Doing the Right Thing

Affluent lifestyle creates related expectations, so when we develop an addiction to consumerism we become the authors of our own local problems too. One of the yardsticks for measuring poverty is determining the point at which people are able to participate in society. It doesn’t take much wit to see that the more simply a community lives, the greater the number of its citizens who will be able to attain contentment.

Where the price of basic accommodation is driven up beyond the reach of a large percentage of ordinary people, and where towns and work requirements are planned in the expectation that everyone in the community will own and drive a car, a situation is created that automatically shunts many citizens in the direction of experiencing poverty quite needlessly.

There is so much hidden poverty [which is] a direct by-product of the expectations of an affluent society. This manifests not only in street-dwellers and beggars and squatters, or in people who have given up hope and taken refuge in alcohol and drugs, but in a myriad quiet, respectable, unremarkable lives lived in private desperation – without drama, but haunted by constant anxiety and a pervading sense of shame, with a hold all too precarious on what little they have, and prospects of unremitting self denial as a constant feature of life.

These people, the unremarkable, uncomplaining, invisible poor, are there in every community, and their struggle is the direct legacy of affluence and consumerism.

Rob Frost
Doing the Right Thing: 10 issues on which Christians have to take a stand
Monarch Books 2008

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