When it comes to economic systems, the truth of the matter is we really don’t know what an alternative could look like because most of us haven’t had the chance to practice much but capitalism on a large scale.
Even alternative systems, such as most of what we will share today, still focus on the notion of capital, of getting something, and it’s possible that this fundamental tendency in humans, the need to GET and to OWN, will be the very thing we need to shift if we are to find a way to be a sustainable species on this planet.
Also, FYI: this article explores a lot of different ideas around money, economics, and related ideas, and we’ll spend some time trying to imagine a reality we may never see…but that doesn’t mean we don’t recognize the very real truth that sometimes you just need some actual CASH for your permaculture project. See this article for stuff about fundraising.
Alternative Economics 101
For context, please go and read these two articles, so we can continue the conversation together:
- 8 Forms of Capital; a Whole System of Economic Understanding
- A Brief History of the De-Growth Movement
And study the chart here:
In this video, Lucie Bardos demonstrates how different types of currency can flow through a community. Think about how all of the different types of capital are present in your community, then look at how their associated currencies move around.
Do they cycle OUT of your community quickly, or do they circle around and around?
Think about the natural sources of those currencies. Are they being regenerated…or no?
Is permaculture anti-capitalist, by definition?
Probably. Here’s why:
Designing a Better Way
Many more of the PWG faculty members have also dedicated their lives to innovating and testing alternative systems.
Here are three articles for your exploration. (This is a great time to remind you, dear student, that we would love to publish your writing as well!)
- Permaculture’s Invisible Structures: Permaculture and Economics, the Problem is the Solution
- Permaculture on the edge:building an anti/despite/post-capitalist movement
- Transition Economics: Principles of Financial Permaculture
Want to learn more about this and other topics related to permaculture, sustainability, and whole-systems design? We offer a range of FREE (donations optional) online courses!
Relevant Links and Resources
As usual, we’re not saying we agree with everything here, just that it’s all worth reading. You should always consider the links in our articles to be a curated collection to cultivate critical thought and stimulate conversation in our group, not a list of endorsements for you to blindly copy and consume. This particular list is mostly focused on reputable writing about the connections between permaculture and capitalism.
Put your critical thinking cap on:
- Permaculture, Economics, and Dung Beetles
- Critical Self-Reflection as a Path to Anti-Capitalism
- Confronting the Context: Permaculture and Capitalism
- Permaculture and the Myth of Scarcity by Charles Eisenstein
- Capitalism used to promise a better future. Can it still do that?
- Don’t Be Scared About The End Of Capitalism—Be Excited To Build What Comes Next
- Why do we continue to exploit, when we know better?