The thought of Materialism

Materialism is defined as a preoccupation with or stress upon material rather than intellectual or spiritual things. Justice is that which is fair proper, correct, and honest. A sense of what is right or of what should happen. In this way justice is involved with materialism because placing material goods above God and everything else, is not proper and is not what should happen. A girl wrote the article that I found, and in it she explains that, in general, U.S. citizens are preoccupied with material possessions and wealth. Not to say that gaining material goods is all wrong, but there is a limit on what people need and what people want.

When trying to define something as right or wrong it is difficult to draw the line on a subject like materialism. It is ok to have many material goods, but if a person has an excess of these goods and does not share them with the people who truly need them it is very wrong. There are many needy people in the world and each day that number grows even more. According to a recent survey, from 198 to 1998 the average income of the wealthiest fifth has increased by ten percent and the average income of the poorest fifth has rose by only less than one percent. It gives proof to the saying that, the rich get richer.

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Along with the moral problems this subject presents, there are also economic issues. When poor people try to get jobs, it doesnt help matters that businesses only pay the entry level worker minimum wage, when it has been shown that business, such as McDonalds, can afford to pay its entry level workers much more than minimum wage. On average, the income ratio from top-level businessmen to entry-level workers is 152 to 1. It has also been shown that entry-level workers work just as hard if not harder than people higher up on the chain of command.

The main law that has been passed is people who qualify can earn money from the government. Welfare was introduced in the 1970s, and today, although there are many more people in need of welfare, the actual value of the assistance is half of what it was in 1970. There have been laws passed now, like people are only allowed to receive welfare for a total of five years in their life, that prevent people from mooching off the government and forces people to get jobs.

The churchs position on this subject is relatively clear. According to the tenth commandment, greed and the desire to amass earthly goods without limit. It forbids avarice arising from a passion for riches and their attendant power. The Catechism states, The sensitive appetite leads us to desire pleasant things we do not have, e.g. the desire to eat when we are hungry or to warm ourselves when we are cold. These desires are good in themselves; but often they exceed the limits of reason and drive us to covet unjustly what is not ours and belongs to another or is owed to him. According to Psalms chapter ten verse three, for the wicked boasts of the desires of his heart, and the man greedy for gain curses and renounces the Lord. Also according to Sir chapter 14 verse nine, a greedy mans eye is not satisfied with a portion, and mean injustice withers the soul. The social justice principle that goes along with this is Human Dignity. Catholic social teaching asserts that all economic, political, and cultural decisions and institutions must be judged in light of whether they protect or undermine the dignity of the human person.

In conclusion, materialism is an issue having much to do with morality. It is wrong to have an excess of goods and not share them with the people who truly need them. The church also states this in one of its most coveted documents, the Ten Commandments. It forbids greed and desire to want an excess of material goods.


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