Ted Trainer and The Simpler Way

20 Pages Posted: 15 May 2012

See all articles by Samuel Alexander

Samuel Alexander

University of Melbourne - Office for Environmental Programs; Simplicity Institute

Date Written: May 15, 2012


For several decades Ted Trainer has been developing and refining an important theory of societal change, which he calls The Simpler Way. His essential premise is that overconsumption in the most developed regions of the world is the root cause of our global predicament, and upon this premise he argues that a necessary part of any transition to a sustainable and just world involves those who are overconsuming accepting far more materially ‘simple’ lifestyles. That is the radical implication of our global predicament which most people, including most environmentalists, seem unwilling to acknowledge or accept, but which Trainer does not shy away from and, indeed, which he follows through to its logical conclusion. This paper outlines and presents a sympathetic critique of Trainer’s complex position, drawing mainly on the most complete expression of it in his latest book, "The Transition to a Sustainable and Just World."

Keywords: The Simpler Way, voluntary simplicity, degrowth, steady-state economy, sustainable consumption, anarchism

Suggested Citation

Alexander, Samuel, Ted Trainer and The Simpler Way (May 15, 2012). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2060196 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2060196

Samuel Alexander (Contact Author)

University of Melbourne - Office for Environmental Programs ( email )

185 Pelham Street
Carlton, Victoria 3053

Simplicity Institute


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