Home sapiens

It’s the economy, silly!

Not the economy, actually, but the house management, from the Greek oikonomia, oikos (οἶκος) for home, and nomos (νόμος) for rule or law. Home rule?

To look after the big things, one needs to start small, with things closest to home.

The rule of thumb can be extended to the rest of the hand.

John Stuart Mill’s homo oeconomicus starts in the kitchen, where the small things are. Small things, but huge impact. Homo sapiens looking and moving, wisely, homeward.

The ancients knew that in order to manage a community well, one must manage the self well. Concentric circles, starting from the smallest and closest. Know yourself before knowing anything else. Make peace with your neighbour before tackling geopolitical alliances. Sort out your pots and pans before drawing up complex constitutions and policies.

In ancient Greece, the oikos was the smallest unit for organising social life. Economy started at home, as does everything else. The reason most plans fail is that we try to run before we walk, to do economy before we tackle oikonomia.

For Socrates, oikonomia, or the management of the household, is a science, a kind of beginning of all things scientific. Managing resources for the survival and thriving of those depending on the household is one of the most basic duties of a civilized person. Civilization is an extended household, oikonomia projected out to the rest of society.

One home rule to rule them all.

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