Whilst I was perusing the international relations section in the library today, a most curious book grabbed my attention. Entitled Enough [John Naish], the book centred on ideas of consumerism, necessity vs. excess and the need for a re-evolution of the human race. And so this fortunate [or unfortunate in terms of my coursework...] sidetracking led me to have a little ponder about this in relation to our world; on the one hand, we have nations living in luxurious excessive, when there are simultaneously around one billion people living in absolute poverty, with next to nothing. So as much is this is a case of reducing what we consume for the sake of our world and its resources, distribution of these is a big area that needs to be confronted. A few examples:
- The richest 85 people in the world have a combined wealth of £1trillion - equal to the wealth of the poorest 3.5 billion of the world's population. [Oxfam]
- If all food was re-distributed evenly, there would be enough wheat, rice and other grains to provide every human being with 3,200 calories a day. [Rehydration project]
- Less than one per cent of what the world spent every year on weapons was needed to put every child into school by the year 2000 and yet it didn’t happen. [New Internationalist]
How is this fair that in the "western world" we are finally waking up to the fact that we consume more than we need, when so many cannot even meet their basic needs? Furthermore, does having more stuff really make us happier? I'm not saying I have a totally clean conscience and I know that I shouldn't have ordered that dress on-line that I didn't really need last night, and I could have quite easily gone without that medium americano at lunch today; but taking the issue of over consumption on-board is something I want to try and build into my daily mentality. Less sometimes really is more I suppose!
To summarise, I nabbed this rather well-written quote from the book [who nabbed it from somewhere else]....
"It is not the man who has too little, but the man who craves more who is poor"
Seneca, Epistulae Morales
What do you think?