26 Oct The Addiction That Is Destroying Our World
We all know addiction is destructive.
Not only do addicts face the slippery slope of being taken over by their habit, but everyone around them suffers as well. Alcoholics destroy families with anger. Heroin addicts engage in crimes they wouldn’t otherwise commit, just to get their next fix. Smokers get lung cancer. And now we are facing an epidemic opioid crisis that in 2015 took the lives of 91 people a day.
But there is another addiction that remains unnamed, and it’s time we acknowledged it. MONEY.
I’m not speaking here of the people who don’t have enough. The billions of folks in the world who live in poverty, barely scraping by, don’t have enough money to become addicted. Their pursuit of money is a matter of survival.
But their poverty results from a cultural addiction that gives license to exploit every possible resource available, be it time, people, or planet.
If you look at the widening gap between rich and poor, you see that the already wealthy will do almost anything to become wealthier. Those with more than enough become so possessed of their addiction that they will destroy the environment, steal, manipulate, and undermine the well-being of life.
Everywhere we go, we are being nickel-and-dimed by the lust for money. Telemarketers interrupt us with unwanted phone calls. Pop-up ads interrupt our concentration online. A menu of numbers to press for customer service is cheaper than real people, even though we don’t have enough jobs for everyone. I write this from the back of a plane, squeezed in like a sardine so that United Airlines can make a little more money, already bumped off an oversold flight, just because I bought an economy ticket.
But we are all subject to this. Who hasn’t sacrificed their health, their time with family, or their sanity just to work a little harder and make more money? How many people work at jobs they hate just because it pays the bills?
How many would give more back to the world if they didn’t have to spend their time making a living?
We not only allow this addiction, we enable it. We buy products we don’t need, even products that pollute. We raise prices to make a little more margin. We work our employees just a little harder to get an extra dollar. Republicans try to take health care away from millions to give more tax cuts for the rich. Our Vice President just broke the tie vote to deny consumers the right to sue banks for fraud. The NRA, the oil and gas industry, and lobbyists keep the addiction going at great cost.
And if that weren’t enough, we place an unscrupulous, famous-for-his-money psychopath in the White House, who gathers all his fellow addicts to manipulate the supply. Meanwhile we spend millions in taxpayer money flying him to his lavish palace to play golf, while citizens of Puerto Rico fight for their lives.
The addiction to money is destroying our world. The constant marketing of goods, most of which we don’t need, is destroying the biosphere. Commuters driving 2-3 hours each day contribute to global warming while real solutions to climate change are touted as “bad for the economy,” even when unprecedented human catastrophe looms in the future.
It’s high time we admitted our culture has a serious problem and begin the process of recovery.
Recovery would bring a different measuring stick to every corporate decision, political vote, service, and sale. Recovery would replace money with real value, such as health and well-being. Recovery would include in the balance sheet everything we take from the environmental warehouse and don’t put back.
Recovery would include fearless moral inventory of what we are harming, and reparation to those who have been wronged, cheated, or kept in poverty. Recovery would honor a power greater than our petty, selfish selves.
When the fish are gone, the forests demolished, and the ocean too acidified for life, with a climate soaring out of control, we will be bankrupt with no possibility of a bailout. We will have hit bottom. We must deal with this addiction before we get there.
The first step is to stop enabling the addicts. Wanna create something different in our world?