September 28, 2017 by John Crapper
What is wealth? Is it having a lot of money in the bank, owning a lot of stocks and bonds, holding the deed to numerous properties or owning vast swaths of land? I don’t think so. When you think about it wealth is really the ability to do things: the ability to grow crops, to make products, to move goods, to improve efficiency, to pass on information, to help others. But it is much more than that in my opinion. It seems to me that wealth is intrinsically tied into the concept of the quality of one’s life too. You can have a shitload of all of the above but if you aren’t happy and content with your lot in life are you really wealthy? I don’t think so.
Economists are always talking about growth. Growth in sales, GDP, or stock prices. They also usually speak of wealth in terms of production of goods and services and consumption of those goods and services. This is largely what constitutes the Gross Domestic Product of a country. Stock brokers value wealth in terms of the price of stocks and the value of one’s portfolio.
But I ask you. When a person consumes something, isn’t that a measure of ones’s wealth being drained rather than being added to? I know when my cupboard is bare and I have to go to the store to re-provision myself I come home with less cash in my pocket. From a personal standpoint, production and consumption seem to be poor measures of wealth.
Let’s go back to my original statement on the definition of wealth. What is the most important thing to have to be able to do anything? The obvious answer is money, right? Absolutely wrong! Money is not even close to being the right answer to this question. This is the ass-backward way of thinking that our capitalist culture brainwashes us into believing is correct logic.
Before answering this question I want you to do a little Church of the Holy Shittters experiment for me. Take a plastic bag and put it tightly over your head. Leave it there for 1 minute. After time has expired remove the bag. Did you find yourself gulping in air in a semi-frantic fashion? Now you have your answer to the question. There is a saying among asthmatics. “When you can’t breathe nothing else matters. It sort of inhibits a person’s ability to do things. It is kind of important for “quality of life”.
Quality of life is, in my opinion, the most basic standard of measurement to determine what constitutes wealth. Remember the saying “you can’t take it with you”.
Now that you’re a little wiser with regard to real wealth what do you think is the second thing needed? Did you answer water?
If you did you’re on the right track to being very rich. How about the third thing? Did you answer food?
You’re going to be a millionaire before you know it. Now that you’ve got the hang of things your probably ready to provide the next answers of food, shelter and clothing (in that order) all by yourself. And to round out the definition of wealth as defined by the Church of the Holy Shitters we throw in good health as the last but not least component. If you have all these things you can have a very good “quality of life” and therefore are a wealthy person.
Ultimately all wealth comes from nature. We consume something from nature by using energy. Ultimately all energy comes from the sun.
Consuming inherently involves acquiring and using different things found on Earth. Consumption also involves altering whatever it is we are consuming to get what we need from the substance.
Nature operates in a circular path. There are many (life/death, eat/sleep, eat/poop etc). It is a system of self-perpetuating circles optimally in balance with each other. When the balance within a circle or between circles is disturbed nature will take steps to correct the imbalance. This is the concept that “everything is related to everything else in our universe”. It is the concept that all things return to the Earth in some fashion after consumption. If they return in a natural (within the circle) state there is no problem. If they cycle back in an unnatural state there is a problem.
All of this may sound very simplistic and it is meant to be. As humans we tend to over-complicate things and loose sight of what is really important; what is the truth; what is the essence of an issue. This is especially true when it comes to our conception of wealth. We complicate it, obscure it, and confuse it because of our super-consumer diarrhea mindset.
Let me point out just a few examples of just how brainwashed and ass-backward society’s thinking is in this regard.
1. It is well known that some of the richest farmland is located at the alluvial fans (deltas) of rivers. Yet at the mouth of all major rivers around the world you see major cities. Cities are not where we grow food. How much more prime agricultural land can be taken for houses and office buildings? How much more can the food circle take?
2. If you put a tailpipe into the passenger area of a vehicle, sit in it with the windows rolled up and start the engine you will die from lack of good air to breathe. It is a well-known way to commit suicide. How many more vehicles are there on the world’s roads since the turn of the century? Isn’t the Earth one big passenger area? How many more tailpipes can the air circle take?
3. We use water to clean ourselves and our things. How many more cars, dishes, laundry loads can be asked of the water circle?
Soft and fluffy consumerism preached by the Church of the Holy Shitters offers a new prism to analyze our consumption as it relates to our environment.
Consumption in and of itself is not bad.
Category Capitalism, Consumer Diarrhea, Consumerism, Economy, Energy, Environment | Tags: Ass-backward consumerism, capitalism, Climate Change, consumer diarrhea, Consumerism, Energy, Environment, psychology, Soft and Fluffy Consumerism, Sustainable energy, thinking