Homo Economicus

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I Islander And This I Know

“Nothing can forever grow”

Lua must have felt that this would be a good time to share some island wisdom with us mainlanders.


She strummed a few opening chords on her ukulele and ...


There was a time, not long ago

When we were few and change was slow
The world a-filled with Nature’s gifts

No reason then for pause and thrift


Well now, it's true, our world is full

And money games have made us dull

We take too much, we take too fast

And still we grow, this cannot last

I islander and this I know

Nothing can forever grow

Comes a time to slow the pace

Comes a time to find our place

I islander and this I say

We can live a wiser way

Heal the land, the sea and sky

Re-embrace, re-beautify


After a long thoughtful group pause, Julie told us that, as a long-time restaurant owner and community activist, she is beginning to see several encouraging 'islandy' trends on the mainland.


The old institutions of a rapacious and greedy centralizing extractive money economy are slowly dying and being replaced by emerging institutions of a regenerative, distributed living economy that respects the regeneration rate of natural resources and the ethics of sustainable and just practices.


Small family farms and farmers’ markets and locally owned, human-scale businesses are transforming communities and making them more fun, self-reliant, resilient, prosperous, happier, and healthier.


Edge projects and networks such as BALLE, Transition Towns, Shareable, Peer to Peer, Open Source, Slow Food, Seed Freedom, Buen Vivir, and Canada’s Leap Manifesto are gaining momentum.


A 'degrowth' movement is calling for a planned downscaling of energy and resource use to bring the economy back into balance with the living world in a safe, just, and equitable way. It calls for an abundance of public goods to meet basic needs in order to render continued 'economic growth' unnecessary.


Many good things are happening at the local level including: bike-friendly streets and walkable mixed-use urban places and communities, zero-waste local recycling systems, community-controlled wind and solar energy projects, local banks and credit unions. And many other interesting developments are on the horizon.


Julie believed that re-localization projects may be our best — and perhaps our only — way forward from here as the overly complex, centralized, energy-and-materials intensive, infrastructure-heavy model of society and the mainland economy on which we currently rely continues to crumble.


With those parting words, Julie left the group and we disbanded the all-hands-on-deck debate feeling a little better about the future.

Homo Economicus

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