To lift the disadvantaged out of misery

Stamping out excessive consumerism

| Updated: October 14, 2022 23:40:09

Stamping out excessive consumerism

According to the Planning Commission, nearly 40 million (four crore) people in Bangladesh live below the poverty line.
The hardship the unprivileged people experience is beyond description. From the unavailability of potable water to the inaccessibility of housing and healthcare, the deprived go through the wringer every now and then. The needs of these people that go unmet are multifarious.
Their day starts with the great inconvenience of satisfying their hunger. Most of them scrounge, which effectively means they live on the benevolence of others. If they fall ill, things get even worse; the situation regarding the health of the impoverished community is abysmal. Lack of nutrition, sanitation, and healthy living conditions lead to poor health among them. As far as the children are concerned, they deal with stunted growth due to undernourishment and malnutrition. Sometimes, the children succumb to easily preventable diseases. When all these are happening, how can we spend lavishly on things we don't even need? How can we even consider spending on unwanted luxurious items when people struggle to meet the most basic needs?
Despite being well-aware of their plight, at times, we, the "privileged people", tend to disregard them, which attests to us being sheer inhumane. We place a high emphasis on consumerism and conspicuous consumption and fall into the trap of the hedonic treadmill, which brings only transient happiness. Consequently, we become busy upgrading our lifestyles and fail to contemplate the torments of the poverty-stricken people and families. However, it's a bit of a stretch to posit that we all are out-and-out ignorant towards the unprivileged since many of us support them to our best possible extent. Nonetheless, the aid the homeless receive seldom benefits them. Thus, it's fair to deduce that despite having the resources, we are not doing enough to assist the poor in fulfilling their bare necessities.
We mainly help people in the form of alms, which barely help them meet their basic needs. Some of us have strong desires to help the poor, but as the entire process of purchasing relief supplies and going out on the streets firsthand takes up a lot of time, many tend to rule this out. However, we can contribute to considerably improving the lives of the underprivileged by giving away particular portions of our incomes to effective charities. This method is effective, efficient, and extensive, but people may not opt for it regularly. It's understandable to be reluctant to set aside particular portions of our monthly incomes for the neediest, given our average monthly salary of mere 299$. Nevertheless, if we can curb, if not completely give up, materialism, we can give away to good causes regularly and still live comfortably.
By making wise financial decisions, we can change lives significantly. For instance, we can do away with status symbols and material possessions that are alluring yet bear little or no importance to our lives. Furthermore, we can rein in our desires to dine out and shop frequently and unnecessarily. Although it can be argued that consumerism comes with a multiplier effect on the overall economy, the magnitude of contribution that can be made to the economy in the future by lifting people out of poverty and illiteracy is exceedingly massive.
Therefore, changing our monetary decision-making and subsequently devoting our resources to assisting the people in need can bring life-changing impacts. For example, we can reduce our monthly expenses by 2000 BDT and use that money to sponsor the education of a child through JAAGO Foundation's "Sponsor a Child Program". This sum will cover a child's education and ensure medical support and nutritious food for them. Thus, we can play pivotal roles in providing unprivileged children with education, healthcare, and nutrition. Besides, we can give away to low-budget charities like Pathway, offering free health services and medicines along with training and employment opportunities for the unprivileged community. Our giving can avail big budgets for them and, later on, help them implement multiple projects.
By being empathetic, humanitarian, and rational decision-makers, we can contribute to making this world a better place and our lives purposeful. Altruism is of the essence in this case. The impact this philosophy brings to people's lives is eminently fulfilling, which adds meaning to our lives.
Hence, it's imperative to instill that if we want, by reducing our outlays, we can put more money or relief supplies in the hands of people who struggle more often than not to meet the most basic needs for survival. We should refine our moral compass and adhere to the maxim "All lives are equal".

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