Overall wellbeing, an extravagant lifestyle, and wealth all come to mind when I ponder the good life but what does the good life actually cost? At first glance, this seems like a loaded question that requires multiple dissertations in order to answer. I even contemplated whether or not the good life had a cost at all. Breaking the good life into separate topics relieves much of the stress when it comes to giving an answer. In terms of consumerism, the good life is damaging to the environment, places too much emphasis on money, and it dwindles the importance of non-market values.
According to Annie Leonard’s “The Story of Stuff”, our current materials economy is a commodity chain in which goods go from extraction, to production, to distribution, to consumption, and finally to disposal. The system sounds stable but it is actually in crisis. Anyone with a simple understanding of mathematics can tell you that you cannot run a linear system on a finite planet in the real world. In order for us, the consumers, to get all of our fancy products and up-to-date technologies, a process that we turn a blind eye to takes place. At the source of the process, there is natural resource exploitation. “We chop down the trees, blow up mountains to get the metals inside, use up all the water, and wipe out all the animals.” As consumers, we are running out of resources because we have too much stuff! In the past three decades alone, one third of the planet’s natural resource space has been consumed. We are undermining the planets very ability for people to live here. In the United States, less than four percent of our original forests are left and forty percent of the waterways have become unsanitary. When the resources start to deplete, we do the same thing to third world or lesser developed nations. The erosion of the local environments of these nations and economies ensures a constant flow of natives that rely on the little money they can earn while working...
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