Anitra Nelson, co-editor of Life Without Money: Building Fair and Sustainable Economies, writes for The Conversation on practical proposals for life beyond capitalism:
Instead of establishing tiny self-sufficient households, we’d work collectively, with a range of connected local households occupying a basic unit of a neighbourhood, the size of which would be flexible and dependent on the local ecology. Local collective sufficiency would be the key aim of every neighbourhood, sourcing materials for, and making, food, clothing and shelter as well as other basic needs, through appropriate technology.
Of course, there are likely to be needs or wants that people could not source or create locally. Ideally, these would be obtained from a neighbouring area or through the least environmentally and socially expensive option available at the time.
Establishing and maintaining collective sufficiency would require every individual to work out what they would need over a year, assessing local potential, planning how to meet the needs listed, working out how surpluses might be generated, and negotiating with other units to fulfil their needs. The internet facilitates this kind of collective research, planning and negotiation, which would involve numerous compacts.
A main focus of the Occupy movement has been working out how to develop and embed processes for direct decision making. Only by expanding such experience can we decide what practices work, are efficient, effective and really democratic.
At the same time, as developments that stimulated the Occupy movement show, the economic systems by which we live have to be reclaimed as our cultural inventions.
A massive decade of engaging with our current economic, environmental and political challenges might well have just started.
Visit The Conversation to read the article in full.
Building Fair and Sustainable Economies
Edited by Anitra Nelson and Frans Timmerman
Examines the failure of the money-based global economy and how we might live in more sustainable, equitable ways. A textbook and manifesto for change.
“The collapse of capitalism will also be an end to money as the prime regulator of society—an eventuality both hard to imagine and necessary to understand. Anitra Nelson and Frans Timmerman have assembled an indispensable collection for those who are bold enough to explore this dramatic prospect. Life Without Money is an essential guidebook for the great debate now unfolding and around which our hopes for a worthwhile future unfold.” – Joel Kovel, author of Enemy of Nature (2002; 2007) and Overcoming Zionism (Pluto, 2007)
“A timely contribution to an under-researched and under-reported area of economics: the theory of money and proposals for alternatives to the globalised capitalist financial system. I would recommend it to anyone interested in finding ways to develop an economy that functions without money.” – Molly Scott Cato, Reader in Green Economics, Cardiff School of Management