2013/06/20

The Worlds obsession with Growth

I read a great article in M&G this morning by Khaya Dlanga. Khaya warns the government of the impending revolt that may result from continued misdelivery, corruption and the general lack of upliftment of the poor whilst the rich get richer.

What got me thinking though was the browser URL of this piece - "2013-06-19-khaya-dlanga-dear-anc-leaders-enough-is-enough" - and the converse for those trapped in poverty while Pretoria burns money on all and any indiscriminate thing (think Nkandla, ASA's huge bill for a sports awards ceremony, the Arms deal - that appears to be unravelling somewhat etc. etc.).

Enshrined in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights are the rights to
"Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services"
Amongst other things including security, political freedom, etc. etc.

In Khaya's article he mentions that South Africa is the most unequal countries in terms of wealth in the entire world. What? How did we get here?

I believe that the problem lies with our obsession with growth, the word itself suggests expansion, upping some infinite ante, greed at its worst. Our corporates are continually chasing more sales. Our government wants growth in tax revenue, GDP etc. etc. "Banking the bank less" to make more profits and bigger bonuses for big fat executives.

When is enough, just that, ENOUGH?

Every time some greedy oil executive board increase the price of fuel there are the inevitable increases in products downstream and every time we justify these with the increase in input costs. It's like we are on a huge treadmill that just keeps rolling on. The rich get richer, the poop inevitably poorer. It is a never ending cycle unless you step off the band wagon and say "enough".

Maybe it takes just a few people saying that they have "enough". No, I am not falling for another cellphone upgrade scam and by the way the Office Suite I have on my laptop does more than I need it to and maybe I can just hang on to the computer I have because it is good enough. And that fancy car is just not required.

It takes a lot of cajones, but it sure would take some pressure off the pressure cooker we find ourselves in.

Hugh Macleod used to talk about "living frugally". It does not mean forgoing all luxury, but it does mean living within your means. It means not having credit cards and spending the banks money.

I recently helped my son with his studying. He was learning about the San and Khoi people of Southern Africa. The San had no concept of ownership and it was not until the Khoi herders moved in that the idea was introduced. Sure they lived at the extreme of frugal, but they certainly lived with few rules and no law at all. This was also because they lived in such small groups that you pretty much knew who stole your bow or shagged your wife - and justice was most likely swift.

With the Khoi arriving with their cattle a new model for society was introduced. The chap with the most cattle was the boss. A further enhancement came with the influx of farmers who added to land ownership to their cattle endowment. And that is pretty much when the rot set in.

Now we live from paycheque to paycheque. Most of our income is devoted to managing our indebtedness to banks and the balance to buying more stuff we don't really need. Materialism is distraction from having to deal with our real issues. But one day the earth will just say "Bugger that" and shut down and where will all our stuff be then?


Post a Comment