Writers on the Internet aren't saints. They don't start out with a picture-perfect Instagram life, but they strive to make it appear that way to sell copies of their books and gain subscribers on their Patreon accounts. Minimalism to some is a new fad, which is rife with commercial entities detracting from the essence of the message, and subverting it to sell more products. In short, commercialised minimalism is maximal-ism all dressed up. It's meant to make you feel good about yourself, and trick you into buying more, instead of buying intentionally.
This may sound sinister, but the companies don't hide the fact they want you to buy things. They also don't make it obvious that it's a clever marketing trick either. The trick that we, the consumers can employ is to keep in mind that a company is far different an entity than that of a person. A person often speaks favourably to you in order to make friends, because human beings are social creatures who feel safer in larger groups rather than by themselves. This forms a mutually beneficial partnership. A company, however, wants to make money, and speaks kindly to you to encourage you to open your wallet and spend. In the long run, a large company makes so much money that if it were a person, their wealth would be seen as decadent and distasteful, especially in this age of austerity. Remember: Companies are not your friend, and don't deserve your loyalty in the way a real person does.
This approach encourages us to think of our belongings and companies as tools and services we use in exchange for a fee. They are machines, manned and maintained by people but they aren't people themselves. We pay them, and so they are inclined to render goods and services in exchange for that payment. Perhaps we are hardwired to see a machine like a smartphone as more than the wad of cash we exchange for it, because paper can't play cat videos or order pizza. Just keep in mind that the money you're paying is valuable, finite, and universal. It can be used everywhere, unlike that phone, and it won't depreciate in value to nothing over time, just like your phone does, either. All in all, a company almost always ends up on the more profitable side of a transaction in the long run.
I'm not saying we need to do away with companies, nor am I saying people should stop buying things. mnml.news is not sensationalist, with attention-grabbing clickbait headlines. It's just important that we look into whom it is we're buying from, and their ethics, before making a purchase.
To that end, I've created what I will refer to as 'The List'. Which you can reach by clicking here.
The List is a constantly updated list of books, products and services I regularly maintain that generally run on ethical practices including psychologically uplifting texts, support the paying of fair wages, using recyclable/user-repairable materials and products, or encourage reforestation and the spread of wildlife and wildflowers. In short, if you feel you can trust me to do the digging for you, then you can be assured that you're buying something that is less damaging to society than mainstream products.
Final Note: I am not affiliated with any of the companies I recommend, and were they to approach mnml.news for a review I would be compelled to give honest feedback, regardless of if it is favourable or otherwise. Any such review would also be labelled as sponsored if they are providing the goods. – David
Was this a useful essay? Please consider lending me your support by buying me a coffee. Your donations help to keep me writing.