September 29, 2014

Will Simple Living Collapse the Economy?

One argument used for not living simply is that if people buy less the economy will collapse. Shopping is seen as doing your patriotic duty. What a scam. I say that it looks like the economy is collapsing anyway, regardless of what we do. 

Deregulated capitalism along with the concept of endless growth on a finite planet has taken us as far as we can go - the planet is tapped out. Consuming as usual will only accelerate our demise.

"We tend to regard our greed, anger and delusion as our friends. Then again, we live in a society where everybody takes it for granted that people are going to be greedy, angry and deluded; and the society is arranged to take advantage of that. 
How many times have people complained to me 'Well, if you live content with very little, the economy is going to collapse'. 
Well, if the economy is based on anger, greed and delusion, maybe it should collapse. It is causing people to do unskillful things, to think and act in unskillful ways. 
So the things you "have to do" to get ahead, if they are done out of greed anger or delusion, you are better off not doing them. Because they have long-term consequences down the line." 
- Ajahn Geoffrey
People who are paying attention, and who love this planet, are cutting consumption for the greater good of those living today, and for those to come in future generations. As individuals it is time to tackle our greed, anger and delusions and build a better system based on compassion for all life.

Humanity has such a capacity for love and caring for each other. The only economies that will survive will be the ones based on this capacity. 


  1. You've shown a photo of one of my heroes!

    Well, if the economy does collapse, we will have to find a new way of doing things. How about barter, or even...sharing! Sounds good to me.

    Our local sustainable living group is showing a film called Living Without Money this Thursday and I'm looking forward to it. I think you can also see the film on the net.


    1. Madeleine,

      We are finding ways to thrive, including renewing old ways that worked but were made unattractive by those in favour of more profitable methods.

      We can build more socially connected, less damaging systems that are both more sustainable, and more enjoyable/healthy.

      I have heard of Living Without Money (click here) but have not seen it yet. It is a wonderful concept that proves that it can be done.

      Money is an illusion. Currently a convenient illusion, but one that we can survive without. Hope you and the group enjoyed the film. Congratulations of spreading the word that a better world is possible.

  2. Anonymous9/30/2014

    Great Post!

  3. Anonymous10/01/2014

    Hello Mr. Koep,
    I have been reading your blog for quite some time now. Last year was a turning point in my life since I decided to quit a high demanding, high oppressive job in which merit/dedication had never stood a chance. I also decided not to return to corporate job anymore. I can no longer endure it. My husband and I were never members of the mainstream, we have always lived a very frugal life by choice. Now, with more free time to read, I find more and more people taking this same decision. It is quite unbelievable. However, one point worries me the most, and this point is the **cost of private health insurance**. I wonder if you could clarify what is you experience in Canada. All through the process of your wife's disease, have you been able to count on public health care? Please take no offence at my naive questioning (and kindergarten english). Health insurance seems to be the only one point that still scares me. I thank you and wish you and Mrs. Linda all the best.

    1. Anon,

      Congratulations on turning your life around. It takes a brave person to make such radical changes, even if they do result in a better life. However, there is little mainstream support for such choices. We hope we have provided some motivation for your changes and support for the ongoing work they require.

      You bring up a very important point in regards to health insurance. Living in Canada with socialized medical care, we have never had to worry about paying out of pocket. It is hard for us to believe the awful things that happen in other countries with people having to go bankrupt to pay to be healthy.

      We don't access the system that often, only when completely necessary, even though we don't have to pay (other than through taxes). We have no private insurance, although some people do to pay for the few things for which the system does not pay (a private hospital room, for example).

      Our cooperative health care program is one of those things that has made our simple life possible. It seems all kinds of wrong to make people lose all their savings to pay for what most Canadians see as a basic human right.

      I take no offence at your excellent question, or your very adequate english. I can see why health care would scare you if you are not in a country that shares the burden amongst its citizens. You could either save a lot of money for when you need health care, or you could move to Canada.

      Be warned though, that there are evil doers here (including our current federal government) that would love to destroy our health care system in favour of American-style, privatized, for profit health care. I dearly hope it never comes to that.

    2. Anonymous10/08/2014

      Mr. Koep,

      I needed those "congratulations". Thank you.

      You know, I could never bring myself to be part of the system. Never. I was born and have lived in an eternal state of "wondering why". And I was lucky enough to marry a man who *wonders why*, too. However, it took me a very long time of considering pros and cons before I decided to quit my corporate job - and not apply to any other.

      I decided to give myself a chance. Also, I trust my accomplishments (lol) to survive with the bare minimum. As I wrote before, as a couple we have been always frugal. We are very skilled at home and I was taught, as a child, how to live quite independently (planting, cooking, sewing, building, repairing..).

      As I said, the cost of private health insurance was my one and only concern. You wrote : "It is hard for us to believe the awful things that happen in other countries with people having to go bankrupt to pay to be healthy". Your words describe precisely where I live. Oh well.

      I thank you for answering my question. It is priceless to find out people like you, learn from your experiences and feel a little less *alien*. And I am so glad to know that you can count on a *cooperative health care program*, as part of the *Canadian socialized medical care*. I hope and pray it will be always available for you.

      I wish you and Mrs. Linda all the best.


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