Self-Providing is the opposite of an economy that is alienated from our needs and that destroys the basis of our life. Self-Providing has to eliminate this alienation. The word part "Self" doesn't mean an isolated human being. A human being is always a social being. Only as social being humans have the possibility to have choices and to create new possibilities. Individuality implies sociality and society consists of individual human beings, each of whom is very particularly. Therefore a society is only a human society, when its structures are based on self determined agencies of individual needs.
Human needs are directed to self-reproduction but also to creative self-development. "Self-development" means more than "self-realization", which is usually used for a development in which people can only develop in an isolated way and against the interests of others. Self-development has an other meaning: One will develop her- or himself only if the others can develop themselves in this co-evolution as well. For my development I need the others and the others need my self-development.
How can this principle be realised in economy? Firstly we need an economy without reign of personal or technical alienated institutions or rules. Economy has to be based on self-organisation of people. There are experiences in self-organisation in the usual Alternative Economy. But we also need a higher productivity of our work. Usually we have to pay a high price for productivity: reign of alienated techniques (assembly lines). When we gave up these techniques we gave up productivity. But now there are new possibilities! Like Marx we have to study the newest technical and organisational possibilities to develop a new "concrete utopia". At first and under capitalistic conditions new techniques show us their exploitive grimace (as "fractal learning factory" and so on). But new possibilities of decentralisation show another face of new techniques. The way of production of Open Source Software (Free Software) shows these possibilities. People produce in a self-determined way coming from individual needs very complex products. It is possible to produce such complex products without alienating agency with money or other such things. Self-Organisation is not restricted to small groups of people and simple products. Free Software Production is the first example, the first proof for the assumption, that economy doesn't need central and alienating reign. But we can't eat a software program! For discussing this problem we can refer to an other "hardware-" possibility. Minimisation and becoming cheaper was the basis of the spreading of computers (including consideration the "information-gap", but this is not a technical problem). Now material fabrication begins to develop the same way. "Personal Fabricators" become more and more possible. Usually they use other technologies (like in rapid prototyping technologies). Frithjof Bergmann's concept of New Work uses these personal fabricators in the sphere of High-Tech-Self-Providing as one moment of production in a "Second economy" beside capitalistic economy.
We think that these aspects have to be taken into consideration when searching an economy, that is based on individual needs and can be regulated in an ecological way by self-determination of people in their environment. Technology is not the only answer to our questions, but without a new approach to technology we can't solve them.