The Corrupting Power of Excess

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You would think that once you have attained sufficient resources to satisfy a specific need that, once satisfied, you would then redirect excess resources to a different need. For example if you needed a healthy snack and wanted to eat an apple, once you ate an apple or two you would be satiated and stop. Instead you would then look to your other needs, if you were still hungry, such as a sandwich, to balance out your meal. It would be illogical to simply keep searching for and buying various different apples for the sake of variety and interest. In my simple view that is not what I see in the world.

The world is obviously more complex than I understand. Rather than simply realizing that a need is satisfied, and then look to satisfy other needs, many people latch onto the same need and search for more and better ways to satisfy this same need.

Fast fashion is an example where people have a need for modern clothing. Man has found a way of making more fashionable clothing at ever lower prices. New designs appeal to people who already have very fashionable clothing, yet still search for more. Their need for the most modern of clothing seems to never stop. In order to keep prices down, material and clothing quality degrades. People in another part of the world are exploited for their low wage. The fashion garments of the previous trend cycle are then discarded as garbage. This uses up the earth’s resources without truly utilizing its utility. The cycle then continues on. This self-destructive behavior is not sustainable.

We have a need for private vehicles. If you live in the suburbs it is easier to drive a private car rather than rely on public transit. Our planned neighborhood environment is often biased to wide and open housing rather than convenient but dense living. The question is, which car to buy? As energy prices rise, cars have become more energy efficient, allowing us to drive further using the same fuel costs. Instead of capitalizing on our energy fuel gains and saving money, most people simply buy a bigger vehicle, thus negating the benefits of fuel efficiency. When gas prices spike there are calls for governments to lower gas prices. The problem is not gas prices, which are global in nature and are not directly controlled by local governments. Why cannot we simply be happy that we can drive vehicles that use less fuel and spend our money on other needs? In North America small cars are now difficult to buy because there is little consumer demand. They are being replaced with much larger SUVs that not only negate the benefits of fuel efficiency but require even more fuel. While cars have been improving, it seems those that buy them are not.

We all need to eat to survive. In much of the world there is sufficient food for everyone. As we get richer the strange phenomenon of obesity seems to always occur. We have more money, so we continue to buy and eat too much food, which makes us fat and degrades our health. We buy products that allow us to move less, thus burn less calories and gain weight. Why cannot we be satisfied and only eat a sufficient amount of food to make us healthy, and no more? As North America becomes heavier and less healthy, more money is spent on weight loss diets that tout methods to curb our weight. The logical solution would be to eat enough but not in excess, and then stop. More is not always better. It seems that for most of us, we cannot.

The world bemoans global warming, a surely damaging phenomenon. Yet given the slightest chance people have sufficient money to fly clear around the world for a vacation. it is as if people say that global warming is a danger to the world but let someone else take care of it. Most celebrated are ultra wealthy people who pay millions to take a rocket and spend some time on a space station, or even just a couple of minutes at space height. How much fuel is used to blast 4-5 people into space, for a couple of minutes and a few spectacular space shots, and then have them float safely back to earth. If people really were serious about global warming then these escapades would be banned. We are not even close to thee yet. Hypocracy is everywhere.

Odd human behavior abounds. Maybe these are only first world problems not seen in less wealthy countries. It sure is a mystery. As the world burns up, humans congratulate each other and celebrate our wealth.

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