Consumption is a Statement

Minimalism and capitalism are philosophies that seem like they should be at odds with each other. But in reality, capitalism improves if the tenets of minimalism are applied.

Minimalism is not just about owning less, it’s about owning better. It’s about eschewing the superfluous in favor of that which truly brings you value and makes you happy. That means you have more resources left over from the stuff you’re not compulsively buying to invest in higher-quality possessions and experiences. Over time, this leads to a richer economy built atop well-made goods and services.

When consumption ceases to be compulsory, each purchase you make, each dollar you spend, becomes a statement.

The statement you make with each purchase is: “This thing or experience I’m consuming is relevant to my priorities and adds real value to my life. I’m spending my money on this bag because a bag of this kind will increase my level of happiness and will allow me to have more experiences that bring me joy.”

How many of your possessions can you confidently say do the same for you? And if the answer is ‘very few,’ do you think a reassessment of priorities might be in order?

Update: April 14, 2017

This is a facet of minimalism that’s sometimes overlooked, and sometimes used incorrectly.

When it’s overlooked, our perception is that minimalism means you can’t buy things because buying things is wrong.

When it’s misused, our perception is that we have to own certain things to be minimalists, and if we don’t have those things, we’re missing out.

There are interests that benefit from us overlooking and misusing this concept. Which, unfortunately, is one of the negative consequences of capitalism: the incentive to bend valuable ideas to make them less valuable when doing so increases our profits.