The Permaculture Podcast

    Episode 1524: Right Livelihood with Ben Weiss, Dave Jacke, and Charles Eisenstein

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    This episode is a Susquehanna Permaculture round-table discussion recorded at my friend Seppi Garrett’s on June 3, 2015 in front of a live audience.

    The panel for the conversation were Ben Weiss, Dave Jacke, and Charles Eisenstein. Ostensibly the conversation was framed around the idea of how to achieve a right livelihood, but as you might imagine with these three voices in a room together the bounds of the conversation pushed in every direction and touched on much much more. For regular listeners who have heard Ben and Dave in the past, the conversation was also candid in ways that you won’t hear elsewhere.

    This piece is part one of two recorded that day, as Charles was with us for only a short time. The second half, with Ben, Dave, and various audience members, will be released on June 24, with more round tables like this in the works.

    If you enjoy this episode become an ongoing podcast patron at, or with a one-time donation via the PayPal link on the right hand side of the podcast page. Your support is how I keep the show on the air and am able to arrange the time to facilitate the conversation you are about to hear and others like it.

    You can find out more about Ben at Dave’s website is and Charles’ is at

    I’d also like to thank Shauna Yorty for taking pictures of the event, including the one of the three panelists I used here.

    I’m going to hold my commentary on this until the release of part two on June 24.

    In the meantime, I want to let you know that I will be a guest instructor at Jude Hobbs’ upcoming Teacher Training, in cooperation with Beyond Organic Design, on June 28 at The Commons in Brooklyn, New York. You can find out more at After that I’ll be a keynote speaker on Friday, August 21, 2015, talking about building resilient communities at the Radicle Gathering in Bowling Green, Kentucky. That is a four-day event of music and workshops that runs from August 20-23, 2015. The website for that festival is’m also recording another round table discussion on September 12, 2015 at The Riverside Project in West Virginia.

    If you have an event you’d like me to come to, or to serve as a panelist or speaker, let me know.

    Call: 717-827-6266

    The Permaculture Podcast
    P.O. Box 16
    Dauphin, PA 17018

    I’ll join you next week with an interview from Penny Livingston-Stark. Until then, take care of Earth, your self, and each other.

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    4 Pings/Trackbacks

    1. June 14, 2015    

      Amazing episode, thank you!

      • June 15, 2015    

        I am glad you enjoyed it Adam. What made this episode stand out for you?

    2. GwenoGweno
      June 17, 2015    

      I am so happy I took some time to listen to this episode. It helped me to visualize the permaculture movement as an ever growing plant. We surely are now at the stage of a young shoot, with strong roots, but the part above the surface is seeking for lights and air, and is shaped by the current constrain of elements… aNd there is so much hope for a strong tree!
      Thanks a lot

    3. WyattWyatt
      June 17, 2015    

      Great show Scott, thank you for all you do.

      While listening to the podcast it caught my ear that Dave mentioned there was no alternative to Capitalism. I have over the last few months been researching a lot into Distributism as an economic model. It does come with it’s own set of issues, in the sense that it is based on Catholic social teachings and is therefore inherently biased in it’s ethical and moral principles. Nonetheless, I find it to be a very interesting and thought provoking ‘third way’ outside of the capitalist/socialist dichotomy. There are some sources of information pertaining to strictly the economic portions (read: non/less biased) of Distributism that you may enjoy exploring.

      Anyways, I would love to hear your thoughts or perhaps even have you explore the subject deeper in an interview with someone on Distributism as an alternative to capitalism or at least as a transition to a pure gift economy.

      • June 17, 2015    

        Hi Wyatt,

        I’m glad you enjoyed the episode and left your comment.

        From some of the things discussed outside of that recorded segment I didn’t take Dave’s comment to mean that there are no alternatives to Capitalism, or that the alternatives are not viable in some ways, but that at the moment Capitalism is the dominant form of economic system. Capitalism is what we have to work with for the time being. We stand with our feet in two worlds, the system that is and the system we are building. That first one is where most of us have to deal with the structures of Capitalism in order to make a living and pay our bills. Even the people I know engaged as close to a pure gift economy as they can be still accept money and use that to engage in economic exchanges for goods and services that they need. Some are closer to existing outside of Capitalism than others, but I only know of a few, very limited, cases where people appear to have escaped that system entirely, but I haven’t examined in depth the way that they are able to accomplish what they are doing, and in many ways they still benefit from the Capitalist culture even if they don’t directly choose to participate.

        Where the interest for me exists is in the borders just outside Capitalism where we can engage in direct exchange with others in the ways we prefer. We might not be able to do so 100% of the time, but there are more and more ways that are emerging where we can trade, barter, gift, and share than we might have had just a few years ago. Keep doing that and begin to shift the discussion to ways that we can do more and more without Capitalism. If we reach a large enough percentage of people participating this way then we can start to offer realistic alternatives to more than just our close knit community.

        With that in mind and your interest in Distributism, is there someone you can think of and suggest as a guest for me to reach out to and interview?

    4. […] and others in order to find and build community, and right livelihood. Be sure and check out the first episode, which includes Charles Eisenstein on the panel, if you haven’t heard it […]

    5. sebastiansebastian
      July 19, 2015    

      that was a pretty brilliant discussion…thank you for sharing Scott.

      couldn’t agree more with Dave’s last comment…what a wonderful metaphor he used…this is perhaps how one could address social, political & economic structures….or even, to round this back to the beginning, the philosophical structures…how does a forest work? from the tops of the trees to below ground in the soil…how do the individual members cooperate, how do they compete? what makes a healthy forest that is resilient? what makes an unhealthy forest that can not withstand the forces that nature unleashes? how can structures be designed using this model?

      also, .i’m very glad that he put it out there, “The Competitors”. so true, so true. happy i’m not the only one who’s been thinking that. and yes, “The Climax” is not the climax at all, the question is : who are the ones that survive The Cataclysm that begins the cycle all over again? seems like it’s the ones who build those strong tissues, even if they don’t “survive” in the same form in which they were as they built them.

      is a tissue that was once wood the same tissue once it becomes embodied in a mushroom and is it still the same tissue once it ingested into an animal or degrades back into the soil?

      p.s. could not disagree more with Charles’ last statement. yes, very true when looked at using a definition of ROI in terms of next quarter or next fiscal year or even five years. but when you extend the time scale into generations, ROI becomes a bit fuzzy, yes? think of Greece for instance, or pension funds for another. it’s funny how exponential economic models collapse once blinders are taken off…

      perhaps a way to sidestep this conflict with “Capitalism” (as it’s currently defined) is to start stretching those timeframes a bit longer. the Asian cultures seem to embody this concept much more harmoniously, even (and especially) the ones who seem to practice “Capitalism” way more efficiently that anyone in the western world.

      just some thoughts to chew on…

    6. […] Source: Episode 1524: Right Livelihood with Ben Weiss, Dave Jacke, and Charles Eisenstein | The Permaculture… […]

    7. […] 3. Right Livelihood with Ben Weiss, Dave Jacke, and Charles Eisenstein– This recent episode features permaculture practitioners Ben Weiss and Dave Jacke, and author of bestseller Sacred Economics, Charles Eisenstein. The conversation traverses the ways in which we can integrate the lessons of the old story, and begin to make positive changes toward the new world we wish to inhabit. A true necessity for the contemporary changemaker. Linked in the show notes is the second half of the conversation without Charles (who had to leave the discussion early). […]

    8. […] out this awesome new podcast from The Permaculture Podcast by Scott Mann, featuring some of the best-known permies and […]

    9. August 20, 2015    

      This was a good discussion, Scott. Thanks for posting. I disagree quite strongly that we have to transfer to a gift economy in our current context, and wrote about a strategy for how permaculture can move from the little sapling to a big tree under an oligarchy. That’s at

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