Hasta la victoria siempre

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Daunatoarea prosperitate

Tim Kasser

Vom intelege cum capitalismul, chiar si atunci cand reuseste sa-si atinga telurile propuse, esueaza. Pentru simplul motiv ca scopurile urmarite cu obstinatie, daca nu chiar obsesie, de acest sistem, in speta cele materiale, nu corespund adevaratelor nevoi psihice umane, ba chiar le umbresc pe acestea. Tim Kasser explica aceste realitati in materialul sau Values and Prosperity. Sa-l urmarim pas cu pas.

Raspandirea materialismului promovat de capitalism
„We as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the
shift from a “thing-oriented society” to a “person-oriented society.” – Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Since the American civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. spoke these words in the late 1960s, it seems clear that Western societies, as well as large swaths of the developing world,
have ignored King’s call and instead become increasingly enamored of the materialistic values
that create a “thing oriented society.” What else might we conclude when news sources and politicians seem increasingly obsessed with economic growth rates and the latest ups and downs of the stock market? What else might we conclude from the increasing power of multi-national corporations, 52 of whom had amassed so much capital by the year 2000 that they competed with nations to be among the world’s 100 largest economic organizations? What else might we conclude from the fact that several hundred billion dollars are spent yearly in the U.S. on dvertising, enticing people to buy more and hinge their worth on their possessions? What else might we conclude from the fact that surveys of entering first-year U.S. college students show hat the percentage who consider it essential or very important to be “financially well-off” has gone from 42% in King’s time to approximately 75% today (Irvine, 2007)?”

Faptul ca averea a 52 de corporatii multi-nationale le plaseaza pe acestea in topul primelor 100 de economii din lume, cateva sute de miliarde de dolari sunt cheltuite anual pe publicitate numai in SUA, ca studentii americani considera din ce in ce mai mult ca bunurile materiale le sunt esentiale, arata ca societatea capitalista pune un accent extrem de puternic pe dobandirea de bunuri materiale si de averi.

Si totusi, acest bombardament neintrerupt de advertising si obiecte, desi marcheaza un succes economic, are efecte in cel mai bun caz nule, in cel mai rau caz negatice asupra buna-starii personale.

„If we consider that people’s well-being and happiness is an important, desirable feature of prosperity, we must confront two empirical facts. First, large scale studies in almost every economically-developed nation indicate that the large increases in economic growth and consumption since the early 1960s have been associated with no increase in people’s personal happiness. Second, dozens of studies document that the more individuals “buy into” the materialistic aspirations and goals encouraged by contemporary society, the lower their happiness and life satisfaction and the more they report being depressed, anxious, and unhappy.”

Asadar, studiile arata atat ca dezvoltarea si cresterea economiilor nu sporesc satisfactia personala, cat si ca aspiratiile materiale scad starea personala de fericire, materialistii fiind mai degraba deprimati, anxiosi si nefericiti. Efectele negative ale consumerismului capitalist nu se opresc aici, ci influenteaza in modul cel mai daunator si viata sociala si protectia mediului:

„And if we consider that close interpersonal and community connections are important
features of a successful society, we must again confront two empirical facts. First, as capitalism
and consumerism have infiltrated more aspects of culture, spreading their ideology of
individualism and self-interest, individuals have become more self-centered and less concerned
about the well-being of others and less involved in their communities. Second, research shows that those who take on the materialistic values encouraged by capitalistic, consumer society are less empathic, less cooperative, and more likely to view others as objects to be manipulated in order to get ahead in life.

And if our values lead us to care about whether or not the Earth will be able to sustain our grandchildren and great-grand-children (as well as other species) with clean air and water,
healthy food, moderate temperatures, and safe places to live, we must again note two empirical facts. First, environmental scientists have reached the conclusion that the high levels of consumption enjoyed by Western societies are not sustainable, as they destroy habitats and biodiversity, pollute the air and water, and are contributing to global climate change (United Nations Environment Programme, 2002). Second, research shows that the more that individuals make on the materialistic values encouraged by capitalistic, consumer societies, the more they personally consume, the less they engage in ecologically-responsible behaviors, and the higher their ecological footprints.”

Pe scurt, mania consumerista se traduce, in termeni sociali, prinegoism,dezinteres fata de ceilalti membri ai societatii si indiferenta, lipsa de implicare in viata comunitatii. Victimele propagandei capitaliste sunt mai putin empatici, mai putin cooperanti si predispusi la a vedea in aproapele lor un obiect pe care il manipuleaza in scopuri proprii. Totodata, stilul de viata Occidental nu poate fi sustinut de planeta, consumerismul si lacomia materiala ducand in practica la distrugerea de habitate, schimbari climatice, poluarea aerului si apei. Preocuparea cu cresterea personala a consumului devine inamicul comportamentului ecologic-responsabil.

Valori capabile sa sporeasca fericirea personala si buna-starea societatii
„(...) goals for financial success, image, and popularity tend to stand in opposition to three other “intrinisic” goals: Self-acceptance (which involves trying to grow as a person), affiliation (which involves having close, intimate relationships with family and friends), and community feeling (which involves trying to help the broader world be a better place). What this finding means is that the more people focus on materialistic aims for money, image, and status, the more difficult it is for them to also focus on growing as a person, intimately connecting with other people, and contributing to the world at large.

This finding about value conflicts is especially important because these intrinsic aims for self-acceptance, affiliation, and community feeling are also the very values and goals that empirical research demonstrates promote personal happiness, positive social involvement, and ecologically sustainable behavior. Specifically, studies show that happier people place a relatively high emphasis on goals for self-acceptance, affiliation, and community feeling; by caring about such aims, the research suggests that people become increasingly likely to create lifestyles for hemselves that satisfy the psychological needs required for psychological thriving. Other research suggests that people focused on these intrinsic goals treat others in more
humane, cooperative, and caring ways, thus benefiting others’ well-being. And finally, studies show that a strong focus on intrinsic goals also conduces to caring more about ecological sustainability and being less greedy with limited resources.”

Asadar, nu numai ca preocuparea cu propria imagine si popularitate, cu imbogatirea personala sunt incapabile de a spori fericirea, dar ele intra in conflict cu valorile intrinseci, demonstrate ca fiind adoptate de oamenii cu un grad de fericire mai ridicat, precum preocuparea cu dezvoltarea intelectuala si spirituala, sociabilitatea, implicarea in viata comunitatii, preocuparea cu binele comun, sporind astfel si fericirea altora.

Simplitatea voluntara, alternativa preferabila consumerismului capitalist
„(...) people express their values by rejecting the “work and spend” consumer lifestyle so dominant today. This trend, variously called “voluntary simplicity”, “cultural creatives”, and “downshifting”, describes a lifestyle in which individuals choose to live a materially simple, “inwardly rich” life unburdened by long work hours and uncluttered by many possessions.
Qualitative reports suggest that such individuals attempt to center their lives around developing their personal interests, spending time with family, volunteering in their community, engaging in personally-meaningful spiritual practices, and living in an ecologically light fashion. As such, it seems that the VS lifestyle provides an excellent prototype of a group of individuals who are trying to avoid materialistic pursuits and instead orient their lives around intrinsic goals.”

Simplitatea voluntara implica un stil de viata ce respinge goana dupa bogatii si munca in exces care o acompaniaza, concentrandu-se pe devoltarea pasiunilor proprii, vietii de familie, vietii in comunitate, ecologiei. Alegerea acestui stil de viata se dovedeste cu adevarat benefica:

„Indeed, the parallel between Voluntary Simplicity (VS) and our theoretical conceptualizations seemed so clear that Kirk Warren Brown and I conducted a study comparing a sample of 200 North American VS practitioners with 200 mainstream Americans matched to the VSrs on age, gender, and geographic location. Consistent with our expectations, the VS group scored substantially higher than mainstream Americans on the relative importance they placed on intrinsic vs. materialistic goals. Our analyses also revealed that VS practitioners were both significantly happier than mainstream Americans and were living in more ecologically sustainable ways. Particularly remarkable were our analyses (using Structural Equation Modeling) that demonstrated that a good deal of the reason why the VS groups were living more ecologically sustainably and were happier than mainstream Americans was that the VS group was more focused on intrinsic and less focused on materialistic values. Such results, though preliminary, are quite promising, as they suggest that when individuals create a lifestyle that is focused on intrinsic values rather than materialistic values, they not only live in more ecologically sustainable ways, but they are happier too!”

Adeptii simplitatii voluntare si downshifting-ului sunt deci dovediti ca fiind mai fericiti decat media, tocmai pentru ca acorda o atentie sporita valorilor intrinseci. Totodata, amprenta lor ecologica este drastic diminuata, ceea ce inseamna ca acest stil de viata este nu doar in armonie cu propria persoana, ci si cu natura.

Timpul liber
Cei care refuza sa intre in nebuneasca cursa dupa obiecte si bunuri materiale, popularitate, vedetism etc. se vor bucura si de o crestere a timpului liber. Cei care prefera insa munca in exces, vor intampina urmatoarele neajunsuri:
„While materialistic values, profit-driven capitalism, and consumerism have been quite successful in creating great material affluence for some, social commentators have noted that an unfortunate side effect has been an increase in “time poverty” for many. The helter-skelter attempt to make more money and consume as much as possible leads many individuals to work long hours and spend more time commuting; further, many businesses and governments implement policies that encourage (if not force) long work hours as a means of enhancing profit and economic growth.

The result is that many people find it quite difficult to pursue their intrinsic goals. For example, long work hours can crowd out the time people have to spend engaging in activities relevant to self-acceptance goals, such as pursuing personal hobbies, reflecting on life, and generally taking care of mind, body, and soul. Commentators also have noted that busy people seem to have less time for their spouses, friends, children, and even pets (deGraaf, 2003), thus reflecting the difficulty of pursuing affiliation goals. And when they experience time poverty, people often are less likely to do activities relevant to community feeling goals such as volunteering, voting, and engaging in behaviors that sustain the Earth.”

Refuzul de a munci in exces are, comfrom lui Kasser, urmatoarele beneficii:
„These observations suggest that another way to orient individuals and society towards intrinsic goals is to place the concept of “time affluence” on an equal footing with material affluence. Some research supports these ideas. For example, Kasser & Brown (2003) reported that life satisfaction was higher in individuals who worked fewer hours; Kasser & Sheldon (in press) expanded on these ideas in a series of four studies. Specifically, Kasser & Sheldon developed measures of material and time affluence to assess individuals’ subjective experience of whether they had enough money and enough time. Results showed that even after controlling for people’s subjective (and actual) wealth, individuals who felt more time affluent reported greater subjective well-being and happiness. What’s more, further analyses (using mediational tests) revealed that when people felt more time affluent, they were more likely to engage in activities that supported their intrinsic values, which in turn explained why such individuals were happier than less time affluent people.
Other research has demonstrated the ecological benefits of time affluence.”

Ce putem conclude din expunerea lui Kasser? Ca desi capitalismul a creat multe bogatii in anumite parti ale lumii, acestea sunt inutile si nu reprezinta decat resurse umane si naturale consumate fara o finalitate pozitiva; ca adeptii simplitatii voluntare, preocupati de valori precum devoltarea propriei personalitati, viata de familie, viata comunitatii, protejarea mediului, timp liber, relaxare, sunt mai fericiti si multumiti de viata lor decat cei manati de lacomia materiala, popularitate etc.; si ca, per total, capitalismul chiar si atunci cand reuseste sa-si atinga telurile, nu face decat sa esueze, deoarece scopurile promovate de acesta, precum consumerismul, vedetismul etc. nu doar ca nu sporesc fericirea, dar nu fac decat sa obtureze adevaratele valori, cele demonsdtrate ca sporind satisfactia personala si colectiva. Imbratisarea stilului de viata al simplitatii voluntare este benefic atat pentru noi ca persoane, cat si pentru societate in general si chiar pentru mediul inconjurator.


RedPeliKan said...

Am postat pe blogul RedPeliKan un material scurt extras din cartea lui Mihai Ralea, "Cele doua Frante". Il puteti gasi aici: http://redpelikan.blogspot.com/2009/08/capitalismul-si-decadenta.html

Ce mi se pare interesant este ca obiceiurile care odata erau doar apanajul burgheziei devin in societatea de consum (desigur in variantă cheap) telul oamenilor simpli. Adica mizeria spirituala proprie lor a devenit mizeria societatii. Eu zic ca ne intoarcem la barbarism...

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