“This spending of the best part of one's life earning money in order to enjoy a questionable liberty during the least valuable part of it”
Money. Its all you here about on any radio station, TV station, its all that politicians talk about, and it seems like it is the only thing that a lot of people ever talk about. Even nearly two hundred years ago, Thoreau recognized this and wrote about it in “Economy”. He argues that people should only try to make as much money as they need to live comfortably, forget about making more money than your neighbor, your parents, or your friends. He makes the argument that there will always be someone with more money than you. Thoreau was born in to wealthy family, but in his book, he seems to be a very frugal man. He understood that money is not free. He understands that to make money, you need to work. One example of this is when he challenged his friend to a race to Fitchburg, he bet that he would win walking versus his friend taking the train because of all the extra time it takes to make the money for the train fare. He also finds it flabbergasting that people work all their lives so that they can take the last, and worst, years of their lives off. Thoreau says that “This spending of the best part of one's life earning money in order to enjoy a questionable liberty during the least valuable part of it” He thinks that people should work less for longer. People should work for their entire lives, but have time each day to enjoy the finer things in life. I completely agree with his view on money. From his book, I get the feeling that he regards money as a tool to trade necessities with other people; a middleman. I also think that money is just a median in which trade of valuables is facilitated. However, like many of my fellow human beings, I love spending money on "wants" like the new iPhone, a new laptop, a new red Porsche convertible and I feel that’s okay. Thoreau was very much an idealist in his thinking, and the human nature gets in the way of his dream becoming a reality. There is no doubt that Thoreau is a very wise man. He truly understands the true meaning of money and the work that goes along with it.
“Most of the luxuries, and many of the so-called comforts of life, are not only not indispensable, but positive hindrances to the elevation of mankind”
Sometimes, living in a highly commercial society where everything is for sale, it can be easy to lose sight of the simplicity of life. Thoreau wondered what it would be like to lead a simple life, so he moved away from society and decided to live near Walden Pond. He wrote a book about his experience which he named Walden. In Economy, the first chapter of Walden, Thoreau talks about how he built his own shelter and finds everything that he needs from his surroundings. He asserts that people should not worry about poverty or money because anything you can buy with money can be foraged from your surroundings. Thoreau critiques many aspects of society that he believes that have become overly commoditized, such as clothes, shelter, and money. He argues that clothing exists only as protection from the natural elements, shelter is only to protect you and your possessions and can be build yourself with materials you can easily obtain, and money is a tool that exists to trade services and should only be needed to buy things you cannot obtain yourself easily. Thoreau says that “Most of the luxuries, and many of the so-called comforts of life, are not only not indispensable, but positive hindrances to the elevation of mankind.” He makes his disdain for material possessions quite obvious and he makes it quite clear that he thinks that petty “luxuries” get in the way of humanity reaching a greater plane of understanding.I think that Thoreau was very right with condemnation of material possessions. However, it is human nature to want the newest and most expensive things. It is human nature to want the latest iPhone, the next highest internet speed, or even more premium channels with cable subscription.