It’s been bothering me. Having spent forty years beavering away in the green movement I still get upset when people say they are anti-capitalism. So I’m trying to work out why this is. I think I’ve got it at last.
When people say they are anti-capitalism they are talking about their fear that mega-corporations control the planet purely for profit. Their marketing plans are designed to shred our bank accounts by beguiling us with the desire to buy things we don’t really need.
Which then suggests capital is a bad thing.
Well, bite my head off if you want, but I think capital is not just a good thing, but essential to the very concept of permaculture. It goes like this. If you want to be creative (which is what permaculture is all about) you need resources to start with. That might be money in the bank. It might be property, land. It might be the skills you have. The languages you speak, literacy and numeracy. You might be a great mechanic, a brilliant carer, or just a kind person.
We call this Real Capital and we teach it on our courses. We need, all of us, to recognise the assets we have to hand and build on them. Permaculture suggests sharing surplus is an ethical act. But I suggest that surplus is what you share, not your core ability to provide in the first place- your working capital. This is something you need to grow and strengthen to increase your ability to feed your own, and then create surplus. Capital is vital to understanding and knowing how we can be able to help others.
Our Real Capital includes therefore not just money, but land, buildings, knowledge, time, energy, water, food, air (all of the right quality), friendship and allies, our belief in ourselves, and so on.
I know that only by developing real capital can we turn the world around from paths to destruction to creative futures. So join me and be a Capitalist.
Please join Graham on his next Permaculture Design Course at Zaytuna Fram, home of the Permaculture Research Institute Australia from October 17 – 28 2016. Visit the course listing page here for more details and to book.