I have a theory as to why non-capitalist types behave and offer the advice they do. Before I tell you, I must take you in my little time machine back to my college days.

During my college years I encountered a girl named Sara in one of my classes. I thought Sara as a bit unusual in that she had purple hair, metallic objects piercing numerous areas of her face: nose, lips, ears, tongue and eye lid. She wore heavy dark makeup (usually red or black) and dressed in dark colours all of the time. Initially encountering Sara was a bit intimidating but eventually I got to know her and began to formulate an understanding of her personality.

Sara, it turns out, was a rather frightened and timid girl. Because of my preconceived notions and prejudice it never even occurred to me to consider this girl as chaste but she indeed was very innocent. I ultimately discovered that her whole persona existed to protect herself from the judgment of others.

Sara would much rather you dislike her for her piercing or her purple hair or her “weird” dress than for you to judge her for herself. She wore her “costume” as a shield against criticism from others. When someone did criticize her, she would lash out with witty retort and self-satisfaction. I don’t know how she got to that point or what factors were behind it but I understood how she existed during her college days; she really didn’t want to be burdened with being popular or beautiful or anything else superficial –she just wanted to get an education.

Fast forward the time machine back to today and I see similar parallels between Sara’s costume and the ones worn by non-capitalists.

A non-capitalist creates the “frugalist” persona in an effort to deflect criticism. The “burden” of creating extra income is lowered if your standard of living is lowered. If you can convince everyone not to buy a new car then your burden of buying a new car is gone. If you can convince everyone of shopping at second hand for clothes then your burden of shopping for clothes is gone. If you convince everyone of not buying an HDTV then the burden of owning one is gone. If you can convince everyone of not being superficial then your burden of superficiality is gone.

In theory, this is probably a great approach but in practice it would lead to economic collapse. In theory, Sara’s “costume” was great to get her through college but in practice she’d have a hard time getting a job in the corporate world.

Keep in mind that I’m not passing judgment on anyone. I really don’t care what kind of car a person drives, the type of clothes they wear or whatever. I am simply trying to apply psychological behavior to behavioral finance and what drives some bloggers out there.