One of Fleming’s predominant themes as he imagines a post-market economy, is a return to a slack economy. The slack or lean economy is a central feature of his broader vision of energy descent, part of the “this steep winding down of the size of the industrial economy.” The slack economy “strips away its burdens and complications, nurses the human ecology back to health, builds local competence and discovers a sense of place.” As most readers of Resilience know, “The descent itself is inevitable, as is the breakage that follows, and yet,” says Fleming, “this is managed descent, in contrast with descent that forces itself on an economy blindly straining for growth”. A slack
economy is one that services needs, both economic and other, and thus must protect itself from the tightening forces of competition. It is “held together by richly-developed social capital and culture, and is organized around the rediscovery of community”. It is “protectionist” as in “an act of caring for something which you value, or for which you are responsible”. It has an insulating quality, it does not offer free entry but requires a cultural conversion. It does not equate freedom with the elimination of prohibitions on consumption or the escape from bonds of family or community.