chapter  5
25 Pages

Provenance and provisioning

In the previous chapter I discussed in some detail how production and exchange might be organised so that they were considerably less wasteful of resources and more supportive of human flourishing. This chapter expands and deepens that analysis through a discussion of an economy that is conceptualised entirely differently from the one we live within today, an economy that does not rely on the market as its central organising form. In Chapter 4 I identified various ways in which the market system of economic organisation is inherently unsustainable. In this chapter I flesh out the framework developed in Chapter 4 to bring to life the bioregional economy as an economy that is essentially human and sustainable by design. The analysis is conducted in a Polanyian framework, responding to his account of the great transformation that occurred when the societies of Western Europe shifted from the traditional pattern of subsistence and local embedding to one of global network, a process whose apotheosis is found in the globalised, 24/7, high-speed economy of the twenty-first century. To some this account may appear nostalgic, but I would wish it rather to be viewed as a proposal for a better future, informed by the past certainly, but also responding to the manifold technological and intellectual advances that the two centuries of fossil-fuelled economic growth have brought us.