Local Peace Economy Glossary

Local Peace Economy Glossary

A NOTE from the editors:  This is a very short glossary of terms often used in the Peace Economy movement, starting with Economics. We love this definition by our ally and advisor Judy Wicks: “Economics is nothing more than human ingenuity organizing human labor to transform the natural world into new products for use by others. That process can be life-affirming, or can be degrading to those involved and to the planet itself.”

Banking and Investment Terms

Community: a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, activities, interests, and goals. In terms of banking, this is a bank that is usually locally owned and operated, serving the needs of local businesses, organizations, and families.

Cooperative: a business, farm, store, or other entity that is legally owned and run jointly by its members, who share the profits or benefits.

Corporate: Most banks whose signs and ads we see everywhere are huge, profit-driven financial institutions. The top 10 U.S. banks now hold $10.2 trillion in assets. These banks are not held accountable by local communities or the US government to reinvest in local businesses and make capital available for cooperatives and other locally-based non-profit organizations.

Divest-to-Invest: a process of moving your money, energy, and thoughts from somewhere and investing them in another place/practice. Best known in the movement to divest pension and university funds from fossil fuels, but can be applied to any withdrawal of funds, individual or organizational, from the global or corporate economy to invest in the local peace economy.

Public: a movement to create “network of state and local publicly-owned banks that create affordable credit, while providing a sustainable alternative to the current high-risk centralized private banking system”. Currently the Bank of North Dakota is the only public bank in the U.S., but several municipalities are working on establishing their own.

Economic Systems

Barter Economy: a mode of trade where goods and services are exchanged, and reciprocity is expected.

Gifting Economy: a mode of exchange that is without an agreement for immediate or future reward or reciprocation. Participants in a gifting economy give as much as they can and pass it on. Gifting is a sign of care and support, not an exchange.

Globalized Economy: an international exchange of goods and services. It is comprised of different economies in individual countries, each being interrelated with the other. Globalization involves trade across international borders and the selling of commodities in markets around the world, in highly speculative methods driven by profits to the 1%.

Green Economy: an economy that has its roots in political, social and economic developments that reduce the human ecological footprint, fostering sustainability. It should be noted that this form of economy has fallen under corporate control and a reductionist approach that has received criticism for not being sufficient to cope with the complexities of climate change and enviromental degradation, and sometimes leading to Greenwashing (see below).

Peace Economy: the cultural, social, spiritual, and economic models that cultivate a sense of respect and self-determination for all our communities. It is the relational, just way of managing our environments.

Sharing Economy: the redistribution, sharing and reuse of goods (such as used clothes) and services (such as car rides), often using the internet and social media, both for profit and in non-monetary transactions.

War Economy: an extractive and violent economy that creates inequality and injustice, and it is held in place by militarization, war, extraction, and exploitation. Philippe Le Billon, researcher at the Liu Institute for Global Issues, describes the war economy as a "system of producing, mobilizing and allocating resources to sustain violence."


Greenwashing: Using targeted advertising, public relations campaigns, and celebrity spokespersons to exaggerate environmental achievements, usually by corporations, in order to divert attention away from environmental problems caused by those corporations. For example, a corporation might spend more money advertising an environmental achievement than actually putting the money into doing it.

Participatory budgeting: a process of democratic deliberation and decision-making in which community members decide how to allocate part of a municipal or public budget.

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