The prevailing economic model is predicated on ever growing consumption fuelled by cheap, non renewable energy, this is not sustainable on a finite planet. The potential for serious disruption is very real; political and social tensions, food and energy prices, inequality of income are all factors. Economic discourse centred on GDP growth is increasingly irrelevant and, worse, damaging.
“Limitless growth is the fantasy of economists, businesses and politicians. It is seen as a measure of progress. As a result, gross domestic product (GDP), which is supposed to measure the wealth of nations, has emerged as both the most powerful number and dominant concept in our times. However, economic growth hides the poverty it creates through the destruction of nature, which in turn leads to communities lacking the capacity to provide for themselves.
The concept of growth was put forward as a measure to mobilise resources during the second world war. GDP is based on creating an artificial and fictitious boundary, assuming that if you produce what you consume, you do not produce. In effect , “growth” measures the conversion of nature into cash, and commons into commodities.
Thus nature’s amazing cycles of renewal of water and nutrients are defined into non-production. The peasants of the world,who provide 72% of the food, do not produce; women who farm or do most of the housework do not fit this paradigm of growth either. A living forest does not contribute to growth, but when trees are cut down and sold as timber, we have growth. Healthy societies and communities do not contribute to growth, but disease creates growth through, for example, the sale of patented medicine.” Vandana Shiva
Governments rarely operate with the well being of the majority in mind and work mainly to protect narrow vested interests to the detriment of everyone else, any alternative will therefore have to come from the bottom up, not participating in mainstream economic activity means we refuse to support the current system in favour of creating alternative solutions at local level.
In the Thai countryside most villages still possess a very strong sense of community, activities are shared and decisions that affect every one involve every one, there is a high level of resilience built into this type of community. There is also a much greater level of personal freedom than in “developed” societies, free enterprise is just that, free, from regulation and interference from the government, anyone can set up business on the street or in the front room of their house, unemployment is very low and everyone survives with very little government help.
“Workers have become so deeply indebted on their home mortgages, credit cards and other bank debt that they fear to strike or even to complain about working conditions. Losing work means missing payments on their monthly bills, enabling banks to jack up interest rates to levels that used to be deemed usurious. So debt peonage and unemployment loom on top of the wage slavery that was the main focus of class warfare a century ago.” Michael Hudson
We are trying to give up a lifestyle based on consumption in favour of more freedom and a simple life, more time for reflection and a clearer mind. Growing one’s food and building one’s home is very liberating, this knowledge is very important and is the way to freedom from debt slavery. We welcome the opportunity to share what we know and to learn more, so that in the future we have more to share.
“The greatest change we need to make is from consumption to production, even if on a small scale, in our own gardens. If only 10% of us do this, there is enough for everyone. Hence the futility of revolutionaries who have no gardens, who depend on the very system they attack, and who produce words and bullets, not food and shelter.” Bill Mollison
“We’re told, often enough, that as a species we are poised on the edge of the abyss. It’s possible that our puffed-up, prideful intelligence has outstripped our instinct for survival and the road back to safety has already been washed away. In which case there’s nothing much to be done. If there is something to be done, then one thing is for sure: those who created the problem will not be the ones who come up with a solution.” Arundhati Roy