April 17, 2009

This Just In - The Rat Race Has Been Cancelled

For longer than I have been alive the pace of life in the west has been ramping up dramatically. "The Rat Race", it came to be known. We have been running faster and faster for fewer returns in terms of personal happiness.

At the same time Big Corp. took over, using enticing messages in the new media of radio and TV to lure us into their trap. Soon we were moving to the city in record numbers, giving up our self-sufficient, simple lives for massively complicated, dependent ones. We all willingly stepped onto the treadmill, and haven't looked back since.

We sold out to Big Corp. We work for them longer and harder than ever before. We buy their stuff, and sacrifice our lives for the privilege . The Rat Race is a pressure cooker of stress as shown by our collective ill health. After 50 or so years of work most of us, if we even live long enough to retire, are too tired and unhealthy to enjoy our freedom.

Surrounded by all our neat stuff, we have become sick and unhappy. At the same time Big Corp. has been paying CEO's thousands of times what the average worker made.

What if we limited ourselves to our fair share of the world's resources? How much would that cost in western countries? Would it let us gain our freedom sooner?

I figure that our fair share (whatever scary, tiny amount that may be) would cost in Canada roughly 8 - 18 thousand dollars per year. How long would the average person have to work to make that much? Assuming a wage of 20 dollars an hour (average for Canadian workers in 2008), it would take approximately 10 to 23 weeks per year to earn the small pile of the earth's resources allocated to you.

You would not have much stuff, but think of all the time off you would have. Think of how uncomplicated your life might be. How much time you would have to reconnect with friends and family. To get healthy. To eat better. To help out in your community. To do things that benefit you and those around you, such as healing the environment.

Besides, when we have passed laws to limit consumption what use will we have for huge amounts of extra money? Conspicuous consumption is on the way out. On a planet where 27 000 children die every day due to preventable diseases, it seems a crime for us to be living the lives of luxury and excess that we do.

Thinking only about "Me, and All My Great Stuff" will soon be as socially unacceptable as smoking in public places is becoming. Think Gandhi and his little box of simple possessions, not Imelda Marcos, the world's best known shoe-collector.

Since The Great Recession began in 2007 the Rat Race Treadmill has been slowing. Our rickety system has been grinding to a halt. My recommendation is that you bail while you can, because everyone is trying to crank it all up again, even though we know that if we continue business as usual we will kill ourselves and everything else on the planet.

We can all become winners once again by abandoning this doomed race and taking back our lives for ourselves, our local community, and the environment.

Jump! jump! jump! before they get this damned treadmill cranked again.


  1. If everyone earned $8000 per year, the economy would collapse and nobody would be able to earn $8000 per year

    1. Mike,

      If the economy continues on its present life-destroying course it will collapse and nobody will be able to earn $8000 per year. Never mind earning a living, it will be difficult to simply survive if we continue to ignore natural limits that make infinite economic growth impossible.


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