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A subsistence economy is an economy directed to basic subsistence (the provision of food, clothing, shelter) rather than to the market. Henceforth, "subsistence" is understood as supporting oneself at a minimum level. Often, the subsistence economy is moneyless and relies on natural resources to provide for basic needs through hunting, gathering, and
agriculture Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary Image:Family watching television 1958.jpg, Exercise trends, Increases in sedentary behaviors su ...
. In a subsistence economy, economic surplus is minimal and only used to trade for basic goods, and there is no
industrialization Industrialisation ( alternatively spelled industrialization) is the period of social and economic change that transforms a human group from an agrarian society An agrarian society, or agricultural society, is any community whose economy is b ...

industrialization
. In hunting and gathering societies, resources are often if not typically underused. In
human history Human history, or world history, is the narrative of humanity Humanity most commonly refers to: * Human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposable thumbs, ...
, before the first
cities A city is a large human settlement In geography, statistics and archaeology, a settlement, locality or populated place is a community in which people live. The complexity of a settlement can range from a small number of dwellings grouped to ...
, all humans lived in a subsistence economy. As
urbanization Urbanization (or urbanisation) refers to the population shift from rural File:Rural landscape in Finland.jpg, A rural landscape in Lappeenranta, South Karelia, Finland. 15 July 2000. In general, a rural area or a countryside is a geographi ...
,
civilization  A civilization (or civilisation) is a complex society A complex society is a concept that is shared by a range of disciplines including anthropology, archaeology, history and sociology to describe a stage of social formation. The concep ...

civilization
, and
division of labor Division or divider may refer to: Mathematics *Division (mathematics) Division is one of the four basic operations of arithmetic, the ways that numbers are combined to make new numbers. The other operations are addition, subtraction, and mult ...
spread, various societies moved to other economic systems at various times. Some remain relatively unchanged, ranging from
uncontacted peoples Uncontacted peoples are communities or groups of indigenous peoples Indigenous peoples, also referred to as First people, Aboriginal people, Native people, or autochthonous people, are culturally distinct ethnic groups who are native to a p ...

uncontacted peoples
, to marginalized areas of
developing countries A developing country is a sovereign state with a less developed Industrial sector, industrial base and a low Human Development Index (HDI) relative to other countries. However, this definition is not universally agreed upon. There is also no ...

developing countries
, to some cultures that choose to retain a
traditional economy A traditional economic system is based on customs, history and time-honored beliefs. A traditional economy is an economic system in which traditions, customs, and beliefs help shape the goods and services the economy produces, as well as the rule ...
. Capital can be generally defined as assets invested with the expectation that their value will increase, usually because there is the expectation of profit, rent, interest, royalties, capital gain or some other kind of return. However, this type of economy cannot usually become wealthy by virtue of the system, and instead requires further investments to stimulate
economic growth Economic growth can be defined as the increase or improvement in the inflation-adjusted market value of the goods and services produced by an economics, economy over time. Statisticians conventionally measure such growth as the percent rate of i ...

economic growth
. In other words, a subsistence economy only possesses enough goods to be used by a particular nation to maintain its existence and provides little to no surplus for other investments. It is common for a surplus capital to be invested in
social capital Social capital is "the networks of relationships among people who live and work in a particular society, enabling that society to function effectively". It involves the effective functioning of social group In the social science Soc ...
such as feasting.http://www3.brandonu.ca/cjns/30.2/03boyd.pdf


Strategies

*
Hunting and gathering A hunter-gatherer is a human living in a society in which most or all food is obtained by foraging (collecting wild plants and pursuing Wildlife, wild animals). Hunter-gatherer societies stand in contrast to agriculture, agricultural societies, wh ...
techniques, also known as
foraging Foraging is searching for wild food resources. It affects an animal's fitness because it plays an important role in an animal's ability to survive and reproduce. Foraging theory is a branch of behavioral ecology Behavioral ecology, also spe ...
: **
Artisan fishing Wood carver in Bali An artisan (from french: artisan, it, artigiano) is a skilled craft worker who makes or creates material objects partly or entirely by hand A hand is a prehensile, multi- fingered appendage located at the end of the ...
— a term which particularly applies to coastal or island ethnic groups using traditional techniques for subsistence fishing. **
Aboriginal whaling Indigenous peoples, Indigenous whaling is the whaling, hunting of whales by indigenous peoples. It is permitted under international regulation, but in some countries remains a contentious issue. (The hunting of smaller cetaceans is covered at Do ...
, including the
subsistence hunting of the bowhead whale Subsistence hunting of the bowhead whale is permitted by the International Whaling Commission The International Whaling Commission (IWC) is an international body established under the terms of the 1946 International Convention for the Regulati ...
in the Arctic. *
Agriculture Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary Image:Family watching television 1958.jpg, Exercise trends, Increases in sedentary behaviors su ...

Agriculture
: **
Horticulture Horticulture is the art of cultivating plants in gardens to produce food and medicinal ingredients, or for comfort and ornamental purposes. Horticulturists are agriculturists who grow flowers, fruits and nuts, vegetables and herbs, as well as or ...
— plant cultivation, based on the use of simple tools. **
Subsistence agriculture Subsistence agriculture occurs when farmer A farmer is a person engaged in agriculture Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentism, se ...
agricultural Agriculture is the practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary Image:Family watching television 1958.jpg, Exercise trends, Increases in sedentary behaviors such as watching tele ...

agricultural
cultivation involving continuous use of
arable (crop) land
arable (crop) land
, and is more labor-intensive than horticulture. *
Pastoralism Pastoralism is a form of animal husbandry where domesticated animals known as livestock are released onto large vegetated outdoor lands (pastures) for grazing, historically by nomadic people who moved around with their herds. The species invol ...
, the raising of grazing animals: ** Pastoral
nomad A nomad ( frm, nomade "people without fixed habitation") is a member of a community without fixed habitation who regularly moves to and from the same areas. Such groups include hunter-gatherer A hunter-gatherer is a human Humans (''Homo ...

nomad
ism — all members of the pastoral society follow the herd throughout the year. **
Transhumance Transhumance is a type of pastoralism or nomadism, a seasonal movement of livestock between fixed summer and winter pastures. In montane regions (''vertical transhumance''), it implies movement between higher pastures in summer and lower val ...

Transhumance
or agro-pastoralism — part of the society follows the herd, while the other part maintains a home village. **
Ranch A ranch (from es, rancho) is an area of landscape, land, including various structures, given primarily to ranching, the practice of raising grazing livestock such as cattle and sheep. It is a subtype of a farm. These terms are most often appl ...
agriculture — non-nomadic pastoralism with a defined territory. *
DistributionDistribution may refer to: Mathematics *Distribution (mathematics) Distributions, also known as Schwartz distributions or generalized functions, are objects that generalize the classical notion of functions in mathematical analysis. Distr ...
and
exchange Exchange may refer to: Places United States * Exchange, Indiana Exchange is an Unincorporated area, unincorporated community in Green Township, Morgan County, Indiana, Green Township, Morgan County, Indiana, Morgan County, in the U.S. state of In ...
: ** Redistribution **
Reciprocity Reciprocity may refer to: Law and trade * Reciprocity (Canadian politics), free trade with the United States of America ** Reciprocal trade agreement, entered into in order to reduce (or eliminate) tariffs, quotas and other trade restrictions on ...
— exchange between social equals. **
Potlatch A potlatch is a gift-giving feast practiced by Indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast The Indigenous peoples Indigenous peoples, also referred to as First people, Aboriginal people, Native people, or autochthonous people, are cu ...

Potlatch
ing — a widely studied ritual in which sponsors (helped by their entourages) gave away resources and manufactured wealth while generating prestige for themselves. **
LETS A local exchange trading system (also local employment and trading system or local energy transfer system; abbreviated LETS) is a locally initiated, democratically organised, not-for-profit community enterprise that provides a community informat ...
— Local Exchange Trading Systems. *A parasitical society, subsisting on the produce of a separate host society: **
Raid Raid or RAID may refer to: Attack * Raid (military), a sudden attack behind the enemy's lines without the intention of holding ground * Corporate raid, a type of hostile takeover in business * Panty raid, a prankish raid by male college students ...
ing **
Conquest Conquest is the act of military A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare War is an intense armed conflict between State (polity), states, g ...
** Garbage picking, when subsisting in a larger economy


See also

*
Amish The Amish (; pdc, Amisch; german: Amische) are a group of traditionalist Christian church fellowships with Swiss German Swiss German (Standard German Standard High German (SHG), less precisely Standard German or High German (not to ...

Amish
*
Anthropological theories of value Anthropological theories of value attempt to expand on the traditional theories of value used by economists or ethicists. They are often broader in scope than the theories of value of Adam Smith, David Ricardo, John Stuart Mill John Stua ...
*
Back-to-the-land movement A back-to-the-land movement is any of various agrarian movements across different historical periods. The common thread is a call for people to take up smallholding and to grow food from the land with an emphasis on a greater degree of self-suffi ...
*
Famine A famine is a widespread scarcity of food Food is any substance consumed to provide nutritional support for an organism In biology, an organism (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ὀργανισμός, ''organismos'') is any individual con ...

Famine
* Economy monetization * Lasse Nordlund *
Mahatma Gandhi Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (; ; 2 October 1869 – 30 January 1948) was an Indian lawyer, anti-colonial nationalist Quote: "... marks Gandhi as a hybrid cosmopolitan figure who transformed ... anti-colonial nationalist politics in the ...

Mahatma Gandhi
* Natural economy *
Poverty Poverty is the state of having little material possessions or income In microeconomics, income is the Consumption (economics), consumption and saving opportunity gained by an entity within a specified timeframe, which is generally expresse ...

Poverty
*
Shakers The United Society of Believers in Christ's Second Appearing, more commonly known as the Shakers, are a millenarian Millenarianism (also millenarism), from Latin ''mīllēnārius'' "containing a thousand", is the belief by a religious ...

Shakers
*
Simple living Simple living encompasses a number of different voluntary practices to simplicity, simplify one's lifestyle (sociology), lifestyle. These may include, for example, reducing one's Personal property, possessions, generally referred to as minimalism ...
*
Staple food A staple food, food staple, or simply a staple, is a food Food is any substance consumed to provide Nutrient, nutritional support for an organism. Food is usually of plant, animal or Fungus, fungal origin, and contains essential nutrients, ...

Staple food
*
Society A society is a group A group is a number A number is a mathematical object used to counting, count, measurement, measure, and nominal number, label. The original examples are the natural numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, and so forth. Numbers can be ...

Society
* Subsistence crisis *
Tiny house movement The tiny-house movement (also known as the "small-house movement") is an architectural style, architectural and social movement that advocates simple living, living simply in small homes. There are different definitions of "tiny". The 2018 Intern ...


References

{{Authority control Economic systems Agricultural economics de:Subsistenzwirtschaft