In the past fifty years, the standard of living in most industrialized nations has risen dramatically, but the number of people describing themselves as content has remained steady or fallen. The result has been a growing desire to regain some of the virtues of simpler times, whether by forgoing luxuries, switching careers, or returning to nature. These essays reflect on the different facets of 'voluntary simplicity' and consumer culture, providing an historic view of the movement as well as a social-scientific analysis of its causes and effects.
Daniel Doherty is completing his Ph.D. at Yale University. Amitai Etzioni is university professor and the director of the Institute for Communitarian Policy Studies at The George Washington University.
Chapter 1 Preface Chapter 2 Introduction: Voluntary Simplicity- Psychological Implications, Societal Consequences Part 3 Human Wants, Human Goods Chapter 4 A Theory of Human Motivation Chapter 5 Wealth and Happiness: A Limited Relationship Chapter 6 Consuming for Love Chapter 7 The Problem of Over-Consumption-Why Economists Don't Get It Chapter 8 Achieving Collective Well-Being through Greater Simplicity: A Simple Proposal Part 9 Simplicity Throughout History Chapter 10 Early American Simplicity: The Quaker Ethic Chapter 11 Simple Needs Chapter 12 The Value of Voluntary Simplicity Chapter 13 Voluntary Simplicity: A Movement Emerges Part 14 Critical Perspectives Chapter 15 Conspicuous "Simplicity" Chapter 16 The Liberating Role of Consumption and the Myth of Artificially Created Desires