Buying Time and Getting by: The Voluntary Simplicity by Mary Grigsby

By Mary Grigsby

An exploration of the voluntary simplicity move together with reviews from basic livers and a glance at type, race, and gender during this circulate.

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American houses are twice as big as they were forty-five years ago; we have more shopping centers than high schools; we drink more soft drinks than tap water. In our time-starved lives we turn to environmentally expensive conveniences: prepared foods, disposables, clothes dryers and kitchen appliances. We’re using up nature. (1997, 49–50) Andrews suggests that mass consumers have sold their souls for convenience and status. The consumer lifestyle, according to Andrews, results in spiritual emptiness which characterizes modern American life.

Alan Durning’s (1992) How Much Is Enough? The Consumer Society and the Future of the Earth, done under the auspices of the Worldwatch Institute’s Environmental Alert Series, is also cited by Dominguez and Robin, Elgin, and Andrews. Andrews cites Carolyn Merchant’s Radical Ecology (1992) but she makes use of Merchant in a very general way to point to the need for a relational rather than dominating stance toward nature. Prescriptions for sustainable living are drawn from a wide range of sources and aim at being things people can do without withdrawing from the mainstream and that are possible in urban as well as rural communities.

She cautions her readers not to confuse national loyalty with corporate interests. She writes, “We are forsaking our values of life, liberty, and justice for all by consuming, not by reducing our consuming” (1997, 64). Dominguez and Robin draw on Paul Wachtel’s book The Poverty of Affluence (1989) to support their position that more material possessions do not necessarily produce greater happiness. They, like other voluntary simplicity writers, question the belief that more is better and link it to the evils of the rat race and environmental degradation.

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