Why Frugality?

Luk Bouckaert, Hendrik Opdebeeck, & Laszlo Zsolnai ‘Why Frugality?’ , in Frugality: Rebalancing Material and Spiritual Values in Economic Life, eds. Luk Bouckaert, Herndrick Opdebeeck, and Laszlo Zsolnai, Peter Lang, Oxford, 2008. (This book may be available at: Amazon)

The present unsustainable lifestyle of mankind requires drastic changes. Western-style consumer capitalism has failed. It has resulted in global climate change, dramatic ecosystem degradation and biodiversity loss. Also, it has caused massive unhappiness and emptiness in rich countries and social disintegration worldwide. The interests of nature, society and future generations require a considerable reduction of material throughput of the economy and a reorientation of our economic activities. This could become possible by employing a more spiritual approach to life and the economy.The rational case for frugality is a limited one. By rational choice we can develop a more frugal and sufficient way of life, but material temptations can always overwrite our ecological, social and ethical considerations. But the spiritual case for frugality is strong enough. Spiritually based frugal practices may lead to rational outcomes such as reducing ecological destruction, social disintegration and the exploitation of future generations.

Why Frugality? – Chapter 1