“Given all these alarming and discouraging trends [of worldwide average income levels decreasing, and poverty and personal indebtedness increasing], it is astonishing to see what Westerners spend their money on.
A survey of expenditures in the late 1980s and early 1990s demonstrated that Americans spent annually twice as much on cut flowers as on overseas Protestant ministries, twice as much on women’s sheer hosiery, one and a half times as much on video games [clearly this was pre-XBox and Wii], one and a half as much on pinball machines, slightly more on the lawn industry, about five times as much on pets, one and a half times as much on skin care, almost one and a half times as much on chewing gum, almost three times as much on swimming pools and accessories, approximately seven times as much on sweets, seventeen times as much on diets and diet-related products, twenty times as much on sports activities, approximately twenty-six times as much in soft drinks, and a staggering 140 [yes, 140] times as much on legalized gambling activities. And in 1995 worldwide expenditures for advertising, designed largely to convince us all that all of these and similar items are necessities amounted to $385 billion.
…Suter puts is pointedly: ‘In its most dramatic and obscene form, the question is whether the labour and resources of the Third World nations should contribute more to the opulence of America’s cats and dogs than to the elementary good health of Third World humans.’
Meanwhile, the amount of American giving to charitable organizations of all kinds remains relatively constant at somewhere between 1.6 and 2.16% of a family’s income. American Christians do only slightly better, averaging somewhere around 2.4% of the national per capita income. And consistently, Americans with lower incomes give more of their earnings to religious organizations than those with higher incomes. …In most affluent or suburban Western communities, it is impossible to detect any outward differences between the expenditures of professing Christians and the religiously unaffiliated who surround them in their neighborhoods.”
—Blomberg, Give Me Neither Poverty Nor Riches, 19-20.