The two major things that drive the US economy are personal consumption and military spending. With this post, I will try to convince you that is a basic problem for us as a country. It thwarts happiness and is a wasteful way to live a life. But the biggest problem is that for too many of us it is the ONLY thing driving our lives. More money, more stuff.
Ironically this is true throughout the economic ladder from the richest of us to the poorest. We think that if we can just get a few more dollars to buy more stuff everything will be better. Most of us have been thoroughly indoctrinated into consumer driving capitalism. For many of us, contrary to what the philosophers say, money can buy happiness, at least temporarily. Or so we believe…
For those on the lower end of the economic spectrum it is another flat screen TV; for those on the upper end, it is a new $50,000 car to replace the two-year-old one we currently have.
Believe it or not, there are other parts of the world that take a very different approach to capitalism. They don’t depend on all of their citizens spending more and more year after year. Instead, much of the profits of their version of capitalism is used for the overall good of the country and its citizens. Those countries have an infinitely better infrastructure. Potholes and failing bridges are not the norms for them. Even more importantly they provide health care for all their citizens and security for their senior citizens. Every statistic taken shows that they are much happier than we are even if they don’t have multiple storage lockers filled with junk.
How do we as a country get out of the “more and more” mentality and into something that makes us happier? That is the question of the day for me.