January-March 2011, Volume 38(PDF)
What Is True Wealth?
Modern civilization is based on a belief in continuing economic growth, which is possible only with the continued consumption of huge amounts of natural resources. The limits to growth have been widely understood for decades, but many of us are still believing, or trying to believe, that our GNP or GDP can continue to grow eternally. The systematic impetus for economic growth destroys the natural environment, widens the income gap both domestically and internationally, and even will leave to our future generations serious problems to solve for them to be able to survive. In search of the material wealth, many people become wary of competition and feel alienated.
Do we not now need to seek a truer notion of wealth more urgently than ever? A truer notion would value spiritual health, family ties, and appreciation of nature as much as material well-being. A truer notion of wealth would encourage humanity to pursue the kind of social progress that is not measured by GNP or GDP. We believe that religion, which propounds moderation and the value of spiritual wealth, can provide an answer to that question and show us how to put new, balanced ideas about wealth into practice.