Philosophy of Nomadism

Nomadic family

Does a way of life need a philosophy? Do the vast majority of people who live and work in one place consciously follow a philosophy? Probably not. But people will say of nomadism, 'what if everyone lived like that'? Well, what if they did? The world would be a much better place if everyone practiced nomadism as so many of the world's problems are due to people dividing it up and saying - this part belongs to me.

Nomadism on the contrary recognises that land belongs to everyone and no one. This simple truth is perfectly obvious with just a little thought, yet will be vociferously denied by most people, particularly those with wealth and power. When you get right down to the underlying philosophy of land ownership you will find some of the least solid ground in the entire history of human thought. Philosophically, land ownership is untenable. In practice it is disastrous. In the modern world it is perhaps not possible that everyone be a nomad, but neither could everyone live like the wealthy.

Nomadism follows the following principles:

  • People have the right to travel freely.
  • Travelling is good and brings people together.
  • The unequal division of land is immoral and impractical. It has been responsible for a large proportion of wars, famines and other forms of suffering throughout history. It encourages extortion and rent-seeking and leads to people dividing into tribal units. Land is a collective good that should be used for the benefit of all.
  • Modern capitalist society encourages ever increasing consumption. This uses up the world's resources and is unsustainable. It leads to the attachment of things, which will end up owning you rather than you owning them. Though communications technology has great potential it can encourage experiencing a 'thin', second-hand version of the world. Nomadism breaks the attachment of things and encourages people to appreciate the world itself, to live life fully.
  • Nomadism encourages self-sufficiency.
  • Nomadism brings a degree of freedom from modern hierarchical power structures - bosses, landlords, lenders. Even if you don't choose to be a nomad, the capacity to become one removes the power these structures have over you.

The history of nomadism