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Rather than the endless accumulation of wealth, the aim of the subsistence perspective is happiness, quality of life and human dignity.
A work of history, theory and praxis and a product of twenty years of analysis and activism, this unique book poses a radical alternative to the current globalised, free market industrial system. The authors call instead for a new economics and politics based on a subsistence perspective.
They explain subsistence as empowerment based on peoples' own strengths and their cooperation with each other and with nature. Rather than the endless accumulation of wealth, the aim of the subsistence perspective is happiness, quality of life and human dignity. The authors show how such a perspective is not only necessary today but (is) already practised in diverse forms in both North and South: in urban as well as in rural areas...
Particularly in the South, movements for the reclaiming of subsistence are often led by women. Subsistence struggles not only contribute to the economic independence and personal empowerment of these women, the authors also demonstrate how they follow a different and more effective concept of politics from that pursued by many western feminists. In their analysis of recent feminist politics the authors show how the fight for equality with men has not only distorted the early goal of feminism, namely the fight against patriarchy, but has also significantly failed to make a truly egalitarian society and has ended up in the depoliticised dead-end of postmodernism.
Concluding with a call for a new politics based on the view from below, this book poses a powerful alternative to the top-down ideology of development politics. Filled with illustrations of the subsistence perspective in practice, from Africa, Latin America and Europe, the book as a whole brilliantly demonstrates how development only works when it is done from the bottom-up. -- cover text