Karin Gottschalk used coined this great phrase to refer to what she sees as “the inertia and lack of desire for better things” in Australian society. Linked in to this concept are the “Cult of Cheap” and “The Lust for Mediocrity.”

I think these are possibly common across much of the Western (and Western-wannabe) cultures on this planet.

Consider how as consumers we value:

As businesses we value (or rather as a society we celebrate business practiced that value):

The Poverty of Desire is often hidden by societal myths that discourage any real self-reflection and critique. This stymies growth and evolution. Australians believe in giving everyone “a fair go” – but we were so quick to let the Howard government scare us with that shameful “brown people on leaky boats throwing their children into the sea” affair. I have been told by a Singaporean friend that a key myth here is that Singapore is absolutely the best – and therefore there is no need to do any better.

The Cult of Cheap is buoyed by the flames of blind consumerism. The more we can buy for less, the less we are able to value true excellence even when it slaps us across the face. We have but the illusion of choice. We crave attention and connections, but we buy stuff instead – because it is easier to “measure” how much stuff we have.

The Lust for Mediocrity is perhaps an indirect lust. Few if any persons would actually admit to lusting after mediocrity. But nonetheless mediocrity is the result of their decisions: ultra short term decisions, decisions driven by fear, decisions driven by the ego etc.

Check out Karin’s e-books on her website.