(1) The local, applied to language, architecture and practice, especially where the local practice belongs to an older tradition than that of the wider society in which the vernacular survives.

(2) “Vernacular” is also used by Edward Goldsmith for the features of a society and ecology that are self-organising, self-governing and self-sustaining, and which therefore do not have to be supplied by the state and its institutions, or by commercial organisations. These life-giving, free services are essential to the work and functioning of both society and natural systems. Examples: communities that sustain their own law and order; ecosystems that protect themselves from predators; families that naturally teach their children speech and emotional literacy; self-regulating systems that do not require constant intervention.

When the vernacular has faded, these assets have to be supplied by conscious decision, usually requiring payment; and often facing the impossibility of providing them adequately—or at all—where the ecology that formerly did so as an intrinsic property of its existence is no longer functioning. One example of the failure of the vernacular is found in intensive farming systems which have so comprehensively destroyed habitats for pollinating insects that the pollination has to be done by hand.3

The Lean Economy will aim to rebuild and protect the vernacular in both these senses.


Related entries:

Local Wisdom, Social Entropy, Public Sphere and Private Sphere.

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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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