic. Storefronts, pristine buildings—all will spend less on upkeep, and gleam less.

So will humans. People will be allowed to grow old again. There will be a certain liberation in this. There will be fewer facelifts and browlifts, less Botox, less dyed hair among both men and women. They will look more like people used to look, before perfection came in. Middle-aged bodies will be thicker and softer, with more maternal and paternal give. There will be fewer gyms and fewer trainers, but more walking. Gym machines produced the pumped and cut look. They won't be so affordable now.

Hollywood will take the cue. During the depression, stars such as Clark Gable were supposed to look like normal men. Physical perfection would have distanced them from their audience. Now leading men are made of megamuscles, exaggerated versions of their audience. That will change.

The new home fashion will be spare. This will be the return of an old WASP style: the good, frayed carpet; dogs that look like dogs and not a hairdo in a teacup, as miniature dogs back from the canine boutique do now."

The politicians, businessmen, and bankers must all be gnashing their teeth at such sentiment.  It is spending, after all that fuels their profits.  More iPhones, laptops, bigger homes, cars, tropical vacations, expensive furniture, designer shoes, fancy eating, etc. that fueled the great boom.  The old mantra was always work harder so that you can have more.  Will that more make you happy is another question.

The Wojtowicz answer no.  They have voted for a simpler life.  Is this a real trend, or just a fad until the next boom?  The fate of the stock market and many companies that grew large off the fat depend on the answer.  As for me, I plan on hitting the library tonight and getting a free copy of the latest release and a good book.  The cost: $0.

Sam Cass
Sam Cass: Sam Cass, MBA, JD, University of Texas at Austin. Always a fan of Leonardo Da Vinci.

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Comments

  • Cynic

    April 18, 2009

    Just a fad. Once the doom and gloom fades Americans will be back to their spending ways.

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