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An ethic of simplicity : for life's sake

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An ethic of simplicity : for life's sake

Chauvin, Louis (2002) An ethic of simplicity : for life's sake. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

This thesis offers an Ethic of Simplicity as a response to what is perceived by an increasing number of people as a destructive and dehumanizing socio-economic system. The thesis starts with a description of the methodology used to determine who "simple lifers", the adherents to this ethic, are and what they are concerned about. The next three chapters expand on these concerns: (1) they are beginning to question the wisdom, relevance and sustainability of an economic system that is based on, and aggressively promotes, continuous growth in consumption and production. Recent studies show that the purported benefits of the current model of the capitalist system, are now giving way to disillusionment; the rich are getting richer, the poor poorer and more numerous and people in the middle are working harder and longer to maintain gains made in standards of living (Chapter 2); (2) the gradual spread of the current model of the capitalist system across the face of the globe has highlighted its shortcomings (Chapter 3); (3) evidence is growing that we are testing the limits of the physical systems of the planet. The Worldwatch Institute warns that we would need 3 to 5 planet Earths to provide North American consumption levels to everyone on the planet and to absorb their wastes (Chapter 4). In Chapter 5, it is suggested that current attempts by national governments, international bodies and the business community at reversing the growing inequities and environmental damage have proven highly inadequate. Citizen groups have awakened and are asking for greater and more sincere efforts at reining in what they see as a rogue economic sector. The citizens supporting these groups need, however, to be able to disengage from the system if they are to have the independence to critique business and government. A growing number of them are. In the Conclusion, the value system and behavioural standards of the Ethic of Simplicity propose moving consumption back to its traditional position as a social epiphenomenon rather than a central one. Thus, at the same time as it liberates people from financial servility, it relieves the stress on the ecosystem and promotes a more equitable sharing of the planet's resources.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Religion
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Chauvin, Louis
Pagination:xi, 385 leaves : ill. ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Theses (Ph.D.)
Program:Religion
Date:2002
Thesis Supervisor(s):Bird, Frederick Bruce
ID Code:1903
Deposited By:Concordia University Libraries
Deposited On:27 Aug 2009 13:23
Last Modified:08 Dec 2010 10:23
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