A product of twenty years of analysis and activism, this unique book poses a radical alternative to the current free-market industrial system. A book of history, theory and polemic, the authors show how, if we are to survive, economies must become needs-based, environmentally sustainable, co-operative and local. They explain how the current capitalist systems is none of these things, is inherently unstable and is dependent on the exploitation of various marginalized groups, particularly women, and of the environment.
They call instead for a new politics and economics based on subsistence and present examples of such a perspective in practice. They describe current peasant economies and show how they are not only alive and possible but necessary and sufficient - far from being a brutalizing way of life, it is seen to be an empowering form of work on something - agriculture - which is fundamental for a modern subsistence-oriented society. We see indigenous communities in Guatemala setting up their own village-based subsistence economies as a way of liberating themselves from colonial subjectification via wage labour. With examples from Africa, Latin America and Europe, the book shows how the subsistence principle can and does have a positive effect on market exchange - with exchange oriented towards the social good rather than profit.
The book concludes with a call for a new politics based on the view from below, rather than one concerned with power and dominance. The authors' subsistence perspective poses a powerful alternative to the top-down ideology of development politics. The book as a whole brilliantly demonstrates how development only works when it is done from the bottom up.
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Number of pages: 256
Weight: 370 g
Dimensions: 216 x 135 x 19 mm
'In 1995, America's First Lady, Hillary Clinton, visited Bangladesh to interview a group of village women who had received assistance from the Grameen Bank. Hillary wanted to see whether the ?microcredits? had truly succeeded in empowering these women. ...But the village women then asked HIllary about her own situation. Did she own any cows? No. Did she have her own income? Well no, not since Bill came to the White House. How many children? Only one? Poor Hillary. The village women of Bangladesh felt sorry for her, since obviously she - unlike them - was not empowered ... Here you will find many unsung heroes whose solidarity and determined adherence to the subsistence ethic have helped them to retain power over their lives and to resist being swallowed by the global economy.' - Resurgence
'A thought-provoking, challenging work, equally appropriate for development studies, women's studies or environmental studies' - Progress in Development Studies