Apr 18 2011

Voluntary Simplicity

Published by at 12:00 am under Reflection Blog

By linking simplicity to happiness, this article claims that living a simpler life is ontologically beneficial and is essential to living sustainably with finite resources. Contemporary wealth stratifications are a moral dilemma in which every individual plays a role. While this article seemed to be aimed at middle-class Americans, it did not address issues that specifically plague America, or even the West. Capitalist societies demand a division of labor where, for most people, the validity of their existance is contingent upon the items they consume. The poor and working class are pushed to the political periphery because the “American Dream” implies that we are all responsible for our circumstances, so those suffering need to help themselves; it’s not the government’s job. The idea that with hard work we can live a middle-class lifestyle is not true and has deluded Americans for generations. And today, with our market and advertisment-saturated culture, the focus is on the individual rather than the community or ideas of justice. Simply cutting back will not stop the replication of injustice in our society. America has transformed into a plutocracy, and it’s going to take a lot more than “voluntary simplicity” to change it. I thought this article over-simplified a complex problem. Class-inequality intersects with too many issues of injustice in America.

2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Voluntary Simplicity”

  1. bronwynfloreson 18 Apr 2011 at 6:53 pm

    The article may be oversimplified, but I believe that author’s intent was to write from a non-American perspective. He is trying to show that the issue is global. Also, while thinking globally has its benefits, the author is also trying to convey that people can still live ecologically while thinking of themselves first. While many activities like gardening, yoga and trail running place an emphasis on harmony and “the bigger picture” they’re also about enjoying being alone.

  2. hannahweeks51on 18 Apr 2011 at 8:30 pm

    I agree that this article is an oversimplified ideal. I did not like that Elgin conveniently left out statistics about poverty. I think he also forgot to include the implications of living a simplisitic life, because afterall, not everyone can. Someone still has to create and make the items of consumption that those (even those choosing a simple life) consume.