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A Rethunk Prosperity

Katie Lowell

Scroll through this blog and you’ll find intriguing posts about why unrestrained growth, democratic consumerism, dependency corruption, and more, provide the framework for why modern America can no longer equate prosperity with growth. So, how do we abandon our antiquated definition of prosperity in order to conserve the finite resources on our planet and lead happier more fulfilling lives? I have no idea.

But we have to start somewhere. I’m going to start by ruling out the extreme idea of deserting life and culture as we know it to start revolutionary society based on our redefined principles of prosperity. This tactic will not work because our message will never reach the masses, who rely on modern media for communication. Thus, we must work within the system to change our dialogue. And it has to be a combined effort from the bottom up (i.e. grassroots) and the top down (i.e. government and corporations). We must share stories, accurate data, and emotionally charged images to convey our message.

But then, what’s our message? Well… I have a couple of ideas. We can start big with campaigns to abandon the Gross Domestic Product as our only tool for measuring American success and replace it with a tool that measures long-term collective happiness and sustainability over monetary gains. A democratic citizens, we could demand the implementation of new financial standards that give government and business incentives to create policies that protect the nation’s vital operating systems: the family, neighborhood, community, and planet. Or we could start small. We can encourage individuals to think locally and practically by recognizing resources that comprise and sustain social life and relationships, including time, experience, empathy, teaching, and love.

Sounds overwhelming? It is. But we’re on our way. Below is an example of a viral video, communicated through our existing channels of communication (I found it on Facebook) that promote a new framing of prosperity on an individual level. While this video may no longer be in our daily dialogue, the fact that it was seen by over 38 million people proves that the idea of rethinking prosperity by confronting the true costs of growth is not reserved to this blog.

Do you think this video is a step in the right direction? What steps can business and politics take to reach a rethunk prosperity?

3 Comments

  1. ccceprosperity

    Millie Goebel

    I used to not be much of a believer in the power of social media both good and evil. Growing up in a house hold that limited a significant portion of mass media in our daily lives I always thought the idea of a youtube video starting a social movement was a bit ridiculous. However, over this quarter I really have been proven wrong. This video is so accurate with the way people our age conduct themselves. We are a narcisitic generation that is obsessed with social media and posting about ourselves. I am a very grateful you posted this video, I think it is wonderful and heart breaking at the same time.

  2. shin1505

    To me, this video says it all. I have posed a question to many of my friends and family: your house is on fire, everything will burn, everybody’s out. You have an opportunity to go in safely and rescue stuff, what do you go in to get and why? Invariably, I get responses which boil down to the same basic thing- memorabilia of moments with people that they care about. “I’d get my mother’s photo albums” “I’d rescue my external hard drive because it has pictures of my kids from when they were young” “My parent’s wedding photos” “I’d grab my laptop, there are videos on it from when my grandparents were alive”
    No one ever says sofas, or that really expensive dress that they bought last week, or their branded perfume/shoes ect.
    Fundamentally, we know what’s important, we just need to concentrate on the direction that we are heading to, and make sure that it’s the place that we want to be.

  3. tesschilton

    I think the social media is becoming one of the most powerful tools to create change. Messages now have the power to travel from person to person in seconds. Our use of day to day social media in outlets such as facebook and twitter are already spreading awareness more now then ever before. I think it will be a key tool in influencing people actions on the issues our environment is facing.

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