You could be wealthier than you think. Have you heard of “time affluence?” According to economist/sociologist Juliet Schor, many of us are giving up “the good life” in our quest for material possessions. Symbols of success, instead of enriching our lives, create stress. Americans are working longer hours and taking on debt to keep up with the Joneses and reproduce a lifestyle we’ve been told “makes life worth living.”

Juliet Schor

Schor thinks there’s a better way. She calls it “plenitude,” and it’s a small-scale lifestyle involving greater degrees of both self-sufficiency and community, more control over our time, and more satisfaction.

Schor is professor of Sociology at Boston College. Her book, Plenitude, was released in paperback as True Wealth: How and Why Millions of Americans Are Creating a Time-Rich, Ecologically Light, Small-Scale, High-Satisfaction Economy. Schor also wrote The Overspent American: Why We Want What We Don’t Need. We recorded this conversation with Juliet in June of 2010 for a documentary film.

This is the first in our series of podcasts and radio programs. We plan to post a new podcast episode every Thursday. Be sure to subscribe! If you like what you hear, please support this project with a tax-deductible donation. Your comments are invited. Did this conversation inspire you to make any changes in your approach to life?   Photo Credit: Craig Gilbert

More About Juliet Schor
Juliet was a fellow at the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation in 1995-1996 for a project entitled “New Analyses of Consumer Society.” In 2006 she received the Leontief Prize from the Global Development and Economics Institute at Tufts University for expanding the frontiers of economic thought. In 1998 Schor received the George Orwell Award for Distinguished Contributions to Honesty and Clarity in Public Language from the National Council of Teachers of English. Schor’s scholarly articles have appeared in the Economic Journal, The Review of Economics and Statistics, World Development, Industrial Relations, The Journal of Economic Psychology, Ecological Economics, The Journal of Industrial Ecology, Social Problems and other journals. Schor has served as a consultant to the United Nations, at the World Institute for Development Economics Research, and to the United Nations Development Program.

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