The Handbook of Diverse Economies
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The Handbook of Diverse Economies

Edited by J. K. Gibson-Graham and Kelly Dombroski

Economic diversity abounds in a more-than-capitalist world, from worker-recuperated cooperatives and anti-mafia social enterprises to caring labour and the work of Earth Others, from fair trade and social procurement to community land trusts, free universities and Islamic finance. The Handbook of Diverse Economies presents research that inventories economic difference as a prelude to building ethical ways of living on our dangerously degraded planet. With contributing authors from twenty countries, it presents new thinking around subjectivity and methodology as strategies for making other worlds possible.
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Chapter 17: Non-human labour: the work of Earth Others

Elizabeth Barron and Jaqueline Hess


Ecosystem services are one way to describe all of the things the environment does for humans. This has mostly resulted in an oversimplification of how ecosystem processes work in order to create markets for different environmental ‘services’. Examining non-human organisms and earth processes through the lens of labour practices, we can include the work of Earth Others in a diverse economies framework. This allows for a shift away from capitalocentric ecosystem services framings towards systems of labour exchange based on interdependencies, more accurately representing the complexity of ecological relationships. To develop this alternative system the authors draw on the concept of econo-ecologies to examine moments of engagement as forms of work that build and maintain interconnected values between people and nature. What results from this analysis is the theorization of new economic subject positions inhabited by members of a community composed of a collection of humans and Earth Others.

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