28 January 2022

Lying Flatism vs FIRE vs Strikes - Which is More Effective?

There has long been conflict among business and workers. Throughout history there have been conflicts among the business class and the working class. 

One way that workers fight for their rights involves "labour strikes" or "strike action." Wikipedia defines "strike action" as follows: "Strike action, also called labor strike, labour strike, or simply strike, is a work stoppage, caused by the mass refusal of employees to work. A strike usually takes place in response to employee grievances. Strikes became common during the Industrial Revolution, when mass labor became important in factories and mines. In most countries, strike actions were quickly made illegal, as factory owners had far more power than workers. Most Western countries partially legalized striking in the late 19th or early 20th centuries."

Strikes have a major problem, which is somewhat addressed in the Wikipedia definition above, which is that many countries simply make striking illegal as businesses have a considerable amount of power. This is a problem in e.g. China.

Where striking is problematic, there are other options, one of which is the FIRE movement which emphasises hard work and frugal living initially with the aim of retiring early. Another is the "lying flat" movement, which doesn't focus on early retirement but focuses on doing the bare minimum. Both these movements seem to result in its adherents working less and consuming less, which deprives businesses of labour.

In China, the lying flat movement has been censored by the CCP who are desperately trying to suppress the movement. The elites do not seem to be as alarmed about the FIRE movement but there are many who think that it has the potential to harm the interests of the elites e.g. there was a recent post on Reddit about how FIRE can result in the end of Western civilization because people won't have enough children to become the workers of tomorrow.

One of the challenges of unionisation or protesting is knowing whether your fellow workers will support you in your endeavours. You may unionise or protest or go on strike, but you may be the only one who goes on strike while your fellow workers rush to suck up to the boss. Unionisation, striking, or protesting relies on self-sacrifice.

On the other hand, lying flat or FIRE focuses not on self-sacrifice but on personal benefits e.g. escaping the rat race. By lying flat, you live a stress free life while your colleagues slave themselves away. By retiring early via FIRE, you can retire in your 30s or 40s and relax by the beach while your colleagues slave away in the office or factory. When others see that lying flat or FIRE works, they may follow you, and once more and more people lie flat or FIRE, there will be labour shortages and businesses will then need to increase wages or offer better terms.

07 January 2022

Tesla Should Introduce Battery Replacement Insurance to Counter FUD

One of the biggest fears many have about getting a Tesla or any EV is battery replacement. This has become mainstream knowledge now that a Tesla owner in Finland has blown up his Model S after being charged $22k for a replacement battery. Many people make the argument that EV batteries will die after 10 years because of battery failure whereas an ICE car, if maintained well, can last almost forever.

However, an argument can be made that the lower running costs of EVs will over time make up for the battery replacement costs. Nevertheless, people have a tendency to fear large and sudden bills. No one likes to open a letter only to receive a $20k+ bill.

What Tesla can do to address this is offer battery failure insurance. EV owners can pay a regular premium and, like all insurance, Tesla pools this money into a fund that invests in diversified stocks and bonds, and then as EV owners need to replacement their batteries, they bring it to Tesla who replaces the battery, and then Tesla takes money from the insurance fund to subsidise the costs of this battery replacement. A reasonable excess can be charged to ensure the EV owners try to get the most out of their battery before replacing it.

The main benefit of this battery replacement insurance is spreading the cost out and providing a clear counterargument against the FUD that battery failure will result in a $20k+ bill sent to you.

29 December 2021

The Problem with Traditional Conservative Women

I don't think there is anything "wrong" with traditional gender roles because I believe in cultural relativism, so what is right or wrong depends on who you ask.

That being said, I wouldn't recommend the traditional route for any woman. Basically my mother was traditional. She stayed at home and looked after me, was a housewife etc. Then my parents got divorced and my mother was left with very little. She had no skills or career. You could argue that what my dad did was horrible, but remember I am a cultural relativist, so right or wrong doesn't matter. The fact remains that being traditional made my mother financially dependent and vulnerable. Putting yourself in a position where you are dependent on others and at their mercy is just plain silly. It's like giving someone a dagger and locking yourself in a room with them.

My mother is doing fine now with some help from me, but she would be much better off if she had not been traditional and instead focused on her career and aimed to be independent.

Furthermore, I would never want to be with a traditional woman because I think it's quite lazy to want to be at home doing domestic duties. I'd prefer it if the woman contributes financially to the household.

08 December 2021

Using Forced Savings to Prevent Self-Rationalisation

One of the arguments for getting a mortgage on a property is that it provides forced savings. The mortgage forces you to pay monthly.

Many financial experts recommend "pay yourself first" where money is automatically invested, which reduces the temptation to spend.

It seems we humans have a tendency to rationalise reasons to spend e.g. many say that you should only spend on experiences rather than "stuff" and others say that you should spend on things you actually use which seems like a nicer way to say you should buy stuff rather than experiences. Or people will focus on saving $3 per day on the daily cup of coffee but then ignore large expenses such as buying a luxury car.

Basically it is very easy for the human mind to justify spending a lot, and so some degree of forced savings seems necessary, and also a quantitative focus on savings rather than qualitative one is more important as well to prevent self-rationalisation. If you have a quantitative goal like save 70% of your gross income and then implement it using forced savings then this is much more effective than some qualitative rule such as "spend on necessities rather then wants" or "spend on experiences rather than stuff" or "buy expensive stuff that lasts long rather than cheap stuff than doesn't last long" and so forth.

20 November 2021

Might Makes Right, Darwinism, and the Double Harm from Procreation

The argument for antinatalism is that having kids increases suffering. The world is filled with exploitation and suffering. The lion eats the antelope, humans eat meat, children are being raped, etc.

One argument given against antinatalism is that suffering is just nature, which I agree with, but this is more of an argument for antinatalism rather than against it. Suffering indeed is part of nature. Most suffering I think occurs due to exploitation. Life evolved to exploit others. When there is a mutation in a living being that increases its ability to exploit another weaker living being for personal gain, it increases the probability of survival, which means that this gene is more likely to be passed down. As such, exploitation is written in our DNA. Looking at it this way, the solution to reduce exploitation and suffering is to prevent DNA replication.

Is suffering objectively good or bad?

I'm not saying suffering is necessarily bad or good. I just personally dislike it. For example, if someone has a child, I would dislike it if he is raped by a paedophile, which could happen. Some people may argue that there is nothing wrong with a child suffering because he is being raped by a paedophile. That's just their preference. But because I dislike suffering, I think it's safer if living beings do not exist because existence is the catalyst for suffering.

Imagine if you have a child and he is raped and if the paedophile is an untouchable billionaire who then asks you to justify why the suffering of your child is bad. What would you say? This example illustrates how nature, Darwinism, and "might makes right" creates a world filled with suffering and exploitation. I would not want to bring a child into such a world.

I believe in cultural relativism. Morality depends on each individual and can change depending on who you ask. However, this is not an outcome I like. Think of the example I gave before. What if a very powerful politically connected billionaire rapes your child? There is nothing you can do because there is no objective morality and because "might makes right." So because "might makes right" and because there is no objective morality, any life exposed to this reality has to deal with these risks. If I don't have a child, he or she cannot be raped. He or she cannot grow up to become a rapist.

I do believe we live in a "dog eat dog" world, a hierarchy with the billionaires at the top exploiting the millionaires in the middle exploiting everyone else at the bottom. This is the nature of reality and the reality of nature.

The double harm from procreation

Another benefit of not having kids is that kids are expensive, which means that if you don't have kids, you become richer, which makes you more powerful, which makes you better off in a "might makes right" world. Because of the cost of having kids, you will literally become weaker by having kids because money is power. The less money you have, the more you will be exploited by those above you in the hierarchy.

When you have a child, you create yet another worker whom those at the top of the hierarchy can exploit, and because you have to pay so much money to look after your child, you yourself become less resilient to exploitation from those above you in the hierarchy, so there is a "double harm" from procreation. Your child starts from nothing and needs to work his way up the hierarchy and be exploited along the way while you drop many levels down the hierarchy because of the decrease in net worth associated with having a child.

Why bring a child into a Darwinian world?

06 November 2021

Could Lying Flat Reduce Property Prices in Australia?

It seems now that house prices in China are starting to decline. There are many reasons for this e.g. the Evergrande crisis, but another possibility is that it is caused by recently proposed property taxes in China. It also looks like these property taxes have been proposed due to the lying flat movement.

 In China, many young people are protesting excessive consumerism, competition and high house prices by "lying flat." The lying flat movement involves doing the minimum possible, that is, working just enough to afford to lie down all day.

It should be emphasised that lying flat doesn't mean not working at all. It means working the minimum to be able to afford to lie flat. This will reduce consumption, reduce demand, reduce asset prices, reduce corporate profits and reduce government tax revenue.

Many young people have embraced the lying flat movement in China. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has condemned this movement, even trying to censor social media posts about it.

However, there is considerable evidence that the CCP is concerned about the lying flat movement and has been introducing policies to appease the lying flat movement.

For example, the CCP has cracked down on tech firms including crypto miners and has shifted the focus from tech to manufacturing. 

The benefit of manufacturing over tech is that manufacturing is low skill and can employ much more compared to the tech sector. In the tech sector, a small proportion of the population with high education and skills are hired and paid a large salary. However, in a manufacturing economy, very large portions of the population can be hired and wages are spread out over many people. This should encourage those who would otherwise lie down into working.

Another piece of evidence that shows that the CCP is trying to appease the lying flat movement is the proposal of a new property tax. This property tax proposal has been strongly opposed by property interest groups but is likely to pass in order to appease the lying flat movement. It is believed that by taxing property, prices go down and those who would otherwise lie flat would be able to afford an apartment and feel like they have an incentive to work with the system rather than rebel against it. 

The reason why, in Australia, policies are continually implemented to raise house prices is because many people own houses. The government needs to be elected and so needs to give what voters want. Voters mostly own houses and so will demand the government increase house prices. However, if young people in Australia threaten to lie down and do the minimum e.g. work for one day of the week and spend the rest of the week literally lying down, then this threatens the economy. If enough young people lie down, the demand for housing falls, labour costs go up thereby reducing profitability, which reduces corporate profits, which reduces corporate tax revenue as well as income tax revenue. Government will have an incentive to implement policies that appease those who lie flat.

24 October 2021

My Experience with a Vasectomy

About a week ago, I had a vasectomy, and I am very glad I have done this. I want to share my experience with others as it may help others out there thinking of getting a vasectomy.

Find a reputable doctor

Before getting a vasectomy, ask others who have had a vasectomy which doctors they recommend. Look for a reputable doctor. In Australia, I recommend Dr Snip, but if you are elsewhere in the world, check out the Childfree Friendly Doctors List

Shaving your balls

The first difficulty of vasectomy is shaving your balls and penis. Basically when you get a vasectomy, the doctor needs to be able to see what they are doing, so they will normally ask you to shave your balls and penis beforehand. When I learned about this, it turned me off getting a vasectomy or at least it provided me with an excuse to delay it. I had a lot of public hair on my balls, so the thought of shaving it filled me with fear. It didn't want to cut myself down there.

Before booking the vasectomy appointment, over many months, I practised shaving my balls in the shower. Over time, I got used to shaving my balls after so much practice. My balls became quite smooth over time as was my penis. The key to shaving your private parts is to use a shaver with many blades on it and to also do it in the shower when the surface of the scrotum is slightly wet but not too wet. A bit of moisture helps make shaving your balls much easier. Also you start from the base of the penis and work your way down the balls. This makes it easier to shave.

Book the vasectomy and distract yourself

After you are confident with how to shave your balls, book the vasectomy and then don't think too much about it. Once it is booked, then the hard decision of whether to do it or not is gone. You are just following a process now. You are no longer proactive but reactive.

On the day of my vasectomy, I took the entire day off from work because I didn't want the hassle of juggling work and vasectomy. I wanted to keep the day as free from stress as possible.

After the shower, I had some brunch. To distract myself, I watched a lot of Netflix throughout the day. Before I knew it, it was time for my vasectomy, so had a shower, got dressed and drove to the medical centre. 

Was the vasectomy painful?

The procedure was not too bad. There is a little bit of pain at the start when they inject the anaesthetic. There is about ten seconds of pain as the anaesthetic goes in, but after that it was fine. It reminds me of when I got my wisdom teeth removed back when I was a teenager. The only pain was when the orthodontist injects the anaesthetic into your gums, but after that there is no pain, but there is a weird feeling because you are awake and see the orthodontist drilling and pulling things out of your teeth, so it is scary. With a vasectomy, it is similar. You don't feel much but you know that they are working on your privates, and there is something unsettling about that.

I was able to drive back home. The doctor told me to take ibuprofen for the pain and if that doesn't work to also take paracetamol.

Recovering after a vasectomy

My balls felt quite sore and sensitive right after the vasectomy, so I was sure to take my ibuprofen and paracetamol. Over time, this soreness started to wane. After one week later, the soreness was almost gone and I was confident enough to masturbate again.

Generally speaking, right after the vasectomy, you should take it easy. Don't do any strenuous exercise. Also consider sleeping on your back for a few nights as sleeping on your sides means that your balls are pressed in between your legs. In my opinion, if you're not used to sleeping on your back, sleep with two pillows. Put one pillow under your head and the other on one of the sides of your head, right up to your ear. Usually when you're used to sleeping on your side, you're used to having a pillow on your ear.

Why get a vasectomy?

A vasectomy is a relatively simple and cheap way for a man to sterilise himself so that he cannot have a baby. There is a little bit of pain involved in getting a vasectomy, but it is quite small compared to other operations. 

The cost of a vasectomy varies by cities and countries, but after government subsidies, I paid about 500 AUD (about 373 USD). This is a small price to pay compared to the cost of raising a child, which by some estimates is as much as $1 million.

Many of those who get vasectomies already have children and do not want anymore. Perhaps they realise how difficult it is to have kids and don't want anymore. If a heterosexual couple does not want kids, a vasectomy makes sense. Female sterilisation (aka the tubal ligation) is a much more complicated and invasive procedure. Condoms do work, but they are not foolproof. All it takes is a condom bursting and you suddenly have a baby.

There are also many single and childfree men who are deciding to have vasectomies e.g. they are concerned about climate change and burdening the planet with more babies. Some men are wealthy and are worried that their sperm may be stolen by women who are hungry for child support payments from them.

For me, it is a combination of all these arguments. I am less worried about the cost of children because I am in my mid-thirties and have a net worth of about $1.9 million now, so I think I can afford a child or two. I do worry sometimes about being targeted by women wanting child support payments, but I think this is a lower risk because even though I am almost a multimillionaire, most of the wealth is in intangible and invisible assets e.g. ETFs and cryptocurrency. I don't own any mansions or luxury cars, so I don't look rich. My main motivation for getting a vasectomy relates to the environment and animal welfare.

Humans cause a lot of destruction on the planet, polluting the oceans with plastic and filling the air with carbon dioxide. Furthermore, one billion animals are slaughtered every week just to feed humanity

Not having kids has an exponential effect. If I don't have a child, not only does my child not pollute the earth or cause thousands of animals to be slaughtered, but so too my grandchild cannot pollute or slaughter others. My grandchild is likely to have kids as well, so my great-grandchildren also cannot harm others because they won't exist. If you get a vasectomy, the impact will be exponential. 

Many people will claim that there is no such thing as morality or right or wrong in this world and therefore they are free to do as they please whether it is killing animals or polluting the planet or, if we take their logic a further step, rape children.

However, this lack of justice or morality in the world is another strong argument for not having children. Without any objective morality, there is no accountability on anyone to do anything right. As such, people engage in behaviour that cause others to suffer. As a result, new life created is at risk of suffering or is at risk of causing suffering. If we dislike suffering (which I do) then it makes no sense to have kids.

My life after a vasectomy

Getting a vasectomy has taken a huge weight off my shoulders. All the harm that my descendants would have caused has been prevented. I am also much more financially secure and can afford a higher standard of living in the future. I can also have sex with women without any fear of pregnancy. It has been a week since I've gotten my vasectomy, but I haven't told too many people. In fact, I haven't told any of my family members as they are somewhat conservative and may disapprove, but I do plan on bringing up the topic at some point. I am going to make an effort to talk to as many people as possible about the vasectomy so that I can possibly encourage others to also get vasectomies. I will try to encourage other men to get vasectomies, and I will also try to encourage women to encourage their husbands or boyfriends into getting vasectomies.