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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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362 news items

Dickinson Press
Wed, 28 Jan 2015 15:54:16 -0800

Late in the 19th century, France's countryside was a place “where many did not speak French or know the metric system, where pistoles and écus were better known than francs, where roads were few and markets distant, and where a subsistence economy” ...

Washington Times

Washington Times
Sun, 18 Jan 2015 13:34:20 -0800

The Industrial Revolution uprooted old feudal social structures and agrarian subsistence economy in Western Europe, thus setting the stage for the spread of representative government and material abundance. Poverty is not new. Prosperity is. Writing in ...

New Vision

New Vision
Sun, 25 Jan 2015 20:31:03 -0800

The NRM is celebrating the steps taken to transform the country from a predominantly subsistence economy to an industrial-based one, with a wide market, both internal and external. NRM has restored peace and stability across the country so people can ...

New Vision

New Vision
Fri, 31 Oct 2014 00:23:16 -0700

How to widen Uganda's tax base in a large subsistence economy. Publish Date: Oct 31, 2014. How to widen Uganda's tax base in a large subsistence economy. Christine Mugume, a former Uganda Revenue Authority official and now executive director CMK ...


Mon, 12 Jan 2015 02:33:52 -0800

Transforming a subsistence economy into a productive one requires incentives that reinforce each other to improve the overall quality of life. Everyone agrees that Haiti needs better education, more jobs and transparent government. From my particular ...
Leadership Newspapers
Sat, 24 Jan 2015 05:17:01 -0800

This is especially crucial in a subsistence economy like ours where road transportation forms the fulcrum of our public transport system. From workers who commute daily, to transporters who take farm produce and other goods to the market, to traders ...

Bacon's Rebellion

Bacon's Rebellion
Mon, 12 Jan 2015 07:19:16 -0800

After Great Britain emancipated the slaves, whites and blacks lived side by side in an egalitarian subsistence economy. Inhabitants eked out a living through fishing and working tiny farms, supplemented by work as merchant mariners. Intermarriage was ...

Newswire (press release)

Newswire (press release)
Sun, 11 Jan 2015 22:22:30 -0800

(Newswire.net -- January 11, 2015) Beijing, Beijing -- A recent commentary by Marian Tupy, senior analyst at the Cato Institute, hits the nail on the head when he says China is the big reason why the wealth gap between developed and developing ...

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