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When people first hear about minimalist living they often find the idea very difficult. That’s because we live in a capitalist and consumerist society. We are constantly bombarded with advertisements for new products we should buy. And it can be very difficult to resist the urge to purchase the latest gadget. It takes dedication to consciously reject this lifestyle and choose a simpler one instead.
For those who struggle with minimalist living, it’s important to ask what you want to do with your life. Do you want to spend your life at a job you hate to buy products you don’t need? Could you not reduce the number of products you buy? This would give you more freedom when choosing your job. Many minimalists end up quitting their jobs and doing work they enjoy but which might less money.
Some people wonder what would happen to the economy if everyone started buying less. They wonder if minimalist living is a threat to capitalism, and many minimalists certainly seem to think so.
The idea that minimalist living could help fight capitalism sounds exciting. However, while minimalism can be a way to reduce overconsumption, it would be too easy to see it as a quick fix when talking about capitalism. Capitalism requires consumerism and that people will continue to spend money even when they have already met their needs. Overconsumption is caused by the need to impress others. Consumerism teaches us that owning more will make us happier. It says that if we don’t own what other people own we are worth less, or worthless.
Capitalism will continue because although minimalists don’t buy tons of clothes they spend money on fewer items, events, travels, and hobbies. Spending money on these things will keep capitalism very much alive. So we have to be careful not to confuse our minimalism with actual political action. Minimalist living can help us be more conscious about how we spend our money. We can also support businesses we believe in, but those businesses are still part of the capitalist system.
Finally, what about the idea that even though minimalists make fewer purchases the lifestyle is for rich people? If you have the time and education to realize how exhausting materialism is you’re more privileged than people who struggle to buy food. However, minimalist living doesn’t require making a lot of money but spending it more wisely. It can also be very useful for people who make little money and are often the main targets for advertising.
In conclusion, minimalist living is for everyone, not just rich people or those wanting to become rich. It can be extremely empowering for less privileged people. At the same time, we should not mistake it for a revolutionary act. It’s always important to analyze our participation in the system and promote total liberation.