It is possible to more with less. It is possible to do so for a long time, cutting and tightening for years and years. Families, individuals, institutions, organizations, and whole communities can all make do (as the Wombles of Wimbledon did) with the things that they find, the things that the everyday folks leave behind. It often becomes a point of pride to self manage in times of hardship, toughing it out, but sometimes it is too hard to let go of that pride when adversity passes.
Holding onto the satisfactions of survival and resilience is a pretty effective means of managing uncertainty and facing the slings and arrows that come our way. It is not, however, a means to build anything. When austerity never ends there is no prospect of toughing it out. Endurance is a substantial strength and it should ensure there is no going backward but as part of that deal there’s no going forward either.
Making progress, getting better, and growing something are not going to happen when all your energies are devoted to maintaining your position. To do more, to be more, means having something in excess of bare minimums, something to invest and develop. That excess will look a bit like waste, something superfluous, but it isn’t.
It is the tiny increments of value that we accrue (as individuals and part of a collective) by passage through everyday life that break through the dark clouds of austerity. It is these tiny improvements, these additions, which mean everyday does not resemble yesterday and foreshadow tomorrow. It is these that mean tomorrow we will be a little more courageous and a bit more generous.
Doing more with less OK, but you can’t share it.