High School Speech Materialism and Money

We Have become largely materialistic as a society. Nowadays the size of your income is the point that defines you and happiness is the latest Ipod. Now just take a moment to consider. What was it that made you happy as a toddler? Was it that you had the latest Pumpkin patch fashions? Or perhaps it was that your parent’s earnt more than your best friends parents? No it was simply the love and affection of your parents, a sense of achievement when you achieved something and the companionship of people your own age. You see, I think those toddlers are onto a good thing.

I believe that we as the young people of New Zealand place far to much emphasis on the importance of money. If you think about it, all that money causes is bad things; Debt, relationship problems, and inter-class prejudice. Money has such a strong influence over our lives, so much so that it often causes relationship problems. Many couples have put relationship problems down to financial problems. Debt and lack of income place major financial stresses on people. As a result their relationships with friends and sexual partners suffer. This can often lead to domestic violence, alcoholism and abuse.

Recently a survey was conducted by a New Zealand relationship service. This survey revealed that 41% of couples experiencing relationship problems blamed their financial issues. A representative from the National relationship service declared that the groups of people most susceptible to domestic violence were young couples experiencing relationship troubles. We’ve all seen the massive controversy in the media about Slumdog millionaire Actress, Rubina Ali’s father tries to sell her. If money were such a brilliant thing why it was the very reason for a father trying to sell his daughter?

His very own flesh and blood? Breaking up a whole family. I believe that if we were to place less importance on money then many relationships would benefit greatly. Debt is a major intrusion into people’s everyday lives. Debt is becoming a far more predominant issue. This is because a lot of the younger generations are un educated about the consequences of using credit and eftpos cards. They are also unaware of how to keep their accounts under control. Debt has become more of an issue in recent years with the introduction of electronic devices. Credit cards now allow people to spend heir money in advance meanwhile they are charged large amounts of interest. Because they are unable to physically ‘spend their money people are often fooled into spending large amounts of money. This is essentially a loan. The credit companies then charge the customer high interest rates and by the time the customer pays-off this debt they have paid almost twice the amount for an item in order to use their money in advance. The amount of debt an average New Zealander racks up is increasing. Take for example, a survey carried out by the Reserve bank of New Zealand in 2001.

This survey stated that the average amount of debt as a New Zealander had increased by 10% over the ten year period since 1991 This is a leading cause for depression and mental illness. I believe that if proper education about money was given and the use of technology with money was reduced then money would become less of an intrusion into our everyday lives. Money encourages discrimination and prejudice. Society is quite distinctly split into different ‘classes’. These ‘classes’ are majorly influenced by, Yes you guessed it, Money.

Why should someone be any less of a person just because they have a smaller income than the next person? The universal declaration of human rights declares that each person is entitled to certain things. Sadly are unable to access such things as they have a small income. Many low income families find that they are frowned upon by the ‘Upper classes’. One such person, a student, was mocked and taunted by her peers as her family had to carry out a ‘paper run’ to help sustain their family. As ashamed as I am to say it I stood back and watched while such blatant discrimination was taking place right in front of me.

This is just one example of inner-class prejudice. The government also shows prejudice towards different classes by providing subsidies for health care and other services. Families qualify for these benefits by being under a certain income. Often families with incomes just slightly above the qualification standard often struggle to pay for such services but receive no subsidy. To qualify for a community services card a family must have a combined income of less than seventy thousand dollars per annum. A family earning seventy two thousand dollars per annum had a child that became critically ill.

Because their income was two thousand dollars higher than the requirement this family received no financial help from the government and as a result they are now in major debt. I believe that inter class prejudice would become less of an issue and the lifestyle of many people would improve if less emphasis were put on money. So as the young people of New Zealand we need to take a stand and make a difference! Lets stop our consumer society form being consumed! We need to realize how the influence of money affects our relationships, emotions and attitudes towards others.

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