I started my day today acknowledging that it’s been some time since I have written a blog post, so I set a goal to get one written. My inclination was to write a post related to free market principles and how those can be applied to the country’s reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic. My struggle was to not get too “policy-wonky.”
Today, I came across a podcast in which minimalists Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus hosted T.K. Coleman with the Foundation for Economic Education. The discussion centered on how minimalism can help us better manage a situation such as COVID-19, and how some of the minimalist lifestyle overlaps with free market principles.
Minimalists are self-regulators. They tend not to be concerned with consumer culture. Minimalists tend to unplug from group think. They find freedom through living simply and practicing intentionality. Those adopting a minimalist lifestyle claim to have less fear, less worry and feel less overwhelmed.
Coleman brought up some interesting points that I think can be helpful both in everyday life and as we monitor how the government is responding to COVID-19:
- As individuals, we must be cautious with group think. We must be cautious to not overreact and manage our intake of information. While it’s important to be informed, it’s also important to set aside time to be constructive. Make time each day for social media distancing. Be careful of what you post to avoid adding to the panic and noise.
- With freedom comes a great responsibility to do the right thing. We are going to see the best and worst of people in the coming weeks, so strive to be a good citizen. Do what is best to assure the safety and security of others. Social distancing, online donations to local charities and remotely purchasing gift cards to support local businesses are great examples. Avoid panic purchasing and hoarding – there may be someone out there genuinely in need of those supplies.
- Living in a free society allows us to be creative. As opposed to societies that are less free, our freedom allows for more possibilities as to how we choose to solve problems. Advocate for creative solutions.
So, how could government practice some elements of minimalism as it deals with COVID-19?
Just as minimalists believe that consumerism compromises one’s liquidity, the government must be prudent when it comes to spending. It must make sure resources are prioritized to assure public safety. To facilitate creativity and allow for expedient problem-solving, unnecessary regulations should be minimized.
I hope my post wasn’t too heavy of a read during this time of uncertainty. In the coming weeks, I know my colleagues and I will probably get a little more into the weeds. For now, stay healthy and do your part to #flattenthecurve!