Thinking back nearly a decade to the first time Affluenza coauthor John de Graaf and I talked over coffee in the KCTS cafeteria about making a documentary on Americans’ habits of “buying, having, and wasting too much,” I can see we’ve come a loooooong way.

On the plus side, there are now numerous organizations touting simplicity, conscious spending, fiscal responsibility, sustainable lifestyles and livelihoods, green consuming, and more. In 2001, John and I, along with other authors, artists and activists on simplicity issues, started the Simplicity Forum ( Even highly commercial ventures are now guaranteeing simplicity if you buy their products—from magazines to cars to computers to hair ...

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