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The Myth Of Self-Sufficiency

“I want to be self-sufficient.”

“You can’t count on the government or corporations. Self-sufficiency should be everybody’s goal.”

I understand what they’re saying. I used to want to live a lifestyle where we grew all of our own produce – maybe even some of our beans and grains – and be totally off grid. In fact, for a while I yearned to move somewhere where we could live without electricity altogether.

Then, I started thinking for myself. The following video sums up the general thoughts I came up with.

(Please click here to get to the YouTube page so you can share the video with your online networks. TIA! :))

Why the recent push for self-sufficiency and homesteading? Fear. People are afraid that the sh*t is going to hit the fan, and if they’re living in a city and counting on corporations to keep them fed and comfortable, they will end up dying of starvation.


Nobody living in the Western world is self-sufficient. No, scratch that. Not even the modern-day hunter-gatherers can make that claim. The reason that they don’t starve is that they work together, in community, to help each other find food.

Let’s talk about a fictional family that actually exists in some form in any state or province you visit. They want goats so they can produce their own milk.

They have to buy their first goats from somebody else. Not to mention all the fencing…

They want to set up large gardens so that they produce all their own plant food.

They have to initially buy seeds and/or starts from someone else. And it’s highly unlikely that they’re going to forge their own garden tools. Those will come from somebody else, as well.

This family wants to build their own house.

They have to buy the materials from someone else, and again, there’s the tool issue.

“We’re going to be off-grid!” they declare. So what do they do? Go out and buy a windmill and some solar panels.

That somebody else manufactured, using resources the family could never have procured themselves.

No matter what they say, they will never be self-sufficient because they had to depend on other people to help them get started. And chances are they will continue to purchase clothing and other items as the things they have now break or wear down beyond repair. Unless they happen to belong to a particular Christian sect that forbids the use of motor vehicles, they will not be counting on horses to take them where they want to go.

I’m not arguing against being prepared for emergencies, or choosing a lifestyle where you can provide most of your own basic needs. Just don’t deceive yourself into thinking that you are therefore living a life of self-sufficiency, or don’t need anybody else. The goal should be simpler living, more sustainable living. Not to be completely self-sufficient.

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