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Semi-related to housing

What is up with the stigma in the U.S. of living with family?

Other countries have three, four, maybe in rare cases, five generations living under the same roof. So what gives here anyway?
Permalink Send private email JoC 
September 7th, 2006 9:56am
Be an individual. Create your own life and family. If can't afford to live on your own then you are a loser. Houses are too small. You don't need other people because you are world beater and people fear you.
Permalink son of parnas 
September 7th, 2006 9:59am
What is up with the stigma in other countries around moving out of your family's home?  Is it because you only get paid 5 cents an hour to churn goat butter?  What if you can't stand your grandmother because she's a self-righteous bitch?  You just have to live with her or face public shunning.  Fuck that, man.
Permalink Send private email muppet 
September 7th, 2006 10:00am
"You don't need other people because you are world beater and people fear you."

Huh?

And can you restate for me simpler? I think you are being sarcastic or something. I don't know I read what you typed but I just don't get it.
Permalink Send private email JoC 
September 7th, 2006 10:05am
Yeah, America has the mythos of "rugged individualism".  So each person should stand on their own, pull themselves up by their own bootstraps, own your own house, your own car.  Provide for your own kids, get them 'launched', and then enjoy your golden years.

Once upon a time, we did have a concept of the "nuclear family", where Grandma (Grandpa usually died in his 60's) would move in with the family, and help with child care.  But even then, it was clear the children were supporting the parents, not the other way around.

America also has the mythos of the Trekkie Geek, living in his parents basement watching TV, refusing to grow up, refusing to be 'launched'.  Being lazy, in other words, an anathema to the "rugged individualism" mythos.

So, these cultural assumptions feed the American attitude against those 20-somethings who live at home.  And for Americans it may be accurate.  It may not apply very well, or at all, to any other culture -- like the Japanese or Germans for instance.
Permalink Somebody 
September 7th, 2006 10:09am
OR maybe people just can't stand their families (you can't pick them, after all) and want the freedom to get the fuck out if they want to (which the majority happens to want.)

God forbid there could be a positive reason.
Permalink Send private email muppet 
September 7th, 2006 10:11am
The Japanese in particular were whom I had in mind.

I live with my dad. We just signed a new lease together. I'm not self-conscious about it in the least. We're every bit as much buddies as we are father and son. The way I see it, we both make like villains financially and there's a bit more security in our arrangment than standard roomie setups.

I just wonder why a more Japanese version of the nuclear family was never present here. The pioneering spirit?

I think too much on class separation. I wonder if more people would break the mold if we didn't have such a stigma.
Permalink Send private email JoC 
September 7th, 2006 10:14am
> people just can't stand their families

That's certainly a positive reason.
Permalink son of parnas 
September 7th, 2006 10:14am
Because in a culture which doesn't have large multi-generational households, living with your parents is taken to mean that you haven't the social or financial resources to support a home of your own. It's also worth noting the word order is important:

I live with my parents = at their house, I'm broke (STIGMA).
My parents live with me = I have enough money to support my aged relative (NO STIGMA).
Permalink Send private email a cynic writes... 
September 7th, 2006 10:14am
BTW, how do european or japanese guys who live at home with the family date? Are they all still waiting for marriage? Is it a string of motel rooms? Do they bring the girl home and hope she's not a screamer?
Permalink Send private email Philo 
September 7th, 2006 10:18am
Not that I don't agree that you've defined the stigma rather accurately, but the reasoning behind the definition is utter fallacy...

There's bound to be plenty of families out there where each member is 100% self-sufficient and likes the rest of their family just fine, but they don't live like that. Not ever... that I know of.

Wouldn't it put people in much better financial positions? Isn't this culture driven by money?

Perhaps it is not driven by money so much as the perception of money.
Permalink Send private email JoC 
September 7th, 2006 10:20am
"Do they bring the girl home and hope she's not a screamer?"

In my personal experience I don't have the least concern about it. I'm a man. If I fuck, I fuck, SFW? It isn't as if I'm ashamed of it, why should I be?
Permalink Send private email JoC 
September 7th, 2006 10:22am
"Other countries have three, four, maybe in rare cases, five generations living under the same roof. So what gives here anyway?"

Which countries? India I can see, but in most of Europe young people get out as soon as they can afford to.
Permalink Send private email Flasher T 
September 7th, 2006 10:22am
Ok, let me rephrase... Why are honkeys so damned anti-family? :) j/k
Permalink Send private email JoC 
September 7th, 2006 10:24am
"The Japanese in particular were whom I had in mind."

You can't really project Japanese social patterns on the gaijin world.
Permalink Send private email Flasher T 
September 7th, 2006 10:25am
We're not talking about facts - we're talking about presumption.  The presumption is that if your parents move in with you it's because you're supporting them. The reality may well be different.

Also you mentioned class. It's worth noting that multiple generations living in the same household isn't unknown amongst the upper classes - but of course they've houses big enough that this isn't a problem.
Permalink Send private email a cynic writes... 
September 7th, 2006 10:26am
The average Italian lives at home with his mother until he marries and moves into an apartment no more than two blocks away.
Permalink Send private email Stephen Jones 
September 7th, 2006 10:31am
"The average Italian lives at home with his mother until he marries and moves into an apartment no more than two blocks away."

I asked an Italian about this. I'll tell you what he says, but overall I suspect that's a stereotype.
Permalink Send private email Flasher T 
September 7th, 2006 10:33am
Well, JoC, the "bringing a girl home" issue reveals another couple of myths of American life, I assume different from the Japanese.

You see, one mythos says you're not to have sex before marriage.  This means "authority figures" (your parents) are not supposed to support your having sex before marriage.  Thus your girlfriend is NOT supposed to 'sleep over' in the family house -- in fact, your parents are supposed to prohibit it.

And your girlfriend is not supposed to be impressed that you live at home as a 20-something either.  In America that does imply a certain lack of success, if not utter loser-hood.

If you think about it, having the 'kids' leave the nest, and buy their own places, DOES make a kind of sense.  Instead of a single household pooling its resources, now you have TWO households, whose houses are increasing in value.

This approach won't work well in Japan, where land is limited, and most land is needed for food production.

I try really hard to avoid my own "different is worse" tendency.  I can see the value in both ways of life, once you accept the conditions and assumptions that lead to that way of life.
Permalink Somebody 
September 7th, 2006 10:33am
"Thus your girlfriend is NOT supposed to 'sleep over' in the family house -- in fact, your parents are supposed to prohibit it."

Heh, I might've told this story before. I was visiting a friend in the UK, and mentioned my car crashes in front of her mother. She later told me that it was generally a bad idea to mention things like sex, alcohol and general tomfoolery in front of her mom.

The next morning I crawl out of the guest room to brush my teeth and see her boyfriend. I ask her later - I can't mention alcohol or sex in front of your mom, but she lets your boyfriend stay overnight in your room?

She just shrugged.
Permalink Send private email Flasher T 
September 7th, 2006 10:41am
I think if my parents lived with me, I'd go insane.

- They like the thermostat at 80F.
- They'd always be criticizing my choices (why didn't you buy the chicken that was on sale?  Because it tastes like rubber)
Permalink xampl 
September 7th, 2006 10:43am
I just think it's weird that people don't do it more. We are so obsessed with money and material possessions and it so clearly would allow people to have more of that.

At the cost of what? Dignity?

Yet people are willing to things far more unspeakable for money. We have no problem giving up dignity in tons of other instances...
Permalink Send private email JoC 
September 7th, 2006 10:47am
The "pioneer spirit" was a myth made popular with the "Little House on the Prarie" series of stories. Back in the "wild west" days, rugged individuals died because no single family can make what they need in order to survive in the wilderness. Their tools and clothing traveled hundreds to thousands of miles to get from the foundries back east to where the little slum on the prarie was located.

The first "rugged individual" tale in America was Walden by Thoreau. He made it seem that he lived out in the boonies and made it all himself. But Thoreau was really only camping out. If he needed supplies, he only had to walk about 2 hours to the local village. If his axe broke, he didn't make a new one, he walked down to the local village and bought one. Our space program is just like Walden: we have these guys who are just camping out in shiny white RVs in orbit, or off on the moon. Until they could make their own tools, they're just on a camping trip. That axe that Thoreau loved so much probably travelled hundreds of miles from where it was made to his hands.

This "rugged individual" myth permeates US culture to the point where people who've internalized it go postal at the line "it takes a village." We live at the end of a huge long logistics chain to deliver to us the things we need in order to survive. Like Thoreau, we pretend that we live by ourselves, and that we have only ourselves to blame if we have trouble doing so.

That huge long logistics chain is frequently called "globalization." We can only force people to trade with us at gunpoint as long as we stay there pointing guns at them. The minute we stop, the minute we let them take control of their own lives, they're going to stop doing business with us. And we'll call them the "axis of evil" for various values of "axis" and "evil."

We no longer make the clothes we wear - they get shipped thousands of miles.
We don't dig up our own oil - it gets shipped thousands of miles.
We don't make the diapers that go on our infants - they get shipped thousands of miles.
We don't grow our own food - that gets shipped thousands of miles.
We don't pump our own water, nor treat our own garbage and shit - they get pumped dozens to hundreds of miles.

In short, if it were not for the huge long logistics chain, we'd die. The only Americans who *could* survive would be the ones with bomb shelters, gardens and root cellars.

Next time you are at the store, pay attention to the "made in ___" portion of the label. Almost nothing you purchase is made in the US any more. The British kept control of the original colonies by requiring that the colonies only export raw materials, that the colonies only import finished goods from Britain, that no colony could be permitted to make finished good; and that the British Army would enforce this by destroying factories and workshops in the colonies.

We grew from being an economic backwater to a powerhouse by replacing imports with exports. Instead of purchasing carriages from Britain, we made our own. And we made our own wheels and fasteners and all the rest of the industries needed to support an industrial base. We were able to make locomotive and rail roads because that industrial base was around. We had vast amounts of raw materials to supply our factories. And, by the end of WW2, we had the only factories in the world that hadn't been reduced to smoking rubble at least once.

Instead of staying on top, we squandered it. We exported industries wholesale because destroying industry was more palatable to the CEO class than letting workers be unionized. That they'd rather impoverish America than deal with unions.

All it takes to shut down a globalized economy would be to damage the shipping portion until it all starts to unravel and disintegrate into a new Dark Ages. And that is why letting bush try to attack Iran would destroy not just *our* civilization, but all of them.
Permalink Peter 
September 7th, 2006 11:17am
Because as muppet says, money comes with a price ... freedom.

And there is a vicious cycle that those who live with their parents (in the homes they grew up with, no less) are perceived as being not self-sufficient, and so less socially marketable.
Permalink Send private email just me 
September 7th, 2006 11:21am
Peter++.

Though we do make enough food to feed ourselves.  However, even that is dependent on the 'oil' chain -- cut off the oil, we stop having oil for fertilizers, oil for large farm machinery, oil for pesticides, and our productivity drops.  If it drops 50%, probably the whole world is in trouble.
Permalink Somebody 
September 7th, 2006 11:58am
Mercentilism is so quaint. What's wrong with countries specialiing? Your roofer and your dentist are specialists. No one expects you to do your own roof, or pull your own teeth.
Permalink Send private email just me 
September 7th, 2006 12:18pm
"What's wrong with countries specialiing?"

With all your eggs in one basket, you have a single point of failure.
Permalink Send private email JoC 
September 7th, 2006 12:52pm
(shrug). chickens specialize ... an animal either produces eggs or sperm. They seem to be doing ok.
Permalink Send private email just me 
September 7th, 2006 12:59pm
"I just think it's weird that people don't do it more. We are so obsessed with money and material possessions and it so clearly would allow people to have more of that."

One's own home is a fundamental possession, much more desirable (for socially adjusted people) than a MacBook Pro.
Permalink Send private email Flasher T 
September 7th, 2006 12:59pm
>What's wrong with countries specializing?
Because it means that you depend upon them for your survival. If they decide you're on this week's axis of evil, and embargo oil/food/swizzlesticks to your country, it means that you starve. You die. It is as simple and as primal as that. You cannot depend upon any other country in the world for your life. And you'd have to be insane to give everyone veto power over your life.
Permalink Peter 
September 7th, 2006 1:23pm
You could have an equitable stake in a multi-generational home. Once the bubble busts, and we buy a few duplexes, this is what I plan to do.

Maybe that materialism I expect to feed a nuclear setup actually does the opposite. Everything must be _mine_. No sharing. Sharing sucks.
Permalink Send private email JoC 
September 7th, 2006 1:26pm
Um, no. Trade decreases the chances of ending up on the axis of evil list.
Permalink Send private email just me 
September 7th, 2006 1:52pm
It's quite troublesome to plan anything if there are many adults with different lifestyle and schedule.

It worked before industrialization where everyone worked on the same farm. But now, housing is getting smaller and smaller, it's hard for several families living in the same place.
Permalink Rick Zeng/Tseng 
September 7th, 2006 1:57pm
>>> It worked before industrialization where everyone worked on the same farm. But now, housing is getting smaller and smaller, it's hard for several families living in the same place.

Can some mod start nuking the imposter... The real Rick-bot is from Hong Kong and presumably knows about living in little tiny apartments.  The real Rick-bot is also Chinese, and the multi-generational thing is _way_ more common among Chinese families than white.

One of my brother-in-laws is still living at home.  My wife lived at home until we got married.  When my other brother-in-law first moved to Silicon Valley he and his future wife and her sister shared a house for a while.  His wife's brother moved back in with his parents after getting divorced so that his parents could help take care of his kids.  They only moved out recently (after 15 years) when he got remarried.
Permalink Send private email Wärd 
September 7th, 2006 2:24pm
Vancouver is different.

Try going to Hong Kong and see how many people can cram into one apartment.

(Quite a lot, but that's before my time)
Permalink Rick Zeng/Tseng 
September 7th, 2006 2:42pm
Americans have been kicked out of some of the finest countries in the world.  Moving out and getting your own place is a natural extension of that.

To be fair, my sister and her husband are living with his parents.  This is entirely by design; they used to have their own house.  But by moving in together they were able to afford one of the largest houses in town, in a town not known for its small houses.  They throw parties on their front porch that are bigger than what I can have in my whole house.
Permalink Send private email Clay Dowling 
September 7th, 2006 2:51pm
How does two families owning a home together work? From the mortgage point of view?

My sister and her boyfriend discussed getting a condo together but the logistics were a nightmare, as the mortgage can only belong to one non-married person and one person's income caps the size of the mortgage fairly low.
Permalink Send private email just me 
September 7th, 2006 3:02pm
Possibly set up a small corporation that buys the house, and the two familys then own the shares in whatever percentages they agree on (must total 100%)
Permalink xampl 
September 7th, 2006 5:20pm
Yeah that's what i meant that it was a logistics nightmare. :)

Perhaps one can apply for a bank loan together that way, but I don't think you can get a income tax deduction as it's the corp that legally owns the property.
Permalink Send private email just me 
September 7th, 2006 5:27pm
Marketing hates the extended family and the tribe. How the blue blazes do you run a credit check on a community, sell a can opener to every cook when they all share the one, sell new houses, sell, sell ...

How can you move the salaried to a new location if they retain strong localising links?

It's communism, socialism, tribalism  - call it what you like - and it's being ripped out as fast as it can be worldwide.
Permalink trollop 
September 7th, 2006 9:18pm

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