Skip to content

Frugality: Rebalancing Material and Spiritual Values in Economic Life

The book “Frugality: Rebalancing Material and Spiritual Values in Economic Life” edited by Luk Bouckaert, Hendrik Opdebeeck and Laszlo Zsolnai was published by Peter Lang Academic Publishers, in 2008 in Oxford.

The main messages of the book are the folowing: (1) The present unsustainable lifestyle of mankind requires drastic changes. Western style consumer capitalism has resulted in global climate change, ecosystem degradation and huge biodiversity loss. Also, it has caused massive unhappiness and emptiness in rich countries and social disintegration worldwide. (2) 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. (3) By rational choice we can develop a more frugal and sufficient way of life, but material temptations can always overwrite ecological, social and ethical considerations.

However, the spiritual case for frugality is strong enough. Spiritually based frugal practices may lead to rational outcomes such as reducing both ecological destruction, and social disintegration as well as the exploitation of future generations.