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The standard of living of life

Jun 25,2018 - Last updated at Jun 25,2018

I was intrigued by a short note which had come to my attention on the social media. The sender of the note emphasised the difference between the standard of living and the standard of life.

Many governments around the world express that their main objective is to achieve higher standard of living for their citizens. Such a mundane goal was best represented by what came to be known as the American dream. Such a dream was embodied in living in a nice home, with a green lawn in front and furnished with all modern amenities that allow a house maker to attend to her chores with efficiency and a big smile. She is always ready to receive her husband with a hearty meal, while the children are gratefully eating and the dog wagging its tail under the table.

The American dream or way of suburban living became as popular in the world as the mighty dollar. Yet, it did not reflect a similarly good standard of life. Scratching beneath the surface revealed how much stress and anxiety those people were actually undergoing.

It was revealed that the cars which the family owned, the permanent consumer goods which the wife used to do her chores with expediency and the consumer goods which were stuffed in drawers and ice boxes were bought with credit cards or in installments. With those came the gas, electricity, telephone and water bills, plus the monthly payments on the house mortgage.

The stressful exercise of making household budgets meet monthly payments diminished the happiness, which families were supposed to be enjoying. Suddenly, downscaling of expenditure takes its toll, and in periods of recession, greater consumption sacrifices must be made.

With the new technologies, the concept of “job security” and its synonym “permanent job” are gradually disappearing. Incomes are thus volatile and the reliance on a steady and secure future income flows is no more tenable. Thus, the American dream is becoming a nightmare.

We are in the process of inventing new concepts. One of them is to reinvent work so that we “are working” and not being “worked”. We have to bring back the spirit of work where we produce and enjoy things of value like culture, precision, community services and the blessing of voluntary work.

Secondly, we have to enhance our happiness in pursuing plural water, natural food, cleaner air and less insatiable materialism. Finland was chosen as the happiest society on these grounds.

We have to respect life in all its redeeming values in order to live happier. The pursuit of happiness through material consumerism has led to inequitable distribution of income and wealth.

We need to restructure our goals of life from better standard of living to a better standard of life.

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Comments

To Dr. Anani

The first statement of your article " STandard of Living and Standard of Life " was mentioned in a viral whatsapp video of an Indian contemporary "Philosopher " who explained well the difference. I don't know if te person who told you about this statement brought it from that Indian man or of his own making .

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