The Paradox of Prosperity
THE PEOPLES of the Western world have come to experience a strange admixture of prosperity and disillusionment. This would have surprised our ancestors. There exists, of course, an old and simple explanation for this strange state of spirits. Human nature is such that prosperity does not necessarily bring contentment: when people have it too good they become spoiled. This, vulgarly put, certainly explains something of our present condition. But it is no longer a sufficient explanation. The current disillusionment with the availability of the goods of this world has not been merely the psychic consequence of the oceanic wave of popular prosperity that is now engulfing large portions of the world.
The two conditions have not been successive: they have developed together. Our unprecedented affluence has been accompanied (and in some ways it has been furthered) by a sense of impermanence and of uncertainty.
About the Author