[Homestead] Homesteading as an Economic Basis
Clansgian at wmconnect.com
Clansgian at wmconnect.com
Wed Dec 10 21:30:54 EST 2008
OK. I know better but have decided to give it a shot. This diatribe has
been courteously received on other fora although there are always those who will
rend their garments and cry "You're saying I'm a......!!" Yet it has never
failed that there have always been some that get it.
There are three things that are urgent in the lives of us all: food, a place
to live, and the means to stay warm in winter and cook our food. If those
three things are threatened, we are thereby, as we used to say, grabbed by the
short hairs. We are in distress immediately and we will expend whatever
reserves we have or agree to go into slavery ... eh ... I mean debt ... to relieve
us of that distress.
There are other such constraints you say? Medicine? Not for most and it
needn't be for any? Clothes? Most clothes last years and we do not face
distress and constraint if our supply of new (or additional) clothes are not
Now imagine a position where you never pay money for your food, a place to
live, or fuel to warm yourself and cook your food. Nor do you pay money
indirectly for those things. If all your money were cut off, you would still have a
warm place to sleep and enough to eat.
It would make you a financial superman.
There are many ways of going about getting to that state. It helps if you
don't need hard to obtain food, if you don't need or want a large house, and if
you don't require every far corner of that house to be 72 degrees in winter.
What happens in his state is ALL your money becomes discretionary. If you
are skilled and clever, the vast majority of your time becomes discretionary as
When asked the essence of homesteading, Scott Nearing put it: "We grew our
food and ate it, we cut our fuel and burned it, we built our house and lived in
The trouble in fathoming through this is that people lump all their efforts
into one pool, all their assests into one pool and thus homesteading appears to
be a difficult and expensive undertaking. The key to homesteading as I
pontificate about it is to separate those.
Nearing was wealthy as was his parnter (who later became his wife). He kept
separate and strict records of all the goings on of the homestead to show that
it was an economically feasible and sound way of life.
I say that to preface that mortgages are not part of the homestead formula.
That is a buisness dealing with the greater of society to secure your
exclusive rights to a parcel of land. You must needs interact with society and the
world at large to come to peace with that arrangement as everyone, homesteader
or not, must do.
But imagine if, mortgage withstanding, you needed none of your cash for food,
fuel, or any other such urgent need. If you chose so, ALL your cash and ALL
your discretionary time and effort could be devoted to eliminating the
This is my version of the Economic Basis of Homesteading. Eliminate the
urgencies down to those things you can more or less be 100% in control over and
provide for yourself directly. It is why we plow with a horse, cut wood with
an axe and crosscut saw, garden with a spade, etc. Whether there is money or
not, we will have the three basic necessities of life and everything else is
What about cars and gasoline? If those things pay for themselves out of the
endeavors in which you choose to engage (like a job) then they have nothing
whatever to do with homesteading or the economics of homesteading.
When your physical creature comforts are eliminated from the money
merry-go-round, you will find yourself suddenly in an entirely different universe. It's
a head game even if nothing materially changes right away.
My formula is this:
Arrange a way (and circumstances) where you can provide your food and fuel at
no money cost to you. This means that if there is a money way to do those
things and a non-money way to do it, always take the non-money way. Going into
the past or being a luddite or backwards has nothing to do with it. It's
money vs non-money. That's all.
Apply the money you DO choose to make first to anticipate needs you know are
coming or are likely to be coming. You know the cow is going to die some
day. You know the truck is mortal. You know something is going to break in the
house. Don't pretend that it isn't going to happen and that it's just a matter
of you being unlucky while others are lucky if it does.
Next build up a personal grudge against your debt. Be emontional about it
and even if it's only the deposit on the soda bottle you found in the ditch,
cackle with avaricious glee at the though of applying that 5 cents to your debts.
Take no prisoners and allow yourself no respite. The retirement of debt is
meat and drink, man and wife, it is what puts the lead in your pencil.
Remember that you are now the invencible and immortal warrior and it's because you
have food and a place to sleep no matter what happens.
I know people in whom the fires have been lit and five years later they are
out from under a mountain of debt and their anticipated needs provided for.
And, says I, all because that bowl of soup on the kitchen table was from another
universe than what was in their purse.
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