There’s a rock and a hard place unfolding in the global economy. The rock: We need to buy lots of stuff to keep the economic machinery going, so that there will be enough jobs, because when there are lots of jobs, people will buy stuff,which will create more jobs, blah blah blah. The market’s down about 240 (a big number if you follow it) as I write, because of worries people aren’t going to buy stuff.
The hard place: The most popular article in the NY Times this morning questions the premise that we’ll be happy if we buy more stuff. The article catalogs the major life shift of Tammy Strobel, who jumped off the work-spend treadmill with her husband. She’s now living simply, as one of the growing number minimalists who try to limit their number of possessions to around 100, including 0 cars. They’ve evaporated 30k of debt, are exercising more, eating better, volunteering their time, taking walks in the woods, and have never been happier.
Welcome to our economic world. We’re stuck, collectively, in a consumerist model that depends on buying stuff, and now we’re discovering that, like unfermented soy products, maybe stuff isn’t so good for you after all. If we all start living like Tammy, what happens to the auto industry, and the rest of the ‘stuff’ that creates our economy?
There are books about this subject, which you might want to check out here (if you’re interested in the book picture) and here (if you’re interested in lifestyle changes) and here (if you’re interested in just reducing your own debts).
I hope all of us work to become more like Tammy because this is what, I think, the Bible commends. I spent $30 at Goodwill last week, and have a new fall wardrobe, but this doesn’t do much for big economic machine. That too many are becoming like Tammy is the great fear of wall street. My response: Moving towards the light is like rappelling off a cliff. There’s some uncertainty regarding all the implications, but there’s a knowing, a trusting, that doing it right will be best, in the long run, for everyone.
Are you simplifying? How?