Your Money or Your Life: Prosperity and the Planet

YMOYLThis is the third part of The Simple Dollar Book Club reading of Your Money or Your Life. Want to know more?

Your Money Or Your Life has a reputation in some circles for having a leftist political perspective, and it shows through in this section, subtitled “Prosperity and the Planet.”

The crux of the argument over these twelve pages is that a consumerist lifestyle does significant damage to the planet as a whole, not just in terms of environmental damage, but in terms of global social issues as well. As we consume more and more of these resources, eventually we deplete what’s available to all of us.

Regardless of my personal feelings on environmentalism (I believe pretty strongly in minimizing my own footprint, but I have a hard time preaching to others on the topic), I felt this was perhaps the weakest point in the entire book. It’s an attempt to try to tie individual simplicity to a greater good inside of a book that’s largely going to be read by people interested in getting their finances in shape.

There are some powerful cases out there for treating the environment with more respect – this twelve page treatise isn’t one of them. Because it’s told with such strength right off the bat in the book before any of the great financial material that follows, it likely turns off some people who are trying to get in tune with their financial situation and don’t want to read about environmentalism. That’s unfortunate.

I tend to believe that there are a lot of compelling arguments against consumerism and the environment just happens to be one of many. Leading with it, especially with the environment being a hot political issue in the last few years, seems destined to damage the argument.

Does the environment argument hold much water with you? I’m okay with it, I just find it to be overbearing. Thankfully, the book starts kicking it up a notch in the next section.

Tomorrow, we’ll keep going through the first chapter, focusing on the section “The Beginning of a New Road Map for Money.” That section is on pages 21 through 29 in my paperback version of the book.

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