Can't Buy Me Happiness?!
- Written by Will from Holland
- Category: Articles
Socialists call for a "society characterized by equal access to resources for all individuals". Multinationals are advertising more goods. Banks are selling debts. The Beatles sang "Can't buy me love".
Promising messages that are not always easy to resist, especially while growing up you have to be resilient.
Gonick & Kasser are cartooning a healthier future. What they all have in common is something that FoolProof found out while researching, and that is what we now call the "wishing- well of consumerism."
Our research started with an image in mind of a happy looking young person, scrolling down social networks with a smartphone in the one hand, and a skinny almond-milk latte -in a carton cup- in the other, meanwhile watching a film on an enormous flat screen, continuously interrupted by ads.
That happy image changed dramatically when we found out that more young people consulted a psychiatrist last year because of depression complaints. We wondered how that was possible, while at the same time the "happiness businesses" grew.
In a recently published book by Gonick & Kasser we found a shocking truth about hyper-capitalism and how it affects our values! It's called "Hypercapitalism, created around brilliantly understandable cartoons, and its definitely something you should read.
Money, status, power, image and possessions can be seen as modern values. Values are what we believe in, things we aspire, our guiding principles, targets we find worth-wile to pursue.
A rising concern these days, coming from different directions and opinions, is that our personal values are overwhelmed by what is promoted by business. Commercials, billboards, advertisements in magazines, fake news, advertorials on social media; modern values are advertised all around us.
Advertisements for us, the consumers. Products and services promoted to create- fast and easy - the bigger, better, improved life we can have. Advertisers wants us to believe we can have everything, and banks are more than willing to lend us any amount of money if as long as we pay interest. But the question we need to ask ourselves is whether these modern values also improve our sense of well-being.
Modern values are spread even more easily via the internet. Promising messages that are not always easy to resist, especially while growing up you have to be resilient.
How Advertisements Fool Us
Do you recognize any of these advertisements?
- "Designed for Domination. Command the road. And all the attention", Nissan.
- "Fame is just around the corner. Just like our ATM's", Bank of America.
- "#choosehappiness", Coca Cola.
- "Your life companion", Samsung.
- "Pay faster than you can say 'tall, non-fat, vanilla latte'", Starbucks.
- "If you can dream it, you can be it", Barbie.
- "Because you're worth it", L'Oreal.
We tend to believe that we need products to live a happy life and feel good, but most of all that we are responsible for our own happiness. But is that so? Since capitalism made its entrance, several problems have risen in de same pace as the enormous amount of money spent on consumer goods. Problems concerning our environment, our health and our well-being.
We all know more than one person who is living in a continuous debt cycle. Right? A person who is working towards a brighter future, while paying off loans of a past that once was supposed to be that bright future...
To make sure we are on the same page here; we do not mean debts caused by mortgages.
We mean money that wasn't earned in the first place, mostly spent on items bought on credit or with a credit card. Cards used for impulsive purchases to keep up with trends and an urgent thrive for bigger, better, newer. We take out loans for going to college and our first big car, because we believe we need to have it all. To throw out a number: consumers carry more than $1.1 trillion in student loan debt in total.
Fortunately, there is also some good news. The solution may not be as quick and fancy as you hoped for, but at least you can do something yourself. It IS possible to feel more satisfaction, experience more pleasure and live in a way that doesn't hurt others or the biosphere.
Hypercapitalism comes up with several solutions for transportation, housing, sharing, 'giving time' (meaning doing something for others), etcetera.
Find out yourself what you can do to be that happy person by doing research, while you enjoy your fair-trade coffee - in a recycable carton cup - with no TV in the background.
Or, just get the book alright.