Americans should use wealth for the common good

The Western system of consumerism distracts us from our obligations as wealthy people.


Political cartoon of the consequences of consumerism by Ellie Grever

by Editorial Board and Ellie Grever

Fueled by extreme greed, Americans follow Thanksgiving, a holiday made for gratitude, with Black Friday, a day where we trample others in pursuit of a slightly-discounted, newer version of something we already own.  Then, a mere month later, we turn to Christmas, a time meant for expressing love to friends and family, into a competition to see who can give the best present.

The American obsession with material goods and services has its place at STA. Regardless of what we want to believe, the constant cycle of buying t-shirts, paying for food and keeping STA’s technology top-notch can be dangerous.

We choose to disregard it all, convincing ourselves that our hearts are not guilty of anything. Granted, it’s not always going to be easy to fix the root of the problem. But we should recognize that the cycle doesn’t always show itself: our school’s obsessions with the newest iPhone, the cutest lululemon leggings, the comfiest Ugg boots and the coolest Jeep are perfect examples of times when we choose to be oblivious to the extra worth and power we give to brand names and large corporations.

Being indifferent and unaware of the effects of a materialistic lifestyle can cause devastating harm to the wellbeing of our community and others.

We should take this season of thankfulness and giving to realize our luck–we’re blessed more than we can fathom. But we should not feel bad about being born into well-off families in a wealthy country. Some people are bound to be more rich than others, and that’s okay.

However, we should recognize that we are privileged. Realizing our good fortune is essential to noticing the human dignity of all. If we put our excess wealth to good use in aiding the poor and marginalized, we’ll get the biggest bang for our bucks. Our money will be put towards the thing that matters most: humanity.