Going Barefoot

How can Barefoot Economics help us grow good lives?

Three reasons to kick off your shoes

1 – A New Frame

Barefoot Economics (also known as Human Scale Development) reframes economic thinking away from endless wants and towards nine fundamental needs: Subsistence, Freedom, Participation, Understanding, Affection, Creation, Idleness, Protection and Identity.

We are wealthy when our needs are satisfied, regardless of our income. This means we can also be poor in multiple ways, even when we have a ‘healthy’ bank balance.

2 – A Systems View

Barefoot Economics explores the interconnections between three important areas of life.


From the Greek oikos (house or home) and logos (study of). 
Human thriving both depends on and is inextricably linked to the health of the Earth, our only home. Our approach honours this interdependence and seeks to deepen our connection to all of life.


From the Greek oikos (house or home) and nomos (management of). 
The original concept of economics was concerned with the management of the home and focused on use value. It was distinct from the practice of khrematistika (khrema:money) which focused primarily on exchange value.


Literally “the state of having a good indwelling spirit” from eu (good) and daimōn (spirit).
Eudaimonia is used to describe the highest human good – a sense of living and doing well. It is more than what we commonly refer to as ‘happiness’, encompassing a wider notion of a good and meaningful life.

3 – A Deep Enquiry

When we focus our economic decisions on finite needs vs infinite wants and place the health of our ecosystem and human wellbeing at the center, we create an opportunity to ask questions that go beyond limited indicators such as GDP and PPM.

Barefoot Economics provides a profound challenge to our current way of thinking. Instead of seeking to grow or ‘green’ our economies, we ask whether the stuff we make and do actually brings us all closer to the good life, while serving the needs of the planet and our better selves.

Ready to go barefoot?

Have a look at our workshops or contact us to discuss the specific needs of your community or organisation.