Consumerism

But Why?

 

We can easily blame circumstance and say that highly successful society tends to be a consumer of things and materials that are more expensive to show their success. But how come even the ones barely paying their bills are also trying to keep up with the Jones’ ?. It’s funny how the more “money” we have the more money we want to spend.  My parents had a very close family friend who was a pediatric physician.  He seems to be a really genuinely nice guy, but his lifestyle was just too extravagant.  I remember visiting his house which has two opposite stairwells, a theater in the basement and his own personal gym.  Yes, I am talking about an actual theater in his basement with a gigantic enormous screen and all that projector crap, theater seats and even a popcorn maker.  Of course this guy is making at least six figures worth of “mula” every year.

 

But what people don’t know was that due to his extravagant lifestyle demand, the large amount of money that he earns is still not enough to cover for all his expenses and as a matter of fact, he is actually in some deep debt (after his property lost tons of value during the recession).  Now, plague with various physical ailments himself he was forced to cut his hours from work and eventually went on disability  (imagine that).  It is now to the point that they are “struggling” trying to catch up with their very high “expenses” since the “cash flow” has slowed down significantly.   I think that there seems to be something really wrong with this picture.

It reminds me of my days working as an “I.T. go-to-guy” for a hospital in my town, it was a fun gig that just paid enough for my groceries at that time.  Anyhow, I became very friendly with the majority of the hospital staff and notice something about consumerism and false advertising within that community.  It was funny and interesting for me to notice that most of the nurses and mostly the nurses aids would drive the luxury brand new expensive cars while the doctors would usually drive their Toyota Camrys or a Honda civics.  Not that there is anything wrong with that, its a free world after all.  But, it showed a new light to me about the never ending “impracticality” and “illogical” consumerist society that we have in this country.

A brand new luxury car is a “Luxury,” which is created for “luxurious/wealthy” folks…  not for people making minimum wages or people with middle class income.   A good rule of thumb for “luxury” items to see if you can afford it, is to calculate if it’s ” total price” is about 15% of your total net worth.   Soon after that little bit of enlightenment, I found out my own way of determining  and differentiating a person with (actual) money with someone who just wants to “show” they have money.  I realized that a wealthy person has good “money management” skills,  hence the practicality of driving a Toyota, while the other guy making “minimum wage,” obviously values their “projected image” to the outside world rather than managing their “actual” money and their assets.  And I gotta say that I  have driven a Toyota all my life, and I think it’s the best bang for your buck (I am not endorsed by Toyota by the way, but I wish I was).

The History

 

Prior to the creation of the (early stage) monetary system which (evidenced) have shown to began in Babylon, the majority of civilization used the bartering and commodity exchange method. This basically means that people exchanged goods and materials for things or services that had the same face value.  Fast forward to the present time.  It is very important for us to not lose sight of the fact that half of the world’s population still lives in less than half a dollar a day.  It means that each nickel and dime is very valuable to these folks.  While us here in the western world are lining up for the most recent model iPhone, half of the world are just wishing to get enough food on their table.  I heard a pretty funny  but sad joke from a friend that I had during one of my visits in Malaysia when I traveled South-east Asia, and what he told me was that there are only three enemies in his hometown…  and that is breakfast, lunch and dinner.  If they get at least a couple out of the three, then it’s a very good satisfying day.

 

As they say, “You gotta hustle to eat,” to survive in this present World, therefore we need an income. There is no denying that we need income to survive and to feed our family.  So, we go to school get a degree in order to get a “practical” job that we do not really like or enjoy.  We work on our 9-5 with a sense of “emptiness” and “hate” towards going to work. And when we get our little paycheck, off we go to buy “something” than can fill our “emptiness” because we think that would make us feel “happy.”  It seems to me that there is always a need and a hunger for wanting “something” anything as long as it is something.  I have a friend, who loves his electronic toys.  He seemed to always want and willing to pay for the latest one even though his slightly older gadget still works perfectly.  When I asked him the question WHY… his answer usually involves telling me about the new “updates” of his new gadget.  Yet, these updates does not in any way shape or form have any significant effect on his PRESENT life… it’s just something “NEW,” something cool and interesting…   and something he can spend his money on..

The Ideology of 97% of the World is this:

 

MONEY + STUFF = SUCCESS AND HAPPINESS

Our needs in order to survive?

 

What is it really that we need in order to be comfortable?

The “Wealth”

 

Wealth means an abundance of valuable resources or material possessions. But we are stuck with the “IDEOLOGY” that wealth is an abundance of money and material possessions without a broad sense of it’s real value to us. It is outrageous to think that we can just go and spend so much money on the other hand a person somewhere in Africa who might earn less than a dollar a day has to be very careful with their money since they cannot afford to loose any little money they might have.  This is a very self-DAMAGING ideology.  Wealth can mean different things to different people.   A person can become financially wealthy, yet be very sickly or physically un-wealthy.  A person can be spiritually and physically healthy yet can be very morally corrupted.  What we need is a balance between all levels and qualities of the spectrum.  I grew up being a miserable and depressed child (who isn’t, right).  And yes, I did went through a deep depression that thank goodness I was able to snap out of before slashing my  own wrist or cutting my balls (that would have had a really bad result).

Plenty of people that have never experienced a deep depression have a hard time understanding or relating to my situation or to others, and that’s understandable.  It can be sometimes be very debilitating without proper help or treatment and most especially if those close to you never really understood your situation.  Part of it was having a dysfunctional family.  The love that I did not receive from my parents were given to me by my grandparents but yet it was not at all the same.  I never was medically diagnosed nor did I ever went to a health professional, because in my culture and community, it was almost considered a taboo.  It was suppose to be just “something” that you snap out of, a funk in which someone goes through but later on recover as they grow.   And this was a big mistake on my part.  I was more concerned towards the perception of “others” towards me, that I refused to acknowledge the problem and therefore endured years of mental suffering.

Advertisements