Thereís a serious lack of balance when it comes to consumerism these days, and thatís putting it mildly. From milk to bread, gasoline, cable television to the occasional cinematic outing, everything under the sun Ė as far as cost is concerned Ė is now on board an out-of-control rollercoaster, elevator, escalator or similar conveyance that, unfortunately, only goes up.
As a student, I was a mediocre economist at best. Letís be honest, economy class had little chance (actually no chance at all) in the face of guitar, guitar and well, more guitar throughout my senior year of high school. But I did, and still do, understand the concept of supply and demand.
And thatís a big part of our problem at this point, worldwide. Hypothetically speaking, when, if ever, will supply truly outweigh demand as our population continues to grow, resources continue to dwindle and more and more people cease to care one way or the other?
These are tough questions, with even tougher answers awaiting us prior to an outcome we can neither imagine nor comprehend, in my opinion.
Collectively, weíre much like a young child who simply canít understand why mom and dad canít afford to buy a toy every time we visit the local department store, canít swing that ďname-brandĒ half-gallon of ice cream or fund a weekly trip to the nearest fast-food joint. Itís as if we feel entitled to, well, whatever we happen to want, whenever we happen to want it.
I hate to break it to you, but that type of attitude is getting us nowhere, and fast. Not to mention the fact that itís a decidedly dangerous outlook in the long run.
Face it, weíre running out of a lot of things these days, from clean air and water to affordable gas, groceries, shelter and clothing. It all costs more, even as, as a majority, we bring in less and less.
When you think about it, it wasnít all that long ago that a gallon of gas went for less than a buck. In fact, I can remember paying 99 cents just over a decade ago while living in northern Vermont. Now weíre being told to expect the price of gas to soar as high as $5 per gallon this summer. So much for that vacation up north, I guess.
And donít get me started on the absolutely depressing experience that is the grocery store these days. Itís gotten to the point where I donít even bother looking at an itemís price or searching for that elusive ďbargain buy.Ē
Why bother? No matter what I happen to be shopping for nowadays, I can practically guarantee itís going to be more expensive than Iíd expected. Sadly, thatís just how it is.
As for clean air and water, well, letís just say I shudder every time I hear someone casually throw out there, ďHey, itís free, isnít it?Ē
No, Iím sorry to say, it isnít.
Itís far too easy to ignore the enormous responsibility that comes with our habitation of this planet. One which weíve failed, miserably I might add, to live up to. Just hop on the old laptop and do a quick Google search for ďsmog imagesĒ and then try to tell me weíre not causing irreparable harm to our planet.
Which is why, since the debate first began, Iíve had a tendency to side with environmentalists when it comes to pollution, climate change, sustainability, green energy and yes, drilling for oil and natural gas.
Iím reminded of that old saying, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Ever hear that one?
Even as the cost of all these things we find so ďvitalĒ to our way of life continues to skyrocket, from a pair of blue jeans to a gallon of ďall natural spring water,Ē I think weíre in for a big surprise in the near future if we donít take some time to seriously re-examine our role here on Earth.
Hereís another saying I ran across the other day, spoken by renowned orator and diplomat Abba Eban, which sums my thoughts up nicely.
ďHistory teaches us that men and nations behave wisely once they have exhausted all other resources.Ē
I couldnít have said it better myself.
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