The economic crisis, the ecological crisis and the food crisis are a reflection of an outmoded and fossilised economic paradigm. It is a paradigm that grew out of mobilising resources for the war by creating the category of “growth”. It is rooted in the age of oil and fossil fuels. It is fossilised because it is obsolete, a product of the age of fossil fuels. If we have to address the economic and ecological crisis, we need to move beyond this fossilised paradigm.
Economy and ecology have the same root, oikos in Greek, meaning home. The home here refers to both the earth, our planetary home, and our house where we live with our families and the community.
But economy strayed from ecology, forgot the home and focused on the market. Thus, an artificial “production boundary” was created to measure gross domestic product (GDP). This “production boundary” defined work and production for sustenance as non-production and non-work — if you produce what you consume then you don’t produce. In one sweep nature’s work in providing goods and services disappeared. The production and work of sustenance economies disappeared and the work of women disappeared.
To the false measure of growth, a false measure of “productivity” was added. Productivity is output for unit input. In agriculture, this should involve all outputs of biodiverse agro-ecosystems — the compost, energy and dairy products from livestock, the fuel, fodder and fruit from agro forestry and farm trees, the diverse outputs of diverse crops. When measured honestly in terms of total output, small biodiverse farms are more productive.