Well...it wasn't an "argument" at all, and pretty far from the point you seem to think was being made. You can live forever without a cellphone; you'll be dead in three days without water. If you're trying to prepare for the future, do you invest in iPhones or do you try to ensure that you'll have water?
It's a choice. There may be a "right" answer, but only time will tell what that is. Me, I'm struck by how many people in this thread seem perturbed by others having a different take on the question.
Fair enough. I do both. I look at financial security and resource security as related but separate things, and I act accordingly. The question was about financial security, so I focused on financial arguments. And I read the other posts in light of financial security and evaluated them in that light. So, I am making some assumptions based on that. I am assuming that the vast majority of the people involved in the thread are middle-ish class economically and living in a first world country with a fairly stable infrastructure. That allows for pretty good separation of financial security vs resource security, and assumption that basic survival needs are met through technology at the moment.
Sure, I can live forever without an iPhone, and probably will. My water is comfortably provided by the city, and is very affordable. If something were to change enough that my city water stopped, I live in southern Oregon. I collect rainwater to abate summer gardening costs and load on the common supply. I live less than two blocks from a large creek, and a couple miles from a river, so a temporary loss of water would be a minor inconvenience. If the shit came down so hard I'd lose city water for good, I'd get the fam up into the mountains behind town, close to one of the numerous mountain lakes. Which just happen to be full of tasty tasty trout. And surrounded by tasty tasty berries and veggies and deer. And morels.
But we were talking another financial downturn. And that almost certainly wont stop the water, although it may make it more expensive. A financial downturn looks more likely than an acute infrastructure collapse, so that's what I plan for.
The reason some of us judge others' plans or lack of plans for financial hardship is that we often bear the cost of the poor plan. Right now, the same percent of my dollar goes to pay for the 11% (an increase of 4% from average) of my neighbors who dont have work as it did before the price of gas doubled and all other costs rose with it. Right now, my house's value is lower than what I owe on it because thousands of other people did not pay enough attention to their finances to see that they could not afford a half million mortgage on a Rogue Valley salary, much less on the "salary" they are now getting from the state, read, me. At least the housing and credit collapse has also collapsed interest rates, so I am even more comfortably financed than I was, which is good, considering the mortgage is a bit upside down.
Yes, we are all connected, one human family. For some, that just feels good to think. For some, it is a call to take responsibility for ourselves and those immediately around us. I fall somewhere between those two extremes.