for the record, I know nothing about this million acre pulp wood plantation
this thread seems to contain a number of sub-topics
I am talking about democratic industrial ecology and that would involve worker-owners pooling resources to work together on some levels and work in smaller teams on others
Perhaps what I'm talking about is not permaculture as you would have it defined, but I would disagree. If a piece of land is designed using keyline plows, keyline design, dams that doulbe as acquacuture, sustainable horticultural techniques, alley cropping, kugelkultur beds, etc., is it not at least somewhat permaculture? At which point does it go from being not permaculture to actual permaculture? How many techniques, tools and knowledge must I incorporate from your personal permaculture "canon" to qualify as being a true believer?
Thank you for this, and I agree that we are on the verge of upheavals that will fundamentally change our unsustainable lifestyle. To me, that sounds like a fantastic business opportunity, and being out in front of the curve with a sustainable business premised on and inspired by permaculture is a fantastic way to capitalize on this.
This is what permieobserver envisages and it is relatively easy to implement. The approach is very similar to convential land-use models except that methods developed by whole-system land stewards are applied. Also, since the company's profits are closely linked to the quality of its soils and other resources, it will theoretically try to avoid degrading them.
Also, this is is one of the advantages to being a multi-million dollar company - you can afford to put the 7 or 8 permie "superstars" into the same room for an extended period of time. Given carte blanche, I have no doubt that what would come out of that room would be amazing. And, while I certainly agree that it will be an ever-evolving process (I think of the Toyota philoposhy of constant improvement), there is going to need to be an initial "master plan" groundwork laid, with all the details customized and filled in around that framework as time goes on.
Given the historical precedents, I doubt that this will ever be the case. The second-generation employees may well have that land deep in their bones but they actually have very little interest in maintaining it in its functioning state at all. Their concern is to meet their basic needs, not to keep multi-layered biological systems ticking to produce something that will be exported from the property. Their common sense would tell them to grow their own food rather than working for a company to get company money to buy food from the very same company. This misalignment between the employee's interests and the company's interest will not only cause the Russian State Farm-like inefficiencies I mentioned above but will eventually cause South American style revolutions as described in Isabel Allende's book.
other folks have objected to using labor that isn't intimately involved with the land. solve that objection with one or several company towns. that concept has a fairly sordid past, but it doesn't have to be negative. basically: employees live on the land. supposing they're treated well, they'll be more likely to stick with the company and they'll become very familiar with the land over time. after an initial shakedown, you'll have a whole crowd of Mt.goats that are motivated by their deep connection to the land they live and work on. by the time the second generation of employees grows up to take over, that land will be deep in their bones.
Put simply, it's not easy to make money from it...
Precisely. Permaculture designs systems you can live from, not make money from.
Just because permaculture would appear (to me at least) highly unlikely to give anyone a Bill Gates lifestyle doesn't mean it isn't worth looking at as a way to make a decent living and to help the planet. If it can't do that it is simply a fad for the chosen few who are in a position to indulge, and I don't believe that.
Maybe we need to change some of our ideas of what "a living" means.
Permaculture makes money already--by offering Permaculture courses.
"Property taxes aren't waived because someone is doing good things on their land."
I really think if there's something Permaculture should do at the level of government, it's update land trusts so that you get a tax break for food forests on the basis that it has (or ultimately will have) equal ecosystemic value to conservation land.
Life is tough sometimes..people with money will always have more of these sorts of options than people without. So then the people who go come to forums like these to show off what they have learned.....
Also, the courses are too expensive for people of limited means to attend.
Well, seems to me if that were so and nobody found any value in them there would be a)a whole lot of howling going on from "believers" when they didnt get anything of value for their money, and b) pretty soon no more participants in the courses. Not all people who are musicians or astronomers or agronomists actually practise their craft to any degree; some teach. If they didn't it would be far more difficult for neophytes to themselves learn and become experts in their field without each having to "reinvent the wheel".
Also, there is the perception (not just me) that permaculture is a scam based on courses.
That it is a sort of "pyramid scheme" in which a person takes a course in order to teach courses, and not in order to practice permaculture.
There is this tension between the utopian ideals of permaculture and the reality of life in a world of money.
The only way permaculture can tell its adherents that they can have their cake and eat it too is if permaculture forever exists as a small subculture within the larger tableau of the industrial growth economy, since if (as the thread suggests) everyone followed suit (assuming there is enough land, which there isn't) then it would destroy the economy as we know it and render us all 3rd world subsistence farmers. We may be well fed, sustainable subsistence farmers, but we'd probably also not have the internet any longer or much of anything else above the level of Amish technology.
Any field of endeavor has its charlatans; sites such as this one helps to expose them. It seems unfair to label everyone that way just because they run courses for money.
modeling a truly sustainable and equitable society, which would probably be more of a "gift" economy.
That's the kind of economy I'm trying to model, which is why I spend a great deal of time (not necessarily here) helping people find information they're looking for, and sharing what experience and knowledge I may have. Yes, it's idealistic. No, it's not practical in a capitalistic system.