I would like to make a confession: Economics flows over my head like the wind. Aside from basic demand-supply factors, I never really grasped economics. I just did not get how spending more without an eye towards saving would be good for anyone, let alone the country and world as a whole. I did not and still do not comprehend how putting aside money every month is not good. I don’t get how borrowing money and indebting oneself for the rest of one’s life to pay for house/car etc could be better than saving up and spending that cash to remain debt-free. I don’t understand how buying on credit is going to be better than buy with whatever cash we have.
Economists would argue that the above are all true and the key is practicing in moderation. However, how moderate is moderation? And who defines it?
On that topic, a recent article by Simon Rogers was beautifully put. Some except is:
Too much and for too long, we seemed to have surrendered personal excellence and community values in the mere accumulation of material things. Our Gross National Product, now, is over $800 billion dollars a year, but that Gross National Product – if we judge the United States of America by that – that Gross National Product counts air pollution and cigarette advertising, and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage.
It counts special locks for our doors and the jails for the people who break them. It counts the destruction of the redwood and the loss of our natural wonder in chaotic sprawl.
It counts napalm and counts nuclear warheads and armored cars for the police to fight the riots in our cities. It counts Whitman’s rifle and Speck’s knife, and the television programs which glorify violence in order to sell toys to our children.
Yet the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials.
It measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country, it measures everything in short, except that which makes life worthwhile.