I genuinely find this an encouraging change in our society—assuming that it is real and not just imagined through statistics ["21 Things We're Learning to Live Without," usnews.com]. Let's say these are lifetime changes. How will that really affect our culture? Will we teach this new lifestyle to future generations and preserve something new (not really new but to our culture over the past 40 years), or will we slowly slip away and forget what we went through and within a generation or two be back to the old ways? Those who experienced the Great Depression picked up similar traits, though I suspect they had less to give up than we do today. However, we still arrived at this same mess, less than 100 years later. How can we make this change a part of our real and permanent culture? That, I think, is the most pertinent question derived from thinking about the topic discussed in this article.
Comment by Justin of FL
It feels like we are more and more going back to the way we lived in the 1950s and 1960s. I am convinced that more family time and less emphasis on material luxuries is healthy for our families. Children will grow up with more traditional values, which is what has made our country strong. I also believe that working together as a family and giving our children a sense of responsibility is a far greater gift than a new iPod. It will last a lifetime and result in happier, well-adjusted grownups with a good work ethic and a realization that life is not a free ride. It will give us back our strength.
Comment by Joy of NC
There is a lot you can learn about, in the way of survival, from reading Depression-era literature. They grew vegetable gardens in their backyards. They learned to sole their own shoes. And they had a lot of innovative and creative ways of doing things. Then, just as now, the banks were the major source of problems. And the Republicans obstructed almost everything in the way of reform. Social Security and Medicare were labeled as a communist ideas; in much the same way that healthcare reform is labeled as socialist today. For the very wealthy, then—as now—the Great Depression was actually a time of ease and comfort. Few of the wealthy suffered during the Great Depression, often referring to it with fond memories in later years as they recalled how they snapped up properties left by the desperate poor and made a killing off the stock market.
Comment by David Potter of LA
I never did fall for the $5 cup of coffee either, so I don't need to cut that out. I love the clutter around me. It's comforting, and most of my clutter is antique and far nicer than anything I could buy to replace it so I am not going to discard it. I have never owned a new car or a new couch because they wear out when you have dogs. I haven't had a credit card since 1998. I never hire anyone to do anything I can do myself or get a friend to do in exchange for something I can do for them. I live in the country, not the suburbs, and what you have written about is a way of life here.
Comment by Beth of NY