Sufficiency Possibilities in the Web of Life: A political economy of Armenian and Georgian eco-social enterprises
Enterprises play a particularly powerful role in shaping our future planetary trajectories. Especially diverse and community economies (DCE) thinking and praxis seeks to examine the enterprise as an experimental site, embedded in, and being an active participant of, the web of life. This article incorporates a relational value perspective to diverse and community economies. This entails a move from surplus analysis to an emerging emphasis on interdependency in an attempt to embed enterprises more holistically in the web of life. Drawing inspiration from commodity chain analysis, I show that the ‘surplus possibilities’ of an enterprise are not only related to how the surplus is produced, appropriated, and distributed within a single enterprise, but that the surplus production depends on multi-sited laboring, valuation and reproduction practices by human and extra-human natures. If DCE wants to address interdependency in the web of life more profoundly, it can benefit from exploring the possibilities offered by ‘sufficieny possibilities’ as the destabilizing moment between survival payment (necessity) and wealth distribution (surplus). Sufficiency possibilities inserts (multi-species) ‘interdependency’ that is conceived in terms of ‘surviving well together’ more forcefully into the enterprise analysis. Another way of framing this relationship is to seek a more thorough discussion between the ‘enterprise’ and ‘transactions’ pillars within DCE thinking. Sufficiency possibilities is considered a more sober analytic given the manifold economic-ecological crises which our planet faces. Refocusing on the rich amount of possibilities in the field of alleged necessity and sufficiency enlarges the space of negotiation, ethics and responsibility. Since the web of life in which an enterprise is embedded is staggeringly complex, the paper furthermore introduces the categories of network and community aspects in negotiating sufficiency possibilities. The latter highlights the intentional negotiation of interdependency, the former compromises a large spectrum of practices, from de-prioritization to ignorance and dissociation. Eco-social enterprises from the Caucasus exemplify the claims of the article.