Currently Browsing: Essays / Academic
Apr 9, 2012
I’m very pleased to announce that Ted Trainer has joined the Simplicity Institute, and in recognition of this important event I’ve spent the last week writing a review essay of his work, which I’ve posted below. Ted has been writing about The Simpler Way for many years, and in coming weeks and months he will be publishing a series of essays on the Simplicity Institute website (which I...
Mar 18, 2012
My last article summarised a longer paper I have just finished called “Living Better on Less? Toward an Economics of Sufficiency.” This paper reviews the social research that examines the relationship between income and happiness. The central question I ask is: How important is money to happiness?
The weight of evidence suggests that income growth tends to contribute positively to human...
Mar 6, 2012
This post has been published recently in Green (the publication of the Australian Greens), Issue 35, p9.
Celebrated economist, Sir John Hicks, began one of his essays with the pronouncement, ‘We are living in an age of growth.’ It is a view that applies more so today than ever before, at least as a statement of economic desire, if not as a description of recent economic reality. As the world economy...
Feb 23, 2012
Our country is set up structurally to oppose voluntary simplicity. – Michael Jacobson
Our lifestyle decisions, especially our consumption decisions, are not made in a vacuum. Instead, they are made within social, economic, and political structures of constraint, and those structures make some lifestyle decisions easy or necessary and other lifestyle decisions difficult or impossible. Change the social,...
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...
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