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Derrick Spies
 
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Imagine if we lived in a world of abundance, rather than scarcity.

23 November 2012, 15:10

The world we live in may be a world of excess, but it is not a world of abundance.

Our world is driven by consumerism. For decades individuals have been told that it is what they own that will dictate their status in life. The more things you have the more well off you are, the higher your social standing will be.

Take technology for example. How many millions stand in queues around the world, waiting to get their hands on the latest gadget that has just been released, knowing it will instantly boost their social standing among their peers?

Meanwhile product developers sit behind closed doors, working on the next upgrade that will render the same gadget, and along with it the individual's social standing, obsolete in six months time, thus driving them to stand in the queue again in order to maintain their social standing.

We're constantly bombarded with the things we need to own if we are to matter in this world. From the car you must drive to the clothes you must wear, from where you must live to the appliances you must use. It's about what you have, rather than who you are.

These are the lies we are fed on a daily basis, and it's a never ending cycle. The goal posts keep shifting and in order to maintain your lifestyle, your status,  you need to spend more. So much more, in fact, than what you can afford. So you dip into your overdraft facility, your credit card, your clothing account, that personal loan offered at 25% interest, just to keep up appearances.

Our cupboards fill up with clothes we never wear, because it's no longer in style, our kitchen is filled with last year's must have appliances, their promise of the perfectly chopped onion or non-stick cooking long forgotten as they gather dust.

The perfectly working electric blue kettle is no longer acceptable, this year's colour is red. That LCD TV in the lounge is outdated, don't you know that anyone who's anyone has a 3D TV now?

Manufacturers do their  part to drive this consumer economy as well. We buy our appliances with the expectation that their lifespan is dictated by the warranty offered.

But this bubble is bursting. As a world we've borrowed too much to own things that don't matter while rubbish tips around the world pile up with yesterday's discarded items.

Ironically, with excess comes scarcity. The beast of consumerism needs to be fed. Corporations are driven to produce higher and higher profits so that their shareholders can satiate their own consumer driven lifestyles.

Natural resources are plundered with no consideration given to replenishing supplies, as long as the profits show up on this year's balance sheet. No care is given to the millions who suffer the ill effects of toxic production methods, or even toxic products, as long as the shareholders receive their dues and profits are up.

Those who bear the brunt are those who do not own the things that make them matter. How often do we not refer to the poor as the 'have-nots'?

Scarcity drives consumerism. A thing's value is determined by its supply versus the demand for it. The scarcer it is, the more in demand it is,  the higher its value. There's a reason why certain items are not mass produced, it's not about a lack of capacity, but about maintaining the item's value.

Scarcity is also a key driver of crime. It's about the have-nots wanting to become haves, to matter and improve their own social standing. Being outside the consumer economy they are unable to secure the means to obtain what they want, and so take it by force. These individuals are driven by their own fears of scarcity and the knowledge instilled in them by consumerism - that it is the thing, not the person, that matters.  

For the haves it is the fear of losing what is theirs, and the status attached to it, that drives them to isolate themselves from one another. It is their own belief in the scarcity of what they have, and their inability to replace it, that drives these fears.

But what if we lived in a world of abundance?

Abundance is different to excess, in that it implies a world where there is more than what is needed for everyone. In an abundant world, the individual would not want for anything, so there would be no need to deprive one individual to provide for the needs of another.

There would be no need to steal anything from anyone, because you would have access to your own, and even if someone did steal from you, the ability to replace what was lost would be so great, that the loss would be negligible.

But how does one reach a state of abundance?

The first step would be to change your own mindset. Society needs to shift its focus away from a consumer economy based on a scarcity mentality to creating an economy of abundance. It's about taking collective responsibility for our own lives and the lives of others, returning to the fundamental basics and working in harmony with the earth, rather than plundering it.

Nature is essentially the world's greatest reverse pyramid scheme. Take a strawberry plant for example. If you nurture your plant it will provide you with strawberries. But the plant will also produce runners, which develop into new strawberry plants, which in turn produce their own strawberries, increasing your yield.

Over a few years, you will have more strawberry plants than you could possibly need, so you give some of your friends strawberry plants. These strawberry plants in turn develop runners and the cycle is repeated, resulting in exponential strawberry returns, until everyone is eating strawberries for free.

And it's not just strawberries. A single tomato seed can produce a tomato plant that produces a number of tomatoes, each of those tomatoes in turn could contain hundreds of tomato seeds, which have the potential to become hundreds of new tomato plants.

Just about every plant and animal species has the ability, under the right circumstances, for exponential growth, just as the human population has grown exponentially.

But instead of utilising this miracle of nature, we have corporations that want to control it. Who genetically manipulate seed and patent it, preventing individuals from saving the seed from crops and growing new crops from it.

Corporations who have gone as far as to embed termination genes into these plants, thus preventing the seed from being fertile so even if you do save it, it will never grow. (Can you imagine what would happen if the termination gene contaminates the genetic pool of our ever dwindling natural food supplies?)

To these corporations food is just another natural resource, there to be commoditised and traded and where a lack of supply amidst growing demand can drive up prices and produce greater profits. Control the food, control the profits and what an awesome commodity to control, as unlike the Levis and Pradas, everyone needs food to survive.

Millions go hungry and die of starvation because they don't have food, and yet the means of producing it is right under their feet.

Imagine a world where no-one would ever go hungry. Imagine a world where the question of what's for dinner was not determined by what money you had in your pocket.

Now ask yourself, do you want to continue living in a world of scarcity, or do you want a world of abundance?

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