David Price
4 min readMay 4, 2021

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Democratic Happiness

Charlotte Lapalus

“The only way to have true choices on a daily basis over your life is to reduce your dependence on the dollar,” said Bob Wells, a real-life nomad who plays himself in the Oscar-nominated film Nomadland.

“And until then, you won’t. You’ll do whatever the dollar tells you you have to do,” he told The Current’s Matt Galloway.

Wells said that from a young age, people in the Western world are taught that living a “quality life” means getting a job, raising a family, buying successively bigger houses, and working most of your life to enjoy retirement in your final decades.

“You’re going to give away the 60 best prime years of your life for the 20 poorest years of your health,” he said.

“That’s a quality life, that’s what we’re told. And that’s just one great, big, enormous lie.”

But he said the audience for the advice he gives is predominantly older, and in financial trouble.

“A lot of us that age can’t find a job. Why would an employer hire us instead of a 20-, 30-, 40-year-old? They just won’t,” he said.

Many people he speaks with are surviving on social security benefits, which isn’t enough to cover basic expenses in many places, he said.

“So I offer a way out. I say, ‘Here’s a way you can live on even your $800 or your $1000 a month.’”

— Written by Padraig Moran.

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One should respect public opinion in so far as is necessary to avoid starvation and to keep out of prison, but anything that goes beyond this is voluntary submission to an unnecessary tyranny, and is likely to interfere with happiness in all kinds of ways.

~Bertrand Russell, The Conquest of Happiness

It has become increasingly difficult in the U.S. to live a decent life as you age. The solution of living on the road is not appealing to me but I understand why it has become so popular. Foreign languages and foreign cultures are intrinsically fascinating to me so I’ve been going that direction for almost sixty years. I don’t plan to change. Even if we had money, I don’t think I would want to live in the States again, although I might consider another first world country like France.

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David Price

I write about creativity, loving, language learning and psycho/spirituality. I’m a longtime painter and reader.