Spurred by an interesting dialogue between two members of the Parliament about the adequacy of using GDP as a measure of a country’s well-being, I posted the following comment on Facebook – Quality of life is not purely determined by wealth.
In less than an hour, I received a slew of responses negating the statement and an equal number of people who liked it. The general consensus was that without wealth it is not possible to have quality of life. Although the more reasonable ones mentioned the use of wealth wisely to obtain a quality life. What was most sobering was the comment ‘Tell that to the poor people who are starving.’
Perhaps I have never been truly poor before. I have been broke but never poor. I cannot bring myself to agree that possessing wealth is the key to a good life. It may be naïve of me but many important things in life cannot be purchased by money.
With wealth I could afford the most advanced medical treatment. I could buy all the toys my children want. I could fulfill my dreams of travelling around the world, I could give the money to people who need it more than me and I could stop working and spend time with my loved ones.
But there are so many other things that money just cannot buy. I cannot buy my way out of death. I cannot buy my husband and children’s love. I cannot buy happiness for the people I treasure. I cannot buy time to go back and relive my life. I cannot buy virtues. And I certainly won’t be able to buy the contentment that comes from living within my means.
One thing I was tempted to point out was that in the pursuit of wealth and economic growth, each one of us is contributing to the degradation of the environment, society and the human soul. Earth is bearing the brunt of rapid human development and is lashing back at us with freak weathers. Our social values are gradually being steered towards greed and consumerism as opposed to compassion for the needy and love for our family and friends. And our human soul can only serve one Master.
So unless we learn how to properly achieve a balance between growth and sustainability, I stand on this side of the line – quality of life is not solely determined by wealth. (Being in my current vocation, this is actually tricky since I am advocating financial planning.)