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The Sufficiency Economy: Envisioning a Prosperous Way Down

Below I’ve posted the introduction to my new essay, “The Sufficiency Economy: Envisioning a Prosperous Way Down.” This essay, which I feel is the clearest expression of my views, summarises the critique of growth economics and then describes in some detail what I consider to be the most promising alternative model – ‘a sufficiency economy.’ The full essay can be read... read more

Ted Trainer and The Simpler Way (Review Essay)

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... read more

Living Better on Less? Toward an Economics of Sufficiency

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... read more

Overcoming Barriers to Sustainable Consumption

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,... read more

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

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

The Curse of Affluenza (Video Lecture)

‘Affluenza’ can be defined as a collective psychological disorder that leaves people feeling deprived despite their plenty. The link below leads to an insightful and powerfully argued video lecture on the subject. The 29 minute lecture is delivered by Richard Denniss, who is the Executive Director of Australia’s most influential think-tank, the Australia Institute. Denniss is also the... 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
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