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Currently Browsing: Politics

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

Voluntary Simplicity and the Social Reconstruction of Law: Degrowth from the Grassroots Up

The inner crisis of our civilization must be resolved if the outer crisis is to be effectively met. – Lewis Mumford Building upon the arguments presented in the previous post, this post consists of another working paper for a journal, this time focusing on the relationship between voluntary simplicity and degrowth. The paper is entitled ‘Voluntary Simplicity and the Social Reconstruction of... 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

Ted Trainer and the Simpler Way

Ted Trainer is one of the wisest, boldest, and most dedicated advocates of The Simpler Way.  In 2010 he published a book called, The Transition to a Sustainable and Just World, and I have to say that it is one of the best books I have ever read in my life. If you only have time to read one more book in your life, consider reading this one. It speaks directly to our global situation and condition, and it... read more

Less can be More

Greetings all, several people have asked me to write a short ‘press release’ summarising the key findings of the recent Simplicity Institute Report. The aim is to make it easy for those people who wish to post a link to the study on their websites, etc. I hope the following statement is of some use. Please feel free to amend it as you see fit. LESS CAN BE MORE, SIMPLICITY INSTITUTE REPORTS We... read more

Simplicity Institute Publishes Results of the Simple Living Survey

The Simplicity Institute has today published the results and analysis of the Simple Living Survey. 1748 people participated in the survey (so far), and to the best of our knowledge that makes it the most extensive sociological examination of the Voluntary Simplicity Movement available. To read the report, click below: “The Voluntary Simplicity Movement: A Multi-National Survey Analysis in Theoretical... read more

There is More Day to Dawn: The Promise of the New Pioneers

Two years ago, almost to the day, the Simplicity Collective was launched at Melbourne’s “Sustainable Living Festival.” It was born of the idea that consumer culture as we know it is unsustainable, both socially and ecologically, and that simpler living, in some form or another, will need to be a part of any human civilization in the future, especially in the affluent West. This idea struck a chord... read more

The Revolutionary Spirit of the Voluntary Simplicity Movement

Voluntary simplicity designates a way of life that is very different from the high consumption, materialistic lifestyles that are widely celebrated today in advanced capitalist societies (and increasingly elsewhere). Given the personal, social, humanitarian, and ecological benefits that voluntary simplicity promises, it should be of concern to all those who are sympathetic to this way of life that it is... read more

Facebook as an Oppositional Tool for Activists? A Highly Qualified Defence of Social Media

Until 2011, I spent a total of about 4 minutes on social media like Facebook, MySpace, etc. I signed up for an account a couple of years ago, but then immediately forgot my password and, until very recently, never looked back. Like many others, I feel that social media is consuming an alarming amount of people’s time and energy, often in ways that seem rather wasteful and uninspired. (Tweet: “I just... read more

The Need for a Politics of Voluntary Simplicity

The Voluntary Simplicity Movement has been criticized, at times, for being ‘escapist’ or ‘apolitical,’ a criticism which, it cannot be denied, has some weight.[1] Leading sociologist on voluntary simplicity, Mary Grigsby, notes that participants in the Simplicity Movement ‘don’t generally talk about policy initiatives, instead focusing on the individual as the primary mechanism for... read more
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