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Is private property "sustainable"?  RSS feed

 
                                  
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I recently watched a presentation that substantiated the theory that permaculture is being presented in order to make a more perfect way of life where people work for the common good and private property is phased out.  I posted a video of this presentation on my blog  http://billyandanuttama.wordpress.com/2011/03/06/glocalization-the-new-religion/   In fact after researching the United Nations' idea of "sustainability", I've decided to personally never use the word to mean the concept of living locally and in harmony with Creation.  Just as the word "gay" formerly meant happy and light-hearted, but now means something quite different, the word "sustainable" actually doesn't mean the lifestyle that I'm working to achieve. 

I'm also wondering if this forum might be a part of the "sustainable" movement as presented in the video.  When I posted a thread about the importance of developing an economy that was not dependent on the whims of the banksters, the owner of the forum moved the thread to "useless drivel".  Huh?  If you really want to be able to prosper when living locally, having a working economy where the members of the community can prosper by helping one another without feeling like they're being taken advantage of is very important.  Useless drivel?  Maybe for someone who thinks that private property is unsustainable.
 
Isaac Hill
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I think one of the most interesting thing about permaculture is how decentralized it is for a copywritten movement. Where else can you find aging hippy new agers who want to love "mama earth", conspiracy theory libertarians who want to get "off the grid", anarcho DIY punks who want to get "off the grid," communist intellectuals who also want to move away from a monetary economy, farmers who want to increase yields, liberal yups who want to be "greener"... naturally they all think eachother's political/religious motivations are "useless drivel."




p.s. I personally do think the "information" in that video is meaningless drivel.
 
                                  
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Salamander, you need to watch the presentation.  It doesn't present a a collection of opinions and theories, but rather shows, with documentation what is being taught in schools and universities, what is being implemented within communities and what is happening within local, regional and state governments.  If you don't know the meaning of the word, "governance", this is a great video to watch.  Any conversation about permaculture should take place within the context of the information presented so well by Don Casey.
 
Robert Ray
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I think that private ownership is probably better in some ways since there is a continuity of vision.
There are so many shades of permaculture and sustainability just where do I fit I often wonder.
I have seen blips and blurbs of the UN sustainability material and I don't fit in that description either.
 
Isaac Hill
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That context severely limits the possibilities of permaculture, or really, any topic. There are plenty of other equally, or even more, important and convincing contexts.

p.s. yeah I watched it, sounds like Glenn Beck without the farcical humor.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Salamander wrote:
I think one of the most interesting thing about permaculture is how decentralized it is for a copywritten movement.


Permaculture is not a "copywritten movement."  There is no such thing.

 
Brice Moss
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didn't the soviets try "phasing out" private property?

seems to me that wanting to pass down to my children something they can survive in is the best  driver for long term sustainability and if thats taken away from me I would be absolved of responsibility for my childrens future and free to complain that the collective whole was not providing well enough for me
 
Tyler Ludens
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I think if a person doesn't want private property they shouldn't feel forced to have it.  Private property may be phased out over time, I certainly hope such a change will be voluntary and not forced.  Personally I'm very interested in the Sharing or gift economy and I think anyone wanting to move to a private-property-free future would do well to engage in the Sharing Economy. 

 
Isaac Hill
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Ludi wrote:
Permaculture is not a "copywritten movement." There is no such thing.


From my (pirated) copy of "Permaculture: A Designer's Manual" by Bill Mollison, preface, page xi:
Permaculture is a word coined by the author. Its copyright is vested in the Permaculture Institutes and their College of Graduates, and is guarded by them for the purposes of consistent education.


I guess I should have said 'copyrighted', and it was said with a certain amount of irony, sure.
 
                                  
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I recently joked that Billy and I are endeavoring to become peasants, but we still have a lot to learn before we reach that status.  And we're finding that it's true that achieving a peasant's lifestyle is something worth striving for.  However the facts pointed out in the video show that there is a widespread push to limit the use of private property to the point that a peasant lifestyle will be all but impossible.  For instance in our county, Pierce County, WA,  just getting a permit to fence your property, build a greenhouse on the south side of your home or even just put a gate on your property is met with some serious financial barriers. 
 
Tyler Ludens
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Salamander wrote:
From my (pirated) copy of "Permaculture: A Designer's Manual" by Bill Mollison, preface, page xi:
I guess I should have said 'copyrighted', and it was said with a certain amount of irony, sure.


The word is copyrighted, the "movement" is not. 
 
Tyler Ludens
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annutama, it's very different where I live - nobody cares what anyone does on their own property, as long as they pay their taxes!  But this is a very strongly private property state, with almost no public land.

 
travis laduke
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brice Moss wrote:
didn't the soviets try "phasing out" private property?

seems to me that wanting to pass down to my children something they can survive in is the best  driver for long term sustainability and if thats taken away from me I would be absolved of responsibility for my childrens future and free to complain that the collective whole was not providing well enough for me


Isn't private property a relatively recent idea?
 
Isaac Hill
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travis laduke wrote:
Isn't private property a relatively recent idea?


Yep.
 
Tyler Ludens
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travis laduke wrote:
Isn't private property a relatively recent idea?


Depends on what you mean by "recent" - maybe only a few thousand years old. 

I think it really got going in the late medieval period in Europe with the enclosure movement, when the commons were appropriated by the gentry and denied to the commoners. 
 
Brice Moss
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Ludi wrote:
Depends on what you mean by "recent" - maybe only a few thousand years old. 

I think it really got going in the late medieval period in Europe with the enclosure movement, when the commons were appropriated by the gentry and denied to the commoners. 


naw it had been around a long time before the enclosure movement just before that the landholders tended to view the peasants labor as part of the land they owned
 
                                  
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From my experience and observation, people tend to form attachments to the objects of their labor.  I'm sure that if an aboriginal person chips an arrowhead from a piece of flint, most likely he thinks that it is his arrowhead.  Heck, even my dog thinks that it is his stick if he has gone to the trouble of fetching it!  This is so obvious that I'm surprised anyone would even suggest that people could possibly give up the concept of owning things.
 
T. Joy
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But... that's called non-materialism and is one of the highest goals of many spiritual practices. It is considered a very desirable state to achieve.

Have any of you read The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin?
http://www.amazon.com/Dispossessed-Novel-Perennial-Classics/dp/006051275X
 
Tyler Ludens
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I'm generally not that attached to the objects of my labor (I make things both for a living and also for fun) - I don't mind giving them away. 
 
Tyler Ludens
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anuttama wrote:
From my experience and observation, people tend to form attachments to the objects of their labor.  I'm sure that if an aboriginal person chips an arrowhead from a piece of flint, most likely he thinks that it is his arrowhead. 


He might not, because he may be an excellent arrowhead knapper but a lousy hunter.  What good will "his" arrowhead do him if he can't hunt worth beans?  But if the arrowhead belongs to the tribe to be used by the best hunter to kill game which is then eaten by the tribe, the arrowhead has value.  Otherwise it is just a pretty piece of rock.

 
                    
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If he makes excellent arrowheads and is a lousy hunter... looks like the beginning of specializing in what you do well. It's still valuable to him until he trades it for something else.
 
T. Joy
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Or it could be of value to him (or her :wink in that it makes them a valuable member of a cooperative community. I like that option myself.
 
travis laduke
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there's a difference between private property and personal property, at least when you;re talking with certain people.
 
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craftylittlemonkey wrote:
Or it could be of value to him (or her :wink in that it makes them a valuable member of a cooperative community. I like that option myself.


Yes, that's how I see it.    It's unlikely everyone is an equally good flint-knapper or equally good hunter or equally good at identifying useful plants.  But all these are valuable skills in the community.



 
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travis laduke wrote:
there's a difference between private property and personal property, at least when you;re talking with certain people.


Yes, I think private property is usually meant in the sense of privately-owned land. 
 
                                
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I've always found a troubling double standard with private ownership. If you can spend your entire life sustaining yourself on your own piece of land, I see no problem with seeking privacy or some sort of control. However, a lot of people expect to say that they can own land, get everything they need from someone else's land, and I have a problem with that!

I guess if I had a take on the answer to "is private ownership sustainable", I would say: only ideally!

But hey, I don't even own land yet so maybe I'm missing something.
 
Robert Ray
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aaorris,
Would you say that your answer is just a result of current times?
  Would your answer be the same if it were farther back in the calendar when people were more self-reliant? and probably in the future when we have to be that way.
 
                                
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Yes, I believe I do!
And of course, I would initially explain the situation as one of reliance, but what's really going on in my eyes at least, is more of a connection. I'd sure love to see people becoming more connected to nature, and caring for it like part of themselves rather than something they own! The funny thing is that I feel we won't be able to really connect with each other until we've found our place in nature.

turn things even farther forward, and I feel that such human x nature and human x human connections would naturally bring about something closer to open communities, where, you know, people would just work together planting food and shelter throughout the community...

Well, that's just what I dream about anyway. But imagine! Such a community would be so connected to each other and its ecosystem, the concept of my children living in a place like that is the warmest feeling in my heart.
 
Robert Ray
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I like to think that there will be a closer connection to those around me as we all become,  as I think we will, more self reliant.
 
                                    
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Salamander wrote:
I think one of the most interesting thing about permaculture is how decentralized it is for a copywritten movement. Where else can you find aging hippy new agers who want to love "mama earth", conspiracy theory libertarians who want to get "off the grid", anarcho DIY punks who want to get "off the grid," communist intellectuals who also want to move away from a monetary economy, farmers who want to increase yields, liberal yups who want to be "greener".


Yeah it takes all kinds & it's in the garden where the world's problems are solved.
 
John Polk
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Private property predates printed languages, so it seems pretty sustainable.
 
                                
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John Polk wrote:
Private property predates printed languages, so it seems pretty sustainable.

That's an interesting twist on the topic that I hadn't thought of.

Printed languages rose proceeding the time that an agrarian movement was introduced. So, historically, it seems private property and agriculture have always been together. Still. I get the feeling that the original post refers more closely to private ownership as it is developing in the majority of the world right now, where we expect to own land that is not used at all for agriculture, which is where the topic becomes interesting.

So I feel that the answer isn't so easy, as private ownership is different then vs now. Is private ownership without any agricultural responsibility on this land sustainable, in terms of global/local stability?
 
Robert Ray
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Just what does that sustainable property ownership mean? What if the property is unsuitable for agriculture? Say a quarry  or gravel pit.  Items perhaps needed for mill stones, roads, aquaponic beds etc . Would a responsible quarryman harvesting stone responsibly be able to claim his quarry sustainable? A needed consumable that requires a person of skill to harvest the crop.
I continually see the idea of agriculture looked at but there will be other needs that one just does not have the time, opportunity or skill to produce yet will require.
I can grow the grain but I have no stones on my property  to grind it to make my bread.
 
                                
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If you don't want to give the farmer the rocks he needs, and he won't give you what he's grown, both of you run into a problem where neither can survive!

In that kind of situation, you will definitely need to share resources between the land. Is that even private ownership?

besides the fact that two men - one trying to farm solo, and the other trying to claim a bunch of rock as his entire home - trying to live with every perk that the privileged live with today, is absurd...
Private property is a useless term in this situation. The two guys work together so that both can survive where they are. Private property merely complicates that situation.

Does that mean that sustaining oneself can't be done with private ownership? It's completely valid in such a situation. It would seem that a person could never find and employ everything by themselves on their own private property to sustain themselves.

From the view that we're at right now, private property is not sustainable. Cooperation throughout the community is key to survival.

So then I would ask, what is even the purpose of private ownership of land?
Perhaps there is a situation where you have a man growing food using tools the quarryman processed, and they share the food 50/50. Alright, things are good. Now a newcomer arrives...I don't see anything in the context of private ownership arising in this situation. There is not enough food to be split into 3. The two would either reject them(facing whatever repercussions), or put them to work expanding the operation to provide for everyone 33 all, which is unacceptable because you would be infringing on someone else's private property. why is this third here in the first place? Maybe a disaster destroyed their old dwelling... I don't want to leave you with some stumping retort to sound cool, so I'm going to try to follow my own thoughts here. Private property means you can say "hey, no, get out and go die." It leaves a harsh situation for any kind of displacement at all. If the newcomer was a wife, and they couldn't survive on the land they had, wouldn't they need to disregard private ownership for a little and seek some opportunity for land to expand on, and provide for the three? Either that or everyone could duke it out until there were only two again.

Whew, how crazy. They're not even close to having ovens to make bread, the people look to me more in a stage around wood/bark pots with maize and beans but whatever. It's an awesome mind exercise.

It brings to light, to me anyway, that sustainability has no application to private ownership. The terms simply can't be combined besides what John wrote: It's great for lengthy survival of a fixed group with a fixed lifestyle. Well! What great thoughts going on! How would you solve your problem, Robert?
 
Robert Ray
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Wow, you definitely covered more than my question intended. So I'll first address the  last sentence.
  I guess my question was if a quarryyman does not produce anything but stone and I produce nothing but wheat is an exchange between the two property owners where both products were produced responsibly would the non agricultural product stone, harvested on privately owned property be called a sustainable venture for that piece of property?  We seem to just be adressing agrarian concepts when there are other needs.

Now, to adress some of the points you brought about from that query.
You will not get an argument from me that there are those in a privleged class that do not live a sustainable lifestyle. Someone who has no shoes might think that someone who has one pair is extravagant. So priveliged class is dependent on ones current circumstance.
  Now I have a strange notion and I wish other had the same one is that property  ownership requires or should require responsible stewardship.
  Even in a communal setting there would have to be some type of planning, tythe, tax to prepare for those instances of misfortune or infrastructure development. Property taxes and income taxes are how that is accomplished now in at least my state since there is no sales tax. Some would say that that is unfair since there are non property owners that pay nothing other than income tax yet benefit from those that own property. I think I get a good deal for that tax though I wish I had more control over the government and how they spend it.
Just because I am a property owner doesn't turn me into an unfeeling demon I share the wealth of my good fortune.
  I currently own a business does the ownership of a business qualify as property ownership. I own the inventory. I work long hours and have a product that people occasionally need. I have gone without to  acquire  what I have.
Community to me means acceptance and I wouldn't want to live in a community where one would say to someone "go out to die". Property ownership or communal ownership doesn't make a community. People make the community. A communal tribe could just as easily say, "no soup for you."
I want to lve in a place that says, "here share my bread", but want them to say if they are able," let me help thresh the wheat", not, "is that all there is?"
So I guess what in the end I am saying is. is there hope for developing sustainable communities? What impedence does ownership have on that?


 
                                
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Oh my, what a crazy mind of mine!
I'm sorry for addressing so many wacky things, and thanks for all of the interesting points! Your earlier analogy put my mind into a whole different system of society and I flew way off.
In any case, I'll be looking to apply some knowledge to these ideas in time, It's about time I gain some experience on these things before I do any more crazy theorizing! I'll be digesting these concepts for a while now. 

yes... non-agrarian sustainability especially.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Robert Ray wrote:
  People make the community. A communal tribe could just as easily say, "no soup for you."
I want to lve in a place that says, "here share my bread", but want them to say if they are able," let me help thresh the wheat", not, "is that all there is?"
So I guess what in the end I am saying is. is there hope for developing sustainable communities?


You  might enjoy reading "Beyond Civilization" by Daniel Quinn, his non-fiction book about how we might develop sustainable societies.

He talks about how most IC don't base their community on mutual support but rather on shared ideology.  Because the members generally have their own jobs away from the community they don't actually depend on each other for their livelihood.  His suggestion is to form tribal businesses to develop mutual reliance. 

I know this doesn't really address your main question about property ownership, but it is a different take on the IC idea.
 
Robert Ray
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I'll check out Quinn's book.
Taking those steps to form "tribal businessses" which without reading the book to me implies buying local would devlop that mutual reliance that I think is an important component of community and sustainability.
 
                                              
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I would say its not sustainable if few people own or direct ALL the land. Like in mexico lets say. Or feudal europe.

i would also argue that smaller holdings of land is the exact way TO sustainability. through a resurgence of family farms, and homesteader mentalities. this goes for other countries as well, like ones where most folks just cannot afford land.

  i think the idea of no private property is rather scary, though if you want to live in a collective more power to you. Doesnt perma culture teach us the benefits of diversity? this can also include the diversity of thought and action among our race. Presuming your not violent of course, or otherwise hurting others, then the diversity of thought and action should be coveted. Centralized planning even benevolent which it would be unlikely to stay even if it started that way, can lead to hordes of issues especially if your talking worldwide.

Look at all the open land globally that could be utilized with proper methods.... and our own country is no exception. with private ownership and if families went back to passing land through families, i can forsee an age where folks TRULY care for the management of land. and with many many many folks all doing it in slightly diverging ways, most diseases, and similar issues will be able to be fought head on. so really Id argue private land ownership, especially if we got some into every persons hands willing to care for said land, could be the very path to sustainability system wide.
 
Robert Ray
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I agree to the small holding idea but with ownership.
Once a piece of land gets so large it takes a work crew of a size greater than a family, then communal or collective ownership makes sense. 
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://richsoil.com/email
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