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Voluntary Simplicity


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Intended as an invitation to an alternative way of life, this anthology brings together some of the most important literature on the post-consumerist living strategy known as ‘voluntary simplicity.’ By examining afresh our relationship with money, material possessions, the planet, ourselves and each other, the simple life of voluntary simplicity is about discovering the freedom and contentment that comes with knowing how much consumption is truly enough. And this might be a theme that has something to say to everyone, especially those of us who are everyday bombarded with thousands of cultural messages insisting that ‘more is always better.’ Voluntary simplicity is an art of living that is aglow with the insight that ‘just enough is plenty.’ The contributors to this anthology – all leading figures in the voluntary simplicity movement – are highly distinguished scholars, activists, educators, and artists. Brought together so comprehensively for the first time, the result is a collection of the very best writing on one of today’s most important but neglected ideas. This progressive book is essential reading for the thoughtful non-conformist.

Table of Contents

Introduction, Samuel Alexander -- Voluntary Simplicity: The 'Middle Way' to Sustainability, Mark A. Burch -- A New Social Movement?, Amatai Etzioni -- Two Ways of Thinking About Money, Jerome Segal -- What is Affluenza?, Clive Hamilton & Richard Denniss -- The Conundrum of Consumption, Alan Durning -- The Value of Voluntary Simplicity, Richard B. Gregg -- Less is More, Philip Cafaro -- Building the Case for Global Living, Jim Merkel -- Voluntary Simplicity, Duane Elgin And Arnold Mitchell -- Thoreau's Alternative Economics, Philip Cafaro -- Why Simplify?, Mark A. Burch -- Sharing the Earth, Jim Merkel -- The Downshifters, Clive Hamilton & Richard Denniss -- Fourteen A Culture of Permanence, Alan Durning -- Simplicity, Community, and Private Land, Eric T. Freyfogle -- The New Politics of Consumption, Juliet Schor -- Political Prescriptions, John de Graaf -- Extending the Movement, Mary Grigsby -- Transcendental Simplicity, David E. Shi -- 'Economy' from Walden, Henry David Thoreau -- Meditations On Simplicity, Samuel Alexander -- Appendix i Manifesto of the Life Poets' Simplicity Collective -- Appendix ii Peaceful Acts of Opposition -- Appendix iii Declaration on Degrowth

About the Author

Samuel Alexander is a sessional lecturer and doctoral student at the University of Melbourne, Law School. Living simply and happily in a small hut that he built himself using mostly abandoned material, he spends his time quietly planning, with youthful ambition, the non-violent erasure of consumer culture.

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