And that is not all. Apparently out of the 1001 people surveyed, 61% said they can’t live without their credit and debit cards. Are we really that addicted to plastic and endless credit? I know it is convenient to use Electronic Funds Transfer at Point of Sale (EFTPOS), but what happened to good old cash? It must be the other 39% who use it!
Here are some of the other astounding results of the poll, which by the way, was commissioned by American Express;
- 60% can’t live without their mobile phones (9 years ago most of us couldn’t afford or want one. They can have my phone if they like, I hate the thing!)
- 32% couldn’t live without their favourite bag (WTF?)
- 24% said that their laptop was their most treasured possession (not so bad, I suppose).
- 52% said they would be willing to live without watching their favourite TV show for a fortnight for the sake of their possessions? (not much of a sacrifice, really, get a grip)
- 48% would give up exercising (not a good idea at all)
- 34% would give up eating breakfast
- 11% would sacrifice time with their partner and, (might as well sign the divorce papers now!)
- 6% would give up showering for the sake of material possessions.
Here is the kicker. Fady Taouk from American Express said the survey showed that items such as credit and debit cards, mobile phones, and gadgets were no longer considered luxuries. “They are modern day essentials that provide convenience, peace of mind and security,” he said. What about the other 4-5 billion humans that don’t have these essentials and struggle each day to find food for the table? Get a grip Fady!
OMG, if these things are essentials, then we as a society have been well and truely (f)sucked in by the advertising & marketing strategies of global corporations. Forget Swine Flu! Forget Whooping Cough! Forget SmallPox (oh, thats right we did cure that)! The majority of us have caught a rampent case of Affluenza!
Now, wikipedia defines affluenza as;
affluenza, n. a painful, contagious, socially transmitted condition of overload, debt, anxiety and waste resulting from the dogged pursuit of more.
affluenza, n. 1. The bloated, sluggish and unfulfilled feeling that results from efforts to keep up with the Joneses. 2. An epidemic of stress, overwork, waste and indebtedness caused by the pursuit of the American Dream. 3. An unsustainable addiction to economic growth.
Now, wait a minute. There is that ecomomic growth example gets thrown around a lot of late. All forms of government seem to keep telling us that we must stimulate the economy, and increase economic growth. But doesn’t growth mean destroying, sorry, squandering the remaining resources we have left on the planet? That can’t be a good thing, can it? What if continued economic growth is over? If we have hit Peak Oil, and I believe we have, and just can’t see it yet due to reduced global demand, then we are in for a shitstorm of a ride in the next 10 years. Add climate change to that, and there will be no economic growth. We will be just spending money on keeping ourselve alive. You can’t eat a gucci handbag or a flash looking car!
Anyway, doom and gloom aside, we must remember that the only thing that corporations care about is the almighty dollar, not the average joe in the street. How to increase shareholder value is their one and only concern. Why do you think people change mobile phones so often. Why do ladies own more cosmetics than a small third world country would ever want, or need. Why do men have to buy the biggest plasma TV they can, or in most cases, not afford? Why do we have some of the highest rates of debt per head in the western world? Because we are all over stimulated by advertising that tells us constantly that we are not skinny enough, or don’t have the latest flash looking gadget, that we don’t have a big enough house and need a McMansion to impress people who don’t give a shit about us.
Maybe it is indeed time to be one of the 52% who give up TV, but not for the love of material possessions. Give up TV to spend time with a loved one, or some meaningful persuite, like saving humanity from themselves. Maybe even book one of those free home energy audits that the government are giving away now and lower your carbon foot print. You never know what giving up TV might lead you. Without all that advertising crap swimming around your subconcious, you might even become a free thinking individual and not like most othe sheepole I know.
But, alas, somehow I don’t think that by me writing these words, anything is going to change much. People are going to continue to live shallow, unfulfilled lives, loving their credit cards and wallowing in the consumeristic myre that is our way of present way of living. The only ray of light are people like my readers who get it, and have found that a simpler way of life brings untold joy and happyness that others simply cannot grasp. It did take me a while to see the light, so I am no martyre for the cause. Most of my life, I too thought exactly the same way. It wasn’t until I had my green epiphany that I began to question how the world worked. I am still in awe of the people all around me who still act blindly, and no amount of my persuating retoric will ever make a dent in their behavioural norms.
Some days I just feel like a stranger in a strange land. I wonder how many of you feel the same way?