This story is similar to my own journey in understand the relationship of economics to the purpose and mission of the church.
We tried to imagine an economy informed by the narratives of scripture, one bearing witness to the reign of God. It would be made of the same ingredients as the dominant economy: the same money, jobs, buying and selling goods and services. We weren’t going to try to roll back to a subsistence economy, or a household economy, or barter, or self-reliance. What was needed, we thought, was an economy not based on the goals, values and practices of this age, but one based in the life and teachings of Jesus, as revealed through scripture and the life of Christian communities through the ages.
An economy driven by such a direction seemed to be one in which all are taken care of; none acquire wealth at the expense of the others; all have what they need to live on; excessive consumption is not valued but a shared communal life is; mutual dependence is pursued; true costs are measured; all are called on to participate; we avoid categories that place some in the role of service provider and others in the role of service recipient (volunteer, minister/ministry, needy…). We assume we have all we need to take care of each other as brothers and sisters, fellow members of Christ, the living expression of the grace and provision of God.
This is a really great and in-depth article on some ideas for a new economics and stronger local economies.
Commonomics will focus on the gatherers, those who are working to foster economic growth from within. We’ll be asking what’s working, what isn’t, and by what standard are our local economies to be judged?
“The goal is having community-led, community-controlled economies where the decision-making is by those who are feeling the effects of the decisions that are made. [We need] humanly scaled systems both in economics and politics.”
“You need to think regionally. What does your region support ecologically and where are the markets? The hyper-local focus, within five or 100 miles is foolish. Most goods travel 2,000 miles. If you can build something [to substitute] within 500 miles you’ve made a major impact.”
Here’s an infographic on How Local Dollars Stay Put.
And another on how local businesses strengthen local economies.
A new food gleaning and supply-sharing program called Cropmobster has created simple and effective solutions to address food waste and hunger and increase farmer visibility in a decentralized, community-based way. And it’s spreading like wildfire.
In Argentina, worker ownership requires trust against all odds. As a student of economics and a young activist, I have held the worker-ownership model in Argentina up as a beacon I could orient towards, an alternative and a method of resistance that might be widely applicable.
Within our indigenous community of Xoxocotla, we continue to hold the ancestral values we inherited. It never crosses our mind to leave them behind. Because in daily life we are always in contact with nature, with our lands, with our water, with our air. We live in harmony with nature because we dont like the way that modernity is advancing, destroying our territory and our environment. We believe technological modernity is better named a death threat.We still watch our children chase the butterflies and the birds. We see the harmony between the crops and the land. Above all, we respect our water and we continue to perform ceremonies that give thanks for the water.