Do discretionary and essential spending and markets apply in localism?

Will the concepts of discretionary and essential spending and markets apply in localism when the economy is based on families and extended families?


Yes, even in a localism-based economy centered around families and extended families, the concepts of discretionary and essential spending, as well as markets, would still apply. Here’s how:

  1. Discretionary and Essential Spending: In any economy, there are goods and services that are considered essential for survival and daily functioning, such as food, shelter, clothing, healthcare, and education. These would still be crucial expenditures for families in a localism-based economy. Discretionary spending refers to non-essential purchases, such as entertainment, luxury goods, or travel. Families would likely allocate their resources based on needs versus wants, just as they do in broader economic systems.
  2. Markets: Even in a localism-oriented system, there would still be markets for goods and services. These markets might be more localized, with transactions occurring within communities or among neighboring communities. However, the principles of supply and demand would still apply. Families and extended families might engage in bartering or local trade networks to exchange goods and services, but there would still be an exchange of value based on market dynamics.

Localism often emphasizes community self-reliance and resilience, which can lead to more localized economies. However, the basic economic principles of resource allocation, supply and demand, and the distinction between essential and discretionary spending would likely persist, albeit in a more localized context.

But much of the labour will be free, within the extended families


In a localism-based economy centered around families and extended families, it’s indeed common for labor to be shared and often unpaid within these social units. This dynamic can significantly influence how the economy operates:

  1. Barter Economy: With labor often shared freely within extended families, the economy may rely heavily on bartering goods and services rather than monetary transactions. Family members might exchange their skills and time directly with each other or with other families in the community.
  2. Community Interdependence: The reliance on unpaid labor within extended families fosters a sense of community interdependence. Families support each other not only financially but also through the sharing of labor, resources, and knowledge. This can strengthen social bonds and resilience within the community.
  3. Informal Economy: Much of the economic activity within a localism-based system may occur outside formal market structures. Instead, it may take place within informal networks of reciprocity and mutual aid. This informal economy is based on social relationships and trust rather than monetary transactions.
  4. Valuing Non-Market Work: In such an economy, the importance of unpaid labor, particularly caregiving, household work, and community maintenance, is recognized and valued. While this work may not be directly compensated in monetary terms, it plays a crucial role in sustaining the social fabric and well-being of the community.
  5. Market Participation: Despite the prevalence of unpaid labor within extended families, there may still be participation in formal markets for certain goods and services that cannot be easily provided within the community. Families may engage in market activities to acquire items like technology, specialized services, or goods not locally available.

Overall, while much labor may indeed be shared freely within extended families in a localism-based economy, there would still be interactions with formal and informal markets, albeit within a framework that prioritizes community well-being and mutual support.