October 3, 2012 in Creating Simple Living
My husband is getting dangerously good at photography. I love this pic!
I have heard that minimalism is dangerous for the economy. That somehow if too many people accept these ideas the economy will explode and we will all die… an painful and slow death. I don’t think this could be further from the truth.
I believe that if the whole world would become minimalist it would be a better place. Not saying that everyone has to, but it is a safe and amazing possibility.
It seems like current government opinion is that we need to spend, spend, spend, and go into debt (just like them) to keep the economy going. Spending does create jobs, but lets not get to excited with that idea and say it isn’t minimalist. Minimalists aren’t afraid to use money. That being said I think it would turn the economy upside down. It would be very bad for say… big houses… utility companies… trinket sellers… etc.
Here are the 5 ways I see minimalism benefiting our world and our economy:
1. Quality would be valued
Becoming minimalist doesn’t mean anyone has less money to spend. There is still the same amount of money coming in, still the same amount of money to circulate through the economic channels. However, since less quantity is needed (or wanted) more quality will be chosen instead. I could especially see technology benefiting. Instead of buying cheap computers and cell phones that break within weeks, more people would be able to spend for and benefit from quality.
Quality is a beautiful thing with finances because it makes more money available later when we would have had to replace lesser quality items. Ideally this would be a spiral of getting better and better quality
2. Less waste
It is sick to me how much we spend on junk that just breaks or fades shortly after we buy it. I have heard (and don’t doubt – planned obsolescence) that it is actually intended to break down so we will need to buy another. This makes me angry not only for my wallet, but for the earth! Here we are encouraged to bring re-usable bags to the store where companies are making things designed to go to the dump. Seriously?
Not only do minimalists buy less things – therefore less to throw away later, ideally they will see through this mess and demand quality (reason #1) and we will reward companies who build things to last.
3. New technology would be encouraged
With quality being prized over quantity and less turnover (and waste) of belongings there would be an increased demand for new technology in other areas of our life. If our cell phone works great and lasts more than 1 year maybe we could spend on new inventions in other areas.
4. Service and local business would grow
If you look at the majority of ‘things’ in your house (minimalist or not) they are made in a far away country and probably not in great working conditions. This is what the ‘make it as cheap as possible’ economy demands. However, those who are concerned about quality and knowing where their things come from would purchase more and more from local businesses. Already, local business can often create better quality but can’t compete on price with cheaper overseas alternatives.
Service business would also be able to grow. Less money spent on things means more money spent on experiences and services. Service businesses are (most often) local.
At least here in the USA I think we would see lots more of our dollars staying in this country instead of being spent on foreign products. Not only is this better for this countries economy, it cuts down on a lot of transportation cost/waste that is hurting the environment.
5. Self-Control and Intentional Living would be practiced
The need for self-control seems to be at the root of so many problems in our society. From health to money to relationships and much more. Learning to think before purchasing and choosing to live with less, when human nature tells us more is always better, is a huge character discipline. This strength can then be used in other areas of the life to help make our lives, families, and bodies better.
From there we can move to intentional living and working to make other’s lives better as well. When we aren’t so busy trying to get the biggest and best and fight for the top we can spend time helping others around us.
I don’t see anything changing anytime soon and it wouldn’t be an easy change, but adopting minimalism should never be seen as something hurting the economy…. just twisting it a bit and making it work for us instead of rule over us
*note: I am not an economist, just a dreamer.
How has your spending changed since adopting a more simple life? (if you are reading RSS or currents join us in the comments)
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