Chimwemwe Shaba

Assistant Customs Officer, Zambia Revenue Authority

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Are self-reliant communities a way of the future or repeating old mistakes?

Is it viable to develop a Self-reliant community? I have been wondering if such a community is viable. I believe our ancestors once lived in such small groups, and for us to have evolved into the communities we have become now, it means there were some flows with the old system.

So my question is, is going back to self-reliant small communities kind of living a way forward, or will we be just repeating the mistakes of the past?

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    Apr 11 2013: When has a self-reliant community been a mistake?

    A large number of communities have failed for being overly reliant or depended on a single thing, like a factory for employment, a single resource/industry like coal, oil, mining, or a single food source like Ireland and potatoes.

    I feel communities should be self-reliant for it basic needs: food, water, shelter, and security.
    There are examples of countries taking self-reliance too far and become isolate, and that had repeatedly been proven to be a mistake. For example; China during the 16-20 centuries, and currently North Korea people are paying the cost for it isolationism.
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    Apr 11 2013: I think communication is the key. In a small group an individual can communicate a family, church, scouts, local government, etc. an individual flourishes in a small group.

    Centralized large groups crush the individual as there is nowhere he can communicate. This scenario is about power.

    I think your idea on this is infinitely more workable as a member in the group is more inclined to take responsibility for their neighbor and keep people from straying from the purpose of the group.

    This is not the case with a centralized group. With no accountability the Leaders will inevitably turn the country into a dystopian state.
  • May 3 2013: i believe that self reliance is the way to go. We have become so accustomed to relying on our resources, that our resources have become accustomed to manipulating us. Because there are so many people in the world, that just gives us more of a reason to become self reliant, how can decisions be made by a few people for billions who are all as different in circumstances and lifestyles as our thumb prints?
    We have become so interdependent that we do not know how to survive on our own, and that scares me. We see it everyday, instead of people becoming self sufficient and producing their own goods, they steal, lie, cheat, kill, mooch others. When storms are coming instead of having our own home grown food and supplies, we rush to the stores, and some of these "storm watches" we rush to the store for, are false so that we rush to the store. Same with these "attacks" and predictions of a collapsing economy and planet.
    It's imperative that we all gain at least the knowledge of being self reliant, and enhancing our own talents that can be useful to our existence.
  • Apr 12 2013: I think self-reliant communities could prove to be essential to human survival.

    The world is becoming so interdependent that no one can know what tiny little change will have huge global repercussions. We are growing so dependent on homogeneous technology that we are becoming very fragile, very vulnerable to events like power outages, false rumors, economic bubbles, internet malware, crop infections, natural disasters, etc.

    "Do not put all your eggs in the same basket."

    Self-reliant communities would be our other baskets.
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    Apr 12 2013: Thank you for the comments thus far. As I have also analysed (which most of the people who have replied seem to agree with) is that self-reliant communities work best when the group is small. Such kind of living is better when chosen than when imposed, because it would require living being stript down to the mayor basics.

    @Fritzie Reisner - Definately such a community would need to be able to interact with other communities. Yes, it might need to be isolated, but not a total isolation. My idea would not be to totally go off the grid. I think of maybe getting a piece of land that can house about 100 or so households, that will farm and grow thier crops and live stock. No rich or poor, but just a group of people living in harmony. The main ideas here are 1st of all, choice; people should choose to live such a lifestyle.

    I have heard of such ideas going wrong, especially when they are religious (cult) baised, but I've also heard of success stories, like I read of a group of young Greeks who are living this way; its not exactly my idea but its close.

    Keep commenting people, I'd love to hear more of people's thoughts on this issue.
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    Apr 11 2013: Do you mean by self-reliant communities communities that would not exchange things or ideas with other communities?
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      Apr 12 2013: Interaction with other communities (and peoples) is essential. As i wote (above), I'm talking about acquiring some kind of large farm land that can accommodate 100 or so families, where you can divide labours, (farmers, teachers, doctors, etc), just the essentials for a community to survive; but not totally going off the grid. By self-reliant, I'm mainly talking about food needs.

      I'm thinking just a group of like-minded people (if they exist), coming together and seeing if this concept can work. The rule is that, this is by CHOSE, not imposed.
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        Apr 12 2013: I know people who participated in communities of this kind in the US in the 60s that were a little smaller than this. They were called communes.

        Of course the kibbutzim in Israel are another long-standing example.