Happiness and frugality

Happiness and frugality

Simple living leads us to happiness

David Pearce

Times Colonist

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Canada might be on the brink of a recession. How can one lessen the impact of a recession? By being economically free.

Economically free means being willing to reject the blandishments of consumer society and its handmaiden, modern marketing. Being economically free makes us less vulnerable to downturns in the economy.

Blessed are those who have beer tastes on a champagne budget, for they are economically free. Unfortunately, many people have champagne tastes on a beer budget. They might be harshly punished for their extravagance in a recession.

Furthermore, are they even happy?

For too many, their inflated aspirations have outstripped their meagre resources.

The only way to be economically free and happy is to live poor — that is, one should maintain one’s aspirations at a level equal to, or below one’s resources.

Those unfortunate souls who have aspirations far in excess of their resources are doomed to a life of economic fear. They dare not leave that job they hate.

The road to freedom is hard, in part due to the pressures of marketing and media articles on so-called modern lifestyles. To offset this, the household can create an atmosphere of artificial scarcity and make the “default value” forgoing spending.

Those living in an atmosphere of artificial scarcity weigh each major purchase — say over $20. The prudent consumer will often find the benefits fall short of the costs; they realize the product will not make them happier.

David Pearce


ê_Ô© Times Colonist (Victoria) 2008