BY SOFO ARCHON
“Poverty is the worst form of violence.” ~Gandhi
Having been brought up in our economic system, most of us never stop for a moment to question its existence and consider what are its impacts on the world.
Even worse, because of years of social conditioning, we are under the impression that it is greatly benefiting us. The reality, however, is quite the opposite, and if you’d like to know why, here’s a list of the five main ways our economic system is harming ourselves and the planet:
1. It leads to poverty
Although we possess the technical know-how and resources to provide food, clean water and shelter for each and every human being on earth, our economy systematically prevent us from doing so.
Why? Because, as every economist knows, money is scarce and hence not all people can have enough of it to meet their needs. In fact, according to statistical reports, 40% of the global wealth is owned by 1% of people, while over 1 billion people are starving on this planet, which is unbelievable, considering that there is enough food for everyone and that starvation isn’t caused by a lack of resources.
2. It triggers violence
In a world where there is an enormous wealth gap between the higher and lower economic classes, it is inevitable that there’s going to be plenty of violence and conflict. Indeed, poverty is breeding violence, especially when both rich and poor people are living close to each other, showing how deeply the sense of injustice affects our psyche.
Statistical reports have repeatedly shown that an increase in unemployment, and hence poverty, is usually followed by an increase in violence. Obviously, when a person doesn’t have enough to live decently, he or she feels compelled to act violently towards those who have more than himself or herself.
Moreover, child abuse as well as personal stress are more likely to be experienced by impoverished individuals, and have a direct correlation to both premeditated and impulsive acts of violence.
3. It gives rise to greed
In our economic system, money is needed by people so that they can survive, but since money isn’t enough for everyone, most of us are are trapped in an endless competition for acquiring money. And since nothing can guarantee us that we’ll have enough money in the future, we never stop chasing it, regardless of how much monetary wealth we already possess. We always feel financially insecure, which explains why even millionaires, who have all the luxuries one can desire, still desire to make even their profit.
4. It creates disease
Our economic system is tremendously affecting our health, but most people don’t seem to recognize it.
Due to the amount of poverty that prevails worldwide because of the inequality caused by our global economic system, over 1 billion of people are dying each year, with about 1.5 million children in poverty stricken societies being killed from diarrhoeal diseases that could be easily preventable and treatable.
Studies have shown that people living in poverty are more likely to develop physical conditions, such as heart disease, because of poor health habits that occur in lower income environments due to the lack of funds for better nutrition, medical attention and education. In addition, they are more likely to suffer from mental illnesses, such as depression, due to their high levels of stress caused by their harsh conditions of living.
5. It destroys nature
Lastly, the way our economic system works is causing irreparable harm to our planet day by day, because of the need for cyclical consumption.
If people stopped buying as much stuff as they currently do, fewer sales would be made, which means that fewer jobs would be needed, hence more unemployment would be created. Assuming that this slowed consumption to a great extent, the economy would shrink more and more and eventually collapse.
As you can understand, constant consumption is required for the money to keep on flowing in the system. The problem, however, is that the more we consume, the more waste we create, and where does that waste end up to? It ends up on Earth, killing the sea life, destroying the soil, polluting the atmosphere, poisoning the food that we eat, causing biodiversity loss and a multitude of other environmental problems.
“Only when the last tree has been cut down, the last fish has been caught, and the last stream has been poisoned, will we realize that we cannot eat money.” ~Cree Indian proverb