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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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18 news items

Mon, 28 Jul 2014 11:45:00 -0700

In a subsistence economy like the Philippines', food security means self-reliance through local production, not importation. It entails farmers' control of the land where they grow food, and the protection of their livelihood. Absent these goals ...


Thu, 17 Jul 2014 04:43:54 -0700

As suggested, China's agriculture has always been the most neglected sector in the country's development, and has been tied to a subsistence economy that meets basic needs. The countryside has been a human reservoir of hundreds of millions of people ...
Fri, 18 Jul 2014 20:22:28 -0700

Economic transformation is the change in the structure of an economy over time from a subsistence economy, through industrialisation, to an industrial or even post-industrial society. Available evidence suggests that all countries with high levels of ...
Perspective (press release)
Wed, 09 Jul 2014 06:35:07 -0700

The scenario explained above holds true to all Liberian educational systems and probably a major limitation to national development next to the subsistence economy early described. There is need to develop an integrated teaching and learning as a part ...
Tue, 01 Jul 2014 20:00:00 -0700

The 2002 Population Census indicates that only 32% of the country's families are in the money economy, the other 68 per cent being in subsistence economy. "What Africa needs is not aid; they have cut some aid but what has happened now? Nothing and yet ...

The Hindu

The Hindu
Mon, 07 Jul 2014 03:48:59 -0700

But markets can only serve those who are part of the market system. A vast number of people in our country live on the edges of a subsistence economy. We need credible programmes of direct government intervention focussing on the needs of these people.
Rising Kashmir
Tue, 15 Jul 2014 12:18:45 -0700

The state of Jammu and Kashmir, historically, an agricultural, subsistence economy has morphed into a bit of a dual economy (partly corresponding to the Lewis model given that we do not have an industrial sector to speak of). We are still an ...
Economic and Political Weekly
Thu, 17 Jul 2014 04:38:33 -0700

... issues of social exclusion and policy implications. Indigenous peoples and climate change, gender issues, subsistence economy and diversification of shifting cultivation are discussed as the emerging issues with greater emphasis on the north-east ...

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