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It's time for less spending and more giving

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It used to be so simple - your neighbourhood was your village, that tiny clear patch in the wilderness where people knew your name, your family and your worth. Then cities came along, and things got fraught.

What is a neighbourhood now? And who, now, is our neighbour? Back in the day, Jesus came up with the parable of the Good Samaritan, in which the answer is "the person who's willing to pitch in and help those who need it". In our time, that'd be the not-for-profit volunteer.

Back then, mind, they didn't have advertising to speak of. And what advertising does is to encrust everything you can see, and most of the things you can't, with brand names, prices, and transactionalism until the underlying altruistic impulse becomes overlaid and forgotten.

That's why Christmas is generally so unsatisfying. A cheerful feast with the family has been switched in front of our eyes for a pointless spending competition. We're all with greater or less enthusiasm indulging in paroxysms of generally misdirected spending, peaking with the exchange under the tree of items which long experience has told us do not make us........

© Canberra Times