Can we all please take a break from the insane consumption patterns that we are all so very used to! Can we please take a break and invest in our hobbies!! Can we please take a break and do something just for the pleasure of it! For once can we please stop to smell the roses.

This is exactly what this Coronavirus crises has led me to realise! It is nature’s way of telling us to take a break and not keep working constantly.

It is very important to understand that we have come into this world to enjoy the various things that have been created to live a life that is joyful, blissful. Sadly, we have also created a system that is not allowing us to enjoy these things. Ironic isn’t it!

I wonder what really happened in the initial pre-industrial days that today we are stuck in an economic system that is really doing the planet and its people no good. The need to continuously grow and the need to continuously consume is an outcome of the design of the economic system. In the present times, atleast I speak for urban areas, until pre coronavirus times, there was very little compassion and kindness and that really bothered me. Each one is trying to carve out a space for himself, each one is trying to outdo the other and make the most out of a situation, crime rates have gone up, pollution levels have gone up, number of cars owned by a family has gone up, the number of clothes per person has gone up tremendously, the number of gadgets per person, the amount of stuff a person owns has gone up to an extent that he/ she does not even remember that they have something in the back of their closet. In all, consumerism has peaked. This of course has led to obscene levels of production and also led to obscene levels of waste generation. It really pains to see this kind of waste generation, it pains to see that there is no clean air or water or food today which will nourish this body anymore.

I truly feel that this is an outcome of the growth centric economic models where the question of well-being of the society, health and safety of the society and the future generations is ignored in its entirety. A human beings essential needs are clean and nutritious food, clean water to drink, clean air to breathe, a good ecosystem, a good community life which doubles as a strong support system, a space of nurture creative thinking, to good education so that they have the opportunity to follow their interests and create a livelihood for themselves and finally universal healthcare where he/ she does not have to worry about healthcare bills in case of some unexpected issues. I am sure that we will all agree that nobody will choose to fall sick on purpose to make undue use of the healthcare system. These are essentials.

Education and healthcare are considered as merit goods today where access them would bring positive outcomes to the society. However, they are critical to the wellbeing of a society and hence should be categorised as Public goods where it is non rival and non-excludable. Our current system of education and healthcare are in a place where it is becoming extremely difficult of normal people/ middle class to really access it to say the very least. The current economic paradigm has made these two are commodities to be purchased in the market. They have made these so expensive that only the elite are in a position to access them or then the rest have to depend on loans/ insurance premiums to access them which in turn ties them in a vicious spiral of capitalism where they have to simply take any job that offers the most salary and start paying back the loan. This would also allow the private sector to squeeze every last drop of blood because they know that this person is truly dependent on them for his livelihood and survival. This person can never follow his heart and do what he really wants to do because he simply doesn’t have that choice anymore.

Regarding the healthcare, the capitalist system has had a two pronged strategy to take over. One is through the pharmaceutical companies and their patents to life saving medicines and the second through insurance companies. The insurance companies lure customers suggesting that they will cover a huge sum of the bills for a small premium but no one can really read the terms and conditions which are in an abysmally unreadable fine print format. These insurance companies do not cover a lot of the procedures and the premium you have taken will never be enough. Therefore the patient who is already going through a lot is burdened by the hospital bills that he has incurred. If in case the patient does not survive then the patients family not only lose him but are also obliged to pay huge sums as bills to the hospital. I AM NOT EVEN venturing to the space of the hospitals misdiagnosing the patients illness. That’s a whole different issue. Therefore it is paramount that we understand the viciousness to these two sectors are currently embedded in and how they truly need rescuing.


One of the main reasons for the levels of inequality we have today is the above. If we want to see a society that is having a good standard of living, where everyone has good food to eat, clean water and air, access to education and healthcare then we need to start changing our present systems right now. Clean food, water and air are linked to the levels of consumptions and the levels of productions. We need to become sensitive to the amount of consumption we undertake in our lives. We must ask ourselves if we really need that out pair of jeans because we need be sensitive to the fact that one jeans uses upto 7500 litres (about 2000 gallons) of water to make. This is just the figure for one commodity. The irony is that the alleged free market is never giving you an indication of the true cost of the product as they are offsetting the cost to the environment which belongs to all of us. So long as our markets do not indicate true costs, we need to be sensitive to our environment by being careful in our consumption patterns. This will in turn make the production sensitive to consumption.

So, when we consume and produce less, we will need much less money thereby freeing up time for doing something we are passionate about. We will have time to really relax and smell the roses. While the concept of minimalism is out there for all of us to adopt my only request is that next time we indulge ourselves we need to really ask if we want clean food, air and water or do we just want to wear these fancy clothes/ own fancy stuff.

Can we please change this economic system that only benefits a few as opposed to the entire society. Can we choose ubuntu, an African concept where nobody is left out. Can we choose our freedom over these material items. Can we all just invest in some local art/ music or can we invest in some creativity that will expand our hearts and bring us joy and blissfulness. Can we simply breathe! Can we take a break and just be.. after all we are Human Beings!


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