The Non-Wage Economy and Creativity

I spoke about the non-wage economy yesterday, and how it operated by trading work for the opportunity to do more work, rather than cashing out on work produced. Such an economy draws a profit from human effort, rather than by transferring environmental energy into a social sphere. I think this image below makes that clear. Here is my garden, two weeks ago, with the resident dove. You can see rhubarb, raspberries, garlic, onions, shallots, leeks, lettuce (the quail got the spinach), a few rescued trees heeled in, a transparent apple tree (with a  mystery graft), and some grass grown for mulch. The stump is a mountain ash that up-and-died. To create this garden, I spent many, many hours carting away landscape cloth, gravel, sand, a child’s playhouse, which I sadly don’t need, and hauling in soil, manure and peat moss. The neighbours in behind, operating in the wage economy, have spent many hours to reduce their work load with the earth. There are, after all, only so many hours in the day. They have stripped out the overgrown junipers and are replacing them with shade cloth and gravel. The productive capacity of the earth has been removed. You can see which yard the dove (behind the stump) prefers.P1250410Here’s another example. Here you can see my nectarine tree in flower, and my grapes budding out, as well as sugar snap peas, oregano, self-seeded radishes, perennial green onions, chives, and an apple tree I grafted a year ago. Note the blossoms. It takes two years for an apple tree to blossom, but I encouraged this one to blossom in one year, through a couple techniques of  mechanical summer-time manipulation of the flow of its naturally-produced hormones at bud differentiation time (soft-pinching and the weighting down of branches.)

P1250412I think “Work” is the wrong word for what is going on here. “Life” might be a better one, or “enrichment”. Through the giving of my life to this tree, it gives me more life back than it would have without my care. Its capacity to sustain me and my wife and our friends and family has been increased. I would call the reserve of productive capacity within the earth creativity. It is what has been given by human effort, and which can be drawn on without being exhausted, as long as that effort is still given.




1 reply »

  1. I think you’re exactly right. Life is the word, even though it does take a bit of work to sustain it! I do envy you that garden, especially as I’ll be without even my balcony version this year.

    As for your neighbours with their shade cloth and gravel, I feel sorry for them. Quite possibly they have no time to garden, or feel they’re not good at it, but then why not leave the junipers in place? I’d take them over bare gravel any day, especially as they stabilize the soil and provide cover for birds and animals..


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