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On farm income, farmer trade groups, local economies.  RSS feed

 
Posts: 96
Location: Chapel Hill, NC
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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:

Emphasis on production in American manufacturing.
New Republic/BB article.
Cory Doctorow
POSTED AT 9:50 PM December 20, 2009
Business • business • maker • management • manufacturing • mba • usa
http://www.tnr.com/article/economy/wagoner-henderson

"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.""

Upper Mismanagement (via Making Light)
http://www.tnr.com/article/economy/wagoner-henderson

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

Followups:
----------

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& 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.

LFLondon
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