Saturday, March 1, 2014

2nd of a Series: Frugality and Austerity - Key to Happy Living (A Self-Administered Test)

Dr Abe V Rotor
Living with Nature - School on Blog

Self Administered Test on Living in Frugality and Austerity.  Answer Yes/True to items you are presently practicing and/or those which you agree with.


1. You would rather buy things in bulk (paint, cooking oil, rice), or by the dozens (eggs, softdrinks) for ready supply at home, particularly these days when prices are increasing and supply is unpredictable.

2. You keep these tools and materials which you personally use now and then in various handiwork such as house repairs and gardening: a pair of pliers, hammer, set of screw driver, nails and screws, GI wires, electrical tester, and the like.
                                                           
One-dish meal (shellfish, kamote starch and vegetables) 

3. You would rather have your laundry and ironing once a week rather than daily or every other day, scheduling it usually on a weekend, thus saving precious water and electricity, and getting more helping hands from the family.

4. As a general policy of any state, the government should pursue a self sufficiency program in food, particularly staple (rice and corn) as the best way to insure food security, even if there is adequate supply in the world market.

5. In economics, austerity is when a national government reduces its spending in order to pay back creditors. Austerity is usually required when a government’s fiscal deficit spending is felt to be unsustainable. Austerity must cut down spending on development projects (countryside development funds from pork barrel), welfare and other social programs (subsidies and charitable expenditures).

7. The best way to save money is to set aside immediately a part of your salary, say 20 percent, and budget strictly the 80 percent. This is more effective than setting 20 percent after having budgeted and spent 80 percent of your salary.

8. You participate in the informal economy just like the farmer’s wife who goes to market to sell farm products and comes back with various household supplies. This is contemporary barter system. This is entrepreneurship on the grassroots.

9. Food supplementation reduces our dependence on conventional food, discovery of new food sources like seaweeds, wild food plants, as well as the discovery of new ways to prepare food comes at the heels of austere living. Hamburger from banana flower (puso), Ipil-ipil for coffee DON’T – use roasted rice instead or roasted corn, papait vegetable, sea cucumber, kuhol, the many uses of gabi, substitution of wheat flour with rice flour. Substitution of staple food with root crops (camote, cassava) to save on precious rice.

10. Postharvest losses reduces our supply, in fact to one-half, that by saving even only 10 percent of what is wasted, would be sufficient to fill up our annual deficit in rice and corn. Austerity is reducing our waste on all levels – production, postproduction, food preparation.

11. Austerity is the most practical weapon to fight obesity. It means avoidance of junk food, moderation in eating, and consumption of natural food. It is also favorable to health. Less kidney trouble, liver ailment, cardiac problem, high blood pressure. It means less hospital cases, cancer, ulcers, less alcohol consumption, etc. Austerity means natural beauty, good fit, good stride, and happy disposition.

12. There are more and more good schools in the provinces and chartered cities. We would rather send our children in these schools for practical reasons.

13. Grains would rather be used directly as food and lessen the amount of using them in producing animal protein by feeding the grains to poultry and animals. By doing this we maximize the value of food and make them available to ordinary people.

14. Israel as an emerging new state adopted an austerity program lasting for 10 years (1949-1959). When USSR collapsed, Cuba adopted an austerity policy (1991 onwards) to be able to survive as an “orphaned socialist” state. Austerity is aimed at attaining self-reliance at a time of crisis.

15. Private banks or institutions like IMP may require a country pursues an austerity policy if it wants to re-finance loans that are about to come due. The government may be asked to stop issuing subsidies or to otherwise reduce public spending. We call this as “IMF conditionalities.”

16. People’s power – the cry of the first EDSA Revolution – fizzled out because the newly acquired empowerment was not used put to proper use as evidenced by unsuccessful cooperative movement, agrarian reform which turned out to be confrontational between right of property and right of tillage, rampant and blatant graft and corruption in the government, declined productivity in agriculture and industry, spread of poverty.

17. Family planning refers to limiting the number as well as proper spacing of your children. If there is a sin of commission or omission, there is also a sin of neglect – and if that neglect is within the knowledge of the sinner, and the consequence is the ruin of the lives of those under his care as parent, atonement is almost unthinkable.

18. It is easier to meet our needs than our wants to most people although to many, affluence is pursue even before needs are met.

19. Youth today are torn between choices of white collar jobs and blue collar jobs. They are lured to easy education – diploma mill, and on the modern method of leaning on the computer which actually does not offer an “end course” that makes one a professional like a doctor, lawyer, agriculturist, and the like. Austerity calls for a re-definition of courses that are functional in nature and p[practical in application, and relevant to the changing times.

Take the tricycle, better still, walk.  Or get a personal bicycle

20. Limits to growth come like a moving vehicle suddenly running out of fuel, its tires worn-out and flat, engine conking out, while the road is getting rougher, narrower and steeper. Austerity is applying the brakes before all of these happen. It is anticipating the limits to growth, before it turns against you.

21. HiTech is expensive and it is the consumer who ultimately pays it. It is to the people the users of Hi Tech charge its cost. Austerity calls for a moderation in technology. Austerity and innovative technology are compatible. Innotech is people’s technology.

22. Modeling of successful projects such as coops (farmers multipurpose cops), agro-eco center (Cabiokid), Kabsaka (Sta. Barbara, Iloilo), mangrove farming, seaweed farming, Irrigators’ association, Dr. Parra of Iloilo – these must ride on Filipino trait of gaya-gaya. Gaya-gaya put to good use. Peer teaching and learning is effective among the masses, and should be complementary with formal education. Austerity opens a gateway to look into models we can adopt under our local conditions.



23. “Necessity is the mother of invention, so “crisis is the sphinx of survival.” (Story of the Sphinx.) What is it that walks on all fours in the morning, two at noon and three in the evening?”) Crisis is Darwin’s theory of survival of the fittest. It rewards the strong, eliminates the weak, humbles the proud, deepens the soul, and elevates the spirit. - of those who can make it.” Crisis is the time to test man’s soul.” Soul is the ultimate of man’s capacity to survive. (Thesis of Victor Frankl – A Search for Meaning)

24. You practice the 7Rs in Waste Management: Reduce, Recycle, Refurbish, Renovate, Restore, Reserve, Revere (and Rotor – Rotate). These 7Rs are vital tool in living an austere life.

Go to nature for your leisure - not the mall. 

25. The more closely related supply and demand cycle in a given community, the more self reliant the community is. This means that in that community, people produce what they consume; consumption motivates production and vice versa. This according to Dr. Anselmo Cabigan is a basic tenet of austerity, because the self-reliant community becomes less dependent on external factors and the vagaries of the larger environment.

ANSWERS: All True. You may copy this article and pass it around at home and with your friends. Use it as a school research, outreach talk, workshop theme, and campaign material for frugality, austerity and industry - the triumvirate virtues of happy living and secured future.

More about No. 5 -When does frugality and austerity come in? Wartime, recession and depression (US), epidemic, high inflation, queuing for food, disaster, embargo (N Korea), new settlements, pooor harvest, political turmoil, religious conflict, El Niño, cyclone (Burma), earthquake (China)

More about No.20 - People for manpower turns to overpopulation and unemployment;
industrial growth turns out pollution; agriculture causes erosion, siltation, and invades wildlife. ~

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