To start this new thread I'll cross polllinate across three forum sites with this: == Subject: Large scale farming - sustainable? Profitable? = Tripp Tibbetts wrote: But my point was that there is ample land for the world's population....IF we adopt ecologically sound lifestyles, like permaculture, utilize existing tools and technology to get us started, and redefine what wealth means, moving from a linear economics of scarcity to a cyclical life of abundance. It's certainly a tall order, but it's a wonderful paradigm shift, and I hope more folks find it soon. =
Very well said! Classic. That sums it up. I would add the detail about the need for paying attention to local economies, in part to reduce the energy factor, i.e. walk to work, walk to shopping or at least not travel so far and have to spend so much time. The following is a little off topic but pertinent to the discussion, at least as far as self help and local economies are concerned.
Here's a new thread I started in Practical Machinist, talk about cross pollination between entire forum sites! This idea applies to market farmers too, informal trade associations. You might enjoy this:
"America can't make things because managers all learn finance instead of production.
In a provocative New Republic article, Noam Scheiber proposes that the collapse of American manufacturing is due to a general shift in management to people who have MBAs, and to a shift in MBA programs to an emphasis on finance instead of production:
Since 1965, the percentage of graduates of highly-ranked business schools who go into consulting and financial services has doubled, from about one-third to about two-thirds. And while some of these consultants and financiers end up in the manufacturing sector, in some respects that's the problem. Harvard business professor Rakesh Khurana, with whom I discussed these questions at length, observes that most of GM's top executives in recent decades hailed from a finance rather than an operations background. (Outgoing GM CEO Fritz Henderson and his failed predecessor, Rick Wagoner, both worked their way up from the company's vaunted Treasurer's office.) But these executives were frequently numb to the sorts of innovations that enable high-quality production at low cost. As Khurana quips, "That's how you end up with GM rather than Toyota.""
Previously: * MBAs: Most Bloody Awful, Aussie radio documentary on the problem ... * The MBA/B.Eng Rosetta Stone - Boing Boing * People more prone to lie in email? - Boing Boing
LFLondon: Solutions exist for machinists as they do for market farmers. One possibility is 1) utilize PM to the max 2) independent machine shop owners could form a loose association or informal trade association, referring work within their group and promoting them selves independently and as a group, that is if there are no significant legal loopholes or insurance issues to overcome that would require their having non profit corporate status. The NC Central Piedmont Independent Machineshop Owners Association, for example. Repeat, an informal association but with active participation by its members.
And this thoughtful response from Arthur Marks (this is going to keep me busy for a while!)
LFLondon Cast Iron Join Date: Dec 2007 Location: mid south USA Posts: 376
Quote: Originally Posted by Arthur.Marks: LFLondon, I think one other issue is raised with your "solutions" post. What, if any, human aspirations can guide a new business paradigm? If it is single-heartedly money, I would argue that route is doomed for failure. It will always be beat by someone with more too lose. "Active participation by its members" is guided by more than profit. That has always been my experience with "informal associations".
LFLondon: As with market farmers, same with independent machinists and woodworking shops; they are subject to competition from larger business entities, imports flooding the market, a waning economy, hopefully no innapropriate government regulation and neglect by potential customers not willing to spend even to keep local economies alive. Motivation to do this would come from a common interest in demonstrating their pride in workmanship and their ability to offer a quality product at a reasonable price to those willing to spend a little extra to keep money in those local economies, consistent with American tradition.
I connected a Japanese woodworking tool vendor in Massachusetts who was having considerable difficulty finding a shop to prototype and possibly manufacture an invention of his with a job machine shop in Alamance County NC. They worked out an R&D and production deal and began making devices for my friend to sell through his company. It is a good product and sales of it are good. One success among many similar ones that could happen. Interstate and intrastate sales through Web marketing and mail order is a first class way to sell but it is also extremely important to generate local sales, walk in trade to generate local interest in new ways to market a product and keep money exchanged between local businesses. I think this is a direct and effective way for self employed folks to generate income and remain in business over the long haul, overcoming problems emerging in the national economy.