Voluntary Simplicity: Responding to Consumer Culture

Overview

A simpler life. In a shadow cast by the jarring beginning of the new millennium, simplicity has an undeniable appeal. Global conflicts, domestic security concerns, and a stalling economy can make keeping up with the Joneses feel like, at best, a misguided luxury. Now is not a time for excess; it is a time, it would seem, to focus on "what really matters." Thus the appeal of voluntary simplicity, a notion that combines the freedom of modernity with certain comforts and virtues of the past. The authors in this ...

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Voluntary Simplicity: Responding to Consumer Culture

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Overview

A simpler life. In a shadow cast by the jarring beginning of the new millennium, simplicity has an undeniable appeal. Global conflicts, domestic security concerns, and a stalling economy can make keeping up with the Joneses feel like, at best, a misguided luxury. Now is not a time for excess; it is a time, it would seem, to focus on "what really matters." Thus the appeal of voluntary simplicity, a notion that combines the freedom of modernity with certain comforts and virtues of the past. The authors in this volume speak to the what, why, and how of voluntary simplicity (and even to some extent the where, when, and who). Those included range from contemporary academics to thinkers from the turn of the last century, from ardent supporters to staunch critics. They approach the subject from a variety of perspectives-economic, psychological, sociological, historical, and theological. Each either implicitly or explicitly helps us explore the desirability and feasibility of voluntary simplicity.

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Editorial Reviews

Choice
Offers valuable contributions from scholars such as Duane Elgin, Juliet Schor, David Shi, Richard Gregg, and Amitai Etzioni. Contributes significantly to an understanding of this movement, and of cultural analysis and social change. Recommended.
Future Survey
A reader bringing together many of the best writings on human wants and needs, the good life, and simplicity through history.
Metapsychology
The mere concept of simplicity in this world of over-inflated consumerism is challenging from the onset. Yet each contributor, relying upon their individualized perspectives, explores the subject with strong opinions, and shares their support or critique of the matter with enough information to allow the reader to form their own opinions of the viability or appeal as it relates to the reader's own lifestyle.
CHOICE
Offers valuable contributions from scholars such as Duane Elgin, Juliet Schor, David Shi, Richard Gregg, and Amitai Etzioni. Contributes significantly to an understanding of this movement, and of cultural analysis and social change. Recommended.
Metapsychology Online Reviews
The mere concept of simplicity in this world of over-inflated consumerism is challenging from the onset. Yet each contributor, relying upon their individualized perspectives, explores the subject with strong opinions, and shares their support or critique of the matter with enough information to allow the reader to form their own opinions of the viability or appeal as it relates to the reader's own lifestyle.
Louis Warwick-Booth
In summary the book presents a coherent and well-organised account of the philosophy and values associated with voluntary simplicity. It is thought provoking and insightful and made me re-question the value of materialism and our general way of life in the West. Anyone reading this will probably give thought to their own behavior with regards to work, quality of life and the ever-growing consumerism.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780742520660
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 12/20/2003
  • Series: Rights & Responsibilities Series
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 6.24 (w) x 9.28 (h) x 0.88 (d)

Meet the Author

Daniel Doherty is completing his Ph.D. at Yale University. Amitai Etzioni is university professor and the director of the Institute for Communitarian Policy Studies at The George Washington University.

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Preface Chapter 2 Introduction: Voluntary Simplicity— Psychological Implications, Societal Consequences Part 3 Human Wants, Human Goods Chapter 4 A Theory of Human Motivation Chapter 5 Wealth and Happiness: A Limited Relationship Chapter 6 Consuming for Love Chapter 7 The Problem of Over-Consumption-Why Economists Don't Get It Chapter 8 Achieving Collective Well-Being through Greater Simplicity: A Simple Proposal Part 9 Simplicity Throughout History Chapter 10 Early American Simplicity: The Quaker Ethic Chapter 11 Simple Needs Chapter 12 The Value of Voluntary Simplicity Chapter 13 Voluntary Simplicity: A Movement Emerges Part 14 Critical Perspectives Chapter 15 Conspicuous "Simplicity" Chapter 16 The Liberating Role of Consumption and the Myth of Artificially Created Desires

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