Thursday, July 1, 2010

Building a Sustainable Economy at DR

This is the first of a few articles I will be writing exploring the economics of Dancing Rabbit. The economic system we develop here at DR is vital to the survival and growth of our community. If we are to serve as a model for sustainable societies, it is important that our community be not only ecologically sustainable, but economically sustainable. If we cannot find sustainable ways to meet our basic needs, generate income, and trade and buy goods we will not be a viable model for sustainable living. Though we have in many ways achieved our goal of living more sustainably than most Americans, we are still dependent on the unsustainable global economy for most of our income and livelihood. This dependency contributes greatly to our impact on the planet. Creating a healthy economy based on the same principles of sustainability we employ in our everyday lives at DR will make us an even better model for a new way of living.

But developing a vibrant and ecologically sustainable economy is not easy. Part of the challenge at DR is that we are living in both the sustainable and the unsustainable economy. In our ideal world we would produce everything we consumed, so we had control over our resources and could ensure that production was sustainable. We are far from that and probably will be for the near future. Instead, we bring in resources and money from outside our local economy and we pay out money and resources to the larger economy. We have to have as much coming in from outside as we do going out or we are operating with a deficit. Trade deficits are talked about in the national news, but they can exist on a smaller scale as well. Maintaining a trade deficit will jeopardize the sustainability of our economy. If we can produce something to sell from our domestic resources to offset this deficit we will have a more viable economy. But we have to be careful, because we don't want to export all our natural resources either.