Mon, April 22, 2024

'Minimalism does not represent zero spending'

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Would the financial system collapse if people chose and practised minimalism? Probably not. The reason being that it would require a large percentage of the population to make an immediate switch to minimalism over a long period of time for commerce to come to a near halt. And people in general have been wired to accumulate.

Consumerism and over consumption are seen as impulsive purchase of things with mostly little or no regard to how a product is made and what the impact of the purchase is on the environment. It is seductive and comes in a shiny façade that promises to deliver feelings of happiness and success. Everyone knows that this is untrue, however, few can resist buying the latest, shiniest, sleekest item on the market because we have conditioned and commodified our minds to believe that this is what happiness and success look like.

Minimalism on the other hand, is predicated on intentionality with people making conscious decisions on purchase. A minimalist will always question what value does the product add to their life. Their focus is on quality, community and sustainability. A minimalist also invests more on experiences than on possessions. 

Minimalists argue that an economy built around intentional consumer behaviour will eventually build a stronger economy rather than a larger one. It is really about intentional change and personal responsibility. They say that optimal utilisation of resources means protecting resources. They also question: What kind of culture have we built that requires people to go into debt to sustain the economy whether it is buying the latest mobile phone, car, holiday or house?

Businesses do influence aspects of consumer spending. But the general rule is based on demand and supply; thus, businesses respond to consumer demands rather than creating them. So, would the economy decline if more people chose minimalism? The answer, say experts, is no. Minimalism does not represent zero spending as it is widely understood. It is more of redirecting money to non-material pursuits. Plus, the fact that entrepreneurs will always find ways to generate revenue. Money will still be spent but a new economy will take shape.

Just as life reinvents itself time and again, so will the economy sustain and expand. There will always be new forms of consumption and productivity.

I am not an anti-consumerist, nor is this a moral narrative for me. I am new to practising minimalism. I often fail but I have to admit, downsizing on some areas of life does feel good. It allows me to truly enjoy what I have.

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MARCH 2024

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