On an economic level, it means that your output is higher than you input. In terms of fitness, finance, and productivity, you must burn more calories than you ingest, save more than you spend, and create more than you consume.
On a social level, for society to be sustainable, each individual must give more than they receive.
Society cannot exist among a population of all takers. Everyone needs to give in a productive way. Some build the roads, some tend to the sick, some build homes, some plant vineyards, and others teach.
As a society produces more, their Gross National Product, increase, and thus, their ability to raise their consumption. A society with a high GNP is one that can afford luxury products, vacations, and international influence.
On a personal level, you have a divine instinct to create. You must create, in order to exist.
The simplest way to think about it is to consider the act of farming. Let's a say a micro farmer plants one acre of crops. He and his family eat the crops produced on 3/4 of the acre, leaving the crops produced, from the remaining 1/4, as a surplus.
The farmer takes his goods into town to sell, essentially trading his crops for the things he needs. With the money he buys clothing, pays medical bills, and teats his family to a nice dinner out.
On the flip side, if it was a bad crop season, and his family ran out of food halfway through the season, the farmer would have to borrow money, in order to feed his family for the rest of the year. That is the perfect example of consuming more than you produce.
|Living small lowers your production quota. |
Image Courtesy of Tammy Strobel
The law of production and consumption fares well with the minimalist. The minimalist, choosing to live with less, requires less production to balance out the act of consumption. Translation: You don't have to work as much.
The Lifestyle Design faction of minimalism focuses on efficiency. It isn't about finding the easiest way out, for the sake of laziness. Rather, it allows you to hyper-produce by finding the most efficient way of working.
If you live with less, then you can work less and spend more time doing the things you enjoy. The hope is that you can turn the things you enjoy doing into a means of producing.