We Need Something More Productive To Do
I have been wanting to write something on this for quite a while, but have not been able to put it all together into an article that would really express my feelings of chaos towards the modern consumer world. Consumerism was all I knew until I started traveling in my early twenties through many “Undeveloped Countries”, and “Developing Countries”, but since then, I have seen the effects of consumerism change these societies, and I do not like it very much. I have been accused on occasion of being the “Anti Consumer”
The funny thing is, I have never been able to escape the consumer model, I have sold electronics and cars, been a travel agent, and done tech support for computer companies, I also taught for a few years, but really I was just teaching people how to make money in the modern consumer society. I still sell things for a living on my website, I tell myself it’s OK since we all need clothing, but the real reason I do it is because it’s he only way I know how to feed and clothe my family.
Wikipedia defines Consumerism as the following:
” Consumerism is a social and economic order based on fostering a desire to purchase goods and services in ever greater amounts. ”
I had someone mention to me the other day how some of the very religious countries I have visited such as India, Laos, Nepal or Myanmar spend far too much energy on their religions, some of these country’s religions employ over 80% of their work force in temples and other religious activities, and with so many National religious holidays, no one really has any time to do any work.
I responded to the comment that hardly anyone does any necessary work in our society anyhow, last time I checked, less than 15% of the western population actually has a job producing anything at all. The work most people do is just paper shuffling, managing, serving, selling, and general nothingness just to keep us all busy. The only thing most of us ever actually produce is more waste for the landfills.
My friend responded something to the effect of, “What are all the super religious people producing then?” I told them they were producing “Peace of mind, happiness, and hope”.
Now I am not a very religious person, and do not feel that utopia would be created by everyone simply running out and joining the closest religious institution to their house. I actually appreciate the critical, and often out of the box thinking a less religious society is able to produce. I am just saying that sometimes the very religious, sometimes referred to “Backwards” or “Overly Religious” do quite well with producing happy places for everyone to live, that are far less destructive to nature than consumer societies, and in case your confused, we are a part of nature, also needing clean air and water to survive.
I can hear people saying to me now “Where I live is clean and beautiful. ” and maybe it is, there are still some places far enough away from the car fumes everyone is used to breathing, clear skies free of smog, haze and acid rain without industrial chemicals and fertilizers tainting the streams near their house, and still have beautiful lakes you can swim in and drink at the same time some places on this earth, but there are not very many of them. People have gotten used to where they are and can no longer dream of a time without our very polluted, over consuming, industrialized world.
I saw this video below recently, and I thought it did a pretty good job of summing up the modern world, and consumerism. I vote we make things better that last longer, and stop throwing out things that still work.
Have a watch, it is worth the five minutes.
So what do we do then if we scrap the consumer society?
The following video has all sorts of ideas about what is right and wrong in society, and all sorts of ideas about how to fix them. I am not in favor of overthrowing those in power, for I believe seeking power will always be in some man’s nature, fighting it would only lead to unnecessary bloodshed, since once the rulers are thrown out of their castles, it will then be occupied by another, so what is the point?
The movie below is two hours long, and again it is worth the time, if you do not have two hours right now, you may want to come back and watch it later, I do not agree fully with all of it’s solutions, but I do agree with the problems it points out:
I am surprised where only 30% of the world actually needs to work for all of us to have the things we need, and yet so many people work until they are dead, or face starvation, doing things that in the grand scheme of things don’t really do anything for anybody. Why can’t we all just work two days a week or retire at 35 or something instead? I would rather see people producing things that we can all enjoy, than filling out forms and filing them away where no one ever sees them again.
Rather then the bureaucracy, inflation and consumerism we have, I would prefer to see a new age of art and innovation, a new Renaissance. We don’t need to throw out the monetary system, but we do need to stop printing more money if we want to end inflation. Since it seems that giant banks tend to control most of the world, it would be nice if they allowed us all some slow, measured, and painless change. Ending inflation would give us all much more free time, free universities would give us the means for new innovation, and hopefully through it all, society can find more productive things to do.