Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Are we all addicted to growth....and money?

If a young person is asked nowadays what they would like to do in the future. A typical answer might be, ‘I want to get very rich, so that all my dreams will come true.’ Once I asked a more experienced person the question as follows: ‘Why do you do what you do?’ ‘Because I love the money.’ His response was. Or a slightly more subtle response may have been ‘I love my job because of this and this plus it makes me a lot of money.’ Another time I asked a lawyer about the recession. He laughed at me and responded, ‘what recession? I deal in bankruptcies and so as far as I am concerned this recession had made me a lot of money.’  He had a pretty nice Jaguar. ‘Having money makes me respected or looked up to by others’ I heard once. Another educated person (looking for a new job) said to me, ‘I just want to get very rich then spend it on helping other people.’
 
Are we really all addicted to growth, prosperity and money? Is it an innate right? If we all aspire to get rich, or for constant ‘growth and prosperity for all’ (a politicians favourite catch phrase); logically speaking there just would not be enough to go round let alone economically it just would not work. There is only room for a few of us at the top of the mountain. It is just not sustainable. Imagine the resources required from our planet. It would just fall apart. Anyone with any common sense would tell you that.
 
Again, these attitudes come down to the same old story where it might be possible that we are simply not asking ourselves the right questions where more often than not our crude aspirations far exceed our potential. There is a very simple logic to all this. I see it like this. It is not how much can I make to serve my own needs? It is more the case of how can I with my talent make a contribution to the needs of others? In simpler terms not what can I take but more what can I give. Offering something as opposed to wanting something. With this simple change in our own attitude and mentality; I am certain it has to be the way forward whereby ultimately reward follows in some form or another. We seemed to have forgotten our most basic principles taught to us as children; I want never gets.
 
Yet at the same time it is normal that as human beings we have needs such as food, water, warmth, a roof and ultimate security and education for our children. Nevertheless these are needs not wants.  Surely there must be a fine balance between this and our very own differing inwardly or outwardly desired attitudes? After all if there were no needs how would it be possible for any of us to offer anything? Clearly if a country has an expanding population; this means that a country’s population will require more needs, which results in an increase in money supply and increased jobs; in this case we can certainly support the theory of growth.
 
I don’t know about you but I am tired about reports on immediate profit, instant richness and this constant pressure on consumption and making money. It just seems to be leading us nowhere particularly in a time when people’s essential needs are more apparent than ever which deduces simple logic that there should be a lot to offer. Call me a maverick but I was taken by a recent BBC report about the President of Uruguay. He gave his entire salary to the poor and forgoes his lavish presidential palace etc and lives on a farm growing his own food. He must have the talent as he managed to become President of a sovereign country! He could not care less about the money, the status, or the typical trappings of power. He gives it all away. I don’t think he seems to want anything back for his service to his country. I am sure this person is happy and fulfilled.  I admire these kinds of stories. In these times of austerity, might it be possible for other talented people in power or positions of influence and even in business to show leadership of this nature?

Service is the rent we pay for living in this world of ours

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