Lean Social Security

Means of enabling subsistence for the unemployed and retired, when the government is able to raise little or no taxation and therefore has no money.

At the heart of it, there is prevention. Sustained counsel and care is a task for the neighbourhood, which will respond to the detail of individual circumstances. It will encourage and enable work at home in trades and crafts suited to age and skills. Mentoring and personal contact, the model pioneered by reformers such as Thomas Chalmers (Scale), would be close to the principles of the local Lean Economy.L180

The English Reformation dismantled the institutions of the church that had the commitment and capability needed to care for the poor and retired, and the local arrangements that took their place were patchy. The recurring question was, “Who is local? Is he really one of ours..?” But even a rich market society can provide no guarantees and, whereas social security can ward off hunger, it cannot prevent demoralisation.

The ability of a community to prevent or relieve poverty will reflect the vitality of its support networks, and the existence and effectiveness of a local informal economy. The Lean Economy will have the advantage that its material heart—its organic ecosystem and its permaculture, for instance—does not depend on a long supply chain, distancing it from the people it serves. Established lean economies will know what their local systems can supply—both their potential and their limits.


Related entries:

Hyperunemployment, Empowerment, Public Sphere and Private Sphere, Religion, Boundaries and Frontiers, Slack and Taut.

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David Fleming
Dr David Fleming (2 January 1940 – 29 November 2010) was a cultural historian and economist, based in London, England. He was among the first to reveal the possibility of peak oil's approach and invented the influential TEQs scheme, designed to address this and climate change. He was also a pioneer of post-growth economics, and a significant figure in the development of the UK Green Party, the Transition Towns movement and the New Economics Foundation, as well as a Chairman of the Soil Association. His wide-ranging independent analysis culminated in two critically acclaimed books, 'Lean Logic' and 'Surviving the Future', published posthumously in 2016. These in turn inspired the 2020 launches of both BAFTA-winning director Peter Armstrong's feature film about Fleming's perspective and legacy - 'The Sequel: What Will Follow Our Troubled Civilisation?' - and Sterling College's unique 'Surviving the Future: Conversations for Our Time' online courses. For more information on all of the above, including Lean Logic, click the little globe below!

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