Is being Materialistic Unhealthy?-an argument open to criticism and challengeWatch
For instance,the girl who dumps her boyfriend after learning that he does not live up to her income expectations(he drives a Kancil),or the mother who constantly eggs her offspring to migrate to a Western country because “the pay is better”.What about the elderly,40ish couple who grumble everytime they miss the winning lottery number by a digit,proclaiming that “Lady Luck smiled on someone else”?Remember the disgruntled employees who are demotivated at their “measly pay”?Yes,one might argue that they are merely stereotypes,but haven’t we met these people before? How many times have we labelled them, materialistic?
Truth is,our parents meant well.They probably wanted us to stop somewhere in our hectic schedules,and smell the roses and not the crisp dollar bills.However,we must admit that money influences almost every part of our lives.An entire country’s development is dependent on its economy which in turn is dependent on other nations’ economies and vice versa.An average working individual has to deal with mortgages,taxes,downpayments,ren ts,pay-cheques,pay-rises,bonuses and the dreaded bills.Students who aren’t even working have to deal with scholarships,bursaries,study loans,living expenses,tuition fees,university fees,and exam fees.The point here is plain and simple : Failure to accept that money is that influential is in essence,failure to accept the reality of life.
Yet,we must acknowledge too,that money is the driving force behind many good outcomes.Adam Smith,in his book The Wealth of Nations clearly stated in his “invisible hand” theory that,in a free market system,people who are driven by their own desires will ultimately shape and develop a country’s economy on their own,within legal and moral parameters.For instance,let’s say a certain Joe Average sets up a company that manufactures paper.He would then require workers,i.e. loggers,vehicle operators,factory managers,etc.etc.Then,by selling his paper to an industry that needs them,for example the printing industry,then indirectly,the printing industry soon blooms,assuming of course,that the paper if cheap and of high quality.The printing industry prospers,now encouraging more printing presses and factories to be built,thereby providing more job opportunies.Clearly,we can then draw a conclusion that Joe Average’s materialistc mindset,complimented by similar mindsets builds up an economy.This example may seem too far-fetched or too idealistic,but it is not far from the mechanisms of the economy today.
From the above example,we might say that Joe was an ‘excellent entrepreneur’,skilled at manipulating resources at his disposal to meet the demands of the people.Yet,is it very far from the truth if we say that Joe is “just in it for the money”?Or if we say that Joe doesn’t care what the people want,its whats in their wallets that counts?Truth is,behind every wealthy businessmen lies that competitively materialistic streak,that human instinct to make as much money as possible.To put this into perspective,if Bill Gates was not a materialistic person,we would all still be using Windows 3.1 and it will be free to be downloaded from the Internet.
So,is it socially and morally insensitive to take a materialistic stance at life?If materialism not only generates a big impact on society but also develops a society financially and economically,then why are we not saying,”Hey,I’m materialistic,and one of my priorities in life is to make big bucks”?Maybe it’s too blatant,maybe the word “materialistic” was mutated into a dirty word by the bourgeois,who are either jealous of those who are wealthier,or feel that it is a sin to think of being rich.However,it can be stated with clear conviction,that as long as these individuals do not mature in their thinking and in their concept of materialism,they will forever be stuck in a financial rut and hence,they are the ones who will be cursing those who are rich,or aspire to be rich as merely materialistic.
I took to heart a simple example in the book by Richard T.Kiyosaki, Rich Dad,Poor Dad.
In this book,a rich friend of Kiyosaki told him that it surprises him that none of his friends or employees ever approached him and asked,”How do you become rich?” or “How do you do it?”.Instead,all they ever ask of him are loans and jobs.I feel that ultimately,the word “materialistic” separates those who “made it” from those who “desperately want to make it” and those who “made it”.Maybe it is time we changed our attitude towards the M-word and take stock of exactly what we want to get out of life.