16 August, 2010

How much money is enough?

You know, some decades ago people suffering from a shortage of food wasn't all that uncommon. In the Western countries, that's all changed. In the past 30 years money has taken the place of food in that sense. Working was all about getting money. More money. No matter how much you had, you still needed more.

Unfortunately, as with food, enough is enough. Most of the people in the West have really more than they need. So, they want to drive a BMW instead of a Toyota - need to have more money. Want a bigger house - need more money. I mean, when is it going to stop? Is anything ever enough? Or are we going to consume ourselves to oblivion, much like mr. Creosote in Monty Python's "The Meaning Of Life"?

On the other hand, is it really about the amount? Or is it more about how you use it? Does it matter why you need a huge pile of money, or is the problem just the amount?

A couple of days ago I started thinking what I needed money for. First, the obvious things came up: food, a decent home, clothes and all that must-have stuff. Well, that didn't seem to cover it all. I'd need some hobbies, right? So, on the list went orienteering and running equipment expenses, a bit of traveling and books. Oh yeah, music equipment, too. But that was it. I mean, that's not an enormous amount of income I'd need. And if I split housing between two people, it's not like I'd need to be Governor of the Entire Universe to see it through.

If I think of it, most of the things that make me happy are very cheap - or even free. Love, friendship - can't buy those from Stockmann. Sure, you'll want the occasional movie night or dine out, but that's all really. Nature - well, all you need is a bike and you're ready to go, really. Get a camera if you feel really into it.

But then, alas, disaster struck in the way of critical thinking. What if somebody has more expensive hobbies? Is it ok to have driving as a hobby? How about horse riding? The intuitive solution would be to claim that if you have expensive solutions, you just have to work more. But somehow I feel the need to draw a line between what's ok as self-actualization and what's just too much in the way of vanity. So far, however, the solution is nowhere to be seen. So for the time being, I guess I'll just have to accept that some people need more money than others.

No comments:

Post a Comment