Tag: money (page 1 of 7)

Middle class pursuit of pain through endurance sports is a thing

Oh this is fascinating. Get to your forties and everyone seems to be interested in marathons, triathlons, and putting on lycra to go and cycle somewhere.

This article explains that this is a function not only of access to the required time and money, but is a deep-seated need for those who are doing well out of the capitalist system.

Participating in endurance sports requires two main things: lots of time and money. Time because training, traveling, racing, recovery, and the inevitable hours one spends tinkering with gear accumulate—training just one hour per day, for example, adds up to more than two full weeks over the course of a year. And money because, well, our sports are not cheap: According to the New York Times, the total cost of running a marathon—arguably the least gear-intensive and costly of all endurance sports—can easily be north of $1,600.

[…]

There are a handful of obvious reasons the vast majority of endurance athletes are employed, educated, and financially secure. As stated, the ability to train and compete demands that one has time, money, access to facilities, and a safe space to practice, says William Bridel, a professor at the University of Calgary who studies the sociocultural aspects of sport. “The cost of equipment, race entry fees, and travel to events works to exclude lower socioeconomic status individuals,” he says, adding that those in a higher socioeconomic bracket tend to have nine-to-five jobs that provide some freedom to, for example, train before or after work or even at at lunch. “Almost all of the non-elite Ironman athletes who I’ve interviewed for my research had what would be considered white-collar jobs and commented on the flexibility this provided,” says Bridel.

[…]

Even so, there are myriad ways for relatively comfortable middle-to-upper-class individuals to spend their time and money. What is it about the voluntary suffering of endurance sports that attracts them?

This is a question sociologists are just beginning to unpack. One hypothesis is that endurance sports offer something that most modern-day knowledge economy jobs do not: the chance to pursue a clear and measurable goal with a direct line back to the work they have put in. In his book Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work, philosopher Matthew Crawford writes that “despite the proliferation of contrived metrics,” most knowledge economy jobs suffer from “a lack of objective standards.”

[…]

Another reason white-collar workers are flocking to endurance sports has to do with the sheer physicality involved. For a study published in the Journal of Consumer Research this past February, a group of international researchers set out to understand why people with desk jobs are attracted to grueling athletic events. They interviewed 26 Tough Mudder participants and read online forums dedicated to obstacle course racing. What emerged was a resounding theme: the pursuit of pain.

“By flooding the consciousness with gnawing unpleasantness, pain provides a temporary relief from the burdens of self-awareness,” write the researchers. “When leaving marks and wounds, pain helps consumers create the story of a fulfilled life. In a context of decreased physicality, [obstacle course races] play a major role in selling pain to the saturated selves of knowledge workers, who use pain as a way to simultaneously escape reflexivity and craft their life narrative.” The pursuit of pain has become so common among well-to-do endurance athletes that scientific articles have been written about what researchers are calling “white-collar rhabdomyolysis,” referring to a condition in which extreme exercise causes kidney damage.

Source: Why Do Rich People Love Endurance Sports? – Outside Online

Time millionaires

Same idea, new name: there’s nothing new about the idea of prioritising the amount of time and agency you have over the amount of money you make.

It’s just that, after the pandemic, more people have realised that chasing money is a fool’s errand. So, whatever you call it, putting your own wellbeing before the treadmill of work and career is always a smart move.

First named by the writer Nilanjana Roy in a 2016 column in the Financial Times, time millionaires measure their worth not in terms of financial capital, but according to the seconds, minutes and hours they claw back from employment for leisure and recreation. “Wealth can bring comfort and security in its wake,” says Roy. “But I wish we were taught to place as high a value on our time as we do on our bank accounts – because how you spend your hours and your days is how you spend your life.”

And the pandemic has created a new cohort of time millionaires. The UK and the US are currently in the grip of a workforce crisis. One recent survey found that more than 56% of unemployed people were not actively looking for a new job. Data from the Office for National Statistics shows that many people are not returning to their pre-pandemic jobs, or if they are, they are requesting to work from home, clawing back all those hours previously lost to commuting.

Source: Time millionaires: meet the people pursuing the pleasure of leisure | The Guardian

On the dangers of CBDCs

I can’t remember the last time I used cash. Or rather, I can (for my son’s haircut) because it was so unusual; it’s been about 18 months since my default wasn’t paying via the Google Pay app on my smartphone.

As a result, and because I also have played around with buying, selling, and holding cryptocurrencies, that a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) would be a benign thing. Sadly, as Edward Snowden explains, they really are not. His latest article is well worth a read in its entirety.

Rather, I will tell you what a CBDC is NOT—it is NOT, as Wikipedia might tell you, a digital dollar. After all, most dollars are already digital, existing not as something folded in your wallet, but as an entry in a bank’s database, faithfully requested and rendered beneath the glass of your phone.

Neither is a Central Bank Digital Currency a State-level embrace of cryptocurrency—at least not of cryptocurrency as pretty much everyone in the world who uses it currently understands it.

Instead, a CBDC is something closer to being a perversion of cryptocurrencyor at least of the founding principles and protocols of cryptocurrency—a cryptofascist currency, an evil twin entered into the ledgers on Opposite Day, expressly designed to deny its users the basic ownership of their money and to install the State at the mediating center of every transaction.

Source: Your Money and Your Life – by Edward Snowden – Continuing Ed — with Edward Snowden