mnmlist: on economy

Thousands of articles are written all the time about the economy — the financial affairs of our society. But I’d love to hear more about a different kind of economy: that which endeavors to waste as little as possible, or “the efficient, sparing, or concise use of something”.

In this society of more is better, there is a non-stop barrage of words, images, noise. There is a frenetic blur of movement, as everyone tries to be busy, busy, busy. There is more waste than ever: wasted energy use, gas-guzzling cars, trash generated by the truckload.

We need economy.

Economy of movement

If we try to make each action count, we’ll do less, but focus on more important actions. We’ll choose carefully, be picky. Favor stillness over a buzz of activity.

Economy of words

Instead of saying whatever comes to our minds, whenever it comes to mind, instead of engaging in a flurry of digital messages and updates all day long, we should make each word count. Value silence and the space between speech. Go a day or two between emails or tweets.

Economy of materials

If excess packaging is waste, and buying more than we need produces even more waste, how can we eliminate both? Can we aim to own as little as we need, and to slowly reduce those needs? Can we buy less packaged goods, and aim for fresh, for homemade, for local?

This is the important economy. It was highly valued by our grandparents, but somewhere along the way we’ve lost this value. Let’s revive it.