Download this Paper Open PDF in Browser

The Voluntary Simplicity Movement: Reimagining the Good Life Beyond Consumer Culture

18 Pages Posted: 10 Dec 2011  

Samuel Alexander

University of Melbourne - Office for Environmental Programs; Simplicity Institute

Date Written: December 8, 2011

Abstract

Voluntary simplicity - otherwise known as ‘downshifting’ or just ‘simple living’ – is an anti- consumerist way of life that opposes the high consumption lifestyles prevalent in consumer societies today and voluntarily embraces ‘a simpler life’ of reduced consumption. As a practical matter, this living strategy characteristically involves providing for material needs as simply and directly as possible, minimizing expenditure on consumergoods and services, and generally seeking non-materialistic sources of satisfaction and meaning. Variously defended by its advocates on personal, social, human- itarian, and ecological grounds, voluntary simplicity is predicated on the assumption that human beings can live meaningful, free, happy, and infinitely diverse lives, while consuming no more than an equitable share of nature. That, at least, is the challenging ideal which seems to motive and guide many of its advocates and practitioners. This paper examines the nature of the Voluntary Simplicity Movement, including its various definitions, justifications, and practices.

Keywords: voluntary simplicity, downshifting, simple living, the simple life, consumerism, consumer culture, consumer society

Suggested Citation

Alexander, Samuel, The Voluntary Simplicity Movement: Reimagining the Good Life Beyond Consumer Culture (December 8, 2011). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1970056 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1970056

Samuel Alexander (Contact Author)

University of Melbourne - Office for Environmental Programs ( email )

185 Pelham Street, Carlton, Victoria 3053
Melbourne, Victoria 3010
Australia

Simplicity Institute

Australia

Paper statistics

Downloads
510
Rank
44,398
Abstract Views
1,700