Money and Society
Society has become increasingly materialistic. People aspire to earn more money. They want a bigger house or a better car. We connect wealth and material possessions with happiness and success. Brands like “Armani” or ”Mercedes” are status symbols. Advertising creates new desires and needs. It persuades us to buy the latest styles.
Positives of Consumerism
Consumerism creates employment. It helps to reduce poverty. It encourages innovation and creativity in business. We live in a global economy. We have a better quality of life.
Negatives of Consumerism
Consumerist societies create more waste. They use more natural resources. They cause damage to the environment. Consumerism creates a “throw-away” culture. Advertisers tell us who we are and what we want. Wealth does not lead to happiness. Materialism causes greed and crime. We should return to traditional values like sharing.
Happiness means different things to different people. It can be described as a feeling of pleasure or enjoyment. People enjoy spending time with family and friends. Hobbies, sports and games can be a source of fun and enjoyment. Some people see money as a source of happiness. Other people define happiness as something deeper. In order to be truly happy it is necessary to live a good life. We need to feel that we are doing something useful with our lives. Some people get a sense of achievement from their work. Others find happiness in bringing up their children. Religion or a sense of purpose can also be a source of happiness.
People define success in different ways. Some people get a sense of achievement from raising a family. For others, success is defined by wealth or status. We often think of rich and famous people as being successful in life. Millionaires like Bill Gates are considered to be successful. They have risen to the top in their chosen professions. For some, being successful means achieving personal or professional goals. They see success as the result of hard work. Success in any field requires long-term planning and effort.
Nature or Nurture
Some people believe that our personalities are determined mainly by genetics. We inherit our abilities and talents from our parents. Others think that our education and upbringing are more important. We develop according to the influences around us. Our personalities and achievements depend more on nurture than nature. Many people argue that we control our own destinies. We can shape our own personalities. By working hard we can achieve and goal that we put our minds to. Many successful people are “self-made”. We are not limited by our genetic characteristic or upbringing.
18. Sport and Leisure
Arguments against Professional/competitive sport
Sport has become a business. Professional sport encourages people to compete for money. Many sports stars are only concerned about money and fame. Some athletes take drugs in order to win at any cost. Competitors are often selfish and rude. They are not good role models for children. All sports should be amateur. Sports should be leisure activities rather than jobs. People should do sporting activities for enjoyment and health reasons. Taking part is more important than winning.
Arguments for Professional sport
Professional sports are the same as any other business. Many people are employed in the sports industry. People should be able to use their talents to earn a salary. Sports stars entertain millions of people. Money is necessary to improve facilities and train athletes. The level of professional sport is much higher than that of amateur sport.
Arguments for Competitive sport
Competition is a natural instinct in humans. In daily life we compete to get jobs or the highest grades. Sports are a safe form of competition. Competition is healthy because it pushes us to give our best. Competitors and fans can release energy and aggression. Supporters of teams feel a sense of belonging to a community.
Opinion: professional sport salaries are too high
Sports professionals earn too much money. They do not provide a vital service. Football players, for example, earn enormous salaries by simply kicking a ball. We could all live happily without professional football. Life would be difficult without doctors, engineers and other vital professionals. Society does not seem to value these professions as highly as professional sport. Sports salaries should be compatible with the wages most people earn.
Opinion: professional sport salaries are fair
It is fair that the best professional earn a lot of money. Sport is a multi-million-pound industry. There is a large audience of sports fans. Sports on television attract many viewers. Sports stars have dedicated hours of practice to developing their fitness and skills. Only the most talented among them will reach the top. A sports career many only last 10 years. Sports fans are willing to pay to support their teams.
Sports and Politics
Some people think that sport and politics should remain separate. Governments are involved in the hosting of sporting events such as the Olympics. These events attract investment and create jobs. The Olympic Games are an advertisement for the host nation. They attract huge numbers of visitors and sports fans. Wealthy countries tend to hold these events. Developing countries should be given the chance to become hosts.
19. Television, Internet, Phones
Positives of television
Watching television is a good way to relax. It is many people’s favorite way to wind down after a hard day at work. Television programs can be entertaining and enjoyable. Viewers have access to a huge variety of entertainment channels. Television brings the best comedians, musicians and actors into our homes. Programmers can also be informative and educational. News coverage makes the public aware of events around the world. Documentaries can make learning more interesting.
Negatives of Television
Television is having a negative impact on society. Some people link violence on television with crime rates in the real world. Children copy the behavior they see on the screen. Children are less healthy because they spend less time playing. Advertisers direct their marketing at children. Most programs do not require much thought. Watching TV is a waste of time.
Opinions about Television
Television has many benefits. However, it can be addictive. Children should play outside rather than sit in front of a screen all day. Behavior shown on TV can influence people. Parents should choose carefully what their children watch. Children should not be exposed to violence, swearing or sexual images. Advertising during children’s programs should be strictly controlled. TV companies should make more positive, educational programs.
Positives of the Internet
There are many advantages to using the Internet. It gives us instant access to information on almost any subject. Shops and other services are now available online. People can buy goods and services from the comfort of their homes. The Internet is starting to replace other forms of entertainment. It has revolutionized communication. We can keep in touch by email or instant messenger services. Video messaging is becoming common for business meetings.
Negatives of the internet
Many websites contain offensive content. Some sites show violent or sexual images. Parents find it difficult to control what their children see online. They do not always know who their children are chatting to. With so many websites it is difficult to search for good information. Criminals increasingly use the Internet to steal people’s money.
Internet compared to newspaper and books
Newspapers and books are now published online as well as in print. We can read the news in any language from any country in the world. It costs nothing to publish or access information on the Internet. The Internet allows anybody to publish their own writing. Newspaper articles and books are written by professionals. Professionals produce better quality writing than amateur. People still buy newspapers and books because they are portable. People do not like reading from a screen.
Positives of Mobile Phones
The mobile phone is the most popular gadget in today’s world. Mobile phones have revolutionized the way we communicate. We can stay in touch with family, friends and colleagues wherever we are. Users can send text messages, surf the Internet, take photos and listen to music. Mobiles have also become fashion accessories.
Negatives of Mobile Phones
Mobiles phones can be a problem in some public places. Ringing phones cause disturbance in cinemas and school lessons. Some people are not aware that others can hear their conversations. Mobile phones may also interfere with electronic equipment. Their waves could cause damage to our brains. Mobile phones can also be a dangerous distraction. Using a phone while driving reduces the driver’s concentration. Mobile phones are a popular target for thieves.
Opinion about Mobile Phones
The benefits of mobile phones outweigh the drawbacks. We need to use these phones with care.
Positives of Tourism
Tourism is a popular leisure activity. People go on holiday to relax and have fun. Tourists can experience different cultures. They can sunbathe on beaches or go sight-seeing. Travelling abroad opens our minds. We can learn to speak other languages. The tourist trade is vital for some economies. It creates employment in services like accommodation, transport and entertainment. Some areas rely on tourism for their income. Tourists spend money. Tourism attracts investment from multi-national companies. It helps to improve the standard of living. Low-cost airlines are making it cheaper to travel abroad.
Negative effects of tourism
Tourism can have a negative effect on the natural environment. The building of facilities and infrastructure can destroy the habitat of wild animals. Beautiful beaches are spoilt by the building of hotels. Tourism creates pollution and waste. It puts pressure on local resources. Local traditional and cultures may be endangered. A rise in the cost of living affects local people. The price of goods, services and housing may increase significantly.
The future of tourism
Government should introduce laws to protect natural environments and local cultures. Tourism should have a low impact on wildlife. Renewable resources like solar or water power should be used. Waste should be recycled Local businesses such as farms should be supported.