Tories urge against materialism

David Cameron

//Update 12 Sept.: Probably the most interesting and commendable proposition of the policy paper that yesterday escaped my attention is that it suggests to add to the existing indicator of the national economic prosperity – GDP – set of new indicators which would better map the real social welfare. The criticism of GDP comes largely from the simple fact that it treats all possible national disasters as ‘positive boosts’ and healthy for the economy. GDP rises when a country is ridden by floods, tornadoes, or even war because of the consequent economic investments.

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The report from the Quality of Life policy group created for the Conservative Party argues and documents by the empirical research that the sole pursuit of material wealth ‘won’t make the British people happy’ (reported by the Independent here, in Czech here). Interestingly, this paper denounces the Conservative Party’s own policy from the years of the Thatcher and Major government as appealing solely to the selfish human nature.

On the other, however, the Conservatives seem to have nothing against globalization and ‘free’ market as such and vehemently stand against any further European integration, that is, the first steps which one should take if he genuinely opposes the current materialism of the West. What is needed is an European framework which would be able to support local businesses as against the domination of trans-national companies who today universalize the whole West and are subject to no other interest than their own – which is obviously to make people buy as much as their products as possible. The resources available to these transnational business players is tremendous – for instance ‘the budget of General Motors ($132 billion) is greater than the GNP of Indonesia; Ford’s ($100.3 billion), greater than the GNP of Turkey; Toyota’s greater than the GNP of Portugal; Unilever’s greater than the GNP of Pakistan; Nestlé’s greater than the GNP of Egypt’ [1]. It is no wonder than that these companies are able to ‘convince’ some politicians that to support their cause is really in theirbest’ interest.

The Conservatives, however, are and will probably remain silenced with regard to this prime cause of the spread of the materialist propaganda. Their advice to stand against materialism thus sounds nice, but the sincerity of such statement is doubtful since it is not accompanied by any applicable remedy…

 

[1] http://www.alaindebenoist.com/pdf/confronting_globalization.pdf, p. 122.

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