“In Praise of Splurging” By Anil Shrivastava ‘Musafir’

october 2019 spendingRecently a friend of mine sent me a message on WhatsApp. It read something like the following:
“A cyclist is a disaster for the country’s economy because he does not buy the car and does not take car loan; does not buy car insurance; does not buy Fuel; does not send his car for servicing & repairs; does not use paid parking; does not become Obese. So, he does not have to buy drugs and he does not have to go to hospital and doctors. He does not  add anything to country’s GDP.”
Though it was supposed to be a slapstick, it made me think deeper about splurging both by individuals and nations at large. While growing up, our generation was told, “You spend as little as you need to, and then save everything else.” So, we hated spending money and thought that it was unwise or maybe immoral to do so.
Now I realize that the economy of a nation only grows when people spend their wealth. In plain terms spending is the key to economic growth. Personal consumption drives almost 71% of economic output of the United States, the most affluent major economy in the world in terms of gross domestic product (GDP). More people spend, more employment they create in terms of manufacturing and service jobs.
This works on personal level too. Our spending creates wealth. Well-to-do people tend to hire outside help with gardening, repair, cleaning and sundry other work. Thus they provide more opportunities for others to earn money. That is one reason why crime is not as prevalent in affluent neighborhoods as it is in poor neighborhoods where the needy have to steal or rob due to lack of any opportunity to earn money.
You don’t want to come to the  end with $3 million saved, but having sacrificed your whole life along the way. Many of my acquaintances amassed a vast saving by sacrificing any material or epicurean experiences of life. They were brain washed by the old school that saving money is a virtue. Now most of them are old and effete. They didn’t enjoy their wealth and can’t carry the same with them after death.
However, that’s my opinion. It is an individual choice between being an ascetic and leading an aesthete lifestyle. But if you are one who is interested in the greater good of the society— then maybe you should think about splurging.


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