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"Subsistence" redirects here. For the Catholic ecclesiological doctrine of Vatican II, see "Subsistit in".

A subsistence economy is a non-monetary economy which relies on natural resources to provide for basic needs, through hunting, gathering, and subsistence agriculture. "Subsistence" means supporting oneself at a minimum level; in a subsistence economy, economic surplus is minimal and only used to trade for basic goods, and there is no industrialization.[1][2]

In the history of the world, before the first cities, all humans lived in a subsistence economy. As urbanization, civilization, and division of labor spread, various societies moved to other economic systems at various times. Some remain relatively unchanged, ranging from uncontacted peoples, to poor 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.[citation needed]


  • Pastoralism, the raising of grazing animals:
    • Pastoral nomadism — all members of the pastoral society follow the herd throughout the year.
    • Transhumance or agro-pastoralism — part of the society follows the herd, while the other part maintains a home village.
    • Ranch agriculture — non-nomadic pastoralism with a defined territory.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/subsistence-economy.html
  2. ^ http://www1.umn.edu/humanrts/edumat/sustecon/others/subsistence.htm Chief Seattle to President Pierce regarding sale of land

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subsistence_economy — Please support Wikipedia.
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The Guardian Nigeria
Sat, 20 Dec 2014 08:41:15 -0800

The 'esusu,' rotating savings and loan scheme or 'contribution association' is a traditional credit association that has flourished in the subsistence economy, where financial institutions are lacking. Esusu is finding its way into the urban business ...
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Thu, 11 Dec 2014 06:14:20 -0800

In a subsistence economy, you grow enough food to support yourself. You may trade chicken for pork or grain for fruit, but money is scarcely necessary. As the economy becomes more complex, however, money makes it easier to trade. You could sell some ...

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Thu, 11 Dec 2014 13:10:26 -0800

Locals have had to resort to the subsistence economy, growing vegetables and raising livestock to survive. “We have cattle and sell milk,” Olga said. She added that some made ends meet by getting food from eight Russian “aid” convoys which have also ...
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Mon, 24 Nov 2014 08:07:30 -0800

The Iñupiat rely on a subsistence economy, eking out a living on hunting, fishing, berry-picking and food stamps. Seal carcasses litter the town. Most homes have no running water. The island, just a quarter-mile wide, has lost hundreds of feet of ...

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As the late struggle stalwart, Ruth First, documented in her book, “South West Africa”, “The crowding of Africans into small Reserves has undermined their subsistence economy, while taxes have only increased their impoverishment. “Labour regulations ...

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"Every bit of new information we're gathering from Upward Sun and other sites really show a sophisticated subsistence economy," said University of Alaska Fairbanks researcher Ben Potter, whose team led the dig. Potter details the 2013 discovery in a ...

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