Why do some people say that New Zealand doesn’t have the capacity to be self-sufficient when ends_abruptl on reddit said that New Zealand is self-sufficient in all areas apart from non-essential medicines?

Answered Dec 25, 2018

New Zealand is dependent on other countries in two directions.

Automobiles, trucks, and construction and farming vehicles are imported. Along with petroleum to run them. There isn’t sufficient domestic oil production, although there is a large offshore natural gas field.

Wellington’s newest fleet of commuter trains was built in South Korea. The old fleet was built in Hungary. The new double-decker buses were built in China. Auckland’s newest commuter trains were built in Spain.

Electronic items, ranging from mobile phones to hospital equipment are imported.

Pharmaceuticals are imported. And any of them is “essential” to the people whose quality/quantity of life depends on them.

Sure, we could produce all of the food we need, plus more.

That is the other direction of dependence. This country is very heavily oriented to exporting food, particularly dairy and beef. We need the income from this, and therefore, are dependent on other countries as customers.

One of our greatest vulnerability points is the risk of a food production problem.

There was a serious incident a few years ago, involving allegations of botulinum toxin contaminated milk powder being sold to China. That cost a pile of money, and damaged the country’s reputation, even though it apparently turned out to be a false alarm.

If anyone ever finds even a single case of Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (mad cow disease), whole countries may refuse to accept any more beef exports, for an extended time period. The economic impact of even an accusation would be very serious.

There is a problem right now with Mycoplasma bovis (not found here previously), and a mass-culling of dairy cows. The national impact is about reduced production of milk powder for export.

If other countries don’t want to buy our food, we can’t buy their oil, cars, equipment, phones and other consumer goods, etc.

New Zealand is also heavily dependent on other countries to send us tourists bringing cash into the country.

New Zealand educational institutions (of highly variable level and quality) are also heavily dependent on other countries sending us students (who are effectively viewed as tourists).

Why are people stressed out over the concept of small private living spaces? When “hotel sized rooms” come with common spaces, that can be an awesome living arrangement.

Updated Nov 24

Many people are calibrated by their childhood circumstances.

Some adults are also calibrated by situations where they didn’t have to personally pay any rent (e.g. non-employed housewives).

They are stressed because they are whiners with a sense of entitlement.

Some of these people grew up in middle class situations, in detached houses with yards, etc. They think that, the minimum that they personally have ever had, is the minimum survival level.

And it isn’t just “millennials” or any of that, “kids these days” labeling.

I know that I harp on this, but it is yet another point where females are trained to feel victimised by anything and everything. It is an issue of training females to expect material circumstances higher than one’s own ability to pay. Plus, of course, the incessant competition of desperately needing other females to be at the bottom-of-the-barrel, economically and socially.

Some induhviduals grow up in one detached house, on a quiet suburban street, and then decided that that is the definition of housing. Separate bedrooms, lounge, kitchen, bathroom, etc. Until adulthood strikes.

Some induhviduals are leeching housewives, with breadwinning husband/slave paying for that house. Until the divorce.

They feel horrifically victimised at only being able to afford a one-bedroom flat, and even expect their neighbours (in identical or even smaller flats) to feel sorry for them.

I have even encountered women who acted offended and victimised by my housing floorplan. Starting with a fear that, some new acquaintance might be able to afford a larger/nicer apartment than themselves, or live in a nicer suburb.

There are actually induhviduals who will almost immediately demand information, about either your general area, or even your exact rent payment, and then tell you, “It’s a one-bedroom!” Because they thought that was the bottom-of-the-barrel minimum, and need you to be down there.

I have encountered induhviduals who claimed that, a one-room-plus-bathroom studio apartment was equivalent to a cardboard box on the street. Or that, it is somehow impossible to sleep and cook in the same room. Including, “That’s not even surviving!”

Some will demand sympathy from neighbours in identical flats, acting like special induhviduals who are entitled to better housing than low-class dirtbags like you.

Personally, I have spent most of my adult life in modest housing. This includes years in university halls, and years in one-room-plus-bathroom situations, and one-room-with-toilets/showers-down-the-hall situations.

I lived a few years in the latter situation, in a rundown 8×8 foot room, with a sink in the corner. It was cool, because it enabled me to live in a high-cost city. I would do so again, without hesitation.

I have seen articles decrying listings of housing that included under-stairs closets, and also plastic capsules stacked into a regular flat. But they actually looked OK, for the rent and central locations.

Yes, I would pay $180/week to live in a stacked plastic capsule in central Auckland, or in a closet in London, or in a tiny hovel in San Francisco.

Generally, I just want floor-to-ceiling walls and a locked door when I am sleeping. And a decent barrier when showering or using a toilet.

Black market jobs (i.e.: dealing drugs, selling guns, etc.) are often referred to as ‘easy money.’ How easy are they, really?

Updated Oct 27

Read the original “Freakonomics” book. The authors encountered a street gang which had kept detailed records of money earned by each member. The last-step, standing-on-the-corner type drug dealers were earning very little, and some even had other jobs, such as fast food.

Selling drugs requires having a wholesale connection, who may be rather aggressive. It also often involves gang association. So you cannot just set up your own independent operation.

That level also has a high risk of violence from rivals (including in their own gang), and from desperate addicts, along with a high risk of arrest.

Have you ever interacted with someone who was desperate for heroin or cocaine, and who didn’t have any money? It isn’t fun.

Illegally selling guns means that you need to obtain them from an illegal source, such as burglaries. And your customers will be the types of people who illegally buy and use guns.

At whatever level and type of crime, you will be surrounded by other criminals, possibly including those with zero hesitation to initiate violence. Sometimes just because they are in a bad mood today. They may be rather agitated with their own fear of arrest. And drug use leads to all kinds of irrationality. You cannot exactly call the police to report that someone robbed you or attacked you while you were doing something illegal.

A lot of crime requires openly or semi-openly doing illegal things in public spaces, or in private spaces that aren’t yours, interacting with strangers or very superficial acquaintances.

If you are robbing convenience stores, the owner may have a gun behind the counter.

Armed robbery of banks is glamourised in media, but has a very poor risk/reward ratio, in terms of physical danger and prison time vs the amount of cash in a teller’s drawer.

A lot of crime (especially with close proximity to violence and drugs) is actually a really bad deal for most of the participants.

What’s the hardest thing you’ve endured being poor?

Updated Jun 27

It’s a combination of things.

Constant, unrelenting stress and worry. A sense being incredibly alone and sad.

Inability to take care of your health properly. This can include vital things, like replacing eyeglasses, or going to a dentist, or getting a prescription filled. No matter how sick you are, you can’t afford to take a day off work. Living in unhealthy housing, and being unable to run the heater in the winter. Poor diet, down to going hungry. Proximity to people who have communicable diseases, like tuberculosis. Living in fear of even a minor accident, or a toothache that won’t stop.

Brutal working conditions. You will accept any job, for any payment (including piecework or commission). You will tolerate dangerous conditions. You will take daily abuse from the people around you. You may face casual “zero-hours” scheduling, or unstable rostering. You will work 80 hours per week.

Barriers to accessing credit, which could provide a temporary safety net (e.g. if you are out of work for a few weeks).

Barriers to accessing education or training which could lift you up. You can’t be in a classroom, because you have to be at work.

A terrible cycle involves cars. You can only afford to buy one that is in bad mechanical condition. And you cannot afford proper maintenance. The car’s condition may be physically dangerous, as well as increasing the risk of a financially devastating accident (for which you cannot afford insurance). If you need that car to go to work, and/or use the car on the job, needing a repair or replacement means that your income also stops.

Even if you don’t have an accident, you may be caught driving without legally mandated insurance, and punished with a large court fine. Or you may get a “fix-it ticket”, and pay a fine because you can’t afford the repair.

Cars are also crime targets. Even a totally ratty-looking, beat-up car may be subject to theft, vandalism, etc, which can affect you severely when you are poor.

Social judgement from people who aren’t poor:

“You must be a bad person if you would live in that neighbourhood”.

“You must be a bad person if you can’t call the Bank Of Mommy And Daddy to make a withdrawal, or just go back and live with them for free”. Or alternately, they assume that you really can do so.

There is a lot of stereotyping, and some people get very confused at encountering a combination of low-income/blue-collar plus being able to fire up more than a couple of neurons.

A strongly female-biased point is being treated like you are doing something morally offensive by working more than 8 hours per day, 5 days per week, and/or enduring rough working conditions. This is partly due to middle-class and affluent girls growing up with the idea that being female is an exemption from having to shoulder full financial responsibility. It’s also a competition issue, where some women are offended at the implication that you might earn even one dollar per week more than them. Or even just that you are raising the bar, in terms of facing difficulty. Women with a comfortable situation provided by parents and/or a husband will treat you like your existence is offensive.

Some of these women will directly tell you to kill yourself.

This isn’t just a matter of people being mean-spirited. It shrinks your pool of potential friends and social support networks. That reduces the information about job openings, or other resources, and reduces your ability to list personal references on job applications. It reduces the number of couches that you might sleep on to avoid being on the street.

You may have people assume that you come from a comfortable, middle class background, assume that you are still in that situation, and they will interpret your poverty-inflicted world-view as being just a spoiled bad attitude.

The other side of this is the pool of people that will be around you. When you are working poor, your most immediate threat is the non-working poor.

A low-rent neighbourhood is a high-crime neighbourhood. You will be surrounded by people who are violent, addicted, desperate, pathologically dishonest, deluded, low-functioning, etc. You may be surrounded by drugs.

The working vs. non-working issue makes you a target. Non-workers will be very excited to start up a new “friendship” with you. With the delusion that your paycheque is for an effectively infinite amount. And that you can easily just hand over cash as fast as they can spend it. Addicts are especially bad about this, but non-addicts, and even little old ladies on old-age benefits will do it. Some people will engage in sexual come-ons (even if it doesn’t match their orientation), to get your attention. They will engage in guilt-tripping, lying, manipulation, gaslighting, emotional abuse, and, in some cases, escalate to violence.

Your social pool will also include high numbers of untreated mentally ill people, who cannot be relied upon, and may be varying levels of delusional.

You may be tempted to do something dishonest or illegal to help pay the rent.

You may feel like all of this will continue, without relief, for the rest of your life.

Do women abuse child support?

Updated Jul 2

Yes. I was one of the children in such a situation.

It isn’t “politically correct” to tell the truth about this. But that is also the case with numerous other issues.

Anyway,

My deadbeat mother decided that she was entitled to use her children as a permanent meal-ticket.

She exercised her legitimate right to leave my father. “Leave” meaning about a thousand kilometres, for years.

Then, she used the threat of court action to extort my father for most of his income. He had a lower standard of living than she did. Despite the fact that he worked, and she didn’t.

Daddy had to get up and work all day, every day, at a demanding job.

Mommy sat on the couch all day, every day, watching television.

She bled him dry, every month.

The “children” (teenagers) were past the age of legal and practical ability to be left alone. These weren’t some kind of toddlers in need of supervision.

Mommy developed the delusion that she could force her “children” to continue living with her, after the age of 18.

Mommy believed that she could force her “children” to remain financially dependent. She believed that none of us would ever get jobs or our own apartments.

Mommy believed that her “children” would remain “children” and that Daddy would just keep paying and paying and paying. So that she could continue using her “children” as a meal-ticket, and avoid employment.

Mommy believed that the child support free ride would just continue for the rest of her life.

Mommy anticipated that, when her “children” were 30 or 40 years old, we would still live with her, totally dependant, and she would continue extorting child support from Daddy.

Mommy also engaged in Malingering By Proxy, and hoped to collect disability welfare for her three little retards (me and my siblings). Her 18th birthday present to my sister was a welfare application.

I was designated as “The Bad Kid” for daring to get a job, and my own apartment. Because it meant that Deadbeat Mommy couldn’t demand “child” support payments, or welfare payments, based on me.

Then, one day, the youngest “child” turned 18 years old.

Mommy got a little surprise.

Daddy slammed the brakes on the gravy train, and brought the free ride to a screeching halt.

Deadbeat Parasite Mommy got introduced to reality.

ETA: People keep posting comments asking what happened next.

What happened was that, she had to finally get a job, and face the world as an adult. She was apparently a toxic workplace bully.

Why do so many people hate their jobs?

Updated Jun 8

It depends on the person and the job, and can range from very general to very specific.

Some people set a sort of baseline when they are children.

Maybe they grew up in a fairly comfortable environment, without perceiving overt financial stress. They may have perceived that their father just sort of disappeared for hours every day, and a middle-class standard of living just magically appeared. They may assume that the breadwinning parent goes to a nice, friendly, low-stress environment, to hang out and socialise with coworkers all day, and receives a nice big paycheque for dong so. They may assume that an employed person simply shows up to a job because s/he feels like it, when s/he feels like it, and expends whatever level of effort s/he feels like. Many children are absolutely coddled and shielded from adversity, stress, hurt feelings, etc, and grow up assuming that working adults are also coddled.

The child enjoys the comfortable standard of living, without having to work at a job, and may perceive everything as being “free”, and automatically provided without having to be earned. By the time they reach legal adulthood, many of them have developed massive senses of entitlement.

Then, all of a sudden, they are expected to get a job. This may involve putting forth more effort than ever before, dealing with more demands, dealing with people who aren’t their friends or family, and who aren’t going to coddle them. They may feel offended by the idea that, an employer isn’t some kind of substitute parent, with an obligation to hand over money simply because the entitled person needs some. They may feel frightened by the threat that they need to either get their work done, and act civilised, or they may be fired by a boss who doesn’t care if they end up homeless. Or they may completely fail to recognise this risk.

And, on top of that, they may experience a lowering of their material standard of living. Such as going from a nice house to a small apartment. They may have had zero concept of how hard their parent(s) had to work to provide the comfortable childhood.

A female-biased issue is the social message that, adult women are entitled to a breadwinning husband or boyfriend. Many girls grow up with a non-employed housewife mother as their primary adult role model. If they grow up and can’t find a spouse/partner to support them, they feel victimised, like society broke its promise to them. This is one aspect of the general attitude that, everybody else is accountable to the hurt feelings of the self-centred little princess, and that, those feelings are evidence of actual victimisation.

In contrast, most boys are raised with the message that, employment will be required of them (for self-support, and as a condition of receiving attention from women) and that nobody cares about their feelings on the matter. This is actually a major source of men’s advantaged position, because it pressures them to act like responsible adults, take care of themselves, and to avoid leeching off of others. It also pressures them to avoid whining or expecting sympathy about it.

Another issue can be ignorance, and denials of the connection between behaviour and outcomes. I have actually encountered grown women who believed that, all jobs pay exactly minimum wage, for (at most) forty hours per week, and that, a job is only viable if it is something that the laziest, least-skilled person could do. This feeds a sense of helplessness.

Many people have a coercion mentality, and will only put forth the absolute minimum effort needed to have housing, food, and a television to watch. Thus, they feel that, the time and effort spent at a job is something that they are being coerced into with threats to their survival, and to the necessities which they feel entitled to receive for free.

Some people have massive competition issues, and may feel enraged at the thought that someone else earns more money, or has better working conditions, or higher status. This relates to feeling victimised by their own situation.

Another female-biased issue is about hours. If you tell a man that you work more than forty hours per week, and/or that you are paid on productivity, they are likely to accept it, due to socialisation to prioritise work in their own lives. In contrast, I have encountered women who treated me like I was doing something horrifically dysfunctional and even evil, by working long hours, and/or having productivity-based earnings. These individuals acted victimised and enraged by my work schedule and/or payment structure. It was like I was “raising the bar” for adult responsibility, and winning some kind of competition for who earns more money. Some got offended at the idea that, I might use skills/knowledge/aptitude that they lacked. Some women’s aversion to work is so severe as to feel personally victimised by somebody else’s job.

Yet another job-hating point relates to coworkers. Somebody might feel envy, and engage in tall-poppy syndrome. This can include resentment on, “How dare that university student have the prospect of escaping this job after graduation”, to asking intrusive questions on your personal life, and feeling offended if it is different to theirs (e.g. if you are single and childfree, while they have unplanned kids consuming much of their paycheque).

There is also, of course, the aggravation of coworkers gossiping about your personal life. Along with the cliquishness.

Some people have a compulsion to establish that, everyone around them is incompetent. I once had a coworker who ran her mouth constantly, LOUDLY, about how stupid practically everyone else was, over incredibly petty things, to the point of distracting us, and herself, from getting work done. She hated the job, and frequently stated the need and intention to move on to something better, but is likely still right there, spewing the same negativity, and inspiring other people to hate the job due to her behaviour.

On the other side, constantly bullying coworkers (and/or supervisors) are a very legitimate reason for hating one’s job. I have experienced coworker bullying in front of elderly clients, and had an environment where the bullying increased physical safety hazards to those clients and to the staff.

One coworker may hold an incredibly petty but openly seething grudge against another coworker, which toxifies the atmosphere for other people who aren’t even the target of the grudge.

Some people love to complain to supervisors, about a coworker that they don’t like, up to the point of lying to try to cause the target to be disciplined or fired.

Some people like to slack off (unscheduled cigarette breaks, standing around socialising, etc), and leave you to do all the work.

Some coworkers are thieves, down to stealing your lunch (including the box) out of the break room. And, if you leave another lunch in there tomorrow, they will steal that one, too (including the box).

Some coworkers (and customers) have incredibly poor communication skills, and will blame you for the resulting difficulty. This is not necessarily involving immigrants with language issues.

Other interpersonal negativity can involve a coworker who brings their personal problems into the workplace. It could be someone who is fuming and directing contempt towards you, and then you overhear her on the phone, regarding the argument she had with her husband this morning. Or somebody carrying on and on about their children. I once dealt with someone who ranted non-stop about her divorce, for almost the entirety of every shift, and had been doing so for over a year.

At one job, it was known that, a certain area of the building was infected with racial/ethnic resentment, directed against european/caucasian/white people, to the point of refusing to engage appropriate teamwork.

Some people think that their particular job is beneath them. This includes people trapped in low-level jobs due to poor attitude, lack of effort, lack of skills, and/or lack of interpersonal civility.

I would expect that, there are people whose job-hatred includes the fact that they may be required to suppress compulsive electronic behaviours, such as playing with their telephone, or scrolling through FaceBook, playing video games, or watching pornography.

Many jobs actually do have poor physical and interpersonal conditions. I have had jobs with disgusting tasks, physical demands (and attendant risks), noise, hazardous equipment and substances, outdoor environments, etc. One job featured many close encounters with drug addicts and other desperate criminals, with a high risk of assault (including homicide) and armed robbery. Emphasised by actually experiencing an armed robbery.

Working with the public, and also some business-to-business situations, will expose you to a constant stream of obnoxious, irrational, inappropriate, demanding, complaining, time-wasting, bigoted, harassing, moronic people. Many enjoy bullying workers, and the power dynamic. If you speak with a foreign accent (no matter how clear or easy to understand), get ready to have strangers interrogate you about it every five minutes, with some even getting openly angry (interestingly, yet another strongly female-biased pattern, based on interpersonal competition and tall-poppy syndrome).

Jobs involving vulnerable people (children, elderly, disabled) may include the risk of being falsely accused of predatory, criminal behaviour. Even an accusation, appearance, or suspicion is extremely dangerous. This risk can be stressful, no matter how innocent you are.

I have witnessed people working in adult education (e.g. lower-tier polytechnics and community colleges), who had to tolerate incredibly obnoxious student behaviours (including stunning levels of classroom disruption), while being pressured by management to maintain a certain percentage of passing grades, to the point of zero academic integrity. I’ve also read some real horror stories about teaching primary and secondary school.

Bosses, supervisors, coworkers, and/or customers may subject you to sexual harassment. Or may take an incessant attitude that, certain jobs are only done by men, or are only done by women, and that you are breaking some kind of rules if you disobey this restriction. If you are a woman who dresses modestly and simply, you may be harassed for that, and, in some situations, run afoul of openly sexist dress codes.

Some bosses and managers are chronically abusive and/or incompetent in a range of ways.

Many jobs actually do pay very poorly for the level of time and effort involved. I once had a boss who openly sat down with me, and asked questions to the effect of, how little he could pay me, and I would still just barely afford food and shelter, while doing exhausting physical labour.

Some workplaces are extremely disorganised. This can also relate to poor orientation procedures, mass poor communication, scheduling glitches, etc.

I once had an employer who played games with taxes, including falsely categorising employees as independent contractors, leading to problems with the taxation authorities, including unexpected debts. The two owners were generally engaged in other forms of fraud, as well. There were also repeated, incompetence-based instances of paycheques bouncing. Add on sexism and possibly illegal/discriminatory firing.

Some jobs are casual-scheduled, without any set number of hours per week, and situations like being awoken by the telephone and, “Somebody called in sick. Can you be here in 20 minutes? We will be short-staffed if you don’t”. You can refuse, or might not be reachable, but this will quickly result in them ceasing to offer any work at all (without officially firing you). Some will also set rules prohibiting you from getting a second job.

Many people fear any sort of change, and that fear helps to trap them into situations (jobs, locations, relationships, etc) in which they feel miserable. Some claim to have an attitude that, the “right” (mature, responsible, stable, common-sense) path is to just get the first low-skill, low-wage job that comes along, and accept staying there for one’s entire working life. Some will denigrate you if you have ever voluntarily resigned from a job (calling you an immature, irresponsible, unstable moron deadbeat), even if you had immediately walked into a much better-paying job with better conditions. Or if you resigned to relocate to a more prosperous geographic area, with better job prospects. Or if you resigned in order to devote your time to higher education, with the goal getting a better job. They will denigrate you, but it’s really about envy, projecting competition, and their own fear and refusal to take responsibility.

What are the main causes of child poverty?

Updated Mar 9

The main cause of child poverty is obvious and simple.

However, it is not “politically correct” to talk about.

The main cause of child poverty is (drum-roll, please) poor people having children.

The child of poor parents will, by definition, start out poor.

Poor adults who have children will raise their family living expenses, so that the same paycheque provides less per-person resources. And, of course, this gets worse with more children.

Both parents will severely impair their own ability to work or pursue higher education.

A low-income breadwinner supporting an unemployed spouse and three children may remain trapped in poverty much worse than a single person, or a childfree couple.

Poor parents (especially dependent stay-at-home mothers) may stay in bad marriages or relationships, which can also impair every aspect of life (for themselves and for the children).

The bad relationships could include being geographically, financially, or psychologically tied to the children’s’ grandparents, who may function as unpaid child-minders, but who also may be toxic and abusive.

Poor people who don’t have children (yet) may be living in social environments where, having unplanned children whom you cannot afford, is viewed as normal, or even universal.

I once had a low-paying, bottom-of-the-barrel job, where some of my (always female) coworkers were confused, and even resentful, at my polite, “no” when they asked whether I had children. Shortly after I started working there, some coworkers already knew without asking, so it was obviously a point of gossip.

I was actually viewed as a “bad” poor person, for the socially-offensive act of, not producing any poor children.

I’ve also encountered women who seemed to think that, a low-income university student should be resented specifically for being childfree. The tacit implication was, “We want you to have some kids and drop out”.

A woman who doesn’t have any children is viewed as owing an explanation to everyone else. And being poor is not a socially acceptable explanation.

Even middle class and affluent women (especially if they regret their own children) believe that, poor women are morally obligated to have multiple, unplanned children before the age of thirty. They don’t care about low resources, lack of support systems, lack of a spouse/partner, or health or genetic issues. And they especially don’t care about consent.

The hatred of childfree women is so severe that, most of society would actually prefer an unemployable, illiterate, violent crackhead, living in a cardboard box, and popping kids out like a Pez dispenser.

People with low cognitive ability, low self-control, low future-planning-ability, low actions→consequences thinking, etc, will tend to gravitate towards being poor, and staying poor. These characteristics also generate higher risk of having unplanned children in their late teens and early-20s (when the derailing effect is severe).

Add in massively broken educational systems, where people can graduate from high school, still lacking any clear understanding of reproduction and contraception. Poor children live in poor areas with poorly-resourced schools and libraries.

Poor children have poor nutrition, and also higher rates of prenatal exposure to cigarettes, alcohol, and other drugs. This can impair their thinking and behaviour when they are old enough to become sexually active.

Poor adults have poor children.

Those poor children grow up, and have another generation of poor children.

It is considered socially acceptable to state that, wealth gets recycled from parents to offspring.

But, if you point out the hard reality that, poor people recycle poverty the same way, it is often viewed as somehow cruel, as if poor parents are just passive, innocent victims.

Is it rude to ask people how much they pay for rent? Why or why not?

Answered Jan 20

Depending on the exact situation, it can been taken as extremely rude.

It comes very close to simply asking them how much money they earn. While some people live far above or below their means, most people have a strong connection between income and rent (or mortgage) payment amount.

There can also be a tone of competition, where they are afraid that you might be able to afford a nicer place than them. At the other end, they may be offended if you pay less than them (i.e. you are under less financial stress).

When the person asking has been a new coworker, or some other random person whom I just met, I consider it very rude. When people immediately ask this type of question, it indicates a very intrusive attitude in general. I have had a few instances of people thinking that they had personal authority to dictate the location, floor-plan, and price of my apartment.

A related, but less obnoxious issue is when a new person immediately asks about neighbourhood or suburb. Sometimes it’s just making conversation or looking for commonality. Other times, it is a very conscious socioeconomic question, including judging you as either a degenerate, or as a snob, depending on where you live.

The one exception that comes to mind would be among low-income university students. In my city, there are some student housing providers that have standard prices published online. Also, some students have a sort of camaraderie around being poor, and having modest housing.

Generally, I avoid intrusive questions of acquaintances and coworkers, in any area of their personal life that doesn’t directly affect me.