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Currently Browsing: Time

Just Enough is Plenty: Thoreau’s Alternative Economics (Audio Lecture and E-Book)

I’ve recently started teaching a Masters of Environment course called, “Consumerism and Sustainability,” through the Office for Environmental Programs, University of Melbourne. Last night I was privileged enough to deliver a lecture on Thoreau, and I have attached an audio file of part of that lecture if anyone would like to have a listen. I have also attached an e-book called ‘Just... 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

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

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

Consume More or Work Less?

Rethinking attitudes to work is central to the way many participants in the Simplicity Movement approach simple living.[1] Charles Siegel poses the critical question: ‘Should we take advantage of our increasing productivity to consume more or to have more free time?’[2] If people keep raising their material standard of living every time they come into more money – through a pay rise, for example, or... read more

Is the Voluntary Simplicity Movement just about Increased Leisure for a Privileged Few?

The Simplicity Movement is sometimes described, occasionally even by its advocates, as a leisure expansion movement. The criticism sometimes implicit in this description is that voluntary simplicity is a self-centred, narrowly hedonistic philosophy of life available only to a privileged few. While voluntary simplicity by its very nature is indeed ‘an ethic professed and practiced primarily by those free... read more

Voluntary Simplicity, Community, and the Social Good

There are also social or communitarian incentives for embracing a life of voluntary simplicity.[1] For example, when an individual embraces voluntary simplicity by working less, this may well benefit the individual (e.g. by creating more leisure and reducing stress). But those individual benefits will often have flow on effects that benefit others too, such as creating more time and energy for family and... read more

Living Simply as a Path to Genuine Wealth

Money provides power in the market – power to purchase and consume desired commodities, whether goods or services. Consumption, by satisfying market preferences, is supposed to lead to well-being. In essence, this is the economic foundation of consumer culture.[1] Its fundamental prescription is that people should seek well-being in higher incomes and more consumption.[2] The problem, however, as Juliet... read more

Step Out of the Rush…

Here is a wonderful story that has been floating around in cyberspace. THE SITUATION In Washington , DC , at a Metro Station, on a cold January morning in 2007, this man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, approximately 2,000 people went through the station, most of them on their way to work. After about 3 minutes, a middle-aged man noticed that there was a... read more

Take Back Your Time Day: Fighting Overwork and Time Poverty

In a few days – on 24 October – a growing number of people will acknowledge, ‘Take Back Your Time Day,’ an initiative established in 2001 by world leaders in the Voluntary Simplicity Movement, most notably, John de Graaf. This initiative falls on 24 October because that is the day many North Americans and Australians would finish work for the year if they worked the same hours per year as the... read more
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