Saturday, September 22, 2012

More on Tiny Living

CNN has an intriguing article here, Tiny Homes Hit the Big City.

I've written about this before:

Tiny Living

Voluntary Simplicity

And, currently, my tiny allotment of material goods has moved out of a closet and into my car.

New York City's Mayor Bloomsburg wants to encourage the establishment of mico-apartments. Homes that are 300 square feet or less, including the kitchen and bathroom.

On one hand, I think, yeah, cool. More people can afford to live in the city. Smaller carbon footprint and all that. There's probably another side effect that helps the city economy - when your place is so small, you may find yourself going out more, thus spending more. In other words, reallocating your disposable income in a way that results in wider distribution than if you spent far more of your income just on rent and utilities. 

On the other hand, I think of the goat versus cow story told to me by an Ethiopian academic many years ago: As land was handed down to sons by their peasant fathers, their descendants - subsistence farmers - owned smaller and smaller pieces of land as it was divvied up with their brothers. The plots of land were becoming too small to support cattle, the traditional livestock of choice. Some smart people, perhaps with USAID, had a great idea: Encourage peasants to switch from cows to goats. The goats provide meat and milk like cows, but take up less space and consume less resources.

Upon hearing this, I said, "Hey, that is a great idea. Creative!"

And the Ethiopian academic said, "No, it's forcing the peasants to do all the changing. The oligarchy doesn't have to change anything. They keep their wealth and vast properties. What needs to happen is land reform."

So I like the idea of going smaller with our living spaces. But I wonder how big Mayor Bloomsburg's house is.  

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