Sustaining The Good Life

Lifestyle Philosophy For Financial Independence and Environmental Sustainability

From homo economicus to convivial economics

We live in a time in which the raison d’ etre as a human is to participate in economic life.  The theoretical Homo economicus is a human actor whose sole assumed aim is to optimize consumption and maximize wealth.  After the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the US, for example, the president implored us…

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What is Neoliberalism and Why Early Retirement May Be an Individual’s Best Response

Neoliberalism, broadly speaking in the modern sense of the word, is a concept of comodification of the components of our world – natural environmental services, human life, social exchanges, etc.  In a nutshell, a neoliberal worldview values an act, object, or interaction only if they have an economic value of exchange.  Thus, a clean public…

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Guaranteed Income the Future of Economic Life?

Lately, I’ve been thinking about guaranteed income as a response to increasing technological unemployment.  Technological unemployment is unemployment that is caused by increasing automation of manufacturing, retail jobs, and analytical jobs that are now done by robots, 3-D printers, self-checkouts, and machine-learning algorithms.  In recent years, academic studies have found that almost half of jobs…

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What is downshifting? And 10 reasons you should do it!

A lot of people talk about “retiring early” when what they really are referring to is “downshifting.”  Downshifting is the act of simplifying one’s life and moving away from materialism so one can spend less time on paid work and more time on activities, relationships, or projects that have a more intrinsic motivation.  In fact,…

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Cultural Creativity in the Age of Nihilism

A recent op-ed in the New York Times titled “We’re Doomed. Now What?” by Roy Scranton lays out the case for our humanistic need to create new meanings in an age where climate change, violence, and fear grip all of global society in a nihilistic meaninglessness.  This nihilism takes the form of militaristic jingoism, market…

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Credit Cards and the Tragedy of The Commons

I’ve noticed here in the personal finance corner of the blogosphere that many of my fellow financial bloggers are promoting various credit cards.  While many bloggers promote the fact that many cards have very generous cash back or enrollment bonuses (up to $500), the blogs are also making money on this promotion.  Many financial blogs…

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The Religion of Consumption

Earlier this week, Lisa sent me this post from the blog Becoming Minimalist: 21 Surprising Statistics That Reveal How Much Stuff We Actually Own.  A few of my favorite statistics include:  The average American home has tripled in size in the last 30 years. 2.  1 in 10 Americans rents off-site storage. 3.  The average…

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My Plans For Life Shattered On The Floor…And I Laughed

About two years ago I read this blog post on explaining how an eccentric game designer created a sort of “hour glass” to represent his life.  He has two glass “vessels,” with each filled partially with colored beads.  Each bead represents one day of his life, with one vessel representing days that he had…

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Do Not Let Your Employer Pressure You to Work Extra Hours

Worker solidarity is camaraderie between co-workers.  It is the idea that workers must work together, look out for each other, and care for one another.  This concept is, arguably, a core humanistic quality, and there is a long history of valuing worker solidarity in the labor movement.  The fact that workers will not cross a…

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Living with no money for 12 years

In follow-up to my recent post reviewing Eric Fromm’s “To Have or to Be,” I’ve re-watched a few short documentaries on Daniel “Suelo.”  Daniel Suelo is a middle-aged man who is homeless, refuses to use any money, and is, by all outward appearances, very happy and centered.  In the film below, “Moneyless in Moab,” Suelo…

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