Our idea of progress must change

The Sun Times - July 2, 2009

Everything comes from the land. Everything: the chair you're reading this newspaper in, this newspaper, the car or truck that delivered the newspaper, the gas in the car or truck, the computers used to typeset the newspaper, the reporters' desks and offices, you, me--everything.

We know this of course, and yet we don't.

That's because the more stuff we have, the more we are separated from where it all comes from. What does Wal-Mart or IGA or GM (General Motors aka Government Money) have to do with the land? Well, everything.

We've raised our standard of living to record heights -- so high, in fact that, if everyone lived like we do in North America, we would need three or four earths. To keep our way of life rolling along, we need to make more things. As the satirical newspaper The Onion put it, quoting a fictional Chinese worker: "Often, when we're assigned a new order for, say, 'salad shooters,' I will say to myself, there's no way that anyone will ever buy these . . . One month later, we will receive an order for the same product, but three times the quantity . . I hear that [North] Americans can buy anything they want, and I believe it, judging from the things I've made for them. And I also hear that, when they no longer want an item, they simply throw it away. So wasteful and contemptible."

But such is our personal measure of progress: whoever has the most stuff when they die, wins.

Full article here

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