We need to want ‘What we Have’

A recent article in the Listener highlighted this. In other words, we seem to spend our life wanting more, more farms, more food, more things and more and more and more.

It has been a period of rampant consumerism. A recent trip to the US was a graphic example of wants and must haves. It has been so bad, in that country, that they all live on credit and many are facing forced sales of their homes.

With consumerism comes greed and expectations:
  • our car is no longer looking near new;
  • our farm bike looks dull;
  • the tractor is looking a bit shabby, and
  • our wife is looking her age.
We start wanting to change them all for the later model. That's fine if you can afford it all, but many of us cannot. The demand and wants start putting on fiscal pressure as we purchase more and more.

Of recent years, we consumers have been buying all this cheap stuff manufactured in China. Much of it is shoddy and poorly built junk. We have loaded up our homes with clutter (which apparently is bad for our mental health) and most of the junk is worth nothing to sell. We should be looking to purchase better quality products that will last for many years.

When we purchase something we could consider that we are going to live forever. If we thought like this, what would we buy and what would our priorities be? We wouldn't be buying junk that was going to last a short term. We would buy quality that we knew would last, and we would probably try to buy New Zealand made.

Research has shown that after a certain level of income is attained, we do not actually become happier with more money. Our happiness scale plateaus. This may apply to many of those with multiple farms. Are they happier? Or are there just more headaches?

So maybe we should want what we already have. We should look at our present asset base and enjoy it. Want it and be proud of it. We could put more value on it and start to see it all in a more realistic light. Most of us are lucky to have what we've already got really.

Fortunately, the rampant consumerism seems to be slowing and there are a lot of people that seem to be going back to the basics. However, an economy or a business riddled with debt will find the next phase of the world economy exceedingly difficult. The Asian people (savers) have loaned all their money to the western world (spenders), and if it gets tough who is going to win? Not us. He who has the money and the loans calls the shots.

In summary, we need to value what we have. We need to be more realistic about our expectations. We need to realise that a lot of debt will sink us if the world economy turns bad. We need to make better decisions and not be greedy. Increasing income and assets do not necessarily make us happier. What does? Perhaps wanting 'what we have' will.


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