Futureconomics of Food

Vandana Shiva writes on the intersections of capitalism, the state, agribusiness, and a burgeoning organic movement in South Asia. Via Al Jazeera:

The economic crisis, the ecological crisis and the food crisis are a reflection of an outmoded and fossilised economic paradigm — a paradigm that grew out of mobilising resources for the war by creating the category of economic “growth” and is rooted in the age of oil and fossil fuels. It is fossilised both because it is obsolete, and because it is a product of the age of fossil fuels. We need to move beyond this fossilised paradigm if we are to address the economic and ecological crisis.

Economy and ecology have the same roots “oikos” — meaning home — both our planetary home, the Earth, and our home where we live our everyday lives in family and community.

But economy strayed from ecology, forgot the home and focused on the market. An artificial “production boundary” was created to measure Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The production boundary defined work and production for sustenance as non-production and non-work — “if you produce what you consume, then you don’t produce”. In one fell swoop, nature’s work in providing goods and services disappeared. The production and work of sustenance economies disappeared, the work of hundreds of millions of women disappeared.

To the false measure of growth is added a false measure of “productivity”. Productivity is output for unit input. In agriculture this should involve all outputs of biodiverse agro-ecosystems — the compost, energy and dairy products from livestock, the fuel and fodder and fruit from agroforestry and farm trees, the diverse outputs of diverse crops. When measured honestly in terms of total output, small biodiverse farms produce more and are more productive…

Read more here.

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  • Mrtchops

    very interesting (if a little simplistic) article. ties so many issues together: economics, ecology, sustainability, health, nutrition…
    obviously the discussion is considerably bigger than can be covered within the constraints of one article, but this is something which concerns all of us. whether a poor subsistence farmer or a western consumer of industrial, monoculture “food” products, we’re all losing… unless you’re the Monsanto corporation.

  • Okarin

    there’s enough suppressed technology for everyone to be self sufficient it’s only about using money to keep dependent on the system to keep the economy going at the cost of everything else

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