In theory, we ought to have a system in place that rewards those who bring benefit to individuals and society and disincentivizes those who bring harm. And yet, contrary to what we’ve been taught in school that is not the system we have in place. In fact, in many cases, companies profit most when they can make us sick! Just think about our fast food industry to take an example. How does this work?
Food companies reap financial benefits when they can sell to the public foods that are tasty, addictive and relatively fast & convenient. They prioritize taste over nutrition and highly processed foods over whole foods because by nature humans have a tendency to mistake pleasure for happiness (just place a snickers bar and an apple side by side and see which one most people go for).
But in the act of creating highly processed concoctions that are sold as food, they strip food of much of it’s nutritional value and have added in chemicals that exploit of our natural cravings for salt, sugar, and fat. These frankenfoods are however, unnatural and cause us many forms of disease from obesity, diabetes, mental health disease, etc.
It is maddening that we should be rewarding companies like Coca-cola or McDonald’s for hooking our children from a young age and making us sick and often addicted to their products. In other words, we have a system that rewards companies to help make us sick. And yet, it certainly does not have to be this way. No, we don’t need to build a new system of economics from scratch. The one we have can be very good if many of us were to become financially independent of our employers. That is a very real possibility for most of us and benefits even those who often for no fault of their own cannot get to the point of financial independence. All it really requires is recognizing that there is a point of having enough – beyond which spending more does not lead to more happiness.
BOTTOM LINE: THERE IS A BETTER WAY!
- As John Maynard Keynes said a century ago, people of our time ought to be largely independent of our employers for our income – unfortunately, due to “mindless consumerism”, we are not.
- Mindless consumerism is the underlying reason leading to the rise of chronic disease for 3 major reasons:
- It ties us to dependence on our employers and modern day employment is a health hazard for most (in part due to the sedentary nature of most jobs).
- It has led to environmental changes toxic to our wellbeing:
- (a). We evolved in and are best suited to natural environments and instead we live in increasingly artificial environments.
- (b). Overconsumption has lead us to engineer out the need for meaningful use of our legs for ambulation.
- Finally, it transforms workers to work with blinders on – instead of working for the product or service and receiving money as a side effect, workers focus on making money and the product or service is instead the side effect. The results (with respect to health) is that “food” is no longer food but changed to maximize pleasure and extract profit in spite of the toxicity to our health.
- Based on the science of wellbeing one can derive the philosophy that once basic needs are met, “The best things in life are free” therefore —>
- Most people can live far below their means without sacrificing happiness AND by investing the rest, they can become financially independent of their employers enabling them to be —>
- Happier. Healthier. Wealthier. More engaged. Simply better.