We over-consume almost everything | Sunday Observer

We over-consume almost everything

 MTI CEO Hilmy Cader
MTI CEO Hilmy Cader

Humanly, we can only be awake about 16-17 hours in a day. This has not changed much with time. But the choice of things we can do per day, be it food, entertainment, socialising, or travelling (and the sub choices within each of these) have exploded.

This has several implications for the way we live today:

* We are over-consuming almost everything and we have so much of idling / low utilisation assets, from cars to wardrobes, from appliances to apps.

* Because we are over-consuming, we have to work harder and more competitively, to pay for these. This in turn increases stress in our lives. This is evident by the alarming increase in the incidence of non-communicable diseases that are lifestyle induced.

* But we cannot slow down if even if we wish to, because the commercial organisations that we work for have to show year-on-year increases in the top-line and bottom-line. So do Governments with regard to economic growth. This forces us to ‘push’ consumers to buy more, use more and those in industries such as healthcare hope they suffer more.

Of course, two of the biggest industries in the world i.e. arms and ammunition, hope we fight more and media, hope there is more sensations each day. The Government, in pursuit of votes, is pushed to borrow more to prop up economies.

* All of the above, by virtue of the economic and commercial systems we are an integral part of, are forced to grow year-on-year for ever. But, it is very unlikely that our environment can sustain this. Mother Nature continues to give us grave signals, although the President of the USA is yet to warm up to it.

How long can we continue this way? What will make us change? Personally, I would like to see a reverse to a far more simpler, sustainable way of life, but the system we are all part of works against it. But that should not be an excuse for the ‘I’ that wants to make a change. Its about striking a balance, ensuring that our healthy ambitions stop short of greed, our self-esteem stops short of destructive ego and our quest for comfort stops short of materialism.