Wednesday, August 3, 2011

CrumpleItUp Redux: Is Consumerism Making Us Sick?

Another early post in this series of "The Best of CrumpleItUp" ... this time from Grant Harrison.  Grant was never one to mince words (and still isn't).  He's still shaking up the health establishment at his health design firm called The Future Well that he runs with Dr. Jay Parkinson.  If you asked Grant today, I'm guessing he'd tell you that this post is truer than ever.
Is Consumerism Making Us Sick?
By Grant Harrison - Originally published on on November 26, 2008

Sport and Recreation Active New Zealand survey released a few days ago showed that more than 50 percent of people do 30 minutes or less "exercise" a week. Where "exercise" is a "noticeable increase in breathing and heart rate'. This is pretty bad. It is also unchanged from 1999 despite an estimated $900 million dollars spent per year (more than $200 per man, woman and child per year). They must be disappointed.
And this is not just a small pacific island thing. The UK is just starting a similar program which I fear will have the same level of success.

Why has this happened? I don't know. But let me share an argument with you.

Let's say there are 2 key factors behind so little sport, recreation and fitness:
1. people are lazy
2. our world economy is built upon consumption

The entire engine is built on all of us spending more money, buying more stuff - food, entertainment, things to take the effort out of daily life. As we learnt in the US after 9/11, a major act of patriotism is to shop. The dollars or pounds spent on promoting consumption are monumental. No one is selling self control.

Is there an answer?

Here's a "starter for 10". If people don't pay for it, it's not valuable. If it's not marketed (a lot), it won't be bought. I truly believe the answer will be a pill or some form of nanotechnology. Something that involves us reaching into our pockets, not strapping on our running shoes.

So what does this mean for all of us?

We'd better build a compelling health entertainment industry. Cos no one's buying "keep your mouth shut and go for a walk"!

Do you think I'm on to something here?

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