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Simple living (also referred to as voluntary simplicity) is a lifestyle characterized by consuming only that which is required to sustain life. Adherents may choose simple living for a variety of personal reasons, such as spirituality, health, increase in 'quality time' for family and friends, reducing their personal ecological footprint, stress reduction, personal taste or frugality. E. F. Schumacher summarized it by saying, "Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius - and a lot of courage - to move in the opposite direction."

Others cite socio-political goals aligned with the anti-consumerist movement, including conservation, degrowth, social justice, ethnic diversity and sustainable development. According to Duane Elgin, "we can describe voluntary simplicity as a manner of living that is outwardly more simple and inwardly more rich, a way of being in which our most authentic and alive self is brought into direct and conscious contact with living."

Simple living as a concept is distinguished from those living in forced poverty, as it is a voluntary lifestyle choice. Although asceticism generally promotes living simply and refraining from luxury and indulgence, not all proponents of voluntary simplicity are ascetics.
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