Organizing to Heal Nature and Produce Abundance
- The way I see it, humans will live in poverty until such time as we have systems of production in which everyone can participate, and the environment will be at risk until such time as humans obtain what they need and desire from systems of production that cooperate with nature's processes – increasing biological diversity instead of diminishing it.
- How to structure the ownership of such systems is the focus of my work. Each of us has a specialty. My background is in law – I am a specialist in the agreements people maintain between themselves. I think we will need a conversation across all interests and expertise if we are to manifest the kind of world we want for our children.
- In this discussion I want to talk about a set of agreements that could employ those without marketable skills to provide for themselves in ways that heal nature. The basic transaction is described in Economics of Integrated Production.
- The dynamic we are employing is to treat labor as an investment in the organization instead of a cash cost.
- Let me explain. Every family faces these same choices:
- Cook dinner at home – go out to dinner.
- Clean up ourselves – hire a cleaning service.
- Stay home with the kids – hire day care.
- Grow our own food – buy our food at the market.
- Each service we provide for ourself reduces the cash cost of making ends meet – or the amount of cash we must earn in the market to make ends meet. There is an economy of scale in the sense that the bigger the family the more things we can do for ourself. Or, in the case of a Community Investment Enterprise, we extend the benefits beyond the extended family.
- There is another dynamic related to the focus of the organization. In a business corporation we try to attract capital by maximizing the margin between cost of production and market price. In a community investment enterprise we attract labor by maximizing the value available in exchange for time. We can do that by producing goods and services our workers find valuable without regard to the market value of those goods and services – we can produce as much as we need of any given thing – abundance.
- Finally, I think of this organization as the perfect answer to “economies of scale” where only the most capital intensive efficiency can compete in the market. Where labor is an investment in the enterprise and not a cash cost, we can design for the use of each resource for as many purposes as possible – our restaurant also contains a laundry and day care – economies of integration – further reducing overhead costs. That gives our organization a unique advantage in using appropriate technologies and complex cropping systems (permacultures) . . .
- Keep in mind that the wealth of Bill Gates is not dollars in a bank account. His wealth is an ownership interest in the assets and profitability owned by Microsoft. With the right kind of organization, every member of your community could have an ownership interest in the assets to produce all the food, clothing, shelter, education and health care that your community needs – and that would be real wealth – no matter what the market does.
- Ok - so a restaurant, laundry, day care is not the kind of enterprise that gets y'all excited . . . economies of integration offer unlimited possibilities . . . the organization I have described is uniquely suited to employ them:
- Lets say we were going to go out in the desert and build solar panels. What else could we do with that land? Could we build green houses and homes under the solar panels? (food and shelter) Could we include teachers and nurses? (education and health care) If the enterprise provided food, shelter, education and health care does that change the economics of the project?
- What other goals might we address? How about greening the desert? Maybe a RV park and nursing facility for aging baby boomers?
- The problems we face are systemic and cannot be solved one at a time. Whole system design is going to require us to look up from our individual projects to see how what we do fits with what others want to do . . .
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Julie Caldwell added:
PLEASE INVITE ME TO THIS CONVERSATION, WHEN AND WHERE WILL YOU BE HOSTING IT?
CREATE JOB SHARE OPPORTUNITIES
PROVIDE BASIC NEEDS AND
BY CREATING A SHARED JOB POOL AND OPPORTUNITY CENTER. THESE
FAMILIES VALUE, FOR LESS THAN THE
BY BUIDING AN OPPORTUNITY CENTER WHERE THESE
ARE PRODUCED BY A SHARED JOB POOL.