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Labor Investment Collective (LIC) - put a month in and get more than a month back

 
master steward
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During some brainstorming with Shawn on community badges, I shared something I heard about ...   I heard about it maybe ... six years ago?  

So the idea was that people would put in something like eight months (spread out over about four years) helping other people build natural homes.   Once their eight months were in, then it was their turn to build.  Only the whole thing had gained popularity (more investors), and a few people dropped out (fewer to cash in on the prize!), so you ended up with getting more than what you put in.  You invested hours and you got back skills and even more hours.  

I cannot find that stuff.  I'm not sure how I would even search for it.  

For now, I decided to call it "LIC" (pronounced "lick") for "Labor Investment Collective".  

There could be several of these set up.  

small garden - one day

large garden - ten days

small berm shed - two days

large berm shed - five days

small skiddable structure - two days

large skiddable structure - five days

small junkpole fence - two days

large junkpole fence - five days

rocket mass heater - two days


The idea is that this group is set up with specific rules, and a general type of experience added to it.  And then you go and work for specified number of days, and then it is your turn!  Since you now have that sort of experience, you can lead other people!  So if you put in ten days, you should be able to get back ten days.   Maybe it will be ten people all in one day.  Maybe it will be two people for five days.    Maybe you will get back a lot more than you put in.  Or maybe less.  

I am not sure how well this will or will not work.  It seemed to work extremely well for what I saw a long time ago.   And I like the idea of trying it - to see how it goes.  I think it has huge potential.

But the real question, at this moment, is:   is this a normal thing that already has a name?   Anybody have a youtube video or two?


 
paul wheaton
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Another thing I like about this idea ....    A lot of people want to "trade" and what they really mean to say is that they want you to help them and then they will experience life adventures that will prevent them from returning the favor.   With LIC, people "pay" up front.
 
pollinator
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Sounds like a barter bank: https://www.getrichslowly.org/the-benefits-of-barter/
 
paul wheaton
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I think a big difference here is that it is about something specific.  

- I want to build experience in X

- after a fixed amount of time on X projects, it will be my turn

   o and at that time I will have the most experience in the group, so I can lead the project

So, in a way, the first part is where you are taking a free workshop.   And in the second part, you are teaching a free workshop.
 
pollinator
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So, the "credit" originates by a whole mess of folks giving free workshops?

Ideally, you get 5 motivated folks who each want the same thing, say a small garden, and over 5 Saturdays they all show up at one person's place and get it done, then move to the next place... until it's done.

Everyone's committed, no one slacks off, it's roughly apples to apples what everyone ends up with, and it happens over such a short period that no one forgets who earned what or was owed what.

Enter in human comedy, more demands versus fewer contributions (and vice versa) and the whole thing makes everyone sad.

There's a link (on that Barter Banking page) for timebanking, where 1 hour is equal to 1 credit.

Maybe there could be a "price" in credits for any project... say 30 credits for a small garden. (30 person/hours), 60 for a large garden, etc... and you could cash out at any level.
You put in for what you want to get back out...

Ferd shows up and helps for 5 hours and earns 5 credits. Ferd does this a bunch of times and accumulates 30 credits, so he could cash in and get HIS small garden built now, or maybe he wants a slightly larger garden and does some more helping...
 
paul wheaton
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I think the whole thing will be riddled with issues.   And they will need to be sorted out.  

At the same time, if you are talking about building a house, and the commitment is four months .... and in the beginning you don't know how to build a house:  didn't you just get a free workshop?   Further still, when the time comes for you to build your own house, there is a chance that you get no help.  But there is also a chance that you do ...

Things to improve the odds that people will help you build your house when the time comes:

  - be a lovely person
  - be a lovely person when putting your time in on other projects (these are the most likely people that will be helping you)
  - be a lovely person online
  - tell lots of people about this program (after all, the only people that will be helping you will be people that started after you did)

 
paul wheaton
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The key is this:   A guy named bob wants to build a wofati.  he has never built anything, let alone a wofati.  he wants to learn.  Bob joins a LIC for building a small wofati.   He has to put in four months.  He ends up helping on six different wofatis.  He now has quite a bit of experience in building a wofati.   He is confident that he can do it on his own.   Twelve people come help him build his wofati.  It is done in three weeks.   Those twelve people had varrying degrees of experience - although all of their experience was less than Bob's.  

And now for the community badge tie in:  that was a lot of community stuff there.   A bit of a barn raising.  Cool.






 
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We actually had a book giveaway that was about just this! I read and reviewded the book Mudgirls Manifesto: Handbuilt Homes, Handcrafted Lives by The Mudgirls

According to the book, they were and are very successful with this. I gotta make dinner now, but I'll try to get more info soon.
 
paul wheaton
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Otis and LIC and BBs.

Otis:  fictitious geezer that is considering willing his land to a PEP4 certified person.

Some BBs will be marked at "LIC-able" meaning that they can be done with LIC stuff.  So there might be a LIC tied to building.iron.wofati.   And the person wishing for certification that used LIC would need to show:

  - that they led the build on their own LIC project
  - that they helped with the build for four other LIC projects

The idea is that I think Otis will be satisfied if you build the wofati yourself.   Otis will NOT be satisfied if it appears that you had a bunch of people build it for you.   Otis will be satisfied if you say it was done with LIC and this is your fifth build and you led the build on the final build.  



 
Nicole Alderman
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Finally got a chance to write up some more about the Mudgirls. They're an organization up in British Columbia, Canada, and they run workshops to build homes. There's two ways people can get a home built by the Mudgirls. Here's a quote from my review:

The first solution is for the person who needs a home to become a Mudgirl--a Mudgirl is one who teaches others how to build houses, by making houses. Mudgirls build homes for each other for just the cost of materials.

The other solution is to hire the Mudgirls to hold a work party to build your house. You pay for materials and for the Mudgirl's wages and the wages of a childcare person. That's it. The Mudgirls then teach a bunch of volunteers how to build a house--by building your house! The volunteers only pay for food and a cook. That's it! They get free on-site child care, too, while they learn and build your house. Children stay near their parents, parents learn awesome skills, and someone who couldn't afford a house otherwise, now can afford one. Beautiful.  



So, each house is built by volunteers who learn to build houses by building them, and in turn they get to get a house built by the Mudgirls for just the cost of materials. They do differ slightly from your idea, simply because they are ENTIRELY consensus-based. They have no leader. They all talk things out and decide together, even when building. And, this evidently works for them because they've been at it for over 10 years!

The Mudgirls have both paid and unpaid workshops--the paid ones are for people who AREN'T Mudgirls, and the unpaid ones are built for other Mudgirls. So, this way of teaching, learning, and building DOES work, and seems like a really great way for people to gain skills and teach other and get houses built for cheap.

 
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Maybe this is similar enough to be an lic What is a Permablitz? - Permablitz ...
https://www.permablitz.net

https://www.permablitz.net/past-blitzes/permablitz-214-lalor/ seems to be the most recent event.
 
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Mark Chadwick wrote:Maybe this is similar enough to be an lic What is a Permablitz? - Permablitz ...
https://www.permablitz.net
https://www.permablitz.net/past-blitzes/permablitz-214-lalor/ seems to be the most recent event.


What Paul told in his podcast about LIC had some things in common with a permablitz. But LIC has many more sides. The LIC is a collective that remaines active during many years, with the same people (sometimes a little change, but generally the same group of people). They do small and large jobs and while they work on those jobs, they learn skills. During the years they work together several times. Those who have skills teach those skills to the others who don't.
As far as I know (from seeing videos) a permablitz is a one-time-event. You gather a group of people for one job. For a job you want to be done quickly. You organise the permablitz for your job. You provide drinks and meals for those people and you tell them what work needs to be done. Different from a LIC
 
Kenneth Elwell
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paul wheaton wrote:
I cannot find that stuff.  I'm not sure how I would even search for it.  

For now, I decided to call it "LIC" (pronounced "lick") for "Labor Investment Collective".  

...

But the real question, at this moment, is:   is this a normal thing that already has a name?   Anybody have a youtube video or two?



I posted this in another thread, about the searching...How to find the answer when you don't know how to ask the question?

The Permablitz thing seems about right.... The Timebanking stuff has a bit of the "Please use your trade to do me a favor..." flavor to it, which some professionals are okay with, but most are not (like, not even for mom, sort of not). (Paul and Shawn touch on this in the podcast)

So, I've got two thoughts, sort of wrapped together, and they are:
The LIC stuff you are proposing is tied to PEP, both community wise, and project wise.
Thinking about the opportunities available for LIC projects, PEP badge/BB's... specifically thinking of access to land, materials, machinery, tools, instruction.

I have been considering some sort of "meetup" to get help on some projects at my place near Boston, most urgently a hugelculture and a roadway improvement, and had I begun last fall, just before the frost, and even had another Permie join me for an afternoon!
Then PEP came along, and I'm thinking, here's an opportunity for a whole lot of Permies interested in PEP stuff, without access to a tractor/backhoe, land for a hugelculture, or a road to repair, to accomplish some BB's!

I think the best name for this would be a "PEP Rally".

It already has a similar connotation, and is recognizable, and not weirdly off-putting like "going to Bob's for a "lick" (LIC) project..., wanna join me?"
 
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Im Ireland they have a system caled a Meitheal where you have a group of say 6 people one weekend per month they all get together to help one of the members with a project say preparing a field, building fence,building a barn, reaping a crop ect. so once every 6 months you have a big crew to work on whatever project you need its normaly folowed by a potluck or somthing similar work hard play hard kinda vibe.

Meitheal is the Irish word for a work team, gang, or party and denotes the co-operative labour system in Ireland where groups of neighbours help each other in turn with farming work, such as harvesting crops. ... Meitheal is the Irish expression of the ancient and universal appliance of cooperation to social need.
 
Brian Karlsen
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Hi Paul,

I missed this first time around.

This idea has a LOT in common with "lending circles" which are widely practiced in poor rural communities in Africa, where they don't have access to formal banking systems. The idea is that a collective get together on a regular basis and all make a contribution to the pot. Each meeting the whole pot is given to one person, which they can use on a big project. In a way it is a form of enforced savings.

The reason I bring this up is that these lending circles have been EXTENSIVELY studied by economist and various charitable NGOs, and a huge amount has been learned about what does and does not work. I most detailed discussion I have read of them is in the book "Poor Economics" which is about the financial decision making of the worlds poorest people. You could probably find something the focuses more directly on it.

From memory, these lending circles were useful for some circumstances but had severe limitations.

  • They require a high degree of social expectation and pressure to work. In tight-nit communities backing out of a circle becomes "expensive" socially. The social repercussions are what keeps everyone contributing and keeping up their end.
  • They break down when the cash pot (or in your case, project scale) gets too large. The temptation is that people will back out when their own payment time comes, leaving others in the lurch.
  • Back on the social part; regular face to face meetings at set times and places seem to be critical for success. Schemes without this seem to have weak social bonds and expectations and fail.
  • Who ever gets their payment/project payout first is effectively getting a loan. Loans between friends can cause bad feeling when things go wrong, even if circumstances are beyond their control.
  • Some circle start off small, with very small payments in. Once members are proven to be trustworthy they can grow in subsequent cycles, but the stakes still tend to be small. Think "enough to get new pots and pans" rather than "now I can invest in my business".


  • If you intend to pursue this I highly recommend reading up in the published academic literature to figure out what will, and will not, work for you. You will at least get an idea of what pitfalls to avoid.

    Lending Circles
     
    paul wheaton
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    I've been to several permablitzes and have never hosted one.  Here are the issues I have had with the permablitz idea:

       - the host wants us to all pull weeds in a very non-permaculture way

       - most of the people ask when the potluck part is happening and come for the potluck, but not the work

    So after a while, I stopped going to permablitzes.
     
    paul wheaton
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    The thing I like about LIC is that it is designed with human nature:   Suppose that the LIC requires that you put in ten days until it is your turn to be on the receiving end.  I think a lot of people will put in one day and that's all.  So the system ends up working fine.  Whereas a design that says you can get your candy first and then you help others would lead to a lot of people getting the reward up front and then being too busy for the payback part - and nobody wants to be the payback police.   With LIC, if you get busy and you never get to your tenth day, that's all good - your project just never starts.

    Further, the person leading the build (receiving their goodies after the "investment") now has a great deal of experience with this sort of thing, and is pretty qualified to lead.


     
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