About

About Make Wealth History
Make Wealth History is an exploration of sustainable living in the real world. The lifestyle of the western world is unsustainable – environmentally, economically, and socially. We are living beyond our means, and sharing the earth’s resources unequally. To restore some balance, we need to learn to use less, want less, and be more generous.

That’s a tall order, especially in an economic system that is based on the idea of constant growth, so we’re looking out for good ideas, wherever they may be found.

The title of the blog is provocative, so I ought to mention that I’m not actually advocating the end of wealth. What actually needs to happen is a re-defining of wealth – away from meaningless accumulation, and towards a broader understanding of what makes life really worth living.

Make Wealth History is mostly here on the blog, but we like to keep our activist edge sharp too – see our campaigns and actions page for more.

About the author:

Jeremy studied cultural studies, international relations and journalism, and now divides his time between freelance writing and programme development. He lives in Luton (UK) with his wife and son. He is a member of Transition Luton, a co-founder of the Post Growth Institute, and a friend of Breathe, a network for simpler living.

The blog was started in 2007 by Paul Williams and Jeremy Williams, two brothers who grew up in Madagascar and Kenya. Paul is working for the Scottish Wildlife Trust and doesn’t get to write so much now.

For all enquiries please email jeremy {at} makewealthhistory.org

Commenting:

This blog tends to get some strong reactions, both positive and negative – some of which remain below. Before telling us what you think of us, you may want to read the Frequently Asked Questions, and the commenting policy.

51 Comments on “About”

  1. sam lee April 4, 2007 at 10:58 pm #

    I quite agree. It’s a good plan, and something of a challenge. It’s the only way things are going to work though

  2. Phil Whittall June 18, 2007 at 3:31 pm #

    I think this site is great – so encouraged to see other Christians really engaging with this issue and all it’s spin offs. Keep it up fellas

  3. Robert Daoust August 19, 2007 at 1:42 am #

    One question I have: instead of being 6 or 9 billions individuals aiming at voluntary simplicity, why not aiming at being 600 or 900 millions individuals all living as wise millionnaires?

    • m. February 12, 2014 at 1:56 pm #

      Quality of desire, that’s what you touch upon. This is the pre-position, the conceptual change, the definition of “what is quality of life” should represent, that is what is refused to be debated. This is the taboo to be broken. Consider this: “one person less is exponential an impact for change as to reducing the individual footprint to a hundred percent(impossible, but for theoretical metrics sake) for one individual ”

      The question of how many do we want to be(and with consideration for the planet, what our place is in the scheme of bio-diversity), not on the basis that ten billion people would or not be possible, but on the basis of whether it is desirable.

      It all hinges on our potential as individuals and social groups, we transcent as humanity , or we regress as a species most probably. Read more: http://205.205.221.27/m/m.php

  4. John Steinsvold September 26, 2007 at 10:39 pm #

    The following link, takes you to a “utopian” article, entitled “Home of the Brave?” which I wrote and appeared in the American Daily which is published in Phoenix, Arizona on March 14, 2006.
    http://www.americandaily.com/article/12389

    John Steinsvold

  5. lushbooks November 25, 2007 at 6:34 am #

    The books of E.F. Schumacher may be great resources that mirror your ideas on this blog. Check out “Small is Beautiful”

  6. victoria Hall December 9, 2007 at 2:48 am #

    I was so thrilled when I discovered your site that I nearly tripped running upstairs to tell my husband about it! AS North American Christians we often feel alienated on environmental issues. Like yourselves we believe good stewardship is part and parcel of a lifestyle of “loving our neighbor as ourselves.” Keep up the great work, we are encouraged by your efforts!

  7. Tracey Smith April 12, 2008 at 12:18 pm #

    Hi fellas,

    Loved looking through your site today and it’s great to meet others of the mindset of positively embracing living with less!

    I put together InterNational Downshifting Week which encourages people to ‘slow down and green up’ and extols the virtues of it.

    Wishing you well on your quest!
    TS
    x

  8. Jeremy April 13, 2008 at 8:08 pm #

    Hi Tracey, funny you should show up, I was just preparing a post on International Downsizing Week. I’ll let you know when it’s up.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  9. Tracey Smith April 13, 2008 at 8:43 pm #

    Taken from the tune of the ‘Twilight Zone’,

    “Do do, do do, do do, do do….!”

    Do yell if you need, want or urgently desire any further info…

    TS
    x

  10. crossmyts May 6, 2008 at 10:29 pm #

    My name’s Will and I am totally new to this world of blogging. I’ve been searching around lookin for interesting topics and this blog fits the bill. I am adding your blog onto my blogroll. That would make you guys my FIRST official addon to the blogroll. I know nothing about living a sustainable lifestyle. But I promise that I will continue to reference this site to make serious steps towards one. I have been thinking about such topics for quite some time now, it’s nice to see them being put into words for me. If you ever get a sec, right now my blog is mostly Film/TV show reviews. If that is your cup of tea, check it out. It promises to morph over time. In the meantime, good luck with this valiant effort.

  11. Beth Gladstone September 18, 2008 at 11:35 pm #

    Just wanted you to know we linked out to you today: http://www.walletpop.com/blog/2008/09/18/starbucks-trades-in-fair-trade-for-shared-planet-worth-your-m/

    Any links back are appreciated.

  12. Beth Gladstone September 19, 2008 at 7:07 pm #

    Hi,
    I just wanted to let you know that we linked to your site today on WalletPop.com, AOL’s hub for personal finance, which is the #1 money destination on the Internet. Here’s the link: http://www.walletpop.com/blog/2008/09/18/starbucks-trades-in-fair-trade-for-shared-planet-worth-your-m/

    We’d appreciate any links back you can give us — adding us to your links page or referring to this write-up.

    Thanks for your time.

    Sincerely,

    Beth Pinsker Gladstone
    Editor of WalletPop.com

  13. Dan Factor October 19, 2008 at 7:58 pm #

    I think this blog demonstrates a high level of miserabilism.
    Why can’t we help the developing world reach our standard of living instead of cutting back our own?

  14. Jeremy October 19, 2008 at 8:17 pm #

    It’s very simple Dan – if everyone on earth had the same lifestyle as the average American, we would need the equivalent of five earths to provide the resources. Since we only have the one, there isn’t enough oil, wood, water, food for everyone to live like we do in the West. That is unfortunately a fact.

    As to the miserabilism, I beg to differ. Personally, I think there’s nothing miserable about cutting back our own lifestyles. We live stressed, fraught, unhappy lives. Slowing down and being less preoccupied with possessions is good for us, and not something to be lamented.

    • Kathryn Borland March 12, 2012 at 11:14 am #

      I 100% absolutely agree with you and I JUST found your website. I am so happy I did!!!
      Thank you!

      Kathryn B.

  15. Alexandra Bloomfield November 21, 2008 at 12:10 pm #

    Hi me and my best friend are doing some course work about poverty and we were hoping that you could send us some free stuff so that we could try and help younger years at our school about poverty

    Thank you

    If you could send use some stuff then here is the address

    Alexandra Bloomfield
    Care of Miss Tickell
    Horbury School a Specialist Language Collage
    Wakefield Road
    Horbury
    Wakefield
    WF4 5HE

  16. SteveH January 9, 2009 at 10:09 pm #

    This argument for unsustainability is whats unsustainable.

    I’ve yet to see such nonsense pushed by anyone other than spoiled rotten westerners. Particularly those with a childlike envy toward the inequality produced by naturally creative human lives.

    This isn’t about the planet or resources and never has been. Its about people who reject the wonderful competitiveness that is absolutely natural to all forms of life.

    • Rae September 9, 2012 at 11:17 pm #

      FAQ number 8 seems to me to provide a good answer to any who feel this website is based on envy. Great website, Jeremy!

  17. Jeremy January 10, 2009 at 10:45 am #

    Steve, the first line of your comment shows you have no idea what sustainability is about. On that basis I’m going to assume replying to your comment in any detail will be a waste of time. Thanks for stopping by all the same.

  18. Tara January 16, 2009 at 9:54 pm #

    Enjoyed your site. I see these ideas gaining ground slowly, but at the same time I feel it is an uphill battle against the “growth at all costs” economics that the world has been following for decades. Any hope that we can break that trend? Do you see signs of a shift in mentality? By the way, there is an excellent 20 minute video you might have already seen and might want to link to: http://storyofstuff.com

  19. thesheikhdown March 10, 2009 at 3:13 pm #

    Do you folks believe in the forced redistribution of wealth? Do you believe the government should be the arbiter of ownership, or that people should just learn to do it under their own volition?

    Are you merely trying to influence people into being more generous, or are you advocating generosity at the behest of government?

  20. Jeremy March 10, 2009 at 3:47 pm #

    Not a coercive redistribution, no. But there is a role for government to reduce inequality – that’s the basis for progressive taxation of course. That’s anathema in the States and enough for people to brand Obama a socialist, but it’s quite normal for people in Europe, especially Scandinavia.

    It’s both government and individuals ultimately, because you need individuals to vote for a government who have progressive tax ideas. Like the US just did, in fact.

    • Kent Clizbe January 4, 2011 at 11:09 pm #

      Jeremy,

      Just catching up to your blog, about 2 years later.

      Nice comment about “the US just” voted for “socialism” under Obama.

      Fast forward two years, Jer. It’s not 2011, January.

      The US just rejected, whole-cloth, Obama, socialism, and your loony “sustainability.”

      Why are you and your brother not huddled in a cave, burning your own dung for fuel? Not sure what a real “sustainably living” human would eat though. Can’t eat the grass, might kill it off. Can’t eat worms, might reduce the population. Can’t drink the water, might reduce the water available for clams.

      Seems to me that you sustainability gurus are painted in a corner. There’s really no way to satisfy your insane cravings to do without, that is, without actually dying.

      Why are you using a computer, any way? How sustainable is that? What’s in a computer? Rare earth, silicon, plastic, aluminum, and more. And how is it powered? Electricity. Where’d that come from? Burning cow methane? Probably not. In the UK, could be nuclear, maybe natural gas. How sustainable is that?

      Don’t know, Jer, you and your brother might want to pack the whole technology thing in–woefully unsustainable. And probably no electric plug in a cave, any way.

      Happy Sustainability New Year!

      Kent

      • Jeremy January 4, 2011 at 11:40 pm #

        Well, that’s a friendly comment for a first time poster. Welcome. I would reply to your questions, but I’d obviously be wasting my time and don’t suppose you’ll be back. But happy new year to you too, just in case.

        • WasteofTime September 9, 2011 at 11:14 pm #

          Jeremy, it seems that everytime someone disagrees with you, you issue the standard comment “I’d obviously be wasting my time”…so I won’t be back here because, you guessed it, I’d be wasting my time…..

          • Jeremy September 17, 2011 at 5:33 pm #

            Thanks for saving us all the trouble.

  21. Andrea Muhrrteyn August 8, 2010 at 1:26 pm #

    Hi,

    Thought you may be interested in the following. Its an Amicus Curiae before the South African Constitutional Court, more specifically in Support of a Radical Honesty Population Policy Common Sense Interpretation of the Promotion of National Unity and Reconciliation Act, with among others the following arguments:

    [I] E. Ecolaw 101: Laws of Sustainability: Ecological Social Contract

    III: POPULATION POLICY COMMON SENSE PRINCIPLES
    A. Thou Shalt Not Transgress Carrying Capacity Prophets
    B. Eco-Numeracy: Exponential Functions and Carrying Capacity
    C. Tragedy of the Commons: Limited World, Limited Rights
    D. Overpopulation: Resources Scarcity and Resource War Violence
    E. Demographics and Violence: Youth Bulges
    F. Population Pressures, Resource Wars and National Security
    G. How and Why Journalists Avoid the Population-Environment Connection

    It argues that Ecolaw 101, or sustainability is the sine qua non for all other rights; and hence
    any legislation or jurisprudence such as the TRC Social Contract, which professes to advocate on behalf of human rights, peace and social justice, while ignoring their ecological basis – a stable human population at slightly less than the eco-systems carrying capacity – is endorsing and practicing legal dishonesty and hypocrisy; i.e. fraud. It is legislation and jurisprudence deliberately indifferent to the laws of sustainability, advocating misery.

    PDF of Amicus avail at: http://www.scribd.com/doc/34551212/
    List of Authority Evidentiary Documentation for Amicus: http://www.scribd.com/document_collections/2308879

  22. Bill Clarke January 11, 2011 at 1:38 pm #

    Kent Clizbe said :

    “The US just rejected, whole-cloth, Obama, socialism, and your loony “sustainability.”

    Was the question of sustainability an issue in the US election campaign? I don’t think so. This is a pity because if it had been it would have shown that the American people have at last realized that our western way of life cannot continue consuming the Earth’s resources at the present rate.

    They would have decided, if they had voted for sustainability, that those resources are becoming more and more scarce, as is shown by the rise in prices of basics. The increasing world population just cannot reach the standard of living of the west.

    The scarcity of resources, together with the effects of climate change, will lead to great social upheaval and conflict.

    Is this the sort of future you want Kent? If not, then have another think about “loony sustainability”

    The idea you have that we sustainability supporters want to be cave-dwelling hermits is totally wrong. We live in a civilization which confers great benefits and facilities. We just advocate that we consume less in order to protect our children’s and the planet’s future.

  23. Byron Smith February 20, 2011 at 3:23 pm #

    Hey,
    Just came across this section of the blog and wanted to say thank you once again for your gracious replies to various commenters (and knowing when not to answer a fool in his folly!).

  24. Oma Lessard April 18, 2011 at 6:41 pm #

    Excellent article and easy to understand explanation. How do I go about getting permission to post part of the article in my upcoming news letter? Giving proper credit to you the author and link to the site would not be a problem.

    • Jeremy April 18, 2011 at 9:16 pm #

      I post here under a Creative Commons license, so feel free to reproduce anything on the site. I just ask for a credit line to ‘Jeremy Williams, makewealthhistory.org’. What’s the newsletter?

  25. Fish Probiotics September 26, 2011 at 2:21 pm #

    Would you mind if I quote a few of your articles as long as I provide credit and sources back to your site? One of my websites is in the very same niche as yours and my visitors would truly benefit from some of the information you present here. Please let me know if this ok with you.Great website, regardless. Cheers!

    • Jeremy September 26, 2011 at 5:12 pm #

      Sure, be my guest. All content on the blog is published under a Creative Commons licence, so you’re free to republish it with an appropriate credit.

  26. susan April 27, 2012 at 10:26 am #

    Best wishes.

  27. polythenepam July 3, 2012 at 4:24 pm #

    loved your blog from years ago – now I have found you again – good times

    • Jeremy July 4, 2012 at 7:48 am #

      Nice to see that Plastic is Rubbish is still going too! Thanks for dropping by.

  28. seathechange September 26, 2012 at 3:00 pm #

    Hi, I just found your blog and so glad I did! Your premise “We are living beyond our means, and sharing the earth’s resources unequally. To restore some balance, we need to learn to use less, want less, and be more generous.” is something I completely agree with. Share and educate, work towards a sustainable future… That’s something which I think Western world members should do with the resources we have.. it’s our responsibility, in a way. I’d love to hear what you think about some of the issues I’ve raised on my blog, Sea Change, which is mostly about marine conservation, and how we can all make a difference. Drop by anytime! I’ll be following you guys :)

    • Jeremy September 26, 2012 at 3:29 pm #

      Thanks for dropping by, your blog looks great too and I’ll have a browse.

  29. icontact add facebook sign up form April 11, 2013 at 9:18 am #

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I really appreciate your efforts and I will be waiting
    for your next write ups thank you once again.

  30. Sandy Irvine (Newcastle, England) May 27, 2013 at 12:02 pm #

    The “About’ section and the ‘Problems’ menu somewhat ignore population. It is as if human numbers do not count. Yet every addition to the total population, locally or globally, ipso facto multiplies just about every problem and also makes it harder to solve. The detailed study by Murtaugh and Schlax, for example, showed that an additional baby born to a couple outweighed in footprint terms six major lifestyle changes they might make.
    (http://blog.oregonlive.com/environment_impact/2009/07/carbon%20legacy.pdf)

    It is a problem of both appetites (consumerism etc) and mouths. It is irresponsible to ignore either … and the specific malign effects certain technologies add to the mix. Thus renewable ones begin to have costs than outweigh benefits beyond a certain point. Certainly they could never power anything remotely like contemporary society.

    I also feel that the discussions on the website tend to ignore the ‘rate and magnitude’ problem i.e. could this or that ‘solution’ actually deliver the needed change in sufficient time and on a sufficient scale. Unless that question is satisfactorily answered, even the best laid plan has no future.

    Best wishes

    • Jeremy May 28, 2013 at 9:59 am #

      You’re right, I haven’t included population as a headline problem, and I should probably do that. I’ve written about it fairly extensively on the blog, so I’ll draw some points together and give it a page on the menu.

      Yes, the discussion tends to get sidelined pretty quickly into ideology, which inevitably leaves out the urgency of the problem. But I tend to do that thinking before I post. If I don’t think an idea has some potential to make a difference, I tend not to write about it in the first place.

      Thanks for your feedback!

  31. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hqu1p7ibhWo December 12, 2013 at 5:22 pm #

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    un baiser peux vous faire du bien ou l’inverse,
    donc il est important de faire une bonne première
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    vous pouvez consulter ce guide en ligne ou téléchargez-le gratuitement!
    obtener ce guide pour découvrir les ingrédients pour le baiser parfait!

  32. Shane December 28, 2013 at 2:03 pm #

    Each year, online mapping technology gets more and more sophisticated.
    Plus, there’s no digital download available for the PS3 version yet.
    The best thing about the Play – Station network card
    is so it even allows one to get various items from an web shop.

  33. Sven April 3, 2014 at 7:34 pm #

    They’re like one big experience farm, especially if your Pokemon are higher levels
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    as a rookie trainer, collecting all 8 gym badges and stop an evil organization.
    Its not a big deal as internet is the solution to every problem.

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