An interesting chart from young Mr. Klein. He isn't that impressed, but mostly it looks to me like the American people are judging correctly according to their lives. A home computer really isn't a necessity for many Americans -- if you work at a more-or-less traditional job, and buy what you need from local stores, you can live without one. There are a vast number of Americans for whom the 'evolving nature of the economy' he mentions is both invisible and irrelevant.

Outside of certain cities, however, you mostly can't live without a car. There are a few cities where you can do so, and there are a few remaining farms that are genuinely self-sufficient (or have small towns or general stores within walking distance). Otherwise, if you don't have a car, someone else has to have a car for you -- for example, a senior citizen whose children or grandchildren will go to the store for them, and bring back the groceries.

The ones that are dispensable are: air conditioning, clothes dryer (or any major appliance), and microwave. I've lived without all of those at various times. We did the clothesline thing for quite a while, I've never liked microwaves, and obviously in China there was no air conditioning.

However, in the American South, if you are going to do without air conditioning during the summer it has to be because you don't really have to accomplish anything much. When Cotton was King, this was the growing season -- the hard work of planting and harvesting lay in the other parts of the year. It was possible to go to church meetings (this is famously 'revival' season in the South), or lay by the creek with your feet in it to keep cool. If you're free to do that, yeah: you can live without air conditioning.

Of the others, the clothes dryer really does limit the amount of physical labor most of the several major appliances. Having done without every major appliance at one time or another, the clothes dryer is the one that really proves to save time v. doing it the old fashioned way. Americans justly consider it more important than the other things.

Notice, though, that only 59% consider it a 'necessity.' 41% think they could do without one, if indeed they don't already do without it. The only thing that really is rated a "necessity" by almost all Americans is the car.

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