How much does it take to live?

(Jane Williamson) #143

The air we breathe is not free, hence the gilet jaune demonstrations.
There is a price to pay for defeating Climate Change and it is certainly true that certain sections of society are in a better position to deal with it than others.
Consumerism is king at the moment, possibly due to marketing.
I remember the huge uproar we had when we refused to allow our daughters to have Sylvanian Families due to a huge marketing campaign on television.
I have a wry smile that an ex Professor of Marketing is now rethinking priorities after a lifetime of trying to make us change ours.
I hope that you can find a good solution to your problems and continue to live in France.

(norman clark) #144

Throughout my life I believed and still believe that Marketing is a good thing. Without it we do not create demand, without demand we do not create products, without products (& services) we have no employment.
It is easy to denigrate any activity, and yes many products have been promoted without worth - but amazingly few of those survive very long - they are tried and discarded. The best, most useful survive. None of us has such foresight that we can see everything that could or might happen.

Change priorities of course, and we would be mad if we didn’t in the light of new information .
I was once involved with a company that produced Cellulose packing film - cigarette packs and food pckaging. This came from cutting down trees by the million. Then we got involved in polypropylene - plastic from petrol. Much better for the environment as it saved trees was the wisdom of the time. Packaging that helped us keep food longer and saved waste - how bad was that combination?
None of us knew about plastic bottles and how that would develop - but it was safer to use than glass and cheaper, so products were reduced in price - again the wisdom of the time. More products became available using plastic and plastic packaging. More products meant more jobs even if it also mean more automation. Cause and Effect.
I will never apologise for my career in Marketing. Those who misused it, and there were and still are plenty, didn’t and don’t last but perversely the sheer fact that Marketing persuaded people to try products was always the acid test, and those that didn’t live up to expectations or hype died much more quickly.
Yes, getting people to change their priorities was part of it, and if I recall you also grew up after the War years as I did? If so you would also recall that a lot of wartime priorities needed changing - notably in health and healthier foods, nsulation, coal fires etc etc. I will never be ashamed of my part in changing that either.
I will stay in France as I have been here in spirit and physical presence since 1982 I have lived and worked in many other places, but have not found a place better - for all its foibles.
People are ranting on about Macron being a Dictator - utter and absolute RUBBISH. They should go and live where these people really exist before opening their mouths to show their ignorance.
Back to priorities - I would be a very odd person if mine hadn’t changed over the years. The only thing that has changed now, is that I really couldn’t care less if others don’t change theirs as long as it doesn’t affect me.

(Jane Williamson) #145

It was said that the health of the nation was never better than during the war.
I understand your point of view, but supermarket shelves are stocked with far too many different types of the same product.
We cannot ask upcoming economies to act with restraint unless we set a good example ourselves.
We should be using marketing to promote less food wastage, good old Ministry of Information.

(Peter Goble) #146

Norman you make a very persuasive case for your craft, and it made me think, which is always a good thing, especially at my age when thinking can get stuck in a rut.

As I see it, and as you explain it, marketing harnesses people’s creative instincts and energies, providing individuals with a means to livelihood. The superfluity of many marketing duds does contribute to waste of energy and resources, and the problems of waste and resource-depletion haven’t kept pace, perhaps.

You are a man of your time, and times have changed and are still a-changing apace, but with your long experience you obviously still have a worthwhile contribution to offer, and I hope you will. :+1::grinning:

(norman clark) #147

Hi Peter, yes all that and a bit more. You mention waste which is an issue but there are creative people out there with some at least answers. In Hungary I worked with a small company who recycled soft drinks packs, and pressed them into boards, and made school desks and forms out of them very cheaply, and I have a long-term friend - also Hungarian who has come up with a devastating effective metod of dealingwith oil sludge on land and sea - which uses no chemicals at all, operates out of portable containers. In his life he was a Computer Expert and Bank Executive. I have known dozens who have tried new and different ideas well away from their usual livings.
Creativity is everywhere, but these sorts of people are often mocked as Dreamers and Impractical, and sometimes they were, but I took a keen pleasure in working out tangible plans for how they could work. _ even wrote a small book with the help of Saatchi & Saatchi _posing propositions and questions to help entrepreneurs think in Marketing terms. Some succeeded many didn’t - but they tried, and I don’t think you can ask any more of anyone than that.
I am grateful to have worked early in my career for 3M who allowed people massive latitude and funds to pursue dreams and ideas, whilst I worked out the possible marketing strategies that could work, and the potential returns. Real mental challenges and absorbing. People didn’t always take my advice and succeeded in a different way - and teaching me something else in the process. What more could a man ask for?
It took me halfway round the world and I ended up teaching the subject in two major Business Schools and wrote another book in the process. Amazingly perhaps when I consider that I left secondary school at 15 years old and finally retired when the contracts ran out in Vietnam when I was 65 - a clear 50 years! I was still loving the business right up to the end! I made good money but was never rich in cash terms, but I wouldn’t have traded my life with anyone else - even with the bad bits. I remember one of the Crazy Gang in my youth who had a terrible act who said something I never forgot - something along the lines of ‘Be Fair, without the rubbish you wouldn’t appreciate the good stuff’. I think life is a lot like that.

(Peter Goble) #148

Very inspiring follow-on from your earlier post, Norman, thanks for sharing it. The titles of your books, please? :books::+1::grinning:

(norman clark) #149

The Health of the nation was never better? How do you work that out? When I was very young and in my first ten years of life i lost young friends to Rickets (malnutrition) Polio, TB, Measles, Scarlet Fever, and Infantile Paralysis.
Average lifespan for a man was 70 years old (calculated on 5 years after retirement age for men. National Health didn’t come in until 1948 so you were on your own. Living in the country improved your chances that’s for sure.
Those who did survive and I was one obviously did have something in our gene pool that came out at this time, and I recognise that we were the biggest generation ever - most of us well over the National average of 5’8" of the former era. So I would agree that we didn’t have the sugary rubbish or even sweets through the War Years, and there was a balanced if boring diet regime, and most of my compatriots never developed ‘sweet tooth’ Anyway sweets were the last things to come off ration in 1953, so we would have had very little to satisfy that desire anyway.
Yes of course there are too many rubbish foods on the market, but people buy this stuff because they like it - Coca-Cola to me is an obscenity but has been around for well over 100 years (and yes there was cocaine in it).
But would you really want to go back to being told what you could eat, drink, wear by a Government? I don’t think so. Marketing is a system whereby we are offered choices, but it it NOT a system of Coercion. You do not get punished if you don’t buy the product.
As I say it is easy to blame a system rather than accept responsibility for our own choices. Today we live in a fantastic world where we can check on just about anything and everything - fors and againsts. We forget that Marketing also brought this to us, and other things like over the counter medicines, toothpastes, genuine lifestyle choices, as well as the worse things like tobacco.
If we are adults it is on us to make choices and sift through the evidence that is out there. It is alo on us as adults to try and inculcate decent judgements on children and pave the way for the generations to follow. That this no longer seems to happen is not the fault of any system, least of all Marketing.

Bad workmen invariably blame the tools?

(norman clark) #150

Peter, Most recent is my own Memoirs on which I am drawing a lot in my responses to jane which is on amazon
‘The Accidental Ad-Man 1940-2015’

Others are now out-of print I fear 'The Basics of Marketing Communication ‘Internally Published by AGECom, Estonia (Saatchi Partners), and ’ Fitting in the 4th P’ It is possible they are on some second-hand sites, but I really don’t know.
I have been toying with the idea of converting my Powerpoint Seminars into texts, or just releasng them on DVD and I might do that next year if I am still around! Apart from that I do have a shared Author Page on Amazon (common name Norman Clark!) with some very august authors, but my works are now largely indulging my passion for vintage Posters in different Market Sectors - and these ARE unashamedly self-published. I published a trilogy of three different booksthis year on ‘Motoring 1880-1920’ containing Posters, Images and Texts France, Germany and the USA these are also on Amazon.

Then for the WW1 Centennial I produced two A5 format, self-illustrated books Fighter Aircraft f WW1, Tanks, TRucks & Armoured Cars of WW1’, and ‘WW1 Paying for the War’ - a Collection of War Loans Posters from around the World. I am currently converting a Powerpoint Presntation I produced for the Centennial of WW1 into a text ‘Propaganda in WW1’ which I will publish after I get my eyes fixed in January (currently I have cataracts in both eyes which accounts for the typos you can undoubtedly see (better than me!)

Another text is awaiting completion ‘A History of Propaganda’ and I am also updating and revising a mass of new poster books if I live that long.

My 'flagbearer ‘Vintage Advertising -Old Automobiles’ a ludicrously expensive hardback tome with some 900 illustrations over its 500 pages I believe is still available through Mosaic Publishing Pty Ltd, Australia. It is over 3KGs in weight, and very expensive to buy and post Its raw manufacturing cost was over US30, per volume, so by the time margis, distribution etc were added it only became available to a small raft of people. It is still a bookof which I am immensely proud, which took over two years to put together. It was procaliled by Jay Leno in 2010 to be the Motoring Book of the Year. As far as I am aware though it has still to repay its production investment, but as only 1,000 Special Edition copies, numbered and handsigned, it maybecome an investment - but probably after I am gone!
Self-Publishing has enabled me to share my passion with others with far less, almost zero investment other than time. I also enjoy the process as it reminds me of my working days. It also keeps me off the streets and the brain cogs turning, so I will undoubtedly continue, also I am being pushed to return to doing more Fine Art Illustration, so I have plenty to occupy my brain.

Well you DID ask didn’t you?

(Peter Goble) #151

@Norm1: “Well you DID ask…?”

:grin::hugs:… and you gave unstintingly and in abundance, Norman…:books::books::books: for which thank you!

I think WOW! is my own first reaction, you have gone full throttle in your creative enterprises, and have had a lot of fun in the process. Big :+1:to you, and long may you continue to flourish. Hope you can get your cataracts sorted soon and effectively. Best wishes, Pete :slight_smile:

(Michael McClure) #152

I didn’t understand my marriage either but that was because I was drunk in Las Vegas.
Sounds like a cliché but it’s true.

(Jane Williamson) #153

What you have done is very far from the marketing/advertising which pushes ‘stuff’ down the throats of the gullible.

(norman clark) #154

Hi Peter; I think you encapsulate the whole thing with ‘and had a lot of fun in the process’ - exactly!

Kindest regards,


(David Rosemont) #155

Plenty of houses like that at Scrignac 29640

(Peter Larkin) #156

Hi Norm. I am a person living on the equivalent of the “minimum veillesse” which is a calculated amount for 1 person 833.20 - as being supposed to be equal to the minimum pension a person needs or a person on extended unemployment or a person on full disability. Depending on your situation - you may qualify for this and other types of State help that can add a little to it. I am married - From what is written online in French 99% of it says that for 2 people - this amount should come out to about 450 euros more - ie that they should be paying us both as unemployed - me being 70 and handicapped/disabled and my wife needing to help me get by 1/2 time at least - except - a) they don’t pay for that kind of help to spouses - they would to a sister (it’s insane - welcome to insane france 101) and b) my wife is 10 years younger than me - so even though she is ready to work - she will never get hired in the tiny town where we live because her french leaves a lot to be desired and many areas are not equal to others when it comes to serving their customers with foreigners who are all in all supposed to be bringing money into the economy - not taking it out. In a few more years they can climb up and pay her retirement equivalent. I could write a book on this web-site about the dark underbelly of the french medical system but right at the moment I am trying to recover from suicidal type depression after dealing with that subject again so I am going to need to avoid it right now. What I wanted to say is I own my home - You can - it’s true what everyone has said so far - find that many meters2 for that much money in many places - prices are down right now because of the Brexit folks who are leaving France is far outpacing the Brits coming and they have driven the market down from the good old devaluation just a few years ago - it seems. So with owning my home - not dealing with rent - when I add up what living costs are - there are utilitities - taxe fonciere, insurance, average gas and car inspection - repairs etc - everything that you don’t consume via your stomach - for me and my wife comes to about 55-60% of the 12 x 833.20. And the rest goes to food. As I tried to relate - my wife and I BOTH have to live on that. Having said that - we have almost 100m2 in an attached village house in the middle of the historic old town part of a relatively prosperous and lively little town - we can get around hardly driving - by bicycle and walking. My wife rides the bike - dutch/danish style to the food store. So my car driving is coming in under 8000 km per year. She is an incredible human and unlike many others with her skills - she scavenges - apples, plums, figs, walnuts, pears, etc. in large quantities in season from abandoned trees. There is a LeClerc - a Leader Price and an ALDI within 1 km from home and a mini Carrefour at 60 meters. Chose a town with an ALDI - LIDL - Leader Price and a LeClerc - the last is a necessity - the formers are really absolutely necessary if you think you want to get by within a budget - without the former and at only LeClerc prices - your food bill can double. We can’t afford restaurant life - which makes us very abnormal. When you notice that almost all the people in town in the restaurants are in them more than once or twice a week and you begin to count restaurant profits and the amount on the plates and the bill - you realize there are other realities at work - like how many workers are reimbursed by their employers for their food at restaurants that will come out to hundreds of euros each month. There are tricks to surviving on 833.20 - and counting your budget and knowing where and how to shop and prepare food. If petrol will cost you 1 tank in 5-6 weeks or 5 tanks or more per month… The answer to your question is - Yes you can survive on this amount monthly in France but you have to be discriminating and buy your wine at Leader Price. - you can stretch that amount by 50% increase and throw in a couple restaurants and easier to prepare foods. And as a millionaire friend said more than once - it’s almost too difficult to spends so much as to live on the interest on his savings - in short - between 2000-3000 euros - you could have trouble spending much more than 2000 for a couple to live - or between 830-1300 - you’re in fair shape - and 1500-2500 and your are between comfortable and up there on the hog… able to forget your budget (for 1 person that is) - or a restaurant per day and trips monthly to discover new places. and break the boredom of dismal winters.

(norman clark) #157

Thanks for that Peter - very comprehensive. I pursued the official help routes, but essentially I couldn’t go along with, or meet the requirements for various reasons - not least of which you had to be absolutely without any money before you could even ask to qualify for help - which is fair enough. So no assets (convertible or savings). and certainly not owning your own home. Also whatever you did qualify for was a loan repayble from your estate - so nothing to leave for your family or Cat’s Home.!

As I say understandable that those with the least should qualify before anyone else, and I don’t have a complaint about that at all. So I have put in train other arrangements.

Thanks again to allwho have contributed to this, I am sure it has been helpful to others than just myself.

(norman clark) #158

Thanks for that Peter - very comprehensive. I pursued the official help routes, but essentially I couldn’t go along with, or meet the requirements for various reasons - not least of which you had to be absolutely without any money before you could even ask to qualify for help - which is fair enough. So no assets (convertible or savings). and certainly not owning your own home. Also whatever you did qualify for was a loan repayble from your estate - so nothing to leave for your family or Cat’s Home.!

As I say understandable that those with the least should qualify before anyone else, and I don’t have a complaint about that at all. So I have put in train other arrangements.

Thaks again to allwho have contributed ti

(anon53589976) #159

I fully agree. When i see or hear of the wantonless spending of some folks in the UK and listen to them complaining i can only shake my head. Having lived in numerous EU countries over the last 40 something years i have learned to livein compliance of the rules and regulations. Most improtantly to live withn my means.

(Jane Williamson) #160

If you save for your old age as governments want you to do, you pay for everything yourself.
Those who have been profligate and then end up with very little savings are then scooped up into the
welfare safety net.
We have always waited until we could afford to buy what we wanted.
We have never been impressed by flashy wealth.
We avoided living on estates where the main occupation on Sunday was washing the latest model, now on lease and adding further to the national personal debt.
If we paid more for our house, we were happy to live in a beautiful place all year round and not take expensive holidays.
I cooked good meals for us and hoing to a restaurant was a real treat.
I have seen young people on UK tv claiming that it is hard, well guess what, it was hard for us too.
They can start moaning when they have to pay 15% on their mortgage which is what happened to us!

(Teresa Shipley) #161

We too paid high mortgage interest rates but the difference was we could afford to live on one wage if we had to. Youngsters now have limited progression in the workplace, their future pension prospects are not good, childcare costs are expensive. And now they’ve got years of austerity to face because of Brexit.
We were lucky even if we had to count the pennies we had pennies to count.
I don’t envy the 20 to 40 age group I think they mostly have a tough life.

(Nellie Moss ) #162

It does amuse me at times what girls at work consider priorities. They will moan about being hard up but think nothing of getting hair extensions or their nails done