JKhedrup wrote:The increased pressure to perform and produce to survive in modern society is at play here. Both men and women have a harder time maintaining the lifestyles of their families. Once again living in extended family units is a possible way to address this increasing unsustainability.
Indeed. It is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain familiar standards of living to the point people feel they've failed at life when it becomes necessary to visibly downgrade.
For example in the US and other western countries real wages haven't really risen to accommodate inflation, which is why in the 70s people could work the same hours they do now for a lot more earnings and comforts:
This chart compares the growth of inflation (red line) and real wages (blue line). Since going off the Gold Standard completely in 1971, inflation has skyrocketed and is beginning to outpace the growth of real wages.http://www.intellectualtakeout.org/libr ... ion-growth
This is actually part of a secular cycle at work.
The very stability and internal peace that strong empires impose contain within them the seeds of future chaos. Stability and internal peace bring prosperity, and prosperity causes population increase. Demographic growth leads to overpopulation, overpopulation causes lower wages, higher land rents, and falling per capita incomes for the commoners. At first, low wages and high rents bring unparalleled wealth to the upper classes, but as their numbers and appetites grow, they also begin to suffer from falling incomes. Declining standards of life breed discontent and strife. The elites turn to the state for employment and additional income, and drive up its expenditures at the same time that the tax revenues decline because of the growing misery of the population. When the state’s finances collapse, it loses the control of the army and police. Freed from all restraints, strife among the elites escalates into civil war, while the discontent among the poor explodes into popular rebellions.
Peter Turchin, War and Peace and War The Rise and Fall of Empires
This should sound familiar. The wealthy of the western world today are getting richer while much of the middle class is disintegrating, willing to work more for less.
Keep in mind this will undermine social cohesion over the long-term:
Conspicuous consumption is inherently divisive because it draws boundaries between the haves and the have-nots. It elicits envy and weakens solidarity. But it is even more important as a symptom of deeper processes—growing inequality and within-group competition for resources and power that gradually undermine group solidarity.
Ultimately the internal stress from these disintegrating factors is too much for many to bear. Failed expectations and inability to abide by social norms (like fulfilling the desires of one's parents to succeed and have as good or better a lifestyle than they did) can easily lead to depression and hopelessness, especially in a consumer society where many people judge their personal value by their assets and ability to consume products.
It will get worse before it gets better.