Sunday, December 9, 2018

Good life in a finite world

Our current world economic model is unsustainable. It needs constant growth to function properly. That's impossible, of course. Eventually it runs into some hard limits. Then we have a reset. It could be as mild as a recession. It could be a more serious depression. Heck, it could even be the collapse of governments and civilizations.

The weird thing about our system is that it is not designed to make people happy. Studies have proven that money only increases happiness until a certain level of comfort is reached. Beyond those rather basic needs, more money increases happiness hardly at all. It can even make a person unhappier. Their concern and worry about their money can separate them from the more simple joys in life.

Supplying basic needs doesn't have to be that hard. Food, shelter, and clothing pretty much cover one's needs. When you get right down it a garden, hut, and homespun fabric does the job. Ironically, that's hard to do and the barriers are all artificial man made impediments. Just try turning your front yard into garden or try in live in a simple tiny self-built house. Zoning regulations won't allow it. Fashion and even job requirements won't allow you to wear simple clothes.

The things that actually make us happy are sustainable. Art, music, philosophy, literature, community, love, and honest work don't require massive resources. A deeply spiritual life not only does not require material wealth, it often benefits from rejecting the pursuit of unneeded wealth.

We know that the natural world makes people happier and healthier. Yet our current economic system has us clear cutting forests and polluting the air and water. A gray dead world is a poor trade for cheaper consumer goods.

Is a happier world a pipe dream? No, it's a necessity. Like I said at the beginning, infinite growth is impossible. There is always a collapse. That would be a good time to restructure the world into a nicer place to live.

We don't have to wait. When I was in my early 20s I had the chance to make a lot more money. I was single guy with no responsibilities and could have really piled up some cash. Then it occurred to me that I'd rather go fishing. That's what I told my boss anyway. Later, I also chose to spend more time with my kids than work a second job. It didn't make sense to work a second job only to pay some stranger to raise my children. My most fortunate bit of luck was finding a spouse with similar values. While I don't have a lot of money, I have beauty, love and nature in my daily life. It's a good way to live.



  1. You are indeed a lucky man. May you continue to be blessed. - Momlady

    1. Not only am I lucky, I'm smart enough to not take it for granted.

  2. There is more wisdom contained herein than in most seven paragraph texts I've read recently. Well written! Thank you for taking the time to post this.