|A Hong Kong jeweler crafted two bathrooms out of gold. The toilet weighs 837 lbs., and is made from solid gold. Do you have any idea how expensive that is? The first decade of the 21st century proved to be the decade of rampant materialism, and the last couple years showed the high costs.
Using Your Home As a Personal ATM?
Many people have blamed the financial system for the economic meltdown, and certainly their easy lending and fancy financial instruments give them a lot of responsibility, but they are not solely to blame. With the housing market reaching toward the sky, consumers reached for the stars, mortgaging and re-mortgaging their homes, withdrawing cash to spend on hundreds of expensive toys, cars, and gadgets. Surely the family who took out hundreds of thousands of dollars in equity before their million-dollar cottage was foreclosed on is just as responsible as the bank that gave them the cash and now holds the property: worth considerably less than a million dollars now! Too bad they didn't spend the cash on a golden toilet, right? With the price of gold so high after the housing crash, they could have sold the gold and paid off their mortgage.
Where do you draw the line between acceptable consumption and rampant materialism? That is an individual choice each consumer has to wrestle with, a moral dilemma fit for King Midas. Golden toilets and fancy cars might be pushing it, but sensible bathroom accessories and reasonable means of transportation are surely acceptable. Of course, that's a very personal decision. For some people, a fancy car with better safety ratings is a sensible choice, while for others only a bicycle and a bathroom towel rack for their helmet to rest on is the only acceptable option.
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