Economics, Localization & Money

As we reach out to try getting a larger mainstream to adopt planet friendly farming, rewilding, regenerative and at least not-destructive production and supply chains and localized production-consumption loops, the question of marrying this to the markets and industry is ever alive.

Indeed the focus is to get more to account for more of the dimensions below in all human activity and problem solving, and not do it at the cost of one or the other.

Got me thinking about what the economy bit is vis-a-vis the human experience, and in the context of localization.

Today, we tend to define economics in terms of finance and currency. These were the framework and grease to enable economics, not become its core objectives and goals, surely? So I went back to the view of a few neighbours in the village. And then a few neighbourhoods and then a few villages in a cluster, and tried imaging what the economy is or could be for them, and why it mattered.

Clearly, human beings need the basics, and like a few extras. There’s a whole pyramid of needs that we serve for each other. (Of course, it’s justifiably argued that we’ve gone too far and pushed some needs very hard through fear and FOMO, and this does need stepping back from). Many of these needs can be served by the neighbours, or the next village, or one 5 villages away. More specialized needs must come from where there are materials and skills for those are available — and these needs are logically fewer and the fulfilment has a larger impact.

Isn’t the cycle of a bunch of folks creating goods and services for each other so everyone’s experience is a little richer, everyone feels productive/creative and useful to the world around them the core idea of the economic engine at its core?

Money and ledgers help track bits of this cycle, sure. But like with most metrics, too much of a focus on them is unhealthy and has led to a place where seeing an increase of the scoreboard has become the objective — force/privilege/competitive advantage through whatever means necessary to increase the numbers has become the focus and almost definition of the economic engine, not what it enables and does for the human experience.

Today we have a state where most people — even in the village — do not produce even the basics for the their neighbours, where most needs are met by a few with capital, legal, resource control and other advantages we foist on others, where the impact of more coming from further and further away is local loss, even beggary, of skills, value, resources and even the local commons and ecosystem, and the ecological hit and cost are externalized across many in a large area so large scale long supply chains stay artificially viable.

It’s sad, dumb, destructive economics. And it’s worsened the human experience — the opposite of what the core idea of an economy would/could have been.

The need to localize is very real. For addressing climate change, of course, but also to improve the human experience at scale.

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