Technical Advantages of Modern Housing

I recently watched Jeremiah Johnson, a 70s movie based on a man who removes himself from society to live in the mountains.

There is a scene where he essentially decides to stop wandering after months of drifting.  He decides on a plot of land near a river.  And for the next few moments in the movie, he builds a log cabin in the time span that appears to be somewhere between 2 weeks and 2 months.

The movie doesn’t detail the design or give the viewer a tour of the finished house.  I’m guessing that his house is a one room shelter, very simple in design.  It lacks heat, a kitchen, and a 3 car garage.  For the argument’s sake, let’s say he could render all the comforts he wants within the next 5 years, while still maintaining his hunter-gatherer lifestyle.

I paint this picture because my first reaction to the scene was wonder and shock, in observing that he could just build a house. My current model of a house is *at least* a 15-year mortgage, if not the even more popular 30-year option.  Not even to mention utilities, taxes, HOAs, and the basic human need of cable television.

It takes 3 to 6 times longer to provide for one’s housing than it did before modern conveniences.

Even though today’s houses are more comfortable and convenient than the house Jeremiah built, I question the intentions of technology in our paradigm, including banking.  The “advantages” seem to have a superfluous amount of comforts, or at least it seems to be holding Westerners back rather than providing a more efficient method.

Is this too much of a naysayer or pure analytic view?


3 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    adam said,

    I’m interested to hear your take on banking. I think about this a lot – like what would you do without currency? Or what if currency was measured in things, not in dollars and cents. People value things so differently that the bartering market seems like it would significantly increase transaction costs, making life much simpler as people would simply resort to basic things. Anyways, maybe another blog post?

  2. 2

    Rooster said,

    Are you saying that heated tile floors aren’t necessary?!

    I think the fact that currency is a common medium of exchange is extremely convenient. It is a way to value worth no matter what you place worth on. Currency takes personal preference out of the equation when talking about exchange and it allows you tweak a transaction rather than breaking a good in half to make for an equal trade.

  3. 3

    Pete said,

    Adam, I don’t feel qualified enough to opine on banking. Here are 3 resources that I enjoyed though:
    Creature on Jeckyll Island (Griffin)
    Life Inc (Rushkoff)

    The first link is where I started thinking about the abstract concept of banking. The second paints a picture of how the US system works. The last book has a good recommendation for local and alternative currencies.

    Rooster, I agree that currency is a good idea. Although, I don’t think a fiat system is in the best interest of the majority.

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