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Can love and friendship replace money?

  1. Jun 5, 2010 #1
    Considering that economic recession has been on the agenda for years now, I was asking myself if anything can adequately comfort people in the absence of money and material consumption. The only possibility I could come up with is love and friendship.

    So my question is whether finding and consuming love and friendship allows people to achieve happiness with less money and material consumption, or if love and friendship are only possible when money and material consumption are possible with a friend or lover.
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  3. Jun 6, 2010 #2
    Love, friendship and justice, hehe.

    It's a very difficult question that you're posing. I mean, no amount of hugs and kisses will let you keep your house if the bank's set on taking it. But of course human relationships is as important as ever in times of difficulty. And I certainly don't think that excessive material consumption makes someone "happy".
  4. Jun 6, 2010 #3


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    I don't recommend consuming your friends.
  5. Jun 6, 2010 #4
    Well, the foreclosures are a temporary loss. After people get kicked out of their house, the process to find someone who CAN pay. If it turns out eventually that no one can pay, the price has to go down or the house will stay empty indefinitely.

    So, my question isn't so much whether love or friendship can console people losing their house, although it definitely helps when looking for a new place to stay:) My question is more when the savings deposits that funded the purchase of foreclosed properties are finally accepted to be lost/defunct, and the economy is that much poorer as a result of the lost income and spending, will love and friendship be an adequate compensation for the lost material comforts and privileges that people can no longer afford?
  6. Jun 13, 2010 #5
    For me, a perfectly fine substitute would be knowledge. If I was given the choice of a hundred billion dollars OR being dirt poor and acquiring 2% of the knowledge of a far advanced civilization (perhaps if I could pick one area where they'd elucidate their theories/knowledge to the fullest), I'd pick the latter.
  7. Jun 13, 2010 #6


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    If love and friendship don't adequately comfort those grieving over the loss of money and homes, certainly this recession is testing it-which in turn can give way to a stronger friendship/love, or one that is broken even more.

    For me personally, money cannot replace the feeling of true love and friendships. Real love and friendships don't cost a penny.
  8. Jun 14, 2010 #7


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    @OP: Sooooo, people in poor countries don't have love and friendship?
  9. Jun 25, 2010 #8
    Strawmanning can be so irritating. You are implying that I said that wealth is a pre-requisite for love and friendship. The OP was a question about whether love and friendship could adequately replace relative material deprivation. E.g. could someone go from living in a 300k house to a 100k house and be equally happy because of love and friendship? What about going from wearing high-status clothes to low-status clothes, or from driving a new car to having an old one or even riding the bus? For many people, the status of their peers is a pre-requisite for love/friendship, which is why many people work to achieve so much status and wealth. However, if people were able to give and receive love/friendship independently of status and wealth conditions, immaterial things could theoretically reduce the need for material ones, at least to some extent.
  10. Jun 25, 2010 #9


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    I wasn't attempting to create a strawman argument. The wording in your original post looked like that was what you were saying.
  11. Jun 25, 2010 #10
    Ok, I see what happened. You took my faux answer as the thing that I was claiming as the truth. I think I read something a long time ago about how love was only possible with a certain level of wealth. It basically argued that impoverished people are incapable of experiencing love. There may be some truth in this. Deprivation does make people pretty grumpy. However, I think there's something else going on in high-consumption, high-status life where wealth is used, maybe sub-consciously, as a pre-requisite for love and friendship to prevent forming social bonds with people who won't increase your prosperity and/or support you in a certain level of consumption/lifestyle. In other words, love/friendship isn't a substitute for prosperity - it is a means of attaining it and consuming it. I'm wondering if there is an alternative to this culture of materialism for people who live this way.
  12. Jun 26, 2010 #11


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    How is someone not supposed to interpret this as people in poor countries don't have love?
  13. Jun 26, 2010 #12
    For one thing, being "in a poor country" isn't the same thing as living in poverty. Countries can be labeled as poor and still have people living there experiencing various levels of wealth and prosperity. The point is that you have to dissect the hypothesis down to the level of particular influences to analyze it. You can't just hover at the level of populations or categories and generalize about averages. You have to identify factors that affect human interactions and how interactions affect other things.
  14. Jun 29, 2010 #13
    Buddy, if that thought even crossed your mind, you sir have never truly experienced love. Trust me, love and friendship surpasses all else and will make you happy. It is true that material fortune comforts a person, but it doesn't take money to be happy. Go take a walk with a friend and crack some jokes. No money there. Or telling your wife you love her. No money, and a whole bunch of happiness. You know the saying, "Money can't buy happiness?"
    Or the advice, "A dream isn't worth it if it is not shared with someone you love?" Even The Princess and the Frog says that much!

  15. Jun 29, 2010 #14


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    Actually money can buy a HUGE amount of happiness. Most divorces, IIRC, can be tied to financial problems.

    No fleeting love has ever done as much for me as money.
  16. Jun 29, 2010 #15


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    Unfortunately, many crackpot, Foucauldian historians today DO argue roughly that "love didn't exist" before the coming of the bourgoisie in the 17th century.

    Even worse, they are regarded as the chic'est of the chic, who have "deconstructed" yet another capitalist notion.
  17. Jun 29, 2010 #16
    brainstorm, never heard of the "psychic pay"? Plenty of people find themselves happier choosing the job that provides a smaller pay-check if it involves greater personal appreciation by other people.

    A controlled experiment was done, where some child care centres introduced a fine for parents who collect their children late. The result was lateness increased (and the discrepancy persisted after the policy was removed). Apparently parents valued the extra childcare higher than the fine. So why had the parents been more punctual to child care facilities previously and in the control group, without any financial compensation for the personal cost of their punctuality? It seems they attributed the personal regard of the workers an even higher value than the extra childcare. (This is described in a talk on the TED front page a.t.mo')

    Haven't there been plenty of small communities that have indeed done away with money entirely?

    I'm sorry.

    Isn't it a recent luxury for most to date according to personal whim rather than having family-arranged marriages?
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2010
  18. Jun 29, 2010 #17
    Try this: cut your budget to the absolute minimum you can for a year or two. Stop buying everything except basic nutritional food. Move to the lowest-priced housing you can find. Wear only 2nd hand clothes. Avoid any and every possible expenditure. Live homeless if you can. Basically, deprive yourself of every possible expenditure you can without dying.

    Then, try to get a date or make friends. Report back to this thread.
  19. Jun 29, 2010 #18


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    I am not getting the connection between his comment and yours.
  20. Jun 29, 2010 #19
    Mine refers to an empirical test of how easy or difficult it is to cultivate love and/or friendship in the absence of money and its effects. I am describing an experiment that attempts to neutralize the effects of money-spending as much as possible on a person's self-presentation and examine what the social effects are on her/his ability to cultivate love and/or friendship. The question was whether love/friendship is possible in the absence of a certain level of material prosperity.
  21. Jun 29, 2010 #20


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    Oh. I see. I didn't see how it followed a comment about arranged marriage versus choose-your-own.

    BTW, does you experiment give consideration to whether or not every potential date (i.e. most of society) is also poverty-stricken? Surely, if we are all peasants, the playing field is leveled.
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