"Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonour the name of my God."
- Proverbs 30.8-9.It has long been known that above a certain level of having basic needs met, increasing material wealth does not correlate with increased happiness or satisfaction with life. An interesting, though brief article in the NYT on rethinking the measure of growth mentions more economists in Asia's growing economies questioning whether the pursuit of ever higher GDP is costing us the earth.
Sometimes ecological concerns are critiqued as patronising or colonialist: developed nations telling developed nations that they can't get as rich as us. Or ecological responsibility is seen as a luxury that only the wealthy can afford: "First comes a full stomach, then comes ethics," wrote Brecht in his Threepenny Opera (1928). But the reality is that developed nations must learn joyfully to embrace less, and developing nations must be liberated from the idea that a western lifestyle is the only life worth aspiring to.