I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the difference between A Capitalist Economy and a Capitalist Society.
The former is a pretty solid economic model that subscribes to things like a free market economy and the laws of supply and demand. And it is in it’s purest form, I think, a pretty good economic one, as it rewards hard work, good ideas and risk taking.
The latter, however, I think speaks to a Societal model that describes every aspect of one’s existence in terms of material valuation. It constantly asks, ‘Can I make a buck on it?’ It asks ‘What’s it worth?’ – and only understands the value of something solely in materialistic or monetary terms.
It’s an outlook that has become pervasive in our culture, and it’s quite troubling. The inability to see, understand and evaluate anything – a song, a painting, an emotion or personal success – beyond terms of monetary value is in direct opposition to what it means to be truly human – a considerably deeper, broader and more meaningful state.
It is, I think, the end result of a marketing culture that equates happiness with stuff, and it has found a ground – made fertile by the dissolution of family, religion and human values – in which to grow. It’s troubling to me as a father, and husband. And human being.
And it fuels me as a writer.
But, for a long time, I have, perhaps, lacked the courage to speak about this beyond conversations with friends, family – even strangers – all of whom, curiously, are in complete agreement with me. It can be a dangerous business for someone who works in advertising to question the broader ethical impact of marketing, yet I find it oddly compelling that I can have this very same conversation about ‘the way things are’ with anyone, anywhere, and I always find that we’re all on the same page, yet we never seem to get anywhere – possibly because most of us spend our days treading water.
But you can only do that for so long. After awhile, you either get tired and drown, or you swim for the shore. And make it.
I think it’s time to talk about it, and to do something about it. Having quit coffee some 24 days ago now, I think it’s time to move on to some other topics. I’ll be blogging about some of them here, and hope that you’ll all continue to read along. And speak up, too.
I’m going to start that swim now…