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An entry in the How To Be Poor series on voluntary poverty

In my previous diary in the How To Be Poor series on voluntary poverty, I argued that many people's dietary choices reveal the sort of luxury we have available to us today in industrialized nations. By choosing what we eat from a wide variety of foods, without regard to the limitations and constraints inherent to our local landscape and personal circumstances, we often provide ourselves a diet possible only in an industrialized world swimming in cheap energy and resources. Our context is utterly unlike that of most all others throughout human history.

In making that argument, I suggested that how we eat may be as or more important than what we eat. It's a mark of luxury that the specific foods we eat can be mulled and considered and decided upon, rather than being dictated to us by a strict set of circumstances. If, instead, those circumstances dictated our food, what we eat would not so much be the question and we might instead focus on how we eat, with that determination providing us the method of building meaning into our diets. Creating a set of moral and ethical codes around the how of eating rather than the what of eating makes more sense in a world facing serious energy and resource constraints.

Still, we don't yet face that world, though it certainly seems in the process of asserting itself. For those of us attempting to eat well, we face instead the question of what to eat, which is an important question. I wrote in that last entry that "I’m not saying these questions are irrelevant or unimportant, but they are often borne of luxury." I think that line could come across as flippant, disavowing the importance and implications of what we eat, and that's not at all how I want to treat the subject. No, I think what we eat is very important. As a simple matter of very specific circumstances dating back millions of years, we find ourselves in a period of human history in which those of us living in industrialized nations can choose to eat almost anything we want, regardless of the time of year or where that food is capable of being grown, raised, processed or produced. That reality places a significant burden on us to attempt to eat well. Since we don't find ourselves restricted by our local context, I believe we're left with the responsibility to do our best to eat in a way that is nondestructive. We should eat foods that serve well our bodies, the land, animals, farmers, our environment, other humans and the soil. Our eating should not worsen the state of the world. Ideally, it should nourish it.

And yet, that's not how we tend to eat. Most of us eat in ways that worsen the world; that exploit farmers and animals; that destroy land bases, soil and waterways; that are built upon suffering and cruelty; that impoverish other human beings; that degrade our bodies; and that serve to further sever our connection to the world around us. We often eat fast, dirty, and thoughtless. We fail in our moral responsibility--often we fail to engage that responsibility at all.

There's nothing surprising about that. There was a very perceptive quote from Bruce Friedrich that I first read in Jonathan Safran Foer's Eating Animals. In arguing for vegetarianism, Friedrich asks, "What does it say that the leaders of the 'ethical meat' charge, like my friends Eric Schlosser and Michael Pollan and even the Niman Ranch farmers, regularly pull money out of their pockets and send it off to the factory farms? To me, it says that the 'ethical carnivore' is a failed idea; even the most prominent advocates don't do it full-time. I have met countless people who were moved by Eric's and Michael's arguments, but none of them now eat exclusively Niman-type meat. They are either vegetarians or they continue to eat at least some factory-farmed animals." While I'm not impressed by some of the things Friedrich says before that quote, I find this particular observation to be spot on. As I've noted, I started eating meat again after reading The Omnivore's Dilemma with the idea that I would eat good meat. While I follow through on that ideal a good percentage of the time, I still find myself getting the occasional hamburger at a bar that comes out of the Sysco supply chain or buying bacon from New Seasons--which is much better than Smithfield, but far from a small, local, humane ideal. The reason I fail at times is a combination of availability, convenience, and lack of will power. If I'm at a bar and I'm drinking, I'm hungry, and it's on the menu, I'm going to order that hamburger, even if it's not grass fed and from a local rancher. I fully understand the implications, but I give myself a pass and dig in. It's an available moral failing and I take it.

Most people do much the same thing, either part of the time or all of the time. We don't tend to eat with our brains but with our heart and stomach. We give in to desires--this is one of the reasons there's a number of massive and profitable industries built around food and diet. Food is something we think about, obsess over, attach moral implications to, satisfy emotional urges with, and which provides us the very sustenance of our lives. It's a relationship rooted in messiness and complication and the industrial world we've built around us has only served to complicate that already complex relationship by vastly opening the choices before us--and vastly increasing the moral implications of what we do decide to eat. The food we normally would eat has become far more corrupted via poor farming practices and the food we normally wouldn't have available to us now is available and serves to tempt us in ways it never could before. These realities have imbued the question of what we eat with moral implications that it never had before, and as such has shifted our concerns more firmly toward the question of what rather than how.

This isn't a good thing. While I love having the easy access to sugar and animal products, coffee, chocolate, fruits that would never grow here, ginger and coconut milk, and so many other foods that I wouldn't eat if not for our industrialized world, I can't endorse this availability. It's distorted our ways of eating and skewed them toward destructive ends. It makes every meal fraught with moral and ethical considerations, often turning those meals into exhausting acts full of self-doubt and worry. Recent neurological research, as outlined in a New York Times article, suggests that as we make decisions, we deplete our will power. We become less able to make good decisions until we've restored that ability to our brain, which is tied to glucose levels. In other words, our decisions around food are particularly likely to be based in irrational thinking as we often crave sugar as a way to restore our decision-making abilities. But even aside from food, the need to make constant decisions saps our will power over time and degrades our ability to keep ourselves firmly within self-established limits.

In other words, deciding how to eat well is not a simple matter of rational thought, education, or strong morals. All of those things have their effect, but they're part of a much more broad and complicated act of decision-making that is tied as well into brain chemistry, sugar levels, genetic predispositions and emotional signals. So while it's important to acknowledge the moral importance of eating well in a world awash with bad food, expecting moral implications to lead to good eating amongst the world's population is a fool's game. There may be the rare person out there who is capable of eating at all times within a strict moral code, but the vast majority of us are not going to manage such an impressive feat. We're going to make decisions that are not going to be good for the world--sometimes purposefully and sometimes not.

I recently read William Catton's Overshoot and the final paragraph of chapter ten has been haunting me. Catton writes, "Using the ecological paradigm to think about human history, we can see instead that the end of exuberance was the summary result of all our separate and innocent decisions to have a baby, to trade a horse for a tractor, to avoid illness by getting vaccinated, to move from a farm to a city, to live in a heated home, to buy a family automobile and not depend on public transit, to specialize, exchange, and thereby prosper." Our behavior, in other words, has been perfectly natural. If we see humans as simply another species on this planet, as I do, then we can see how we would make these poor decisions. We can understand why we would eat foods available to us even if those foods increased misery throughout the world. We can see how we would crank the heat even if we knew we could put on a sweater instead, and even if we knew that heat comes from fossil fuels that pollute the world and that are quickly being drawn down. We can recognize that we are animals, not perfect moral beings, and that we will as often as not choose the route of comfort and convenience and satisfaction, even when we intellectually understand the long-term downfalls of those choices.

So while, yes, I think we have a moral responsibility to eat well--much as I believe we have a moral responsibility to live and work well--I don't think we can undertake such lives via morals alone. Our morality is only so strong and is only one piece of a tangled web of emotion and physicality, genetics and desire, social and cultural norms, and so many more variables. Attempting to engage all of those variables and always still make the right choice is an exercise doomed to failure, and one that will exhaust and break us in the process.

What we need instead is a life of limitation. We need less choices, fewer options, more constraints. A life lived more local and constricted by context would help to absolve us of many of the decisions and options that globalization and industrialism has foisted upon us. Such a life would necessarily be of a smaller scale, rooted in the local land and intimate knowledge, rather than resources that can come from anywhere in the world and through the debased, standardized knowledge of industrial systems. Such a life would limit our impact on the world not by forcing us to choose each time to limit our impact, but by limiting our ability to make such impacts.

This, again, gets at the absurdity of the challenge of voluntary poverty, as I wrote about in Our Distorted View. It shouldn't be hard to live poor, but it is when you have money and so many options to live otherwise. If we're constantly facing that temptation and constantly having to make the decision to live a modest life in the face of the ability to do otherwise, we're quickly going to exhaust ourselves and make poor decisions. So to live a life of voluntary poverty, we need to build limitations and constraints into our lives.

Living here in an off-the-grid homestead has provided all kinds of lessons in that reality. We heat the buildings via wood stoves, which require more work than the simple flipping of a switch or turn of a dial. That leads to less heat, as the effort to produce that heat discourages unnecessary usage. Our hot water also comes from a wood stove, as well as solar hot water panels. That teaches us to pay attention to the weather and to limit our showers. There simply isn't always hot water without some work, so none of us showers every day--which is unnecessary anyway. We have electricity via solar PV panels and a microhydro generator, but not an abundance of electricity. Generally we can run what we need to, but we're not powering big screen TVs or using electric heaters or blow driers and we can't run, say, the electric tea kettle and the hot plate at the same time. We further can only run devices that use small amounts of electricity (such as CFL bulbs) on a continual basis and run high-power devices in short burst. That's fine--I quickly grew used to these limitations and they hardly impede my life. But it's a different reality from being hooked up to the electric grid and having essentially unlimited power at your disposal.

These limitations are ingrained into life here and they quickly slip into the background, barely worth thinking about. As a part of life, they do an excellent job of limiting energy and resource usage while providing, at worst, a bit of inconvenience--and often not even that. I live a good life here, possibly better than I have anywhere else, and likely with less energy usage than I've used anywhere else.

That, to me, is the goal of voluntary poverty. Finding that way to live that uses less energy and resources while still providing a good life. It's not the easiest goal in the world, but it certainly is a possibility. Yet, it has to involve the creation of limits and constraints--a context of living that naturally leads to a downsized life. As I prepare to move to a new situation, I'm going to find myself back on the grid, with more living space and constant hot water and changed circumstances that are likely to lead to me using more energy and resources. Leaving behind this off-the-grid homestead, I'm going to have to craft the context of my life to introduce some of the constraints that my current home featured by default. If I don't do that, I'll live larger than I want to live, too often making the easy decisions when they present themselves to me. I'll be able to heat at the flick of a switch, to shower any time I want, to cook by turning a nob rather than stoking a wood stove. How will I deal with those conveniences? How will I stop myself from slipping too easily back into something more akin to a middle class American lifestyle?

These are some of the questions I'll be writing about as this series continues. It will be a challenge, but I expect it to be a good one. I hope, as well, that my attempts to live in a home more closely approximating the standard American set up will help me to provide more useful information to my readers. Most of us don't live on off-the-grid homesteads and so the constraints we need are ones we will have to put into place ourselves, as often as not. That creation of our context is going to be a main focus of this series. To lay the groundwork, I'll be writing soon about the home I'm moving into and the decisions and tradeoffs that led me to this living situation. Those decisions were rooted in constraint, as well, and will help to illuminate some of the frames of mind we're going to have to dispose of if we're to live well in a poorer future.

(Cross-posted from my blog, Of The Hands.)

Originally posted to aimlessmind on Mon Mar 12, 2012 at 02:34 PM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (24+ / 0-)

    Of The Hands - Thoughts on voluntary poverty, homesteading, farming, reconnecting to the land, doing good work, and muddling through the new no-growth economy.

    by aimlessmind on Mon Mar 12, 2012 at 02:34:06 PM PDT

  •  Very thoughtful. Thank you. (5+ / 0-)
  •  Sorry. (5+ / 0-)

    I have Type 2 diabetes, arthritis, chronic migraine, and IBS.

    However, if I eat a heavily meat- and fat-based diet, and avoid grains, sugars, and most fruits (which I do), I am not only healthy but I thrive. My diabetes goes away (in fact my doctor says I've cured it). My arthritis only flares when it's very cold. I no longer have headaches or IBS.

    I tried being vegetarian for two years. I tried living on rice and beans. I gained over a hundred pounds, I was in pain all the time, and I was sick all the time. As it turns out, I'm allergic to not just wheat and gluten, but all grains and all glutenoid proteins (every grain contains these), as well as soybeans, which more people are allergic to than anyone realizes. And let's not talk about soy and its connections to cancer, okay? And since I'm also a type II diabetic, I need to avoid carbohydrates and sugars wherever I can.

    Therefore, eating a poverty budget simply is not possible for me, so I can't endorse voluntary poverty if it means I have to eat things that will make me physically ill.

    "You're on your own" within the context of a society IS sociopathic. - kovie

    by Killer of Sacred Cows on Mon Mar 12, 2012 at 06:59:59 PM PDT

    •  I wasn't advocating for or against vegetarianism (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ladybug53, highacidity, Dvalkure

      in my previous diary that I referenced at the beginning of this one, as many people in the comments of that diary seemed to think. I'm not advocating for or against it here, either. In fact, I eat meat--as the diary notes--and I plan to continue eating meat.

      I would say you can engage in voluntary poverty--or at least seriously downsize your life--while eating meat. I've been doing it. Granted, my circumstances are likely different than yours in that I work on two farms that raise animals, but even if I didn't, I still think I could afford meat while engaging in voluntary poverty. It might mean spending a higher percentage of your income on food, but most Americans spend a very small percentage of their income on food, so many could make that adjustment. Of course, I don't know your exact circumstances.

      But no, the diary's not advocating vegetarianism. It's advocating constraint.

      Of The Hands - Thoughts on voluntary poverty, homesteading, farming, reconnecting to the land, doing good work, and muddling through the new no-growth economy.

      by aimlessmind on Mon Mar 12, 2012 at 07:08:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Two things (not to belabor this one small (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        aimlessmind, Dvalkure

        section of the diary, but since it got brought up)...

        It's a fallacy to say that because something hasn't been or isn't being done correctly yet that it cannot be done, so I would also have to take exception with Bruce Friedrich's characterization as being akin to the various fossil fuel defenders who continually say we have to use coal and oil, because renewables aren't yet as economically feasible (because we subsidize fossil fuels many times over).  Because of the current relative availability of non-factory farm meats vs factory farm meats, yes, it is nearly impossible, but changes to the various legislation that makes factory farming the most profitable way to farm would also change that dynamic.  As with fossil fuel exploitation, factory farming externalizes many of the associated costs so as to maximize profits for the few at the expense of the many.

        Second, (and in the opposite direction), even the media has finally stepped up to say that America consumes far too much red meat in general (and this is YMMV, obviously there are some outliers such as the previous commenter) and that doing so is significantly associated with increased risk of cancer and other diseases.

        •  No worries on the belaboring (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Dvalkure, Dr Erich Bloodaxe RN

          That's a fair point you make about the Friedrich's quote, and it plays into the crux of the diary. If factory farmed meat weren't available or if it had other limitations on it such as being higher priced than properly raised meat, than we wouldn't be struggling so much with factory farmed meat as an issue. But since it's the vast majority of meat available and it's often cheaper, to boot--though as someone who works for two small farms raising pastured animals, I'm well aware the price difference is rapidly shrinking--it's what gets most consumed.

          But you can also see the rise in farms that focus on pasture-raised animals as the market for that increases, so yes, that transition can be made. Still far from it, though.

          Of course, I think we'll get to a point where energy and resource issues are going to radically cut back our dietary choices, at which case we'll probably be obsessing over food in a much different way than this diary talks about.

          Of The Hands - Thoughts on voluntary poverty, homesteading, farming, reconnecting to the land, doing good work, and muddling through the new no-growth economy.

          by aimlessmind on Tue Mar 13, 2012 at 09:50:20 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  There are groups that limit their lives (7+ / 0-)

    Two that come to mind are Orthodox Jews and the Amish.  Their choices are not always informed by ecological considerations, but they do show that groups can voluntarily limit their lives.  The important word is "groups".  Limited lifestyles are very difficult to maintain without social support.

    •  That's a great point (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      marina, Dvalkure

      Community is critical to this way of life. I'm lucky to have some people in my life who understand what I'm doing, though I have a good share who don't really get it, either. That can make it challenging at times.

      Of The Hands - Thoughts on voluntary poverty, homesteading, farming, reconnecting to the land, doing good work, and muddling through the new no-growth economy.

      by aimlessmind on Mon Mar 12, 2012 at 08:18:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It's funny, I'm a vegetarian, because (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    aimlessmind, Dvalkure, melo

    I live in such a rich society, yet I don't make much money.
    It's very easy to buy lots of cheap vegetables within walking distance all year round. Of course I understand millions of people around the world don't have this luxury, so how can I blame them for goat farming or what have you?
    In my situation, I feel it's more harmful to the environment to eat animals, and I have the luxury of choice, so I choose vegetables.

    "But Brandine, you're supposed to be in Iraq stopping 911!"

    by leftyguitarist on Tue Mar 13, 2012 at 07:42:29 AM PDT

  •  Poverty is a bad word... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gatorcog, aimlessmind, yojimbo

    Your article expresses a very necessary conversation we need to have as a species on this planet. What we choose to consume is at the heart of the causes of our environmental mess as you eloquently state. But framing the alternative as "poverty" will get us nowhere and ill promote what needs to be done. How about flipping the term around and calling the international palate of the exuberant the one that is truly poor. For me Permaculture ( the system of agriculture and human societal structure created by Mollison and evolved from indigenous peoples) is the best option thus far for righting the wrongs we have perpetrated on the Earth. Following life in a permaculture model makes you very rich in experience, local nutrients, and if you do it right you can even make some money.

    •  It is a bad word (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dvalkure

      But I use it for a purpose. I have fairly radical ideas about what I think the future holds. There are plenty of people out there saying that we can slap some PVs on our roof and turn the thermostat five degrees, put some CFLs, elect the right politicians and then we can go on our merry way living essentially the same lives we do now, but it'll magically be sustainable. I think, on the other hands, that we're all going to be a lot poorer in the future as an overpopulated planet asserts its limitations and we begin to run low on fossil fuels, which we have no alternative fuel that can truly replace.

      So I use the term poverty, because that's where I think we're headed. All of us in industrialized nations are likely to find our lives skating down toward something more akin to the lives of "third world" populations. That, in our definition, is poverty. I don't think ignoring that hard truth helps us much.

      Granted, a lot of people are going to shut down when they hear the term, and I've accepted that. I'm interested in talking to the people who aren't so quick to shut down after they hear a word they don't like, but prefer to evaluate the argument. There are a lot of other writers out there who will offer those who can't stand the term poverty a much happier point of view--and that's not unimportant. But I'll let them fill that role.

      If you're interested, I write about this more in the part two of the introduction to this series. I write a bit more about it in a comment to a rebuttal of one of my blog posts over at the blog Degringolade. His rebuttal is here and my comment in response is at the bottom.

      Of The Hands - Thoughts on voluntary poverty, homesteading, farming, reconnecting to the land, doing good work, and muddling through the new no-growth economy.

      by aimlessmind on Tue Mar 13, 2012 at 10:03:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I too think 'poverty' might not be accurate. (0+ / 0-)

        Not a matter of it being an emotionally-charged word, but it seems somewhat static in reference to what (I think) you're trying to convey.
        Maybe something like "socio-cultural heat-death" would fit... no, too clunky. :)

  •  I can appreciate much of your point, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    aimlessmind

    however, IMHO you are much too doom and gloom and downright depressing.  You would catch more attention and maybe, action, if you altered your message to be a little more skewed toward positive steps that people might take towards behavioral changes.  I'm not suggesting that your doom and gloom isn't warranted, but people just don't respond, as a whole, to this kind of messaging.  I wish you well.

    "Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." - John F. Kennedy

    by helpImdrowning on Tue Mar 13, 2012 at 03:02:00 PM PDT

    •  Fair enough (0+ / 0-)

      I write some things that are not so doom and gloom, as well. It's a mixture of talking honestly about what I suspect is going to be our future reality and also taking a joy in the life I'm living, and writing about that.

      The things is, I am advocating for positive steps. That's the entire point of this series. I'm advocating for voluntary poverty. I'm slowly doing it myself, though it's quite a far cry from destitution, which may be what some people are thinking about when they hear the term. And many others have done it, as well, to a much greater degree than I've managed to get so far. But it's proven so far to be a life I really enjoy. Yes, it's challenging at times, but I've found it a better life than any other I've tried, including when having far more disposable income to work with.

      Granted, you're right that a lot of people won't respond to my type of messaging. There are plenty of writers out there that will happily give those people happy stories about a shiny future in which we're saved by technology. I'm not interested in those stories because I don't believe in them. The future I think we're facing is one in which it's going to be a far greater challenge than that, which requires far greater responses.

      Now, it's possible I'm wrong about that, but it's what I believe. So that's what I'm writing. Again, though, I would argue that what I'm writing about is positive steps, though I realize many won't see it that way.

      Of The Hands - Thoughts on voluntary poverty, homesteading, farming, reconnecting to the land, doing good work, and muddling through the new no-growth economy.

      by aimlessmind on Tue Mar 13, 2012 at 04:28:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I wasn't exactly talking about happy (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        aimlessmind

        stories of how technology will get us out of our current dilemmas.  The language you used in your response to me here is more of what I'm speaking to.  It has an air of anger, self righteousness, condescension, arrogance, and is a bit snotty frankly.  That attitude comes across in much of what you have written above.  I'm not trying to instigate a fight over any of your points.  I'm just sayin'... (and I was trying not to say).  I wish you well.

        "Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." - John F. Kennedy

        by helpImdrowning on Tue Mar 13, 2012 at 05:24:41 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Apologies (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          helpImdrowning

          You're right, I am a bit defensive. And I thought about the happy stories comment when I wrote it. I really didn't think that's what you're looking for, but I've seen too many people who are, and I just think it's a dangerous path to go down. I worry about demagoguery and that people will find others to blame when they think they're being denied a future they believe to be true, rather than looking at hard ecological realities.

          Your criticism is taken, though. I'll work to be more careful about my words and, more importantly, deal with some of my own frustrations around the issue.

          Of The Hands - Thoughts on voluntary poverty, homesteading, farming, reconnecting to the land, doing good work, and muddling through the new no-growth economy.

          by aimlessmind on Tue Mar 13, 2012 at 06:02:54 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Thank you, this is much appreciated. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            aimlessmind

            I hope you are very successful in getting people to understand the seriousness of what we face with regard to the ecology of our planet and the perils of continuing on our present path.  Peace and best wishes.

            "Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." - John F. Kennedy

            by helpImdrowning on Tue Mar 13, 2012 at 07:11:24 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  The word 'poverty' (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    aimlessmind

    is not entirely negative to me, though I can see that it would be for lots/most people. I come from a Catholic background and grew up with hero stories of the saints who took voluntary 'vows of poverty' with great joy and purpose. Just think of St Francis of Assisi and his leaving a life of wealth and power for a more meaningful experience of the world.

     As a psuedo-pagan-buddhist heaven knows what-all, I look at my whole life as one of voluntary poverty ! I came of age when, even though my family was not wealthy, I could have gone on to a better formal education than I pursued. I was a 'hippie' and an artist and I knew that those were choices that would limit my life as I went on.

     I also had the good luck to live in a "3rd world" country as a child and I know that what we call 'poverty' is lavish, compared to Nicaragua's east coast.

     Your ideas and your endeavor seems holy to me and I look forward to more of these diaries !

    “Good things don’t come to those who wait. They come to those who agitate!” Julian Bond

    by Dvalkure on Tue Mar 13, 2012 at 03:29:59 PM PDT

    •  Thank you! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dvalkure

      I know someone who spent time in the Jesuit Volunteer Corps and I know a bit about monasticism, ascetism and religious vows of poverty, as you mention. My knowledge is limited, though. But I think a personal response in that vein is one of the more helpful things we could do to respond to the future, which is the point of this series.

      I'm not anywhere close to that, yet. I'm still working to get there, and I hope that will be helpful to a few people, as well--reading about someone's journey that might in some ways mirror their own, should they decide to embark on it.

      It sounds like we've made similar choices in our lives. It's hard at times, but overall it's the best way of life I've yet found. Hopefully you'll like future diaries, and there's some stuff at my blog that I haven't posted here that you might be interested in, too. Thanks again for the encouraging words!

      Of The Hands - Thoughts on voluntary poverty, homesteading, farming, reconnecting to the land, doing good work, and muddling through the new no-growth economy.

      by aimlessmind on Tue Mar 13, 2012 at 04:32:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, I went to your (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        aimlessmind

        blog and read the 3 part intro. Very interesting and timely, I think.
         I agree with you about the 'step-down ' or plateau model of diminished abundance. We presently have abundance of choices, in almost every sphere, but in my lifetime I have seen this diminishing already. That seems to me to be the difference between crushing poverty and the kind I experience. I did not want to do and be what I would have to in order to live a more materially lavish life, but I have felt well- off and lucky, just the same. Part of that has to do with seeing how the other folks live in materially less wealthy - but socially far richer societies, I hasten to add !

         That social richness of community is what I hope for us as things balance out and we try to achieve something sustainable. I can see that those are your values as well.

        “Good things don’t come to those who wait. They come to those who agitate!” Julian Bond

        by Dvalkure on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 08:12:02 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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