Tele column 7th June 2019

The Beatles told us that “Money can’t buy me love” (for younger readers the Beatles were a boy band back in the day). And we all know money can’t buy happiness and yet the vast majority of us pursue it doggedly, day in day out. In that respect I am as guilty as anyone. Since I was 17 I have worked and saved and spent and worked and saved and spent. The ideology that the acquisition of money is the end game is not a new one and most cultures embrace it in some way or another. At an individual level I fully understand that life is easier if one has a disposable income which buys comfort and engenders peace of mind but at what point do any of us say enough is enough?

At a national level we measure Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as a guide to how well the country is doing. This entails measuring the monetary value of products and services produced in a country.

Recently the Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern, has charted a different course for her country. She wants to measure success based on happiness and wellbeing rather than wealth and growth.

When my partner died last year, I promised myself that I would concentrate more on enjoying the passing of time rather than worrying about the future. I am discovering that is easier said than done. But maybe if the aspirations of success are defined differently at a national level it will be easier for us all to step off the treadmill and enjoy a walk on the beach. I shall be watching what happens in New Zealand with interest. It will be interesting to see what a small independent country with a population of five million can achieve.

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