Fixing the Future With a New Home Grown Economy

by Christine Sine

A couple of days ago I blogged about making life simple for the new home economy in which I wrote:

There is a whole new movement sweeping the Western world in which people everywhere are cutting back on their involvement in the cash economy, bartering, swapping, growing and cooking their own and generally learning to live with less.  In the process they are discovering that they can take control of their lives again and learn a much better way of life than the consumer rat race offers.

I was surprised at how much interest this stirred so I thought it deserved more than the short article I wrote.  There is a growing concern amongst people everywhere that we need to find new ways to run our businesses and live our lives that cost less, consume less, pollute less and at the same time strengthen local economies and build healthy families.

I highly recommend this PBS video Fixing the Future as an introduction to this movement.  However Wendell Berry’s 17 Rules for A Sustainable Local Community also provides an excellent starting place.

Sustainability networks are springing up all over North America helping to connect and educate people about everything from eco friendly housing to eco-shopping.  The Eco-trust provides this interesting interactive map which outlines their idea of a structure for a sustainable society/culture/economy.  Fascinating as this is, I was a little disturbed by the fact that religious beliefs did not register on their map.

It was Ched Myer’s booklet Sabbath Economics that first challenged my view of Biblical economics and started me thinking about the importance in God’s eyes of co-operative community based local models.  It made me realize that God’s way of doing economics is very different from the secular view, yet many of us have bought into this view without even thinking.  New Zealander Viv Grigg has also challenged my views and made me realize that community rather than individualism is the focus of God’s view of economics.

There are many Christian communities around the world that are now living more cooperatively and more simply, deliberately reducing their consumption and their eco-footprint so they have more resources to share with those at the margins.  Others are deliberately establishing small businesses that foster local economies and often provide jobs for those at the margins too.  Like the community garden movement I wrote about last year I believe that this is a move of God.  In so many dimensions of life the Spirit of God is moving us beyond our self centred, individualistic way of life, encouraging us to discover the richness of a life that is interdependent and interconnected at every level

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