Tuesday, September 4, 2007

To Spend or Not To Spend?

What is it about that really big flat panel screen TV or the latest game console? What attracts people to spend money they may not even have on the latest gadgets and gizmos? What makes people dig into their overdraft so they can afford to buy that expensive material thing but haven't yet paid their rent for that month? It baffles me that so many people, young and old, go right for their wallets when they are feeling down or stressed out. They need a quick fix for their feelings of anxiety or emptiness. What are we really doing and at what cost?

Well, it varies from individual to individual but the underlying reasons for extreme affluence is to merely satisfy a desire in order to reach that desired scenario. What's wrong with the current scenario? Some less desirable current scenarios could be that people work too hard to earn a living so they desire a more favourable state. Perhaps people work so hard to support a family that they have no time for themselves so they seek a more favourable state. Thus, people may want to reward themselves after a hard and long day of work and/or a long week of work and caring for the family. The reward in turn satisfies their desire for a more favourable outcome which, on the basis of affluence, is material things like electronics, clothing, or an expensive night out on the town. Why is it that these material things can have such a positive impact on people that they can quickly recover from their feeling of emptiness?

Today's societies in many parts of the world have been set up to facilitate the growth and stability of an economy which is connected to and influences the international community. In Canada, this is the case. In addition, income earners are tax payers in order to contribute to national and provincial infrastructures. However, due to the exceptionally large size of Canada and many of the provinces like Ontario and Alberta, many regions and people are neglected. In contrast, one would think that the large amount of taxes that are collected from tax payers by the federal government can go to support important Canadian services like healthcare, the TransCanada railroad (transportation), national unity, renewable energy. But due to the lack of coordination and organization of the federal and and provincial governments in the past and present there is a loss of our tax payer money to pay government debts and beauracracy. So, the tax payer is left to consistently pay high taxes and not expect a reduction or tax break (even when economies are doing well).

So to answer my question of why material things can satisfy people's desires it is perhaps because money is constantly sucked from income earners and there is nothing to show for it. For example, the healthcare system, where much tax money is allocated, has been lacking for many years in its ability to cater to patients', or should I say taxpayers', needs! It is absolutely outrageous for taxpayers and their families to have to go out of the country to the US or China to get a hip replacement or stem cell therapy. Taxpayers are constantly being ripped off from this government service to that one and what is the outcome???? Canadians spend more money to satisfy their desires so that they can directly feel that favourable outcome!

There is a different story for low-income earners that I wish not to even get into. One point I can make is that the welfare and benefit services are only exacerbating the problem of peoples' affluent behaviour. If money is directly given to people who are not earning, it is most likely spent on material things for the purpose of relieving 'their emptiness' (stemming from being on welfare and not having many prospects). Where does this emptiness really come from??

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