Materialism is seen as bad by many people who take a more philanthropic or spiritual view. What they often don’t see is the amount of philanthropy and spirituality in materialism.
Some or many people put a huge amount of time, passion and creation into material items. It takes 5 to 6 months to build a Rolls Royce. It takes one man 5 hours just to polish the radiator.
A minute repeater or a tourbillon movement in a Patek Philippe watch takes 8 years to craft. Patek Philippe employs 1,600 people whose livelihood depend on wealthy materialists buying watches that cost £10,000’s or £100,000’s, as do their families and children growing up. Any philanthropy or charity that is given by the employees or families of Bentley or Patek Philippe is funded by the very people who can afford to buy the watches.
Bang & Olufsen design beautiful audio visual equipment. It could be called art through sound and vision. The flair, passion and dedication of the designers and technicians come through the material items that they create, and the materialist gets to enjoy.
Sure, some people like material items for how it makes them feel or how they will be seen by others, but for many it is also about enjoying the beauty in material form. In that respect its not that much different to enjoy nature itself, or the great feeling of giving to others.
Many people choose to buy only organic or ethically sourced food, so that their money goes to good causes. And so it can be buying material items. You can buy the Tesla over the petrol guzzler. You could bank with Wells Fargo who donated $315,845,766 cash to 19,500 nonprofits and schools nationwide in America in 2011. You can invest some marketing budget in Google ads, who gave $144,606,000 in the same year.
Much spending and materialism can be second stage philanthropy, where the next flow of money after the initial transaction can have a charitable element.
Around 99% of all national wealth is now private. That means private individuals and companies provide 99% of all the money for taxes that fund public services, healthcare, education and so on. The materialist becomes the spiritualist in that their spending & first or second stage philanthropy creates jobs, economy and welfare.
This happens both directly via taxes on direct purchases [VAT in UK] and indirectly through contributions via employment [national insurance in UK], corporation tax and other ‘duties.’ This spending and economy funds all the ‘spiritualists’ living off that same system creating a deficit through housing and welfare support.
I don’t see it as a one sided argument that people are either fully materialist or spiritual, more that there is materialism and spirituality in everything, in different forms, equally balancing each other.