Currently Browsing: Consumer Culture
Mar 16, 2012
The following article was published in The Age today (16 March). The online newspaper version is available here.
Increasing material wealth has been, and remains, one of the dominant goals of humankind – perhaps the dominant goal. This is hardly surprising, of course, given the extremely low material living standards endured by most people throughout history, and indeed, by great multitudes around the...
Feb 13, 2012
Tim Kasser is a psychologist that has spent many years researching into the effects of materialistic values and practices on human wellbeing. I highly recommend his excellent book, “The High Price of Materialism,” but for those who only have five minutes to spare, many of the key insights of that text are summarised in a new educational video Kasser has made. It’s only five minutes long,...
Feb 2, 2012
I’ve turned my last post ‘Self-Cultivation and the Art of Voluntary Simplicity’ into an essay, which itself is based on the rather-too-long manuscript I posted a few months ago, called ‘Voluntary Simplicity as an Aesthetics of Existence.’ I hope this much abridged essay might be less daunting, despite the fact that it is framed by Foucault’s ethics. I’ve posted the...
Jan 22, 2012
Consumption is a proper subject of ethical concern primarily for the following three reasons: (1) the planet’s resources are being consumed at an unsustainable rate, and this is placing in jeopardy the future of life as we know it, with potentially catastrophic consequences; (2) a small percentage of the world’s population live in relative comfort and luxury while great multitudes live in material...
Jan 11, 2012
I managed to get an article on peak oil published in a mainstream newspaper today (The Age). It’s available here: Peak Oil Can Fuel a Change for the Better.
Thanks to all those who came down to the talk in City Square last night. During discussion time, when the audience was throwing ideas and perspectives around, I found myself reflecting on how amazing it was that a large group of people were...
Jan 11, 2012
My new paper ‘Peak Oil, Energy Descent, and the Fate of Consumerism’ can be downloaded here, and it has also been published on the Energy Bulletin. I’ve reposted the abstract below.
Western-style consumer lifestyles are highly resource and energy intensive. This paper examines the energy intensity of these consumer lifestyles and considers whether such lifestyles could be...
Jan 8, 2012
Greetings all, and happy new year,
I’m giving a talk on peak oil and consumerism in Melbourne’s City Square this Tuesday 10 January, at 7pm. The talk will go for around 40 mins followed by about 40 mins discussion. For those of you in Melbourne, it would be great to see some of down there if you can make it. I’ve posted an overview below and will publish the paper in a few days...
Dec 19, 2011
As the year draws to a close, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the readers of this website for their support and contributions. Our community is now over 1,000 strong, and I’m very much looking forward to exploring voluntary simplicity, and all it entails, with you in 2012. Now, more than ever before, we need to be reimagining the good life beyond consumer culture. I have plans to relaunch...
Dec 8, 2011
At a time when the world’s most respected scientists affirm that ordinary Western-style consumption habits are indeed destroying the planet, what attitudes should we have toward the corporate event known as Christmas? Should we still be seeking salvation through over-consumption? Or is it high time to embrace some form of enlightened material restraint?
The materialistic orgy that is Christmas, of...
Oct 27, 2011
In 2009 I published (on a not-for-profit basis) an anthology of articles on simple living, entitled Voluntary Simplicity: The Poetic Alternative to Consumer Culture. It includes 20 chapters from leading advocates of simple living, including Clive Hamilton, Juliet Schor, and Henry Thoreau, among many others. I’ve just noticed that Fishpond is having a sale and currently my text is only $16...