Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Having more and enjoying it less

Ross Gittins speculates in this article about why we are about to throw out a Federal government in a country where the economy is healthy and people's living standard has never been better.

From the article:

That question does reveal our present materialist mind-set. Why do we so easily assume that the state of the economy will be paramount in voters' political calculations? Who said material prosperity is the only thing we demand of our leaders?

But it also reveals a failure to understand the nature of materialism, which is that it's insatiable. Howard has venerated the "aspirational voter" but such people are going to be hard to satisfy if they're allowed to believe any failure to achieve their continuously rising aspirations is the government's fault.

Is it wrong to have aspirations? Of course not. They do help to keep the world turning. But if the best you can do is aspire to be ever more prosperous - as the pollies seem to assume is the extent of people's aspirations - that's hardly ennobling.

From St Paul:

But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.

-1 Timothy 6:8-9

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