Voluntary simplicity

Authored by: Seonaidh McDonald

The Routledge Companion to Alternative Organization

Print publication date:  December  2013
Online publication date:  January  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415782265
eBook ISBN: 9780203725351
Adobe ISBN: 9781135005399


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Etzioni describes voluntary simplifiers (VS) as people who choose, “out of free will – rather than by being coerced by poverty, government austerity programs, or being imprisoned – to limit expenditures on consumer goods and services, and to cultivate non-materialistic sources of satisfaction and meaning” (1998: 620). Although there are many different definitions of voluntary simplicity (Johnston and Burton, 2003), this definition is useful because it includes the three major elements that set this movement apart from others: free will; limiting consumerism; and alternative sources of satisfaction. In the three sections that follow, I will discuss each of these elements in turn.

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