Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=2153343
 


 



Radical Simplicity and the Middle-Class: Exploring the Lifestyle Implications of a 'Great Disruption'


Samuel Alexander


University of Melbourne - Office for Environmental Programs; Simplicity Institute

September 27, 2012

Simplicity Institute Report, 2012

Abstract:     
How would the ordinary middle-class consumer – I should say middle-class citizen – deal with a lifestyle of radical simplicity? By radical simplicity I essentially mean a very low but biophysically sufficient material standard of living, a form of life that will be described in more detail below. In this essay I want to suggest that radical simplicity would not be as bad as it might first seem, provided we were ready for it and wisely negotiated its arrival, both as individuals and as communities. Indeed, I am tempted to suggest that radical simplicity is exactly what consumer cultures need to shake themselves awake from their comfortable slumber; that radical simplicity would be in our own, immediate, self-interests. In this essay, however, I will only defend the more modest thesis that radical simplicity simply would not be that bad. Establishing that thesis should be challenging enough. In order to frame the present analysis I pose a ‘collapse scenario,’ with the aim of understanding what might become of middle-class consumer lifestyles in the event of what Paul Gilding (2011) calls a ‘Great Disruption.’

Number of Pages in PDF File: 17

Keywords: radical simplicity, voluntary simplicity, sufficiency, degrowth, economic contraction, consumerism

working papers series


Download This Paper

Date posted: September 27, 2012  

Suggested Citation

Alexander, Samuel, Radical Simplicity and the Middle-Class: Exploring the Lifestyle Implications of a 'Great Disruption' (September 27, 2012). Simplicity Institute Report, 2012. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2153343 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2153343

Contact Information

Samuel Alexander (Contact Author)
University of Melbourne - Office for Environmental Programs ( email )
Melbourne, Victoria 3010
Australia
Simplicity Institute
Australia
Feedback to SSRN


Paper statistics
Abstract Views: 360
Downloads: 88
Download Rank: 169,356

© 2014 Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.  FAQ   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy   Copyright   Contact Us
This page was processed by apollo3 in 0.469 seconds