Sunday, February 7, 2010

Wendell Berry's 17 Rules for a Sustainable Economy

Wendell Berry's 17 Rules for a Sustainable Economy: "

Migrating Robin
Robins coming through on their way back North

1. Always ask of any proposed change or innovation: What will this do to our community? How will this affect our common wealth.

2. Always include local nature – the land, the water, the air, the native creatures – within the membership of the community.

3. Always ask how local needs might be supplied from local sources, including the mutual help of neighbors.

4. Always supply local needs first (and only then think of exporting products – first to nearby cities, then to others).

5. Understand the ultimate unsoundness
of the industrial doctrine of ‘labor saving’ if that implies poor work,
unemployment, or any kind of pollution or contamination.

6. Develop properly scaled value-adding
industries for local products to ensure that the community does not
become merely a colony of national or global economy.

7. Develop small-scale industries and businesses to support the local farm and/or forest economy.

8. Strive to supply as much of the community’s own energy as possible.

9. Strive to increase earnings (in whatever form) within the community for as long as possible before they are paid out.

10. Make sure that money paid into the
local economy circulates within the community and decrease expenditures
outside the community.

11. Make the community able to invest
in itself by maintaining its properties, keeping itself clean (without
dirtying some other place), caring for its old people, and teaching its

12. See that the old and young take
care of one another. The young must learn from the old, not
necessarily, and not always in school. There must be no
institutionalised childcare and no homes for the aged. The community
knows and remembers itself by the association of old and young.

13. Account for costs now
conventionally hidden or externalised. Whenever possible, these must be
debited against monetary income.

14. Look into the possible uses of local currency, community-funded loan programs, systems of barter, and the like.

15. Always be aware of the economic
value of neighborly acts. In our time, the costs of living are greatly
increased by the loss of neighborhood, which leaves people to face
their calamities alone.

16. A rural community should always be acquainted and interconnected with community-minded people in nearby towns and cities.

17. A sustainable rural economy will
depend on urban consumers loyal to local products. Therefore, we are
talking about an economy that will always be more cooperative than

Robins and Wachovia Bank
Robins fly by Wachovia Bank


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