I was poor, not making enough to save anything to support myself through the summers with no work (and being overqualified for anyone to hire me for anything else).
I responded to the question, saying that I would have to "upsize" first in order to fully embrace the experience of downsizing. I wouldn't be enjoying the simplicity of giving up a European vacation, driving instead to a rented cabin on a lake for a week. I had no car and was worried about paying the rent on my tiny apartment for the summer.
Only the privileged and comfortable people can ask such questions. When people are truly "downsized," they have not much to give up.
Charlotte Allen writes about simplicity in an article in In Character - "Not Really Simple" - in which she is funny, frustrated and satirical about the designer simplicity movement and some of the nonsense that occurs.
Hunting is usually taboo in the simplicity movement because it involves guns (hated by the professionally simple) and exploitation of animals (ditto). However, if you're hunting boar in the upscale hills ringing the San Francisco Bay so as to furnish yourself a "locally grown" boar paté, as does Berkeley professor and simplicity movement guru Michael (The Omnivore's Dilemma) Pollan, or perhaps to experience an "epiphany," as another well-fixed Bay Area boar hunter recently told the New York Times, you're doing a fine job of returning to the simple life...But if you're a laid-off lumber mill worker bagging possums in Eutaw Springs, S.C., because your main primal connection with food is that you don't have much money to spend on it, you're an unsophisticated redneck.Allen takes potshots at this kind of simplicity that calls for not a little wealth in its afficionados.
I don't know any specs on the Walmart produce - where it comes from or its carbon footprint, etc. - so there may well be room for criticism , but the point of the story highlights for Allen the main problem with what I call boutique simplicity:
The problem with the simplicity movement is that its proponents mistake simplicity, which is an aesthetic lifestyle choice, for humility, which is a genuine virtue. Humility is an honest acknowledgment of one's limitations and lowliness in the great scheme of things and a realization that power over other human beings is a dangerous thing, always to be exercised with utmost caution. The Amish, as well as monks, Eastern and Western, cultivate humility because they know they have a duty toward what is larger than themselves...For humble people, their own happiness or other personal feelings are secondary.Simplicity as Allen points out is an aesthetic lifestyle choice for cool rich people. Real simplicity practiced by the truly humble involves everyone on the planet and the planet, too.
What a simple idea - everyone should have enough healthful food to eat. Methinks boar pate is not the answer!