This blog often links most of the grave problems facing our civilization today back to our modern culture of consumerism – that debilitating collective mindset which gets us to destroy our environment, our economy, our society, our health and our personal finances in the hopeless pursuit of happiness-through-consumption. This omniscient force is the primary resistance to financial security and will be dissected a little further in this post.
Consumerism evolved naturally within our modern fossil-fuel-driven debt-based system of perpetual exponential economic expansion. If people continuously want to consume more, there will be a great incentive for people to produce more, thereby steadily increasing overall material affluence. This system worked well for a few decades while we could consume easily accessible planetary resources and heap on more and more debt, but it is becoming increasingly clear that the party is finally over. And yes, after decades of thoughtless indulgence, the developed world is now slowly waking up to reality with a massive debt-hangover.
So, while consumerism at least made a little bit of sense in decades past, it now makes absolutely zero sense. It is therefore quite obvious that we have to deal with this evil. And yes, no weapon is as effective against consumerism as a solid commitment to building financial security. Let’s take take a the three primary foes this weapon is meant for:
The average developed world citizen is exposed to as much as 5000 advertising messages per day, all promising the same thing: consuming this product will make you happy. Well, if this were true, we would be living in heaven right now. But no, unless heaven is filled with fat, sick, broke, stressed and depressed people, we are nowhere near the Pearly Gates. So, next time you see one of those colorful advertisements promising you Utopian happiness with the purchase of some totally unnecessary consumer product, see it for the joke it really is. Advertising actually becomes quite amusing from this viewpoint. Give it a try.
Our entire financial system functions on ever-expanding quantities of debt. This fundamentally unsustainable system has reduced the science of economics to nothing more than a set of mechanisms through which people can be convinced to borrow and spend more and more money. Right at the top of this list is the lowering of interest rates and the loosening of credit right up to the sheer insanity that was the buildup of the 2008 housing bubble. Please don’t add to this already humongous problem. Borrow responsibly.
The economies of developed nations have gradually devolved into one big service sector specializing in bringing goods manufactured in developing nations (under conditions that can often qualify as modern day slavery) to debt-laden “rich” people. Indeed, consumption has never been easier than in our modern age with all of its credit cards and shopping malls. Overcoming this threat is quite simple really: cut up your credit cards and stay away from malls. No rocket science.