There is a simple question underlying the dissatisfaction that is increasingly felt more for the consumer society: What does economy serve? Traditional answers like richness, increase in the job opportunities sound reasonable, until they lose their functions…
When we highly get weight on account of richness, we become exhausted because of over-working, when the mentality ‘once can own everything’ leads us to ignore out families and friends, we begin to question more deeply the way in which our lives unfold as well as the system, which leads us into this way.
The signs coming from some industrialized and developing countries indicate that many people have more expectations in life than a grand house or a brand new car. People need deeper things: a happy, honorable and meaningful life; in short, they expect welfare and that the economy is not an obstruction but a tool towards that aim.
In the ‘World Condition 2004’ report by the Worldwatch Institute, Gary Gardner points out that considering the habit that people have in positioning consumption at the very top of social values, transition to the welfare society shall be very difficult. However, for every step to be taken in this direction, we have two advantages at hand. The first one among these is that human beings today have more knowledge, technology and skills compared to the past generations. However, it is also ironic that these are the products of an economic system, which is focused on consumption at a high level. Still, our consumption oriented development choices during the twentieth century can ensure that we use our information and technology for attaining prosperity rather than for continuous material consumption no matter how mislead they are. As for the second advantage, it simple, yet strong; many people prefer a life of prosperity to a life where there is a high level of consumption. Having understood this essential truth, the former Prime Minister of Netherlands, Lubbers decreased the working time of the Dutch in order to increase the life quality: “This is how we prefer it. Undoubtedly, we now have more time in our life important aspects other than work, which do not bring about money and for which we can never find enough time. ”In other industrialized societies, the efforts for elevating the life quality might be being conducted in an erroneous manner, but we have the signs standing in front of us: employees asking for more time instead of a rise in salary, consumers that prefer organic and other ‘ethical’ products, people who would like to found sounder familial relationships. When the components of the welfare society are provided, the number of people responding positively to this shall be extremely high.
To sum up, societies can resort to the way of attaching importance not to consumption, but to welfare by strengthening the relations, facilitating the way in which sound choices are made, learning to live in harmony with nature and leaning towards the basic requirements
for all. This shall mark an achievement of the twenty-first century which is as important as the great advances made in terms of possibilities, conveniences and comfort in the twentieth century.
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“KNOWING THAT YOU HAVE ENOUGH THINGS MEANS THAT YOU ARE RICH”