Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Mr. Money Mustache: Obsessive compulsive, and a bunch of other enthusiasms

From the story in The New Yorker, here:

The blog, which he started five years ago, is really an attack on consumerism and waste—a theology of conservation—disguised as a personal-finance advice column. The prospect of retirement is in some respects just a lure—the carrot, as opposed to the stick of his relentless polemical thrashing of anyone who thinks it’s O.K. to buy lattes at Starbucks or drive “a gigantic piece of shit that can barely navigate a parking lot.” He told me, “I’m really just trying to get rich people to stop destroying the planet.” ... [A]t one point I realized that he was almost angry at me for my half-witting participation in the destruction of the world. ... When you play devil’s advocate—for instance, if you suggest that if everyone lived the way he does the economy would shrivel up—he can get riled . . .. [Peter] Adeney has the behavioral-economics view that we should set our policies to encourage sensible behavior—the obvious example being a carbon tax. “It’s libertarian paternalism, or maybe it’s paternalistic libertarianism,” he said. “I am trying to improve the commons.” On his blog, he dispenses deep thoughts, product recommendations (credit cards, brokerages, laser printers), and D.I.Y. work-arounds (“How to Carry Major Appliances on Your Bike”—“It is absolutely ridiculous to buy even your first bottle of wine or restaurant meal if you do not yet have a good bicycle and a bike trailer”).

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