June 27th, 2006

ozarque figure

Emotional weather; part three....

takumashii commented:
"It seems to me that in current U.S. culture, the most Losery thing you can do is to live with your parents."

And gement responded:
"Yes, very true, and I just recognized that as the direct antithesis of the Extended Family. Living with your extended family (presuming you don't kill each other) lowers costs and provides a social safety net. And it's stigmatized here. Hmmmmmm."

"Hmmmmmmm" indeed; food for thought. All those negative stories about "boomerang children," kids who grow up, finish as many years of school as they can manage (or as many as they can stand), do the expected Leaving Home thing, and then move back. All those negative stories about the ones who didn't do the expected Leaving Home thing at all, and are described as just "hanging around." All those negative stories about people in their twenties who are described as "avoiding" or "postponing" adulthood.

The U.S. economy has as its crucial anchor the "nuclear family," meaning that for roughly every two adults plus roughly one or two kids there will also be one separate dwelling with its own separate furniture and appliances and electronic gadgets and toys and bicycles and barbecue grills and so on through the entire Array Of Things. Every adult child who moves back home and stays there is an adult who probably will not buy his or her own refrigerator and stove and air conditioner and furnace and and electric lawn mower and all the rest.

Suppose an arrangement like that, with an extended family living together under a single roof -- an arrangement that's common as pondwater in much of the world -- were to become culturally acceptable in the United States instead of being stigmatized. Then the number of Arrays Of Things sold would be drastically reduced.

"Family values" are one thing, but you can't have them putting the economy in danger.