Win a copy of The Tourist Trail this week in the Writing forum!
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education experiences global resources the cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • r ranson
  • Anne Miller
  • paul wheaton
stewards:
  • Joseph Lofthouse
  • Jocelyn Campbell
  • Mike Jay
garden masters:
  • Steve Thorn
  • Dave Burton
  • Joylynn Hardesty
gardeners:
  • Carla Burke
  • Pearl Sutton
  • Greg Martin

Permaculture and capitalism

 
Posts: 122
Location: Sacramento
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
You haven't ruined it for me!  I love honest debate. 

I should have been more careful with the National Socialism mention; I thought the term "fascism" too extreme.  I only meant it in an economic sense, when government and industry are tied into an inextricable back-scratching frenzy.  There should be a certain amount of distrust there.


what if, for example, I support my permaculture habit by charging folks large sums of money to stay on my farm for a few days?  in an honest accounting I've got to take into consideration where those folks earned the money to pay for their stay and how they traveled to my farm.



So if they are charging it to a credit card, they can't stay?  What if they are staying because they want to learn about permaculture practices?  Are they allowed to incur debt now, because their learning will lead to favorable practices later?

Money is an agreed-upon standard of labor.

in theory, maybe.  personally, I've never been asked if I agree.  for the record, I don't agree.  there are too many instances of life-destroying labor being compensated magnitudes more than life-supporting labor.  too many instances of clever manipulation of other people being compensated better than honest and indispensable work.  too many instances of women being compensated less than men.  too many instances of folks forced to work for a pittance because of "structural unemployment" or plain old desperation.  I could go on.



and

what's so great about a macro system?  I think that as long as most commerce is transacted on a local scale, a lot of problems go away, whether we call it capitalism or something else.  the possibility of long-distance trade shouldn't be the prime consideration for how we arrange local economies.



If you can go to an entirely local system, then "money" as a means of calculating labor certainly can be done away with.  But unless you are going with a small-c communist system, like a kibbutz, you will still need a medium of exchange.  Maybe the Calorie--not just in the food sense, but heat/energy.  There are still going to be goods and services that the community will want to trade for, like antibiotics.  You could make them a small scale level, but the amount of work/calories invested compared to the gains would be a drain on resources.  Even with barter you will need something to trade.  You might know that the ugly tomatoes taste the same as the pretty ones, but unless you are the only source of tomatoes for the antibiotics maker you're going to exchange the best looking tomatoes to get what you want.


as far as I can tell, capitalist models are inherently coercive.  I'm not going to consent to paying more for a thing than it took to create it (the basis of profit) unless I'm in a position of inferiority.  that seems to rule out the possibility of consensual profit.



Why is profit bad?  And in a true free market, you wouldn't be forced to buy at a rate that puts you at a disadvantage, unless item maker has a monopoly.  And in that case someone will come along to compete.

OTOH, if you are truly a closed system, there should be no way to compel you to trade or buy goods you do not need.  The closest current example of a closed system I can think of is an Amish community. 
 
gardener
Posts: 1386
Location: Cascades of Oregon
21
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Even if we look at a family we some form of someone in charge (governance) so I think that the idea of making government obsolete or irrelevant is really not a functioning reality.
The idea of city states or local independent economies interacting with an adjacent kibbutz or city state would still have to have a standard of exchange that was agreeable to both.
An eco euro perhaps.
If or when there is a trigger that tips us over the edge into a system that does not use current currency there still will be a need to trade and I stand by my vision that there will always be capitalism for outside trade unless we become totally independent of imported resources which will not occur until we hit that trigger point and are forced to interact locally. The size of that local footprint depends on many factors and one would be governance of some form.
Capatalism is not governance though it does play a role in it.
 
steward
Posts: 3478
Location: woodland, washington
118
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
[quote author=lapinerobert]Even if we look at a family we some form of someone in charge (governance) so I think that the idea of making government obsolete or irrelevant is really not a functioning reality.

now where is your imagination?  for the record: if you look hard enough, you'll find examples of situations without someone in charge.  I keep coming back to the example of Spanish anarchists, because it's one I'm a little bit familiar with.  at the risk of being labeled a broken record, I would like to bring them up again.

in the rural regions of Spain that were anarchist, each community decided how to organize itself.  they generally held their land collectively, but didn't force anybody into that scheme.  some communities established what might be called a government, but everybody rotated through it.  there wasn't any authority vested in these councils so there was no coercion, they were more about coordinating community activities and getting supplies to soldiers (there was a war going on).  some communities didn't want to solve the many problems that money creates, so they just did away with it.  in these instances, folks took what they needed from collective supplies.  in instances of shortage, folks voluntarily rationed themselves.  each community did things a little differently and there are many amazing stories like this.  unfortunately, while the anarchists were very good at taking care of each other, they proved unequal to the fascist forces at killing, so communitarian anarchy was replaced by Franco's fascism (there were a lot of factors that contributed to the fascist victory that we don't need to go into here).

anarchist history, philosophy, and practice are not terribly well-known by the public at large.  or rather, they are terribly unknown, at least in my experience.  there are some pretty obvious reasons for this, but it's a shame.  I don't want this to be all about anarchists, but they provide at least a proof of concept: it has worked before and worked well and not just on a local scale.

widespread adoption of such ideas might seem unlikely, but continuing as we're doing now would pretty much require suspension of physical laws.

Antibubba: I haven't forgotten about you, but I've got some dinner to make.
 
Robert Ray
gardener
Posts: 1386
Location: Cascades of Oregon
21
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
And what was the method of exchange for products/goods between anarchist communities in pre Franco Spain?
There will always be a value attached to goods/food produced or labor that will require an agreeable exchange or trade, even in an anarchist realm. 
I see no problem with trading straw for apples but a trade has been made and if that isn't basic capitalism what is it?
 
tel jetson
steward
Posts: 3478
Location: woodland, washington
118
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

And what was the method of exchange for products/goods between anarchist communities in pre Franco Spain?



that depended on the particular communities and regions.  some didn't so much exchange as much as they just shared.  agricultural communities generally had a surplus of certain foods or wine so they gave away the excess, to other rural communities and to cities and soldiers.  in the cities and mining regions, things tended more toward syndicalism: laborers and tradespeople collectivized their workplaces.  they sent tools, clothes, medicine to rural areas in exchange for food.  so sometimes it resembled barter, sometimes it was closer to, well, I guess it was closer to really great.  there were councils of a sort set up, but they were more about exchanging information than governing.

I see no problem with trading straw for apples but a trade has been made and if that isn't basic capitalism what is it?



the difference is that capitalism involves the private ownership of the means of production, profit as the prime motivator of production, and wages as compensation for labor.  direct barter was certainly a precursor of capitalism, but it isn't a basic form of, nor does it necessarily lead to capitalism.  again, I want to stress that I am not proposing direct barter as a solution.

I also want to acknowledge that simply exporting the Spanish experience elsewhere isn't likely to be successful and I wouldn't advocate that either.  part of what made it work for the anarchists there was that local conditions informed how folks decided to operate.  I do, however, think their example all but proves that alternatives are possible and have worked very well.  even alternatives that we generally associate with obnoxious punk kids and unoriginal graffiti.  even alternatives that have so very little in common with the system we've inherited as to be nonsense at first glance.  they worked.  they only stopped working when other folks showed up with guns.

I don't know what the best alternatives are going to be, but I think we're a lot better off using models that worked as a jumping off point rather than staying the course with a model that has been pretty seriously fucking* things up since its inception.

late addition:
*a quick search tells me that I am, along with Kelda, only the second person to have used such coarse language on this here forum.  sincere apologies for any offense I've caused, but I'm pleased to be in such good company.
 
master steward
Posts: 28356
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
hugelkultur trees chicken wofati bee woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Coarse language isn't too bad.  I guess I like the idea that it isn't used too much.

I am reading some stuff in this thread that is making me a little uncomfortable - mostly along the lines of suggesting that somebody here might be less than perfect.

Frankly, I think I would be happy if this thread sorta petered out.

 
tel jetson
steward
Posts: 3478
Location: woodland, washington
118
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
let me be very clear about this: Paul Wheaton is a saint.

according to John A. Coleman (via wikipedia), saints are described by the following:
# 1. exemplary model;
# 2. extraordinary teacher;
# 3. wonder worker or source of benevolent power;
# 4. intercessor;
# 5. selfless, ascetic behavior; and
# 6. possessor of a special and revelatory relation to the holy.

those all seem to hit the mark in this instance, don't you think?  do note that "blameless" is not on the list.

but seriously, Paul, this website of yours (and your life in general, as far as I can tell) is going a long way toward spreading the good permaculture word and many other positive and unconventional ideas and you deserve the credit for that.  if I'm guilty of disagreeing on occasion (and I am, but only on occasion), it's in the spirit of sharing ideas, not because I think I know better than you or anyone else.

so can we keep the thread going?  pretty please?

and if I've guessed wrong about what was making you uncomfortable, well, color me embarrassed.
 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 28356
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
hugelkultur trees chicken wofati bee woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
After being buttered up that much, how can I say no!

I suppose if folks embrace this thread with a focus on never suggesting that anyone on this site is less than perfect, and qualifying their statements .... then the thread will probably be well within my comfort zone and I'll just step aside.

Sound good?

 
tel jetson
steward
Posts: 3478
Location: woodland, washington
118
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
that sounds just fine.  thanks, Paul.


what if, for example, I support my permaculture habit by charging folks large sums of money to stay on my farm for a few days?  in an honest accounting I've got to take into consideration where those folks earned the money to pay for their stay and how they traveled to my farm.



So if they are charging it to a credit card, they can't stay?  What if they are staying because they want to learn about permaculture practices?  Are they allowed to incur debt now, because their learning will lead to favorable practices later?



I wanted to point out that if my sustainable business is supported by someone else's unsustainable income, then it really doesn't earn the sustainable adjective.  credit cards don't really enter into it, except that they're part of the problem of exponential money growth.  I think the flip side of my argument is that in a transition to a saner world, spreading better ideas is possibly every bit as important as practicing those better ideas.  I think that's what you're getting at the the "debt now, practices later" question.  maybe the answer is that there's a place for both: the completely pure and sustainable operations to demonstrate that it's possible, and the more pragmatic but not entirely sustainable operations to entice fence-sitters and spread the word in the mean time.

Why is profit bad?  And in a true free market, you wouldn't be forced to buy at a rate that puts you at a disadvantage, unless item maker has a monopoly.  And in that case someone will come along to compete.



profit is bad because it's basically taking advantage of somebody.  now, I'm willing to admit the possibility of an instance where that isn't true, but I don't think I've seen it.  profit, as I understand it, is selling something for more resources than that something took to produce.  that strikes me as a swindle, but apart from that it strikes me as leading necessarily to exponential growth the same as compound interest does.  and, due to this particular planet being finite, exponential growth for very long is an impossibility.

but, supposing for a paragraph that profit doesn't lead to exponential growth, there's that other part of your paragraph: competition.  I'm a competitive person, whether it's board games or bicycle races.  competition is great fun and, if done right, it brings people together.  but when it's competition for livelihood and resources and even survival, losing is a rather more serious proposition and even winning loses a lot of its appeal.  I believe competition in that context is very damaging to our minds and our relationships with each other and our relationships with the land.
 
Robert Ray
gardener
Posts: 1386
Location: Cascades of Oregon
21
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Let's look at a meal comprised of the same ingredients. One cooked by someone who knows how to cook and from someone who doesn't. Same caloric value, one tastes good and one tastes.... like well Sh*t.
They both want to be paid the same amount. The good cook has so many customers she is working over time and has a huge clientele.
The good cook could reduce the quality and not work as hard. Does the good cook deserve better pay than the bad cook? Where would you eat?

What value do you place on knowledge or ability?
 
tel jetson
steward
Posts: 3478
Location: woodland, washington
118
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

What value do you place on knowledge or ability?



I would place a lot of value on knowledge and ability, but I don't think the only or best way to acknowledge that value is with money.  right here and now they both want to be paid, but only because they both need the things money can buy.  if those things are available to them without money, then they don't have to compete anymore.  instead, they can cooperate: share recipes and techniques, divide labor, tell jokes and get drunk together on co-op wine.  less stress, more efficiency, better food, more friends instead of competitors.
 
Daniel Zimmermann
Posts: 122
Location: Sacramento
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Robert Ray said:

Let's look at a meal comprised of the same ingredients. One cooked by someone who knows how to cook and from someone who doesn't. Same caloric value, one tastes good and one tastes.... like well Sh*t.
They both want to be paid the same amount. The good cook has so many customers she is working over time and has a huge clientele.
The good cook could reduce the quality and not work as hard. Does the good cook deserve better pay than the bad cook? Where would you eat?

What value do you place on knowledge or ability?



--
Tel said:

I would place a lot of value on knowledge and ability, but I don't think the only or best way to acknowledge that value is with money.  right here and now they both want to be paid, but only because they both need the things money can buy.  if those things are available to them without money, then they don't have to compete anymore.  instead, they can cooperate: share recipes and techniques, divide labor, tell jokes and get drunk together on co-op wine.  less stress, more efficiency, better food, more friends instead of competitors.



But in most of the socialist models already attempted (USSR, for example), there was no incentive for the poor cook to better himself, because his job was guaranteed.  Likewise, there was no incentive for the good cook to make the extra effort, since there was no chance of a bonus.  Yes, simply knowing one did one's best should be enough, but very few people in any system practice that.

How do you take out the inequality of an "exchange of time equivalent" (currency, etc) while still providing the incentive to improve?

 
Posts: 96
Location: Chapel Hill, NC
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

tel wrote:
I would place a lot of value on knowledge and ability, but I don't think the only or best way to acknowledge that value is with money.  right here and now they both want to be paid, but only because they both need the things money can buy.  if those things are available to them without money, then they don't have to compete anymore.  instead, they can cooperate: share recipes and techniques, divide labor, tell jokes and get drunk together on co-op wine.  less stress, more efficiency, better food, more friends instead of competitors.



What a breath of fresh air. I like that, Tel.

Great!
 
Daniel Zimmermann
Posts: 122
Location: Sacramento
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I like it too, but I'm also a realist.  I want to see a workable system for what Tel describes, but I haven't seen one, and don't see one.   The example of the pre-Franco anarchism is instructive because that system worked  only because of relative isolation.  They were vulnerable from outside.

Assuming that the necessary resources are present, the only way to sustain a closed system is through isolation.  It can be a physical isolation, or a cultural one (think Amish, or the Shakers).  This takes us back to discussing a viable permaculture as a closed system.  I need to point out that there are no closed systems.  Permaculture is cyclical, and ideally there is no imbalance between input and output, but there is no way to prevent material from exiting or entering that cycle.  All systems, as all life, is permeable.  Think of a cell.  Nutrients and wastes can cross the cell membrane, but the essential structure remains unchanged.  Shaker society was permeable, but the "closed" part of it was memetic--new ideas had a very difficult time crossing the membrane.  It is interesting to note that very little passed out of the Shaker cell too.  And we need to note there there are no more Shakers.  There are Amish, but their isolation has caused inbreeding, and an increasing number of their children are afflicted with genetic illnesses.  Without a more rapid transition across the membrane they will eventually perish.

For the sake of argument, we need to create a society that is as isolated as possible.  Let's call it O'Neill Colony One.  In a stable Solar orbit near Earth, it is a manmade, habitable "worldlet"; there are no (sizable) material inputs, and by necessity all wastes are recycled.  Since all systems in the universe are subject to entropy, we must allow the Colony to collect all the solar energy it can; but for the sake of argument that is the only input, and they always have enough.  The colony is several light-seconds from Earth, so there is a noticeable radio lag.  We can also state that because of solar radiation the only communications into or out of the Colony is through a central comm laser.

In this scenario, the Colony is closed by physical isolation, finite materials, and a controlled input of new ideas.  Tel, you can now set up your socioeconomic "Utopia".

Go!   
 
tel jetson
steward
Posts: 3478
Location: woodland, washington
118
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
you've given a lot to think about and respond to, Antibubba, but for now I just have time for this:

The example of the pre-Franco anarchism is instructive because that system worked  only because of relative isolation.  They were vulnerable from outside.



it's true that they were relatively isolated, but far from completely isolated.  they interacted with other communities around Spain and around Europe.  like-minded folks traveled to Spain to observe the anarchists in action.  anarchists left Spain to spread the word and seek military support.  isolation was largely due to blockades or closed borders.  and, of course, they were vulnerable from outside.  specifically, they were vulnerable to coercive violence.  they weren't vulnerable to energy flow from outside, they weren't vulnerable to ideas from outside, they weren't vulnerable to trade from outside.  all those things continued and were not threatening.  they were vulnerable to men with guns who fought only because other men with guns told them to.  those coordinating the fascist advance saw economic opportunity for themselves through further coercion should they succeed.  after their victory, the fascists plundered Spain and kept the spoils.

as far as I can tell, the only insoluble problem the anarchists had was that somebody else wanted to dominate them and was willing and able to kill them to achieve that end.  that doesn't strike me as an issue with their model so much as an issue with the fascist model and maybe that of the other bodies that supported or did nothing to stop the fascists.

I like it too, but I'm also a realist.



I consider myself a realist, too.  realism for me involves clearly and honestly evaluating the destruction caused when competition and financial gain are prime motivators.  that's a big and unpleasant task that I haven't fully succeeded at, but I've seen enough to conclude that I'm morally obligated to fight for something better.
 
Robert Ray
gardener
Posts: 1386
Location: Cascades of Oregon
21
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
What could one claim as their own in your anarchist realm? Is it anarchy to the degree that one is responsible only to themselves or a more gentile anarchy where there are some responsibilities for the group?
Your vision is noble and though I like the idea of a "The Gods Must be Crazy" bushman society I just don't think it will ever be so surreal.
I'm afraid that the violence that will ensue following an economic collapse will be horrific.
Hungry people can do terrible things just because of their circumstance, turning them into producers of their own food is or will be a neccessity. Hopefully before they become hungry.
Of course there are degrees of anarchism as well as capatalism.
I would like to see a  more localized government with a face that has fiduciary and moral liabilities imposed if elected government officials fail to recognize the peoples wishes. Currently governments are held blameless while the citizens are restricted to a degree that is inequitable.
 
Daniel Zimmermann
Posts: 122
Location: Sacramento
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Tel said:

They were vulnerable to men with guns who fought only because other men with guns told them to.  those coordinating the fascist advance saw economic opportunity for themselves through further coercion should they succeed.  after their victory, the fascists plundered Spain and kept the spoils.

as far as I can tell, the only insoluble problem the anarchists had was that somebody else wanted to dominate them and was willing and able to kill them to achieve that end. 



But what I'm saying is, that's part of the problem to be addressed.  Violence from the outside doesn't fit the model; but the model is an approximation or ideal, and reality rarely matches ideals.  A cell must must provide antibodies. 

I would like to see a  more localized government with a face that has fiduciary and moral liabilities imposed if elected government officials fail to recognize the peoples wishes. Currently governments are held blameless while the citizens are restricted to a degree that is inequitable.



But like any other organized life form, one of the purposes of government is to sustain itself.  Very few organisms are content to maintain the status quo; it is too difficult to avoid stagnation.  Therefore a government will seek to grow.

Let me bring up the kibbutz again.  Each was independent of the other, and provided for its own members.  But they also acknowledged the responsibility to provide for the defense of country, even if it might leave their own settlement vulnerable.  Israelis, until recently, shared a common history, and even a common mythos.  I don't say that in the falsehood sense, but as in a cohesive history that weaves factual events into the larger continuum of place, time, and  shared distinctiveness (the Old Testament).  Jews will often refer to themselves as "members of the tribe", and tribal identity is an important aspect of creating a self-contained community.  In order for there to be an "us", there must be a "them".  The Spanish anarchists must have had an "us" identity, or it wouldn't have lasted.

To create a "permaculture society", you will have to create a boundary between "us" and "them".  Once permaculture becomes the highly dominant paradigm, there might be a lessening of the division.  Still, for a long time that minority remaining outside will need to be filtered against, lest their memes penetrate and cause unwanted actions.  On the other hand, it is too easy for that division to become conflict.  I would prefer that people enter our Permaculture society by the desire to be part of it.  But remember, one of the truest purposes of government is self-perpetuation.  Remember what government is: a voluntary consent to the imposition of force for the greater good.  Laws must be followed, and there must be a consequence for flouting them, or it is essentially powerless.

The most basic conundrum:  How do you balance person freedom with authority?

 
Robert Ray
gardener
Posts: 1386
Location: Cascades of Oregon
21
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
How does one keep government from growing?
I don't think that the purpose of government is self perpetuation though it seems that way currently.
I think that the Bill of Rights was an attempt to seperate ones personal liberties with government. What freedoms would you see as being still valid from the Bill of Rights and would there be more added to create a better set?
 
tel jetson
steward
Posts: 3478
Location: woodland, washington
118
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

In order for there to be an "us", there must be a "them".



I just hate this sort of adversarial approach.  it doesn't have to be us and them.  that seems to be defining myself in terms of what I'm not, and I don't want any part of that.  I think your post deserves a better and more complete response than this, but that one little piece of it really strikes a nerve for me.
 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 28356
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
hugelkultur trees chicken wofati bee woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
(tangent)

I remember hearing a long time about about how the use of the word "but" negates everything you just said.  I know that it is not absolutely true, but there is a little truth to it. 

"You're a really smart person, but ..."

"I really like you, but ...."

"I respect you, but ..."

I wonder what it means if somebody says something and then you start your response with the word "But" ??

(/tangent)
 
Daniel Zimmermann
Posts: 122
Location: Sacramento
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
However...

Better? 
 
Robert Ray
gardener
Posts: 1386
Location: Cascades of Oregon
21
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Sometimes you need to use a well placed "but" or "however" there is a need for clarification/warning/seperation.

There are some great places to explore New York night life, but there are some places that are not so nice.
It hasn't negated my assertion that there are some great places but warns that not all places are nice.

There are other permaculture forums but this is the best.
Let's face it there are other forums but your thread wondering about site hits seems to indicate that "but" is important.

Paul, do you think that there is a seperation currently between permies and other groups? Ones yet to be enlightened?
If one needs to be convinvced that there is a better way or aren't convinced that sustainability is important are they an adversary?
Is a student an adversary to a teacher? Just because they don't know doesn't necessarily make them an adversary "but" it would seperate us (teachers) from them (students).
 
Robert Ray
gardener
Posts: 1386
Location: Cascades of Oregon
21
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
That's funny our however posts almost at the same time.
 
Lf London
Posts: 96
Location: Chapel Hill, NC
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Antibubba wrote:
For the sake of argument, we need to create a society that is as isolated as possible.  Let's call it O'Neill Colony One.  In a stable Solar orbit near Earth, it is a manmade, habitable "worldlet"; there are no (sizable) material inputs, and by necessity all wastes are recycled.  Since all systems in the universe are subject to entropy, we must allow the Colony to collect all the solar energy it can; but for the sake of argument that is the only input, and they always have enough.  The colony is several light-seconds from Earth, so there is a noticeable radio lag.  We can also state that because of solar radiation the only communications into or out of the Colony is through a central comm laser.

In this scenario, the Colony is closed by physical isolation, finite materials, and a controlled input of new ideas.  Tel, you can now set up your socioeconomic "Utopia".

Go!   



Antibubba:

You will probably really enjoy this website, blog and mailing list. I found out about it during a chat with several machinists and a significant Luf contributor and ideas man; fascinating, I have found nothing else like it on the Web:

The Living Universe Foundation
http://www.luf.org/
The Foundation's main activity can now be found on the Yahoo Group luf-team.

luf-team · Living Universe Foundation
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/luf-team/
Description
Looking for The Millennial Project: Colonizing the Galaxy in Eight Easy Steps by Marshal Savage?
You found us!
Pull up a chair, pour the beverage of your choice, and say a few words or check out msg 8863 to learn more.
List is currently moderated due to spammers, bots, freakers, and cracks who do not play nicely in our sandbox. Please pardon any lag in message delivery.
Also active:
    * luf-admin
    * luf-phoenix
    * luf-website


And their blog:
http://theluf.blogspot.com/
LUF Blog

We want to save the Earth's biosphere, settle the oceans and space, end hunger and poverty, utilize alternative sources of energy, bring about a better democracy and economy to the world, and generally provide a standard of living and quality of life far beyond anything mankind has ever experienced.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009
LUF Revival
If you haven't checked in on LUF-Team for a while, you might like to know that a revival of activity is underway.

For the past few months activity has focused on :

    * Re-establishing the LUF as a corporate entity,
    * Completing and adding media to TMP2,
    * Developing a new website to organize knowledge and members, and
    * Determining the steps needed to establish the Foundation Phase of TMP.

This could be considered a reboot. We are basically starting from scratch with the new TMP2, some old timers as well as some new blood and trying to make a different kind of organization. Come check it out!

Labels: LUF, reboot

posted by Jamal Wills at 2:11 AM 0 comments
 
Daniel Zimmermann
Posts: 122
Location: Sacramento
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Sure, another site to erode away my precious time! 



No, I was using an O'Neill simply for the purposes of setting up a hypothetical closed permaculture.
 
Lf London
Posts: 96
Location: Chapel Hill, NC
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Antibubba wrote:
Sure, another site to erode away my precious time!   



No, I was using an O'Neill simply for the purposes of setting up a hypothetical closed permaculture.



That's what those fascinating web resources are for, use up your time, make you forget the world,
or politics at least.

Back to the topic at hand. "Closed systems" are also about closed or single-minded purpose as regards
the reason for forming a community.  You have needs to meet and these, as a purpose for people banding together, transcend political, religious, cultural, societal barriers. You need shelter, food, healthcare, heat, security, to go back to basics, embellishments come later. Alan Chadwick once said about gardening:
"We need to create the beauty and the quality  first. The quantity will follow."
It has been said that the healthiest diet is the simplest one, food combinations of minimal complexity. Same for survival.
The Shakers, Anabaptists, Mennonites and Amish have offered so much to learn and benefit from. Granted, they need to add flexibility in order to survive.
Onward, more later.
LL
 
Daniel Zimmermann
Posts: 122
Location: Sacramento
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
LF, I followed the link, and it's a heavily moderated group--I can't look at any of the info on it without being approved for membership, which I won't blindly apply for.
 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 28356
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
hugelkultur trees chicken wofati bee woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Robert Ray wrote:

Paul, do you think that there is a seperation currently between permies and other groups? Ones yet to be enlightened?



Soitenly.

At the last washington state permaculture convergence, doug bullock called them "muggles".

Have you seen my thread on the "wheaton eco scale"?

Robert Ray wrote:
If one needs to be convinvced that there is a better way or aren't convinced that sustainability is important are they an adversary?
Is a student an adversary to a teacher? Just because they don't know doesn't necessarily make them an adversary "but" it would seperate us (teachers) from them (students).



I think this was the #1 thing I learned at my PDC.    People there had no protesting left in them.  They were there because they needed to make a difference in the world by nurturing instead of fighting. 

I think that one can be pretty permaculture savvy and feel adversarial with those that are not.  I think that would be unfortunate.

 
Robert Ray
gardener
Posts: 1386
Location: Cascades of Oregon
21
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I guess that was what I was trying to point out. Just because we identify permies (us) and (muggles/them) those not convinced shouldn't be a bone of contention. 
I find it easy to get one thinking about permaculture advantages and until they are convinced of its merit there will always be an us and them. Talking louder doesn't make an argument true, you have to be able to quietly present a viewable reason to have one change or think about changing.
Positive vibes and dialogue go much farther than being thin skinned about an obvious division of "us and them" it actually exists and I want to see there be more of us and less of them to convert.
 
tel jetson
steward
Posts: 3478
Location: woodland, washington
118
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
my gut reaction to defining an us/them doesn't really apply to a teacher/student scenario unless one party chooses to be adversarial.  I think that's a really fine distinction, especially in the best learning environments.  it doesn't really involve defining an ingroup and an outgroup, it's just folks playing different roles that they are better suited to at that time.  that, to me, is not an us/them sort of situation.

as far as the enlightened permaculture vanguard and the ignorant rabble, well, I don't think it behooves us to think in terms like that.  paternalism generally doesn't work out well in the end.  even calling them something silly, like muggles, is setting us up to look down on them.  I don't really think calling folks muggles is going to ruin things for anybody, I just think it can be useful to examine our patterns of thought.

I guess I also get uncomfortable with talk of conversion.  chalk it up to bad experiences with religion and consequent study of religious history.  it's tough, because I obviously think these are some great ideas that could do a lot of people good and I would absolutely want more people to embrace them, but in my experience, conversations that involve conversion as a goal generally suck.  they leave one or several parties feeling like they've been beating heads against walls.

Robert Ray and paul wheaton, your point is well-taken: it is possible to define groups without setting them up in opposition to each other.  I still believe that defining an ingroup and outgroup increases the risk of conflict, but it maybe doesn't make conflict inevitable.
 
Daniel Zimmermann
Posts: 122
Location: Sacramento
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
There is no them--they're are just those of us who don't know they're with us yet. 

The only real "Thems" are the biggest players; the transnationals and the governments, which are incapable of thinking small or sustainable.
 
Posts: 71
Location: the state of jefferson - zone 7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Last night I watched Michael Moore's new film "Capitalism, A Love Story".  I think it was his best film yet.  He makes an argument that I find myself making often in my little world.  That capitalism as a structure, has an inherent value-base and will always tend towards inequality.  Of course, my capitalist/libertarian Brother most certainly disagrees.

In this thread the bill of rights was mentioned, and I was delighted to see the video of Roosevelt's state of the union address a year or so before he died, advocating a new bill of rights, guaranteeing a useful job and adequate housing for every family.

I would like to suggest that economics is a major aspect of permaculture theory and design.  How we hold and exchange property, decide what's to be created and by whom, is fundamental to our culture, and therefore our permaculture.  I would suggest that it deserves it's own forum!

I've really enjoyed this thread, the posts of both those I agree with and those I don't!

Love and Light,
Joshua
 
Robert Ray
gardener
Posts: 1386
Location: Cascades of Oregon
21
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Guaranteeing a job and housing shouldn't be a right though I think everyone deserves both if they work.
What I consistently see is non performers wanting what others have worked for.
To me permaculture requires one to be engaged and be involved in the creation or process of preventing us from hitting that tipping point.
I don't have a problem with sharing or helping someone in a difficult position but to carry someone who fails to participate should not be in a permaculture description. 
If a plant or field fails to produce a plant is eliminated from a productive bed, in a field adjustments are made to help it produce.
What  do you think is required or expected of a member of a permaculture society?
What would happen to a non-performer?
 
Daniel Zimmermann
Posts: 122
Location: Sacramento
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Joshua Chambers wrote: That capitalism as a structure, has an inherent value-base and will always tend towards inequality.  Of course, my capitalist/libertarian Brother most certainly disagrees.



As a libertarian I agree that capitalism leads to inequality.  Capitalism is an economic system only, not a governmental one.  A liberty-based system cannot and will not guarantee equality; the purpose of liberty is that "all men are created equal.  Ideally, everyone has the same chances to gain success.

In practice though, the economic systems that attempt to engineer equality have failed miserably, because 1) there is always a "class" or "party" which legislates itself greater privileges, and 2) because ambition is punished.
 
Robert Ray
gardener
Posts: 1386
Location: Cascades of Oregon
21
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Good grief, anything I have within reach is value based. If I'm hungry the apple next to my keyboard has more value at that point than the pencil I will use to draw my garden plot out once I finish it.
My wife happens to like burly, bald, blue eyed guys and I have at least an intrinsic value for being bald, blue eyed, and burly to her.
Capitalism is a trade and as long as everyone is satisfied with the trade then no harm no foul.
Once capitalism is used in an unfair trade or as corrupt leverage then the concept becomes polluted.
Affordable housing is a concept that should be embraced. Sensible construction of dwellings that require green sustainable concepts.
Control on what we personally truly require has to be instilled in our purchases. Desire and envy screw up all economic and government models. Until we realize that we have a finite world we will continue to live with an infinite desire of aquiring stuff.
Local businesses being considered as vested partners in a community and given favorable tax incentives rather than encouraging businesses to come from outside who will have no reason to stay when times get tough, receiving tax relief.
I have defined Permaculture as a food sufficiency concept, and wrongly so I guess, it probably should be looked at much broader than my small initial vision.
 
Daniel Zimmermann
Posts: 122
Location: Sacramento
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

  have defined Permaculture as a food sufficiency concept, and wrongly so I guess, it probably should be looked at much broader than my small initial vision.



No, "permaculture" is a very good word for the cyclical food system.  Economics and governance are completely different.  Permaculture, at best, is a microeconomic choice, and no government is involved.  We're discussing a hypothetical which we can't yet name because there's nothing remotely like it available.
 
tel jetson
steward
Posts: 3478
Location: woodland, washington
118
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
just want to plug Petr Kropotkin's Mutual Aid, as it is currently blowing my mind.
 
Daniel Zimmermann
Posts: 122
Location: Sacramento
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
tel, it sounds like this one might be even better, as far as this thread goes:

http://www.amazon.com/Conquest-Bread-P-Kropotkin/dp/0548186073/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1268181003&sr=8-4
 
tel jetson
steward
Posts: 3478
Location: woodland, washington
118
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I've had trouble tracking any Kropotkin books down.  finally talked my best gal into checking Mutual Aid out from the university library.

what I like so much about Mutual Aid is that it's entirely made up of actual examples of effective cooperation, and cooperation that is not imposed by any authority but still manages to achieve substantial levels of complexity.  the use of words like "savages" is a little off-putting, but I'm entirely comfortable chalking that up to translation and the conventions of the time as Kropotkin is clearly very respectful of every group he describes.

I think I'll like The Conquest of Bread, too, but for different reasons.  visions of what could be are great, but it's easy to get carried away.  and I have to be honest: I'm interested in convincing skeptics, and I don't think a grand vision is going to be as effective as concrete examples of real success.
 
                          
Posts: 94
Location: Colorado
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
yes I know I am late to the party here,

capitalism needs a definition, from the basic discussion I see the economic side of capitalism being discussed, with the emphasis on the greed side of things, (sad but in many ways a truth, (marketing 101, what will the market bear),

but there is the personal side of capitalism, and that is freedom,  the freedom of being to use your mind and talents and possessions to better your self and your family,

with out this personal side of Capitalism there would be little Permaculture even being tried, as one would not have the freedom of exploration of what YOU think is the better way,

yes Capitalism need a moral base to work properly, as with out you try to regulate the excess of or the abuses of the potential of the system on those who are in the system,
and the end result of the regulatory system is a socialistic system of controls and limits.

but my guess is with the capitalism system that is in place in most of the free world, one would not even know what Permaculture is, as you would have been told how to do to the governments desires,  one of the major things many fight in Permaculture is the influence of the communal rules and regulations as they exist, building codes zoning laws and rules,  the selling of farm raised and processed produce and products,

profit in the system is necessary as if there is no profit from your produce or labor then you will never have any thing for improving your self,

As profit is usually defined as extra after the expenses and the costs are payed,

if all the system has to offer is just the survival of your situation what means do you have to better your self,

example say you sell goat milk to a customer, and you only charge for the cost of the feed, and a estimated cost of the fencing over 20 years, and so on,  when do you have money to add more goats to your herd, or to buy that great buck the neighbor has, to improve the future of your herd,  or that automatic milker.
 
where is that money coming from if profit is not in the system,  or you may not want to use it on the enterprise it self but on a kids birthday present, or a music system,  the profit in the system is what many times gives one the drive to do better, to do better and be more efficient,
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://stoves2.com
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!