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The Simpler Way: A Practical Action Plan for Living More on Less

I’m pleased and excited to announce the launch of the latest initiative of the Simplicity Institute – The Simpler Way: A Practical Action Plan for Living More on Less. ____ The Simpler Way, created in collaboration with Ted Trainer, consists of a website and booklet which provide detailed practical advice on how to live a ‘simpler life’ of reduced and restrained consumption. More... read more

Self-Cultivation and the Art of Voluntary Simplicity

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... read more

Notes on the Occupation – Occupy Melbourne

This post is a continuation of the last one – but this time with the benefit of lived experience. Here are my thoughts on the experience so far. (For my 4,000 word defence of the movement, please click here: Ignite.) For the purpose of ‘occupying Melbourne’ in solidarity with the global movement, I headed down to City Square in Melbourne this weekend, arriving on Saturday morning before the start of... read more

Occupy Wall Street / Occupy Melbourne: Are We the People We Have Been Waiting For?

(A PDF of my 4,000 word defence of Occupy Melbourne can be downloaded here: Ignite.) I presume you have all heard about the occupation of Wall Street that began a few weeks ago in New York? Thousands of people have been staging an extended protest – an occupation – of Wall Street, voicing their diverse objections to a global financial system that has gone amuck. It may well be, however, that some of... read more

Peak Oil and the Twilight of Growth

[This is the transcript of my online presentation delivered today for the Wild Law Conference] The PDF of this presentation can be downloaded here: Peak Oil and the Twilight of Growth A slightly revised article with more references can be downloaded here: Peak Oil and the Twilight of Growth (New) 1. Introduction Good afternoon everyone, I’m sorry I can’t be with you today but I’m very grateful for... read more

Reimagining the Good Life beyond Consumer Culture

Continuing the July series of publications, this post consists of an essay called “The Voluntary Simplicity Movement: Reimagining the Good Life beyond Consumer Culture,’ which is soon to be published in the peer-reviewed, International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability. This essay, which is based on a collection of earlier posts on this website, is... read more

Planned Economic Contraction? The Emerging Case for Degrowth

I’ve recently drafted a paper on ‘degrowth’ for the journal Environmental Politics (forthcoming) which I’ve summarised below. The full paper can be downloaded here: Planned Economic Contraction: The Emerging Case for Degrowth Abstract: This article outlines the sociological, ecological, and economic foundations of a macroeconomics ‘beyond growth,’ focusing on the idea of... read more

We are not Machines: The Parable of Sufficiency

Let me define a machine very broadly as something incapable of thought that reacts predictably to a given stimulus. Take a vending machine, for example. Someone puts money in, pushes certain buttons, and without thinking about it, the machine distributes the goods selected. Now imagine another type of machine – a robot. Suppose every time this robot has an opportunity to acquire money it does so and then... read more

Money, Stuff, and the Deathbed Experiment

If you’d excuse the rather confronting title, I’d like to invite you to undertake what I call the ‘Deathbed Experiment.’ It’s simple and goes like this: Imagine you are on your deathbed and someone asks you: “What attitudes defined your life?” What would you want to be able to say? This thought experiment never fails to move me in some way, and I always feel that it moves me in the right... read more

Vote with Your Money

It is all very well to theorize about the simple life – to debate definitions and evaluate justifications – but theory is empty if it is not grounded upon practice. Accordingly, this post and the following posts seek to enrich the preceding theoretical discussions by providing a preliminary exposition of how the idea of voluntary simplicity is actually lived by participants in the movement. In later... read more
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