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The Minimalists
The Minimalists are Emmy-nominated Netflix stars and New York Times–bestselling authors Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus. Alongside their podcast cohost, T.K. Coleman, this simple-living trio helps millions of people eliminate clutter and live meaningfully with less. Learn More.

Inside the Prison Walls of Consumerism

There’s a shopping mall in San Diego that used to be a prison. Restored, repurposed, and redecorated, it’s hard to imagine this place once imprisoned hundreds of inmates.

One might argue, however, it’s a different kind of prison now: a voluntary incarceration, caged by the invisible walls of consumption.

This might sound hyperbolic, but it’s an apt analogy. After all, consumption isn’t the problem; compulsory consumption (consumerism) is the problem. We’ve trapped ourselves by thinking that consumerism will make us happy, that buying shit we don’t need will somehow make us whole.

We’ve gotten good at fooling ourselves, too: we’ve overdecorated the jailhouse walls—walls we’ve built around ourselves—and we’ve made our cells so comfortable we’re terrified to leave. But a prison cell with a view is still a prison cell.