KARACHI: Migration has taken place from third world countries for better business prospects and better financial benefits, as most people want optimum earnings to survive and prosper.
Consumerism is at the heart of the matter. We crave for more and more in life, we do not care about the damage cost or the opportunity loss we might have to sustain. We have not learnt from the West but, actually, are in the race to overtake them in whatever bad they might have attained over the decades.
For example, the percentage of obesity in our country is rising as children under the age of seven are already having fast food almost twice a day, just like in the US which is the world’s most obese nation by percentage, in terms of unhealthy food consumption.
Though Pakistan has seen corporate profits grow in double digits this year, up to 28%, we have somehow ignored the effects they have on the average population of healthy children who used to eat three meals a day at home – the wallet cost of earning that much more money, in view of the inflation at home.
In the early 80s and late 90s, it was almost like a religious festivity to be able to visit the US – a country that was dynamic, inspiring and full of opportunities.
Lately, things have radically changed for the nation, which shows some interesting facts that highlight the real price one has to pay in trying constantly to achieve global hegemony and global financial supremacy, making it the most unpopular country today.
We should all lead by example but, more importantly, learn from bad examples. The USA has the highest trade deficit in the world, highest credit card fraud ratio, highest mortgage debt, highest student loan debt, highest number of car thefts, highest rate of illegal drug use, highest rate of fraudulent investment in election campaigns, highest amount of taxation fraud, highest income divide between the super rich and poor, highest non-development expenditures and highest legal cost of doing business. Unbelievable but true.
Though it has one of the most comprehensive healthcare systems, it also has the highest obesity rate in the world, highest number of suicides, highest anti-depressant usage by women and highest ratio of diagnosed mental disorders.
There is constant dependency on negativity in such countries at the cost of achieving financial power to spend and to buy. What has happened is the complete opposite as the greatest nation is no more the future’s greatest nation to go to and work for a living, earning income and having a prosperous life.
An unhealthy mind is the devil’s workshop – truly said. Less fortunate countries are more luckier in some ways, as they can learn from the cost others have had to pay to attain the supreme-country status. A country must not aim for global dominance but should concentrate on being adaptive and having a sound financial health.
Consumerism has affected people’s peace of mind, health, capacity to save and build future income, capacity to spend at will, capacity to pay lawful tax, capacity to get quality education and capacity to have a work-life balance.
We see individuals become more materialistic today, marriages become less meaningful, divorce rates much higher, moral corruption on the rise, youth gang wars, teenage pregnancies, corruption and kickbacks, lack of respect for human life, doctors not caring about patients, students not caring about good grades, children not caring about their parents and parents leaving their children for money, status and glamour.
It is the price of consumerism that we pay every day, without realising what we have lost. No one ever seems to look back and reflect anymore.
The writer is a banker and broadcaster for FM91.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 28th, 2012.