Gibson-Graham, renowned feminist geographers and social theorists, suggest that all our talk about “The Economy” and “Capitalism” distracts us from seeing and naming multiple economies that are at work and flourishing. These include capitalist economies for sure, but also non-capitalist economies. Paying attention to non-capitalist cooperative economies (artist co-ops; farm co-ops; school co-ops; camp co-ops; etc.), non-capitalist communal economies, non-capitalist household economies, green capitalist economies, capitalist state enterprise economies, capitalist socially responsible economies, non-capitalist independent economies (bartering and otherwise), non-capitalist feudal economies, and non-capitalist slave economies can remind us that even though we live in a time where everyone talks as if there is ONE ECONOMY and ONE KIND OF ECONOMIC PRACTICE, we know that on the ground there are diverse practices taking place.
Look up “time bank” or “grocery cooperative” or “child care cooperative” or “local currency” or “farmers market” in your community and what do you find?
And those are only the ones who have decided to create an online presence. Start asking folks what’s going on in your community…and if you’re working with kids, teach them that there are spaces and places where maximizing profit without regard to human beings and the environment is not the priority, that there are spaces and places where one’s talents and skills can be exchanged for other goods and services with no “money” in the interaction.
These are more “flat” economic practices and economies. And they are alive, well, and a persistent challenge to the dominant notion that everyone has to have a “job” within a capitalist market.