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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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412 news items

Oil and Gas Investor (registration)

Oil and Gas Investor (registration)
Mon, 30 Mar 2015 15:07:30 -0700

The proposal takes into account a 40-km (25-mile) corridor reflecting the migration pattern of Bowhead whales, which fuel a subsistence economy for some indigenous peoples. It also describes an area around Hanna Shoal in the Chukchi Sea that is a ...
Tue, 17 Mar 2015 20:42:55 -0700

It strikes us that Vermont wants to have a subsistence economy that depends upon tourists, services, and starving artists.” Additional responses reflect a more optimistic attitude among business owners in regards to the growth of their business. A full ...
Solomon Star
Wed, 25 Mar 2015 21:18:45 -0700

WOMEN contribute so much to sustaining this country in the agricultural sector by providing most of the labour force in the subsistence economy which is the backbone of this country. The deputy Prime Minister, Douglas Ete highlighted this at Women ...
The Point
Fri, 27 Mar 2015 02:45:00 -0700

These projects seek to improve productivity for women, through the development of the agricultural value chain and income generation, market promotion and the transformation of the agricultural sector, from a traditional subsistence economy, to a ...


Mon, 16 Mar 2015 05:01:19 -0700

A stunning breakthrough has been achieved with 3D printing, that will help amputees in Uganda and potentially across the developing world. A new method of creating prosthetic limb sockets has enabled a three-year-old child to be quickly fitted with a ...
Manila Standard Today
Fri, 20 Mar 2015 06:07:30 -0700

The UN said assessments had been completed for 15 islands in the 80-island nation, which found widespread devastation, with the government warning food will run out in the largely subsistence economy within days. Access to drinkable water is a major ...
Peninsula On-line
Tue, 17 Mar 2015 19:48:45 -0700

But he feared the can-do attitude avoids addressing some of the issues raised by Cyclone Pam -- such as the assumption in the subsistence economy that food is always readily available. New homes are also being erected using similarly flimsy materials ...

The Tico Times

The Tico Times
Sun, 15 Mar 2015 15:57:29 -0700

Save the Children's head of humanitarian response Nichola Krey raised fears of food shortages in the subsistence economy and said conditions in evacuation centres were challenging. “Many of the evacuation centers have lots of women and young children ...

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