Julie Anderson wrote:Alternative economic methods of exchange other than money are nice to theorize about, but I think that the reality is unless there is a cataclysmic financial event, the status quo of using money for exchange is going to persist.
I have observed that there seems to be a spectrum of beliefs about Permaculture. At one end is the Permaculture as a religion camp. At the other end is the Permaculture as a practical skill camp. I fall more towards the skill end of the spectrum. I have no problem with paying for content. The people that put it together have created a value for me by gathering and presenting the material in an organized fashion. I don't believe that Permaculture content, and the creators of it should be held to different standards than the creator of any other type of content.
It appears to me that the people who are objecting to people being paid for Permaculture tend to fall on the Permaculture as a religion end of the spectrum. If these folks want to go out and proselytize the religion of Permaculture to the masses for free, more power to them. I don't think it's right for those folks to expect everyone to do the same.
Julie, two points. The first is that one could say exactly what you are saying about anything, regarding the status quo persisting unless there is a cataclysmic event. This is especially true about permaculture in general. Growing things in monoculture in far away places will be the status quo until there is a cataclysmic event. People will continue to use fossil fuels until there is a cataclysmic event. People will never grow food in their own backyard until there is a cataclysmic event. All of these statements, while arguably true given the current trends, come from a very pessimistic point of view. If instead, we turn it around and say that while all of these things are deeply ingrained trends of society, we as individuals and a group have the power to change these things if we work towards creating and advocating for them, then we can see that these things are in fact changeable if we strive towards changing them. In addition, just like any other permaculture technique, I would argue that alternative methods of exchange are totally critical to our resilience as a society. Having one currency created from a central location, created through debt, is a very poor way of doing money. On the one hand, it makes money scarce and constantly flowing out of the community, and on the other, it means that the US government is constantly owing money to banks, both of which are not the best of ideas. Alternative economics have found solutions to them, and in fact, there are lots of alternative currencies that you have probably used recently. For example, frequent flier miles are technically an alternative currency. As you fly more often, you get these alternative notes of value that you can turn in later. Same thing with coupons. We can, if we desire, design similar, and perhaps better systems into our own businesses and communities, leading to resilience, an increased sense of community, and more overall well being for our society. If instead, we say "this is the status quo, so this is the way it is", we will remain powerless to the whims of central bank and politicians.
The other point I wanted to talk about was the division of permaculture into religion and skill. I generally agree with this, and you can most certainly see this division in the permaculture literature, most notably with david holmgren on the religion side and bill mollison on the skill side. However, I don't think that you could characterize alternative currencies as part of the religion side. As I discussed above, it is a practical tool that we can use to build resilience in a community, just like any other permaculture technique. It is not some mystical pseudoscientifical notion, but a real thing that we can do, so I do somewhat take offense to that characterization.
Here's a great video if you're curious about learning more. A great quote, very pertinent to permaculture is "Because we use a monoculture of money, that is why it is unstable." These "catastrophes" are not unavoidable. Check it out:
Sorry to derail the thread, I'll start a new one!!