Due to our Over-reliance on globalization and financialization, self-sufficiency is especially difficult to achieve in the twenty-first century.
The only safe bet as things go apart is to plot a route toward more autonomy. The benefits of being more independent far outweigh any potential drawbacks, and everyone can make modest but meaningful strides in that direction.
Being independent does not mean being self-sufficient. Thoreau still utilized manufactured equipment and materials from abroad while he lived at Walden Pond. The goal of self-sufficiency is to lessen dependence on cumbersome infrastructure like supply chains and waste management systems like the hamster-wheel landfill. The planned obsolescence and wasteful economy boost personal consumption and the quality of life for everybody concerned.
The goal of self-sufficiency is not to go it alone, but rather to build reliable social contacts as a producer and a consumer, shortening one’s own supply chain and boosting one’s access to daily necessities.
Developing more independence is a natural consequence of learning new things and accumulating resources. Independence is not the same as wealth, because the things that are genuinely priceless—like loyalty, honesty, and friendship—cannot be purchased. Those are the building blocks for independence.
Our hyper-globalized supply networks & hyper-financialized credit-asset bubbles are fundamentally unstable and unsustainable, making it very difficult for us to remain self-reliant in the twenty-first century.
Gaining independence has huge benefits and no drawbacks. It is important to be able to provide for oneself and one’s loved ones regardless of whether or not the Landfill Market continues to consume the planet’s depleting resources.
The self-reliant will do better than the less self-reliant if lengthy, fragile supply chains fail or hyper-financialization bursts a gasket and sink. Only when we give up control of our own lives do we become helpless. Self-sufficiency is ensuring one’s own survival rather than depending on fragile global supply lines and centralized authority.