I came across a rather interesting article on the internet today titled, "Why Americans are Broke". It is worth a read and I'd like to echo the ideas in it with a few more examples.
The article focuses on two brand new trucks, the Chevy Colorado is the cheapest truck that GM sells in America, the Wuling Zhengtu is a truck that GM sells in China. Prices for the Colorado start above $25,000 while a brand new Zhengtu can be purchased for not much more than $9,000. What is the difference between these two trucks? Here is a list of a few of the Chevy Colorado's standard features:
All of these things are nice to have, but none of them are present on the Wuling Zhengtu. The Zhengtu comes with the bare minimum features for a truck. If it breaks it will be easy to repair, in this regard it is far superior to the Colorado where it is more economical to buy a new truck than it is to fix a malfunctioning transmission. Sure you probably won't be towing anything with a Zhengtu, but most truck owners don't really need to tow things, they just want something they can throw the occasional recliner into the back of, or something they can drive all the garden plants they bought at the nursery home with, or something they can load up with firewood to prepare for the winter. It is even much lower to the ground than the Colorado is so it is much easier to load and unload.
The Zhengtu perfectly fits the need of most Americans who claim they need a truck, the Zhengtu is also priced in such a way that it is perfectly affordable to most Americans. Too bad Americans can't buy it. This is why Americans are broke.
Consider some of the features present in the newest and most popular smartphones:
Are any of these things necessary? Of course not. Having a phone with three cameras on the back is ridiculous, unless you are a professional photographer you don't need that high quality of a camera, and if you are you'd have one that wasn't on your phone. That extra storage space your phone has is only there because of the increased size of the pictures you take with these high quality cameras you don't need. All you really need a phone to do is call and text people, the ability to use a web browser and check your email is nice of course, but as for most other things you'd find people doing on a smartphone, you don't need an app for that.
Also what these companies are doing with their software is also criminal. I used to use an iPhone 6s that had 16 gigs of storage. After years of careful use it was still perfect condition in terms of hardware but during that time Apple had updated their operating system so many times that 13 of my 16 gigs of storage was taken up by that bloated operating system. My phone did not become unusable because it was broken, my phone became unusable because Apple forced it to be.
Now if you are an Android user don't think you're superior because of that specific iPhone problem. Realize that unless you jailbreak your phone you are unable to control whether or not you can get a new update. You may have a phone that is perfectly capable of running the newest version of Android but it is your phone service provider who decides if you get that update. If they want to encourage you to buy a new phone they can just block you from getting the new update to encourage you to buy a new phone.
This is why Americans are broke, they are tricked or forced into buying smartphones with features they don't need.
There are really only two types of new laptops you can buy these days, cheap flimsy underpowered ones that easily break, and expensive powerful laptops that look durable but are also equally easy to break. Both of these laptops are incredibly difficult, if not impossible, to repair or upgrade. These machines are not meant to last you for years, you'll be lucky to get three out of any of them, they are meant to be replaced and discarded.
These days there is no new laptop that is comparable to the ruggedness and repairability of a classic Thinkpad (it is no wonder used Thinkpads are becoming so popular). This is why Americans are broke.
We have been tricked into having a positive view of net neutrality, but have you considered the alternative? Consider this hypothetical situation: You subscribe to the lowest tier Netflix subscription and you decide that you want to watch some movie that just got put on there so you log into Netflix and watch it in 1080p which is the highest resolution you can stream with with the lower tiers of Netflix. At the same time your neighbor decides he wants to watch the same thing and he has the highest tier Netflix subscription so he watches it in 4K which uses four times the bandwidth that your 1080p stream does. In this scenario who should have the higher internet bill, you or the guy who uses four times more bandwidth at a given time? Obviously the guy who puts more strain on the network should have to pay more, but with net neutrality in place you are forced to pay the same.
5G is another place where people are getting ripped off. I'm not here to tell you whether or not 5G radiation will give you cancer or something, but I will tell you that I don't understand the purpose of it. In what scenario does a regular person need a mobile internet connection as fast as they claim 5G can be? With the current state of the internet I don't understand the need for such speed, LTE can already facilitate speeds fast enough for just about anything a normal person would actually use.
But maybe I'm just uneducated on that issue, maybe 5G is necessary in large cities with high population density because there are more people connecting to the current LTE towers and they are all bogging down the network, again I don't actually know if this is the case, the only justification for 5G I've ever heard is the simple "faster is better" argument (you don't need a car that can go 200 miles an hour if you're only allowed to go 50), but the large city argument does seem like it could make sense. So if that is the case, why is 5G a part of my phone bill? I live in a state with a lower population than most of the largest cities in the country. The town I live in will probably not have a single 5G tower within the next five or even ten years, I'd probably have to drive one hundred miles to even find one. Why are my rates the same as those of people who live in places where 5G is already there? We should only have to pay for the services that we use or are available to us, not the services that we may use if we had the right type of phone and lived in the right area.
We are forced to pay for things that we don't use, this is why Americans are broke.
These are only a few examples (I didn't even bring up how our tax money is being wasted) and I'm sure if we sat down to think more about it we could find a dozen more similar examples of how we are forced to pay for things we don't need. If I only want a truck or a phone or an internet connection that only provides the bare minimum I should be able to buy and use one. There is no reason that we should have to pay for unnecessary "standard" features in products and services that we will never use.