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
. In a subsistence economy, economic surplus is minimal and only used to trade for basic goods, and there is no industrialization
In hunting and gathering societies, resources are often if not typically underused.
In human history
, before the first cities
, all humans lived in a subsistence economy. As urbanization
, and division of labor
spread, various societies moved to other economic systems at various times. Some remain relatively unchanged, ranging from uncontacted peoples
, to marginalized areas of developing countries
, to some cultures that choose to retain a traditional economy
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
. 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
such as feasting.
* Hunting and gathering
techniques, also known as foraging
** Artisan fishing
— a term which particularly applies to coastal or island ethnic groups using traditional techniques for subsistence fishing.
, including the subsistence hunting of the bowhead whale
in the Arctic.
— plant cultivation, based on the use of simple tools.
** Subsistence agriculture
cultivation involving continuous use of arable (crop) land
, and is more labor-intensive than horticulture.
, the raising of grazing animals:
** Pastoral nomad
ism — all members of the pastoral society follow the herd throughout the year.
— part of the society follows the herd, while the other part maintains a home village.
agriculture — non-nomadic pastoralism with a defined territory.
— exchange between social equals.
ing — a widely studied ritual in which sponsors (helped by their entourages) gave away resources and manufactured wealth while generating prestige for themselves.
— Local Exchange Trading Systems.
society, subsisting on the produce of a separate host society:
** Garbage picking
, when subsisting in a larger economy
* Anthropological theories of value
* Back-to-the-land movement
* Lasse Nordlund
* Mahatma Gandhi
* Natural economy
* Simple living
* Staple food
* Subsistence crisis
* Tiny house movement