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the third ethic  RSS feed

 
pollinator
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Money earned to pay taxes isn't a "profit" per se, as I understand the word.  Taxes are an expense.  Profit is earning above expenses, that is, profit is "surplus." 
 
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This topic is interesting to me because I had no clue what was driving it. I've always known the 3rd ethic as "reinvest the surplus" which has an entirely different meaning than "share the surplus". After reading the entire thread and seeing "share the surplus", now I get what the hubbub is all about.
 
gardener
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I'm not a religious guy but it is easier for me to think of taxes as tythe, for the good of others, if only they were used that way.
 
pollinator
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Paul and Jocelyn talk about "greed" in this podcast: http://www.richsoil.com/permaculture/455-podcast-085-greed/

They discuss the 3rd ethic.
 
gardener
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  Today is the first time I've really taken the time to go over these ethics in any detail. Right away It's obvious that #3 is open to some interpretation and that it's the one most likely to become politicised and twisted to the desires of whomever brings it up.

    To me, only the nuts and bolts are important.  How can I maximize yeilds and profit while preserving the environment. This is a biggie and for me it trumps the others by a factor of at least 10. 

   I may never live long enough to get too deep into #2 or #3.  And If I'm not standing there shooting my mouth off about how people should or should not behave there would be no way someone inspecting the farm could possibly guess at my politics or my committment to any ideology.

    This dosen't make me a bad guy. It just means that I don't rank at the top of that scale that Paul so handily invented. I'm a work in progress,a mere mortal.

    I'm more likely to copy and adapt something I've seen on youtube than to get it from a permabible.Any good info. works for me and I don't care if it came from Mollinson or Porky Pig.

   If I know that what I'm doing makes sense environmentally, it would take a personal visit from Paul,Mollinson,Jesus, Ghandi and that nice Australian guy on youtube to convince me to waver and put more time into #3.  Even then I'd only agree to considder it, just to shut them up.
 
Tyler Ludens
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I had never heard of the third ethic as "share the surplus" until I came to these forums. I was familiar with the wording in the Designers Manual. 



 
Dale Hodgins
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   Here's a useful tool to use in financial debates.

    If I'm looking for a mechanic,I want him to be at least an average mechanic.
   
    If I'm looking for a dentist,I want him to be at least an average dentist.
   
    If I'm looking for a welder,I want him to be at least an average welder.
 
    And, If I'm looking for a plumber,I want him to be at least an average plumber.

    All of these things are true for me since I've had poor results when dealing with screw ups.  And the same line of thinking holds true if I'm looking at taking advice.  If I need financial advise, I want it only from those who have done far better than average!

   When someone starts going off about the third ethic they're effectively offering unsolicited financial advice. For what they say to have any merrit, I would need to know that I'm speaking with someone who has beaten the average in their own financial life.

    The internet is full of net worth tables for various countries and for various age groups.  After checking out several It appears that the average 50 yr. old American has around $100,000  .I was astounded by this and thought it would be much higher. I handed my only asset to my ex-wife a few years back and have had ups and downs financially but am still far ahead of this figure. And I live in my van!

   For me to considder someone my age (47) financially successful and worthy of distributing financial advice, I'd want them to have at least a million and would prefer that they have ten million.

    Only a very small number of redistribution advocates whom I've met come close to measuring up on the "DALE'S  SUCCESS  SCALE." Paul does it---now I've done it. So there.      The rest simply advocate a state of affairs that would benefit themselves.Their activism is not altruistic. It's self serving.

    I'm not sitting in judgement of their life choices. Simply stating that financil matters aren't really their thing.

      I don't know where I heard this or the exact wording but I like it.

    "Success is just a matter of luck,just ask any failure and they'll tell you as much"

   What are you planning to do with those feathers?  And why is she boiling that cauldron of tar?                                                                                                                                                                          Thank you: Dale Hodgins
 
Tyler Ludens
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I just don't see where "redistribution" comes into permaculture at all.  I don't see "redistribution" in the third ethic as stated by Bill Mollison.  There's nothing about money or finances in the third ethic as stated by Bill Mollison.



 
steward
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While the concept of Permaculture is well developed, I can not subscribe to every aspect of it's ideals.  Telling me that I must perform in some prescribed manner goes against my grain.  No, thats not strong enough...try...fills me with seething rage.

They: 'This is how you do it.'
Me: 'That's not how I do it.'
They: 'Well then you are doing it wrong.'
Me: <expletive removed for the sake of decorum>

I will do things MY way, thank you very much.  Blindly following someone else's rules is not consistent with the spirit of independence and self-sufficiency which I see posted by folks throughout these forums.  If you have a big heart and wish to share your success, I think that's great.  Good for you.  How I share my success I will determine.

Without mentioning that which can not be m3ntion3d, I think I have made my position clear.

 
steward
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The "redistribution" aspect is an "Urban Myth" as far as I know.  I have only heard it uttered by those who do not have a food forest, and are unlikely to create one.

 
steward
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I've got a food forest.  it's getting better all the time.  and though I'm a man of means by no means, I'm far from destitute.  maybe more important than those things, as far as I'm concerned: I'm happy.  I enjoy my life an awful lot.  I'm also, believe it or not, an enthusiast of generous sharing.

but I'm definitely on board with Ken Peavey, too.  I don't like being told what to do, and I don't like telling other folks what to do.  so while I find suggestions along the lines of "anybody who is in favor of more sharing is a lazy goodfernuthing" misguided at best, I'm not interested in forcing anyone to adopt my approach to life.  it works for me.  and not because I think it's an integral part of "permaculture", but because I've found it to be an integral part of living a full life in a meaningful community and having the sort of relationships I enjoy with people and the land that supports me.  I'm really not interested in dogma, whether it was invented by Maestro Mollison or somebody else putting words in old Bill's mouth.
 
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I've been thinking about this a bit lately, and (as far as I'm concerned) I think the third ethic is redundant. If you're caring for the environment and people, then however you interpret the third ethic is covered. If you think it's about redistribution or sharing, then that's caring for people. If you think it's about taking a fair share, then that's caring for both environment and future people.

Whoops, forgot to finish my train of thought before I pressed 'Submit'

My ultimate goal would be to have my farm set up to supply my needs, and enough of an example of how good Permaculture can work that I could inspire (it maybe even teach) others to follow the same path. I think that would probably fit in with some interpretations of the third ethic, but if I didn't feel inspired to do that stuff, I don't believe that would make my achievement any less Permaculturey.
 
Dale Hodgins
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John Polk wrote:
The "redistribution" aspect is an "Urban Myth" as far as I know.  I have only heard it uttered by those who do not have a food forest, and are unlikely to create one.


John, do you mind if I start manufacturing brass plates with that written on them ? 
 
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I'm interested to know what Paul would do with a billion dollars.

I can't really imagine Paul spending a billion dollars on anything bad actually.  In fact, I'm pretty sure anything he would spend it on would involve either (1) caring for the earth or (2) caring for others.... which is in effect (3) redistributing the surplus, as Phil points out.

Maybe you just resent the idea of being told what to do, Paul?
 
Tyler Ludens
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Phil H wrote:

My ultimate goal would be to have my farm set up to supply my needs, and enough of an example of how good Permaculture can work that I could inspire (it maybe even teach) others to follow the same path.



I hope and work toward that as well, plus I would love to be producing such a huge surplus of everything I could give it away to anyone who wants some. 

 
Phil Hawkins
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H Ludi Tyler wrote:
I hope and work toward that as well, plus I would love to be producing such a huge surplus of everything I could give it away to anyone who wants some. 



I think for me it's about scalability. If I really knew what I was doing (based on 5000 calories per acre, the rough figure that Paul is using of late courtesy of that slug moat guy Norris) I could feed maybe 100 people from my own land. I doubt that I would be able to actually harvest that amount and maintain the land though - there just wouldn't be enough hours in the day. I think through teaching and inspiration, I could 'generate' a lot more calories from a fixed amount of work.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Oh my dreams are far beyond my abilities - I'm not even able to grow much of my own food yet! 
 
Phil Hawkins
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Phil H wrote:
I've been thinking about this a bit lately, and (as far as I'm concerned) I think the third ethic is redundant..



Validation! Paul's "symbiculture" sounds a lot like my view of Permaculture less the third ethic. Whilst listening to the podcast, I thought I like the sound of "perm ag" to describe what I want to do. That way I can qualify what I'm doing to people that know what permaculture is all about by saying "I'm just doing the agriculture bit". Other people I can say that I'm doing "permanent agriculture", and explain hoIw it doesn't involve non-renewable resources, and thus can be permanent.

So just as Paul taught Sepp how to do raised beds, I taught Paul about symbiculture. And you thought he had a monopoly on doofusness
 
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Personally I enjoyed the podcast.  You made lots of good points on a number of issues.  I would think that everyone has differing views about aspects of permaculture.  The economic issue is particularly important.  Those that advocate taking what is produced by someone else without permission are promoting thievery.  My opinion anyway.

I found myself in a conversation with you Paul.  You had enough pauses that it was actually possible to make comments aloud here at my desk as though we were having a real face to face discussion.  Your responses were of course missing hahahahaha.

I found your descriptions of an intended community interesting too. 

I guess my point is that if I were to produce more food than I need I would find a method of marketing it that was efficient and hopefully would cover much more than expenses.  I feel that it is possible using a forest farming model too even on a very small scale.  Skeeter has been proving that it is possible. 

I got to thinking about the "third ethic" and wondered if that encompasses personal philosophy.  I also thought of One Straw Revolution when you were commenting on the "hey man if you have extra you have to give it away or it's not permaculture."  I suppose Fukuoka gave his excess away hahahahahaha.  Those people need to get a life. 

There is no doubt that you and I have differing views on some areas of permaculture but this topic surely isn't one of them. 
 
Suzy Bean
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Paul and Kelda talk about permaculture ethics, social justice, and the bigger picture in this podcast: podcast
 
steward
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John Polk wrote:To be sustainable, a farm must be profitable.  Otherwise, eventually either the mortgage lender, or the tax man will take it over.



One of the things that is cool in Costa Rica is that people generally don't have a mortgage, and they can't take your property away for failure to pay taxes. The taxes are incredibly low on farm property too. With all the land, houses, etc we have roughly 900 acres, our total tax is about 1,000 dollars a year, USD.

So, I guess you don't have to worry about the lender or the taxman here... For the record, I don't have a lender, and we pay our taxes.
 
gardener
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ya yer a selfish bastid, bloody giant, pie eating, over all wearing, forum running, movie posting,,,,, umm what where we talking about? Oh ya Ethics un ethical, moral bastid. how do you like that? pppppbbbbbttttt.

in other words Keep it up dude your empire is growing.
 
Phil Hawkins
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Found this quote regarding the third ethic on David Holmgren's site

David Holmgren's site wrote:We need to focus on what is appropriate for us to do, rather than what others should do. By finding the right balance in our own lives we provide positive examples for others, so that they can find their own balance.



So the next time some thieving prick tells you you need to be sharing your surplus, you can pretty much tell them to fuck off and get their own surplus to share.
 
Fred Morgan
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I tend to barter, I will share more of value to someone who will share with me. I will share nothing, normally, with those who have nothing, because usually they are merely takers.

An example, if I have some fallow land and there is someone who wants to work it, they may supply labor, and I will supply the land, perhaps equipment, perhaps even seed, and then share in the harvest. What I contribute is more than they do - but they are doing what they can, so I will meet them more than half way.

I find this works really well. But if I start giving anything for free, pretty soon all the beggars know it, and won't leave me alone. Make them work, and they run away like cockroaches. When I was in the USA I used to stop and offer work to those who had signs "will work for food". This was during a time when the economy was good, not now. I never had a single one take me up on it, they would almost always say something to the effect that it would be easier if I just gave them money. >

 
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When the occupy wall street crowd were talking about personal property of the yuppies compared to the poorer occupiers I had to laugh because they always declared the level of private property not for the masses barely above their own level of possessions.
 
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Yesterday morning I was sitting in a coffee shop far, far away and then got the heads up that an old "third ethic" thread had been revived. I had been off-line for a couple of days - so I had some catching up to do.

I've mentioned before that I want these forums to not talk about politics, religion or the third ethic. My stance on the third ethic is known well enough that when I pop over to other sites, people will make snide remarks. Snide remarks are acceptable on other sites.

So! An old third ethic thread comes back to life. And there are three important things:

1) I have an uneasy feeling that the thread is going to turn into a flamewar. Because the topic is flamewar bait.

2) There is a lot of stuff in the thread that is pretty mild, but not too bad. Of course these are things that are outside of my comfort zone, and it makes me think that latter posts will be slighty hotter, then get hotter still, then even hotter .... and when the thread gets really awful ... well ... good moderation should happen long before it gets there. So I'm gonna moderate early. And people are, of course, gonna be sore about it.

3) There was some really excellent new information mixed in there. I don't wanna edit posts. And I wanna capture the good info.

So here is what I'm doing: that thread is gone, but I will attempt to add my feeble reader's digest summary of the good bits here.

////////////////////////////////////////////////

Jack Spirko talks about how "fair share" has not been a third ethic from the official sources

Geoff Lawton put it this way, "just because it rhymes doesn't make it true". He said this DIRECTLY TO ME! He also stated, "I will decide who I share my surplus with".

Now it is true that in Permaculture One we see, the third ethic as,

"Return of surplus" (IT NEVER SAYS FAIR SHARE)

And in the design manual it says,

"Limiting population and resource consumption"



---

Isaac Hill then expresses that "fair share" has been embraced by a lot of people and while that might not be an official thing, he believes that it does have value.

---

Dale Hodgins asks Jack to make a podcast to really get to the root of this issue without the limitations of this forum.

---

wayne stephen supports my philosophies on the third ethic and expressed how overpopulation has been a doomsday issue ever since he was a kid.

---

Tyler Ludens:

"3. Setting limits to population and consumption: By governing our own needs, we can set resources aside to further the above principles."

reference: Chapter 1 "Permaculture a designers manual" by Bill Mollison



----

Jack expresses concern over how different folks might have different ideas on what "fair" means.

Someone on this forum took a PDF of an authors book, and "shared it" even though the author wasn't cool with it. The guy that did it claimed it to be the third ethic in action. Really? Even though the author said no that is my property I will choose how to distribute it.

...

YOU CAN'T SHARE that which YOU DON'T OWN



As for why this riles me up? Simply put I don't think anything is more damaging to the permaculture movement then this on the fly rewrite of the ethic. Look guys the GUY THAT WROTE THE ETHICS and his number one student say it isn't "fair share", how simple is this?



----

(along the way there was some discussion of potlatch stuff and gift economy .... then stuff about disney portrayal of native american life vs. some war-like stuff)

(some people expressed they were offended)

----

Isaac:

permaculture is bigger than Mollison, Geoff or Holzer.




Isaac then asks about Geoff Lawton being Mollison's #1 student. What about David Holmgren?

----

Jack:

Sadly many in the movement (many who were taught it to be true by the guilty parties) just rewrote the third ethic and presented it as fact. You can't say it is bigger then Mollison then turn around and try to use his work to legitimize your claim.



Holmgren was basically Bill's research assistant and secrectary during the work that let to Permaculture One. After that he pretty much vanished from the world of Permaculture for almost 20 years. He is a switched on guy, has done some good work but this doesn't qualify him as being Molllison's #1 student.

Lawton took his PDC in 1983 which was taught by Mollison and began working heavily with Bill in 1985 and has ever since. That would be 27 years by the way. During that time they have done many projects together, taught many PDCs side by side and Mollison has mentored Lawton on countless projects. A few years ago Bill selected Lawton personally to take over things with the establishment of the current PRI and continues to work with Geoff on an ongoing basis and continues to teach several PDCs with Lawton each year even though he is officially retired.



----

Isaac:

Ok so I looked at one of my Holmgren books "The Essence of Permaculture" and there I found as the third ethic...... FAIR SHARE!!!



----

(there appears to be consensus that there is no standing trademark on the word "permaculture")

----

Tyler:

Quote by Geoff: "If you are teaching or operating a business under the name of permaculture but outside the ethics then you will be challenged by the movement and our supporters and even the British government has been challenge and made to change the definition of permaculture within the court of law. " http://permaculture.org.au/2010/01/12/peter-ellyar...alks-to-geoff-lawton/#comments



----

Jack:

I do think though if we are to teach the ethics as the ethics and draw from the clout the word and the movement has we should pay proper respect to the movements founder. Simply put with out Bill there would be no Permaculture as we know it today, without David, well, Bill would have had a different research assistant and there still would be a Permaculture movement. To be fair it would be different but not much different then it is today. David's contributions are real we do need to honor and respect that as well.

...

Yet again my point here is in teaching the following, "permaculture is based on 1 prime directive, 3 ethics and 12 principals we are in fact capitalizing on Bills authority when we do so. It isn't 2 directives, 4 ethics and 14 principals right? Why 1, 3 and 12?

So if we are to pull from the success of the founder are we not obligated to teach the founders pure principals and explain deviations and amendments as such? Again I don't object to fair share, I object to it being taught as THE third ethic without explaination as to

1. The founder never used the term fair share
2. The founder says fair share isn't really the third ethic
3. The founder says return not redistribute surplus
4. The concept of fair share can be use to explain the ethic but only if we see the ethics actual goals which are the creation of self replicating and sustainable systems, not the determination of another as to what your surplus, where it should go and how it should get there.

...

Where my surplus goes, how it gets there, when it gets distributed and who gets it should be my choice and yours should be your choice. It seems as though Issac agrees, well Issac, if those who are beating the fair share drum did as well, I wouldn't have any objections. Unfortunately I have many objections. Ironically before I met Paul I didn't even know some had twisted the third ethic in the first place. I never saw anything political in permaculture until some people changed it to make it so.




----

John Polk:

I think that this statement greatly diminishes Holmgren's role in the beginings of permaculture.

David gave a lecture on a permanent growing system that Mollison took great interest in. They met after the lecture and discussed many aspects of the system. They joined forces. David was the academic behind the idea - the brains. Bill was the speaker - the public person.

To pass Holmgren off as an "also ran" discredits the entire program. It was his teachings that inspired Mollison. Mollison is much more of a public person, therefore, he took the message to the world (and coined the word 'permaculture' along the way).

If we are going to downgrade Holmgren to 'Research Assistant', I am going to downgrade Mollison to 'Public Relations Man" in my eyes.



----

Jack:

say Holmgren was a "research student" to Mollison because it is what Holmgren says when he markets himself today so I believe David, it doesn't devalue him it states he is what he claims to be. Additionally he absolutely did disappear for all intents and purposes for 20 odd years after they published their first work.

...

To that end from David's own website,

"David Holmgren was the research student and co-originator with Bill Mollison, his research supervisor, of the permaculture concept."

...

One thing, the third ethic, nothing more.

Mollison says return

Holmgren says redistritube

I say this, the main goal of Permaculture is to create self sustaining and self replicating systems that do no harm to the earth or people.

I simply ask what makes a system more sustainable (purely from a mechanical stand point) returning or redistributing its surplus?




----

Tyler:

"Redistribute" seems to have huge political meaning, "return" does not. I'm wondering if "redistribute" might be a poor choice of word, selecting a word with huge political baggage, or if Holmgren chose that word very carefully and deliberately to include the baggage? Has he written about the meaning and intent of the ethics as he envisions them, as Mollison does in the Designers Manual?

...

Actually I have to say I'm not even familiar with the version of the 3rd ethic which uses the word "return." It is not stated that way in the Designer's Manual. It states by governing our own needs we can set resources aside to further the other two principles. Nothing about returning or redistributing, just setting aside, as in not personally using.



----

Jack:


It is "return of surplus" in Permaculture One, it is "setting limits" in the PDM, they both achieve the same end.

As for if David picked the word redistribute carefully, I say absolutely YES. He knew exactly what he was doing when he changed it. Why? Well if I go to the PRI or Targari I find almost nothing political at all, the entire Mollison focus is on solutions. When I go to Holmgren's site I get global warming, carbon tax, social justice and support for the Occupy Movement all on page one.

Holmgren has a desire to be political, Mollison has a desire to seek teaching politically independent solutions




----

(discussion about politics. Suggestions that all things are tied to politics, therefore it cannot be avoided.)

----

Wayne:

I am not well read enough to quote any Permaculture treatise. I do live in a farm community. I have a 20 acre homestead { I despise the term Hobby farm _ tying flies is a hobby} and wish it to supply part of my income so that I can spend more time here and with my family. That is a huge attractant to permaculture to me. The idea that I might have a system that builds on itself until there is little or no need for outside input and enough later to export. Also the diminishing need for labor input vs.that of annual cropping. If I were to achieve this and some local farmer took me seriously enough to consider doing what I was doing , I don't belive I would speak to him about third ethic or use the word surplus. I would want to tell them how much Profit I was turning . The reason I keep going back to the word profit is the theme in this thread about spreading Permaculture. It does'nt matter what you call it , it is still gain. We are allowed to do what we want with that , reinvest and expand or give away to freinds or the poor , or both. I have worked for non-profit hospitals . When they turn a profit they are required to reinvest that back into expanded services and infrastructure . But it is still a gain - even nonprofits don't call their gain a surplus. How are you going to convince a 5 generation farmer that grows 1500 hundred acres of wheat-corn-soy and is way over his head in debt and whose children do not want to keep farming to convert his land to a permaculture model ? Personally I understand the word surplus in biological terms , being a sustainable system that can export to other systems. Skeeters gardens look like they turn a profit - $ 900 for dandelions in his pathways is impressive. I wonder if his monoculture neighbors know how much profit can be made on 0.85 acres? Without a John Deere combine. It is what it is ! But if you want Permaculture to become more mainstream then sounding mainstream is important. Surplus = gain , increase , profit. The word surplus sounds like its extra , maybe you might have to store it somewhere or feed it to the pigs. Increase sounds like you might be able to plant another acre of fruit next year. Profit sounds like maybe your kids might be interested.



----

Jack:

Tyler Ludens wrote:The first paragraph of the Preface to the Designers Manual is pretty darn political!

I agree with you that politics may not help further permaculture, but I would argue that Mollison is a political person presenting a revolutionary political idea, a new way of designing human society.



I a sorry but I simply don't see it that way. Pointing to problems in a general format isn't political. Expecting that government use power and the money of others is. Further things are not really political when just about everyone agrees. Pointing to agreed upon problems isn't were politics begins, dividing people based on ideological solutions which require the cohered participation of others is.

I digress though and back to the original post. I slept on this and I thought about the two paragraphs in the PDM after the third ethic, likely many people have no idea what is says so here it is,

3 Setting Limits to Population and Consumption: - By governing our own needs, we can set resources aside to further the above principals (my edit - those are care of earth and care of people just for clarification.)

This ethic is a very simple statement of guidance, and serves well to illuminate everyday endeavors. It can be coupled to the determination to make our own way: to be neither employers nor employees, landlords nor tenants, but to be self reliant as individuals and to cooperate as groups.

For the sake of the earth itself, I evolved a philosophy as close to Taoism from my experiences with natural systems. As it was stated in Permaculture Two, it is a philosophy of working with rather than against nature; of protracted and thoughtful observation rather than protracted and thoughtless action; of looking at systems and people in all their functions, rather than asking only one yield of them; and of allowing systems to demonstrate thier own evolutions. A basic question that can be asked in two ways is:

What can I get from this land or person? or

What does this person or land have to give if I cooperate with them?"

Note to clarify the above - Many don't know Bill basically went postal and for about 5 years lived in the woods bush hippie style seeing the forest as a teacher and later in his own words stated, "I decided I could either stay in the forest and let the bastards roll over everything or come back and fight the bastards", so it is this time that was his major "experience with natural systems". I am very grateful he came back!

So in the above the person who let's be honest is the systems founder is telling us the third ethic is about cooperation with systems and at the same time it is based on the desire to be free, independent and self-reliant. See fair share doesn't do that for me, fair share can be taken two ways, neither of which will accomplish anything like the above.

1. Fair share - I get my fair share first (this is actually closer to the ethic, only take your fair share from any system)
2. Fair share - I am required to give some of my stuff to another so I can be seen as fair in the eyes of a third party

Flatly it seems this entire switch from the original ethic and the concept of redistribution vs return of surplus comes from David Holmgren. While he did work with Bill on Permacutlure One and I am sure was a huge part of it those that cling to this change never acknowledge the TWENTY YEARS the man simply vanished for. He then returned wearing his politics on is sleeve and just changed ethic three to be more in line with his personal politics.


I am sorry but I find David Holmgren no more an authority to change the original ethic then I am. Interesting claim? Well let's see if I can do it and do a better job of making it simple and emboding the above. The new Spirkoisc Permaculture ethics are, drum roll please,

1. Care of the earth
2. Care of people
3. Care of community

There you go, it isn't just more accurate it is more marketable and less of a turn off based on politics and it should make all the "sharing" people happy right? Sharing isn't my problem the judgement inherent of "fair" is. Trust me most people don't want fair they only think they do. If things were truly fair you would get what you were entitled to based on your own efforts. Society would create a way to help the truly disadvantaged (physical or mental) but any other able bodied person would be expected to get off their ass and work in a fair society and get to keep or not have what ever they did or did not earn with only a small contribution to the disadvantaged whom the able bodied greatly out number. I mean I am all for what is fair, I just think most people using the word are not. So like I said though that is the problem with fair share, as Tyler pointed out it is literally covered and coated with massive political baggage.

Now Care of Community, dare I say is well just so much better and very non political and applies equally to human, animal and plant communities. With care of community I must look at my land as a series of communities (guilds and guilds of guilds) and take care that I do not disrupt them but work with them. (sounds like what Bill is saying above to me) In dealing with humans I must be cooperative, take their existing village or city into account, respect their existing interactions. I have to deal with them fairly (there is the word that makes you so happy guys) but fair here means when we engage in commerce we trade items of like value, I must not exploit them.

Yep if David is qualified to fundamentally alter the ethic I dare say I am equally qualified to simply make it easier to remember and clarify it by making it easier to understand.

My Edit - Just so no one thinks I am bashing David I read Essence of Permaculture long ago and again yesterday. Other then the one word he changed (redistribute) I find it a wonderful piece of work with extreme teaching value.



---

Tyler:

Ok, I think we just have different definitions of the word "political." Not saying your definition is wrong and mine is right, just saying we have different meanings of the word. To me, how people govern themselves (or allow themselves to be governed) is political. The organization of societies is political. To me, a design system which presents a revolutionary way to organize human societies is political.

Mine is more like definition 5 here at Merriam Webster

"a : the total complex of relations between people living in society"

Yours seems to be more like definition 3

"a : political affairs or business; especially : competition between competing interest groups or individuals for power and leadership (as in a government)"

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/politics

When I understand your meaning of the word "political" it is easier for me to agree with you that Bill Mollison's design system permaculture is not political, because it does not refer to partisan solutions to problems.




----

Jack:

Tyler, do you realize the definition you are using is actually a good definition of permaculture.

"a : the total complex of relations between people living in society"

Let me add something and check this out,

"a : the total complex of relations between people living in society and living systems"

So in that respect I can't see how we get politics out of permaculture, but again that isn't what I mean, it isn't what most people mean at lest in my experience. I don't think most people see their congressmen as "working to better the total complex of relations between people living in society". I mean I sure wish they were but do you see them doing that?



----

Tyler:

To be absolutely clear, I do not personally think the 3rd ethic is about redistributing resources in any direction through any government action such as taxation. I think it is about our own personal behavior and our behavior as a society (the society of permaculturists).


 
paul wheaton
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So, yesterday I was pressed for time and couldn't even read all of the stuff posted. But I read enough to know that I should tuck it away and come back to it later.

A lot of really excellent and respectful info here. And there was some stuff that was hard for me to figure out what to do.

So this topic is still a topic for which I am super sensitive and am prepared to smack the delete button for a tiny spec of things going wonky.

I wish to re-iterate I am typically not comfortable with anybody:

-------- suggesting that anybody on permies.com is less than perfect

-------- bashing the crap out of somebody else's position

-------- stating "the truth" rather than their position

 
paul wheaton
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Here is Geoff Lawton covering the ethics as part of a PDC:



 
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Here is how I explain the Third Ethic when I teach it.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xIRGXSkAFms [/youtube]

I am pretty much done with this at this point. In my view if you want the third ethic to be "giving stuff away" that is fine as long as you don't attempt force others to do so or tell them they need to, etc.

I see Permaculture as an anarchist movement and cite Mollison's quote of,

"Permaculture is anti-political. There is no room for politicians or administrators or priests. And there are no laws either. The only ethics we obey are: care of the earth, care of people, and reinvestment in those ends."

You can see the citation for that here, http://www.scottlondon.com/interviews/mollison.html

So Paul how the hell do you post stuff so a youtube video is embedded.
 
Tyler Ludens
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jack spirko wrote:
I see Permaculture as an anarchist movement



So do I!

 
jack spirko
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paul wheaton wrote:

jack spirko wrote:

So Paul how the hell do you post stuff so a youtube video is embedded.




http://www.permies.com/t/12883/tinkering-site/embed-youtube-videos


(this message will self destruct in two days)



Thanks!

I also realized that the video proceeding that one may be useful as well,

 
paul wheaton
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I very much like where this has ended up.

"Fair share" is not part of the official permaculture thing. Although it is something that a lot of permaculture people seem to be keen on.

"return the surplus to the first two" sounds like the official 2012 third ethic.

I tried to have a phone conversation with Jack (on a really crappy cell connection) about this. In the end, Jack thinks that the ethics will do what they were designed to do: help guide folks that have errantly wandered down a bad path. I think that that could be true if you have Jack there standing next to you explaining his interpretation of the ethics. Or if you have Geoff or Bill standing with you. Or if you re-read what is in the big black book. Or maybe read a paper or two on the topic.

I still think that these three phrases won't help most people that have headed down an errant road.

In looking at just "care of the people" or "care of the earth" jack points out that somebody could say "that's just hippie talk" and the reponse is "so you say that you don't care?" and the universal response will be "oh yeah, I guess I do." My thinking is that if they already think that they care, then what good is bringing this ethic to bear? How did it help?

It still seems like the third ethic is something that is trouble bait. I hope someday to see it used to mend something. For now it is still just something that seems to be used as a bludgeoning device against the victims of crime or folks that have done nothing wrong.
 
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It would be instructive to replay every discussion of this ethic in a universe where the phrase "fair share" was never used - that seems to touch a hot button for some people. One of the reasons I dislike "politics", as the word is understood commonly, is that the whole concept is designed to divide people rather than uniting them. I have my own ideas about how those conversations could be conducted more productively... but this is neither the time or place for that discussion, because permaculture ain't politics! Wow, that makes things really easy. Now we can just talk about permaculture.

I like what Geoff Lawton says about getting your own experiences with feeding yourself, because I find this alters my perspective and saves a lot of time I may have spent arguing about ideas that suddenly seem ridiculous. I also like what Jack says about permaculture being anarchistic, though since that is also a hot button word and some folks have preconceived notions about it, I will say "apolitical". I would also say that permaculture was never intended to be written in stone tablets, so the words we use to define the ethics may change to better state the ideas behind them.

I believe there is a way to understand the three ethics of permaculture as a philosophy that is as practical as it is altruistic. I find it difficult to separate my personal permaculture philosophy into the three ethics - maybe somebody should reword the whole thing and call it a different name (wink wink nudge nudge). The more I practice the principles, the harder it is to separate the Earth in #1 from the People in #2, and the harder it is to conceive of any definition of a "successful" individual or entity that is not also reinvesting profits in the sources of their wealth. If there is a core teaching of my permaculture-y thing, it is this: What works will grow, and what grows is good. The ethics support the principles and the healthy functioning of all our enterprises; the only difference is the ethics require a longer view on success.

Whatever your opinion is regarding someone else's farm or business, the good news about anything that is unsustainable, by definition, it can't last. That being said, it is a poor investment for me to spend my time criticizing other people's farms or philosophies. So, I'm going to get back to work now. Great discussion, thanks everybody!
 
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The 'third ethic' is getting a bit of a work-out on PRI at the moment. Pop over for a look, keeping in mind they have different ways of doing things over there, like it's perfectly ok to talk big and small 'p' politics and other things that we avoid on permies.
http://forums.permaculture.org.au/showthread.php?13130-The-PRI-Third-Ethic-thread
http://forums.permaculture.org.au/showthread.php?13069-quot-permaculture-quot-a-tainted-word
 
Dale Hodgins
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When I failed to lock my van at a job site, someone decided that their "Fair Share" included my computer, camera, wallet and a few other things. They didn't stick around and if they did, I wouldn't have been interested in their views on the 3rd ethic. I have hired hundreds of small time criminals. Many of them express redistribution philosophies as a reason for their actions. Some of them have pets that they "rescued" from a back yard.
 
Leila Rich
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Dale, I think those people you speak of are simply using 'fair share' as a euphemism/excuse for 'stealing' and trying to tie in any relationship to permaculural ethics is a red herring.
For starters, 'ethic' is a pretty good indication to me that the next line won't be 'I think it's fair and ethical to pinch people's stuff".
As far as I know, no-one with standing in the permaculture world has ever conflated 'fair share' or the 'third ethic' and thievery.
And hopefully they never will.

 
jack spirko
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Leila Rich wrote:
For starters, 'ethic' is a pretty good indication to me that the next line won't be 'I think it's fair and ethical to pinch people's stuff".
As far as I know, no-one with standing in the permaculture world has ever conflated 'fair share' or the 'third ethic' and thievery.
And hopefully they never will.



Okay I agree but could you explain how this differs from telling someone else what their fair share is or say taxing income or property? I am not being a jerk, I would really love to hear your or any other parties well reasoned and logical answer to my question.
 
Leila Rich
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Jack, I've just realised I'm on the 'tinkering' forum, which is supposed to be more "what's this widget do?" than debating permacultural meanings. Ooops.
Aside from that, I'm not the person to

jack spirko wrote: explain how this differs from telling someone else what their fair share is or say taxing income or property? I am not being a jerk, I would really love to hear your or any other parties well reasoned and logical answer to my question.


I'm pretty confident we don't have much in common ideologically, and we're both fairly staunch in our respective beliefs, so I won't try to explain here: it'll just get messy
 
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LOL, I stepped in a little deep here since I just started on my quest to learn about PC a week ago... I thought I was going to read about the 3 ethics of PC.. Oh well, at least when I get around to learning what they are, I know that Paul doesn't want to discuss it here, and I am SURE that by the time I learn what the ethics "actually are", I will understand WHY

Sorry if I managed to butt my way into the wrong place Darn smileys just follow me every where I go!
 
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