For society to become well-rounded, caring, compassionate and peaceful not only do we need a revision of the core values that our system in based upon, but we consequently need to re-structure the foundations of the economy, politics and society. Ownership, property, personal wealth – these concepts desperately need re-evaluating on the wider social level – the importance that these concepts have in society today are absurd. The harm they cause far outweighs the good, yet mainstream society marches on regardless.
The core problem? Our society has come to embrace greed as good. There is however a great difference between acknowledging our natural, biological self-interest and abusing this fact as a all-round justification for maintaining a grossly unequal, materialist, money driven society.
Excessive personal wealth is a sign of an unhealthy society, not a healthy one. To have such vast amounts of wealth simply stored in bank accounts and private assets or in unnecessary luxurious assets such as second homes (or mansions), private jets, super-sized yacht and so on, is to deprive the rest of society of the opportunity which that wealth provides.
The potential value of wealth to society as a whole is being hoarded by the greedy few. What lessons does this teach our citizens? That being selfish is good? That your personal wants trump everyone else’s needs? That ignoring a problem makes it go away? That you deserve luxury whilst others still lack necessities? That your right to own the most extravagant things possible is more important than looking after your fellow beings?
The pressures placed on the individual’s mind is influential – the environment that we have created for ourselves has lead to social decay, violence, crime etc. The social experiment that we ourselves are the subject of, has taken an unpleasant term. All the people who do not make it to the top feel jealous and inadequate in our consumer culture – the haves and have nots. Of course, not everyone is affected in this way, however for large portions of the population who are unduly influenced by society’s vales – those who have not yet learned how to question everything in a rational manner will continue to be susceptible to these forces. Advertising, social media, and education and other factors exert the main influence of society – many areas in which there needs improvement.
In particular, the pursuit of personal wealth without limit has made our society gravely ill – however as with many illnesses the symptoms are varied and it is not always obvious what the cause is. Excessive consumer culture and the way in which society conveys the message that wealth creation is the greatest good worth striving for has led our society down a sub-optimal path.
Let it be clear: true wealth lies like nature, education, friendship, peace, kindness and compassion – not the hollow thirst for money and the luxurious trappings that monetary wealth affords. As our society has placed increasing value on things that are not valuable – material goods, luxury and status – our society has grown increasingly unwell. Until we change our society’s values into things of real value we shall continue to live in a broken society.
The way in which the finance and business sector of society has been value that has been placed upon finance, Chief culprit of the current misalignment is the consumerist, self-centred ethos that has driven society to its current fragmented, unsustainable and excessive emphasis on the individual. Let us not be mistaken – the individual is ultimately supreme, however in recent decades this has been religiously pursued to the extreme, whereby business and personal wealth have become revered so highly that the obvious harm this causes to society has become increasingly unjustifiable.
If we allocate our society’s priorities to the greater good, the health of society and nature as a whole, the more virtuous values our society adopts we can easily solve all world’s problems. If the political, social, economic, psychological, educational spheres of humankind were given proper attention, we could transform the world into a truly beautiful place. The potential of humanity is vast;we must remember that we ultimately have the capability to resolve our greatest problems.