If the world were full of people like me, I fantasize, it would be a much more peaceful world. It would be a world in which time and resources were more efficiently used because people would not use them against one another. I enjoy being good. People from my past, some of whom I had completely forgotten, keep re-emerging on social media hunting me down to share their memories of me. I’ve done some not-so-good things as well, but it appears, from my reputation, that the good things have prevailed in my image.
But there is one very real sense in which the world would be a shambles if everyone was like me. You see, I don’t consume very much. I do not take expensive vacations or patronize expensive entertainment. I do not go out to eat very much. I am frugal and I enjoy it. A lot. And my wife is even more frugal and enjoys it even more. The high point of her month is when she shows me the utility bill, which compares the average Tulsan, an energy-conscious Tulsan, and us, and we use less electricity than even those considered to be energy conservationists.
Our French in-laws have a similar view of life. Their idea of a good time is to get together and eat sausages, sauerkraut, and pretzels, or go hiking in the mountains. Their only non-frugal expenditures are on wine and fragrant cheese. Of course, this is because they are French. But just as you will not find me and my wife taking a vacation to Vegas, you won’t find our French relatives going to the Côte d’Azur or Monaco.
As the economy “climbs out of the recession caused by the pandemic,” many sectors (particularly hospitality and entertainment) cry out for us to patronize them. My wife and I are the world’s worst big-time consumers. We were before, and we are even more so now, living as we do in Oklahoma were only a little more than one in three people are vaccinated.
The only way our economy can recover is if a lot of people start wasting money. This is, however, a problem that results from our unrealistically hedonistic economy.