By Michelle Sicignano, LMSW, SJS Staff Writer
Choosing an austere lifestyle, much like the majority of the population he presides over, the President of Uruguay, Jose Mujica, is the “world’s poorest president.” Shunning a lifestyle of consumption, in favor of what he sees as real sustainability especially in terms of a global economy, he donates around 90% of his monthly salary to charity and lives on land he and his wife farm “instead of in the luxurious house that the Uruguayan state provides for its leaders.”
“Mujica accuses most world leaders of having a “blind obsession to achieve growth with consumption, as if the contrary would mean the end of the world”… and says, “Poor people are those who only work to try to keep an expensive lifestyle, and always want more and more.”
His choices were shaped during the 60’s and 70’s where he was in a guerrilla group, Tupamaros, and then spent 14 years in jail, gaining freedom “in 1985 when Uruguay returned to democracy.” To his way of thinking, too much of the world spends energy and resources gaining possessions which ultimately enslave us and are globally unsustainable. A simpler life allows for more freedom.
There is certainly a lesson to be learnt from a leader who lives by his values and beliefs.
Find out more about him with these links: