Tuesday, October 27, 2009

On the Materialism of Society

When a person is too concerned with material wealth and luxury, we may condemn that person as being materialistic. If we were to take the same argument and apply it not to persons, but to societies, to national entities, then we will arrive at a single conclusion- that Singapore is exceedingly materialistic.

How so? It has been said that the key prerogative of Singapore's leadership is economic growth. And indeed, Singapore has experienced much success towards that goal. But to frame economic growth as the most important of goals, to focus the most energies on enlarging and strengthening the economy, and to then treat the outcomes of such growth as symbols of power, of modernity, of first-world-ness - is there not something missing?

It is sadly laughable for us to not develop the other tenets of society, to hastily ignore that which has no economic benefits, and to then exuberantly claim that "we have arrived!" It does have a hollow ring to it.

It is not to say that the path adopted is wrong, particularly if one does in fact agree with the tenets of materialism. For what could be wrong with more fast cars, more luxury bags, and more cash?

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