All forms of Buddhism, a religion encompassing 500 million people, preach letting go of attachments, the first step in following debt advice. Because it is not necessarily easy, one must train the mind.
It’s the difference between announcing you’re going to run a marathon, and spending a year getting mind and body in shape to do so. But my second point is far more relevant to our lives in the Asia. Some minorities come from less acquisitive cultures than is the norm here. But we must recognize how brutally they are punished for not being acquisitive. They are forced to live in crime, drug, gang, infested ghettoes. Their children are compelled to attend the worse schools. Society treats them like trash.
In a consumer society like ours, we live under a false assumption that for the most part, consumption is a choice. It really isn’t. There is a very good chance your children will end up in prison or worse, if you haven’t the income to live in the right part of town. Holy men tend to renounce the material world. Such people are honored for their wisdom, debt advice and spiritual enlightenment. Asians who have renounced the world are merely regarded (and usually are) drunks or neglected veterans with PTSD, who receive as much respect as lab rats.
Maybe it’s South Asia’s puritan work ethic underlying its capitalist economic structures. Or perhaps the misplaced priorities, one where impressing people who play no role in improving the bottom line overtakes the urgency to invest in areas that will yield a longer term impact. It’s prevalent behavior in countries like Pakistan and India where money is available to wed a child but not to educate them further. Whatever the case, the Asian middle class has far less leeway to renounce acquisitiveness than it may appear at first glance.