This chapter discusses the theories relevant to understanding the phenomenon of subsistence agriculture in the US. First, Morris Berman’s neo-Polanyian Dual Process Theory refers to the simultaneous failure and end of capitalism and the resultant new system developing in the spaces of failure. As the social structure of capitalism fails to meet the needs of individuals, they explore alternative means and, in the process, develop shadow structures. Second, this chapter draws on modern re-interpretations of Marx and Weber through the lens of the transition to modernity and the resultant alienation and disenchantment that results. Finally, this chapter draws on the work of geographers who call for a nuanced, paradoxical understanding of social change. That is, the development of shadow structures will be subject to complex, dialectical forces that will lead to varied outcomes. This book argues that it is the work of scholars to move beyond a politics of perfection to accept these paradoxes to be able to fully understand the development of a post-capitalist future.