I make no secret that I despise consumerism. However, It is not because I despise capitalism or the idea of purchasing goods, but rather, I despise the cycle of consumerism and it’s ability to destroy wealth in people.
The first reaction may be to think of wealth monetarily in terms of donation, and other money-related activities. But I am of the belief that money has very little to do with actual wealth. Money comes and goes in even the richest of people. Personal wealth is built in to a person’s character. Their day to day life leaves them with a certain surplus of a trait or skill that they can give back to humanity. That is true wealth.
Wealth I define as “having something to give”. “Something” could be anything of value, including money, but also including time, creativity, love, and other intangible things. I believe this definition of “wealth” is the wealth which we are all searching for, but we commonly accept the money-based definition to fulfill it. Perhaps because money is more easily obtained than the intangibles of love, creativity, and time.
Money can easily be obtained in a capitalist society, all one has to do is trade their time and work to obtain money. How does one obtain love, or creativity?
The capitalist system offers no simple prescription for the attainment of these things. Accordingly, money appears to be worth less than than love and creativity, as these are more rare.
One starts out in a consumer world looking to advance one’s self from a position of poverty. I believe poverty is the driving force behind consumerism, and that it is the default state of consumerism as well.
People obtain in consumerism to have “more”, and thus to be farther from poverty. But “more” is a subjective term. One can never truly obtain “more”. because the whole idea of “more” is “more than”. You can never have more than you actually have, can you? And so the consumer always eventually comes back to feeling like “more” would be better, and that staying at the current position of attainment is staying closer to poverty.
Poverty could be summed up as “having less than”. As such, I believe poverty continuously stays a threat through consumerism because our actual definition of poverty in this country seems to rely on “less”, which has the ambiguity of “more”, and never considers balance. It only says “less than you currently have”. THus we are posed with a choice when deciding whether to engage in consumerism, do we want to have more, or less? The psychological impact of such a question will indubitably almost always end with the same response.
I believe poverty has little to do with lack of money. My goal is wealth in one’s soul. I believe true wealth can be ascertained by answering one simple question: Do you have something to give to the world?