Joining John B. Wells, filmmaker and activist Dave Gardner revealed how the American Dream has been hijacked by the pursuit of growth, consumerism, waste, greed, and materialism. The concept of economic growth is a recent phenomenon of the last two centuries of human history, he explained, noting that it is essentially a measurement of how many people exist and how much they consume. Many people mistakenly think that growth is responsible for all of the so-called improvements of modern life, however, according to Gardner, much has been given up in the quest for economic growth, including quality of life, environmental integrity, and money in the form of tax supported growth subsidies.
There is a prevalent belief that anyone can start a company, get rich, and live the 'good life,' he continued, adding that such an opportunity is available to very few yet drives millions to spend their lives chasing after it. People are being manipulated by 'growth boosters' to stay in this system for the small chance to get their own slice of a pie that is not getting any bigger, Gardner revealed. In this pursuit, many have exchanged contentment with life and quality time with family for the latest mobile phone, owning a big house, and driving a luxury SUV, he lamented.
Studies affirm that after basic needs are met, having material possessions and financial wealth does little to improve one's happiness, he reported. Gardner warned of an imminent 'Mad Max' type of dystopian future that awaits humanity if business continues as usual. Growth simply is not possible on a finite planet, he said. Gardner believes the path back to true fulfillment and happiness is found by embracing sustainable philosophies and prosperity strategies that give everyone a fair chance.