7 December 2012

Economic Realities

Our economy is knackered. It's official, even the Government is beginning to admit it.

It may not be such a bad thing. The sooner we all wake up to the fact that our economic model is fundamentally flawed, the better.

When they say that the economy is bad what they're pointing to is a lack of growth. If the economy's growing it means that we're consuming more and more. We're constantly told this is a good thing. But is it? How can using more and more of the earth's resources on a tiny fraction of its population be a good thing? There's only so much to go round. The more I consume the less is left for you. If I only take what I need, there's a chance you can have some too. We're all in this together, we've only got one planet.

Why is our economic system predicated on growth?

It's an intrinsic part of the human condition to feel what we are isn't enough. All human beings suffer from this, don't ask me why. We all struggle with a sense of lack, that something is missing.

Buddhism recognises this state and how necessary it is for us to look inwards at ourselves, become aware of the causes of our suffering.

Our western culture encourages the opposite approach, urges us to look for an external solution. The delusion, propagated by the media, is that our happiness depends on acquiring things. New cars, more money, the latest gadgets. When we feel that lack inside us, we seek to fill the emptiness with consumer goods.

This is the basis of our economic model, never having enough. Even when we've gobbled up every ounce of our planetary resources, it won't be enough to make us happy, we'll still want more. It's human nature.

We can change this by becoming aware of what we're doing, by finding out what it is that makes us suffer, what we really need to be happy.

As Ghandi said, "Live simply so that others may simply live"

Like the guy with the elephant. Maybe I'd be as happy as him if I had an elephant.

For a fascinating insight into this subject, I invite you to watch David Loy's talk on You Tube