How to Disrupt and Replace the (Distorted) ‘Market’ Economy

researchgardenThe paradox of the economy is that we buyers have all the power, but there are so many of us and we are so uncoordinated that it is the sellers who effectively wield power — they tell us what they have to sell to us, what the limits and restrictions are, and, thanks to oligopolies’ ability to fix prices, what we will have to pay for them.

This economy is therefore not really a market economy at all, because of these profound distortions:

  • Demand for a product does not ensure that someone will enter the market to supply it — large suppliers at every level of the economy, from manufacturing to retail, conspire (e.g. by restricting access to shelf space and the media) to ensure that small and new players cannot enter the market unless they are exceptionally clever, patient and wealthy.
  • The price for a product is not where the supply and demand curves overlap, but rather the highest price the suppliers, by oligopoly agreement, can extort from buyers.
  • The desire of consumers for socially and environmentally responsible products is not accommodated in the market — because such responsibility has a cost associated with it, suppliers will always seek to use the cheapest materials and the cheapest labour from the most unregulated parts of the world, even if that entails bribing local officials to deregulate or not enforce what regulations exist.
  • Suppliers are interested only in maximizing return on investment for their executives and shareholders, not in customer satisfaction or product quality. Suppliers therefore have an interest in (a) supplying a product that will prematurely break or become obsolete, and which has an inadequate warranty, so the customer is forced to buy a new one frequently, (b) suing customers who try to circumvent inflated prices for their products by ingeniously trading or sharing with other customers (essentially trying to reduce price distortions created by suppliers), (c) lobbying governments for absurdly broad intellectual property rights and suing potential competitors to block them from entering their markets and introducing innovation or quality into their products, and (d) lying to their customers in pervasive and hugely-expensive advertising campaigns (the cost of which are passed along to the customers in the inflated price).

The Internet has justifiably terrified suppliers, because it provides a new and powerful avenue for customers to organize and to share information and even products (suppliers want customers to throw out their old products, not sell them used to other customers who would otherwise be forced to buy new ones), and for small entrepreneurial companies to get rid of the large, expensive middlemen that currently stand between them and their customers. Most importantly, the Internet provides a vehicle for customers to disruptively innovate the entire economy the way (as Clay Christensen explains) unusual companies have disruptively innovated markets and displaced incumbent producers.

There are three elements to such a disruption:

  1. The creation of broad, free ‘information markets’ that will allow customers to identify and support 
    1. innovative new suppliers and innovative products, 
    2. small niche and local suppliers, 
    3. suppliers with better quality products and services, 
    4. socially and environmentally responsible suppliers, and 
    5. markets for used and free products.
  2. The creation of millions of small, entrepreneurial, networked natural enterprises that are not beholden to executive and shareholder greed, but which are instead responsible to their collective workers, their customers, and the communities in which they operate.
  3. The introduction of a Generosity Economy (my preferred name for a Gift Economy), built around people in small, networked intentional communities, working together in their collective interest to 
    1. ensure that all citizens have everything they need for a comfortable subsistence life free of charge, 
    2. enable people with time and personal talents and other gifts to produce things and share them with people who can benefit from them, free of charge, peer-to-peer or through public institutions like libraries, public broadcasters and public research programs, while compensating those who give much more than they receive,
    3. tax bads (non-renewable resource use, pollution, waste, and hoarding) instead of goods and services, in order to fund (a) above, 
    4. identify and fund projects to deal with urgent non-recurring human needs (like diseases and relief efforts) as they occur, 
    5. address the Tragedy of the Commons, and
    6. remedy the steady loss of electronic freedom and discouragement of innovation in the face of huge, expensive ‘digital rights’ campaigns and over-reaching intellectual property law campaigns.

Information markets, natural enterprises and intentional communities. How might we bring these three building blocks about?

Information markets have been around for awhile, and Consumer Reports has been doing good work in this area for decades. But CR cannot afford to give the product of their substantial and expensive research away free. This is a real shame, because it means the poor need to go to the library to learn how to spend their money more effectively. There are some sites like Insider Pages and ePinions that provide customer opinions on some products and services for free, but the content is thin and the quality variable. What we need to do:

  1. Get Open Source software developers, independent product evaluators, government ‘watchdog’ agencies, social and environmental rating organizations and other content providers collaborating to develop easy-to-use, well-promoted, secure, reliable one-stop ‘information markets’ that will allow customers to ‘do their homework’ before they buy, will allow customers to identify and be canvassed about unmet needs, dissatisfactions and new product ideas that innovators can resolve, and that will support viral marketing to allow innovative new suppliers to crack into markets without needing huge advertising expenditures.
  2. Develop free, easy-to-use, attractive ‘virtual markets’ for used and free products.

The main obstacle to developing natural enterprises is education: Few business schools, MBA programs or high school commerce programs currently provide information on how to start up and run your own entrepreneurial business, and those that do are often tainted with outdated (pre-Internet) and discouraging information about what is involved in starting your own business, cluttered with unscalable and often-irrelevant ‘management’ advice, and replete with myths about entrepreneurship being complicated, grueling, risky, and high-stress. What we need to do:

  1. Develop new, innovative curricula on new enterprise formation, which include novel ways to find partners and to market, finance, and run your business in an egalitarian, low-stress, enjoyable way that does not compromise principles of social and environmental responsibility or require entrepreneurs to sacrifice family and personal life, leisure time or enterprise control to succeed. These curricula would include substantial courses in business innovation and business research, as well as other critical business skills like critical thinking and collaboration.
  2. Rather than teaching these new curricula in classrooms, provide the core readings online and free of charge, and have the programs located out at various successful entrepreneurs’ business locations in each community where they are offered. The entrepreneurs would voluntarily host the students for one ‘class’ each, offer a tour of their establishment, and answer students’ questions, focused on the ‘theme’ for that class. Class facilitators would organize the visits, moderate the Q&A, and, with the help of the volunteer entrepreneurs, critique students’ business plans for their own proposed enterprises.
  3. Offer these new curricula starting in high school, and encourage universities to make them mandatory prerequisites for admission and financing organizations and governments to offer financial incentives for students to take them. 
  4. Refuse to tolerate an economic and educational system that fails to equip students to make a meaningful and dignified life for themselves when they leave it. Encourage governments to provide substantial support for new innovative enterprises, by providing such businesses with preference in government contracts, and through grants and short-term loans to them. It would be hard to find an investment with a better ROI than one that gives people self-esteem and self-reliance, makes them independent and encourages a more innovative, responsible and entrepreneurial society.

Community-based councils will be the last piece of the puzzle to fall into place. As long as the majority of people are employed by large organizations that may transfer them often and unpredictably, or require them to work standard, inflexible shifts, most communities will continue to be bedroom communities, where the people have nothing in common except their economic class and proximity to their workplace. True communities need to be self-selected and self-managed intentional communities. What we need to do:

  1. Teach young people in school about intentional communities, how they are set up and run, and about the value of community. Enable them to visit existing intentional communities.
  2. Change zoning laws to encourage, rather than discourage, the establishment of intentional communities, where all or most of the property is held in common and where more than half of the land area is protected from development and kept in (or allowed to revert to) its natural state.
  3. Create Internet-based tools that allow communities to collaborate and share information and resources.
  4. Allow communities to self-manage, subject to a regular audit by an independent body that ensures they meet certain standards of egalitarianism (no cults), social and environmental responsibility, and quality of life. Certification as a self-managed community would allow you to run your own schools, health facilities and any other local, county and state government functions of your choosing, and to opt out of paying the commensurate taxes to those governments. Such communities could also elect to have their own currency, or a currency shared with other self-managed communities.

This is a bottom-up prescription for change. Over time, more and more of the economy and people’s political and social life would revolve around intentional communities, natural enterprises and information markets. The world would become much more local, more egalitarian, more networked and more responsible. Large corporations selling heavily-hyped products trucked halfway around the world to exploit cheap and unregulated material and labour markets would soon find they were irrelevant, unable to compete with products crafted with pride by local entrepreneurs and distributed inexpensively through the Generosity Economy. Although national governments would still be needed as regulators of community welfare and commerce, other levels of government would eventually disappear into irrelevance as well.

It is telling that Christensen’s study of disruptive innovation finds that almost all such innovation occurs quietly from below, rather than trying to compete head-on with existing companies’ well-established and fiercely defended and promoted products. With information markets, natural enterprises and intentional communities we can quietly disrupt and replace not only the rapacious multi-national corporations and the distorted and dysfunctional economy they thrive in, but the bureaucratic, inept and often corrupt governments that support them. All from below.

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12 Responses to How to Disrupt and Replace the (Distorted) ‘Market’ Economy

  1. Raging Bee says:

    Like most other “progressives” who want to believe they can have the benefits of capitalism without all that messy capitalism stuff, you’re trying to blame everything bad about capitalism on a small, non-specific conspiracy of evil big corporations, in order to pretend that all we have to do is overthrow them and everything will be perfect evermore. Been there, done that, never worked.Demand for a product does not ensure that someone will enter the market to supply it — large suppliers at every level of the economy, from manufacturing to retail, conspire (e.g. by restricting access to shelf space and the media) to ensure that small and new players cannot enter the market unless they are exceptionally clever, patient and wealthy.Yes, big business is partly to blame, but so are consumers who either want to save money in the short term with the established product, or don’t want to risk wasting money on something untried.The price for a product is not where the supply and demand curves overlap, but rather the highest price the suppliers, by oligopoly agreement, can extort from buyers.This is like saying “It’s not six, it’s a half-dozen” and pretending there’s a difference between the two. The highest price the seller can get is, by definition, “where the supply and demand curves overlap,” unless there is a specific oligopolistic conspiracy, which you have not described. If you want to prove an oligopolistic conspiracy, you should at least tell us specifically what economic niche, sector, or product line you’re talking about.The desire of consumers for socially and environmentally responsible products is not accommodated in the market — because such responsibility has a cost associated with it, suppliers will always seek to use the cheapest materials and the cheapest labour from the most unregulated parts of the world, even if that entails bribing local officials to deregulate or not enforce what regulations exist.And why do suppliers do this? Because consumers also want to save money, because — surprise!! — it doesn’t grow on trees. Suppliers are responding to consumer desires, and no amount of conspiracy talk will make this fact go away. Confusing need with greed won’t help anyone.Suppliers are interested only in maximizing return on investment for their executives and shareholders, not in customer satisfaction or product quality.Which suppliers are you talking about? Some products are of higher quality than others, and some suppliers are, for a variety of reasons, more responsive to consumers than others.…The introduction of a Generosity Economy…working together in their collective interest toa) ensure that all citizens have everything they need for a comfortable subsistence life free of charge, b) enable people with time and personal talents and other gifts to produce things and share them with people who can benefit from them, free of charge, peer-to-peer or through public institutions like libraries, public broadcasters and public research programs, while compensating those who give much more than they receive…Yeah, right, everyone gets everything for free, but somehow hard work will be rewarded. If everything is free of charge, then how do people get compensated for providing what others need? And who decides whom to reward for giving more than they receive? Perhaps this “generosity economy” should be renamed a “manipulate your neighbor into giving you stuff for free, pay him what you feel like paying him, or not, and hope your neighbors don’t shaft you in your turn” economy.Lenin tried this sort of thing at the beginning of the last century, and it failed miserably.

  2. medaille says:

    Raging Bee, I think you are nitpicking details, but missing the main points of what Dave is trying to convey.I’ll just offer my opinion on some of the comments you made.Yes, big business is partly to blame, but so are consumers who either want to save money in the short term with the established product, or don’t want to risk wasting money on something untried. This assumes a couple of things and ignores a couple of others. What I feel Dave was trying to bring to the forefront was that our society is designed so that it is extremely costly and difficult to bring innovations to a market. We have laws that favor big established companies and hinder innovation. It’s not a conspiracy. It’s just the result of how wealthier and more powerful entities can more effectively use our political and legal systems to their advantage. Your comment about consumers assumes that they are aware of all competing options which in reality is not the case. It also assumes that people make completely conscious decisions about their purchases which is not at all true, which is evident by the observation of advertising tactics. The common trend in most industries dominated by a small number of large players is that those with the money to advertise the most get larger sales regardless of quality of product.This is like saying “It’s not six, it’s a half-dozen” and pretending there’s a difference between the two. The highest price the seller can get is, by definition, “where the supply and demand curves overlap,” unless there is a specific oligopolistic conspiracy, which you have not described. If you want to prove an oligopolistic conspiracy, you should at least tell us specifically what economic niche, sector, or product line you’re talking about. The whole point of a monopoly or an oligopoly is that the price is fixed at what the supplier wants the price to be fixed at and not what the consumer wants it to be set at. If you would like an example try oil prices. Did you notice that right after everyone realized that Exxon-Mobil had the most profitable quarter in the history of the world that gasoline prices plummeted? Again, this isn’t a conspiracy. There is no conspiracy. It is the natural result of how players desire to interact with the system they are provided. Supply and demand as Dave was defining it were based on the natural supply and demand which are dependent on a large number of suppliers and a small number of providers. This will lower profit margins and decrease prices as compared with a oligolistic industry.And why do suppliers do this? Because consumers also want to save money, because — surprise!! — it doesn’t grow on trees. Suppliers are responding to consumer desires, and no amount of conspiracy talk will make this fact go away. Confusing need with greed won’t help anyone. I’m sorry, but you completely missed the point altogether with this comment. The point is this: The supplier doesn’t bear the total cost of the product and pass that on to the consumer. The supplier only bears the cost of production in terms of a few resources; namely the cost of the materials and energy that went into making it. It doesn’t include the other costs that come with a product, such as the cost to repair the damages the product created to the environment or people before its life cycle was ended, the cost of non-monetary issues like the value of social connections the product inadvertantly destroys or the happiness that unknowingly disappears. These costs are ignored until they become obvious later in time. Can you imagine if the producer had to pay for returning the earth to its state before the product was produced? Meaning that they would have to burden the cost of throwing it away instead of ignoring it like our current economic system does. This is completely and entirely ignorant of the rights and freedoms of other people. It is a hindrance to the right to having a clean and safeworld to live in. It is a hinderance to our economic freedom in that we bear the costs of other peoples’ actions. This type of economic system promotes consumeristic behavior because the only way to prevent yourself from being dragged under by the system is to be better at exploiting other people than they are. I know that’s a vague description, but an adequate description would only detract from the rest of my statement. I’ll attempt to describe it more thoroughly if someone asks though.In response to the money doesn’t grow on trees, I have a question for you: Where does all your money that you earn go? We live in an abundant world, not a scarce one. I think most people would be surprised at how ineffectual the economic system is at using individuals labor and returning it to them in the form of happiness.In response to the comment about suppliers responding to consumer desires, another question: What determines consumer desires? How much of this desire is created in isolation of the supply? To reword that last question: Can the supplier take certain actions besides altering the price which artificially alters the demand?Which suppliers are you talking about? Some products are of higher quality than others, and some suppliers are, for a variety of reasons, more responsive to consumers than others. I think the key thing to note here is that quality is usually only increased if it leads to increased profits. Unfortunately, quality is not very often the determining factor in a purchase. More important are things like availability (accessability), advertising, and price. I would recommend reading Dave’s post about the Wal-Mart dilemma/effect. This does a good job of showing how companies like Wal-Mart can drive all quality out of a small town economy and thus effectively prevent access to higher quality products. also for some reason people are more concerned with short term issues and less considerate about the long term pros and cons of inexpensive items.Yeah, right, everyone gets everything for free, but somehow hard work will be rewarded. If everything is free of charge, then how do people get compensated for providing what others need? And who decides whom to reward for giving more than they receive? Perhaps this “generosity economy” should be renamed a “manipulate your neighbor into giving you stuff for free, pay him what you feel like paying him, or not, and hope your neighbors don’t shaft you in your turn” economy. Your comment makes me feel like you are misunderstanding the point what Dave was saying. I think you are still under the misperception that the resources needed for survival are scarce, when in actuality they are only scarce due to the way our society and economy are set up. The point is that when in a society where fear for survival is non-existent, there is no point in trying to manipulate your neighbor into giving you stuff for free. You already have all you need. Why would you need to get more? The freedom of alternative economies lies in what you are permitted to do, once you are no longer in competition for basic abundant resources. You are given the freedom to devote your energy to fulfilling your own personal goals and exchanging the bounty of your creativity with others on a level thats more substantial than mere need.Lenin isn’t the same as a gift economy. Here is a quote from Wikipedia :The Leninist vision of revolution demanded a professional elite that would both lead the masses in “their” conquest of power and centralize economic and administrative power in the hands of a workers’ state. From the spring of 1918, Lenin campaigned for a single individual to be put in charge of each enterprise (contrary to most conceptions of workers’ self-managment). As S.A. Smith wrote: “By the end of the civil war, not much was left of the democratic forms of industrial administration promoted by the factory committees in 1917, but the government argued that this did not matter since industry had passed into the ownership of a worker’s state.” In reality, no democracy was ever allowed after the bolsheviks took power, and any disagreement with the communist policy by the workers was violently put down. This is nothing like a gift economy. It is in fact more like an oligopoly than anything as it still prevents the masses from creating their own reality as vividly as they could under an alternative economy or political system.

  3. medaille says:

    This line is not supposed to be italicized as it is my own:This is nothing like a gift economy. It is in fact more like an oligopoly than anything as it still prevents the masses from creating their own reality as vividly as they could under an alternative economy or political system.

  4. Raging Bee says:

    This whole utopian scheme, like others before it, is based on the premise that consumers are all stupid frightened sheep under the old-style oligarchs, but once the oligarchs are overthrown, all of those sheep will magically transform into rational, compassionate, mellow, independent beings who no longer stress out about feeding their kids or paying for their braces. Sorry, but this logic is utterly unconvincing, and no amount of wordy essays or “business papers” will improve it.I think you are still under the misperception that the resources needed for survival are scarce, when in actuality they are only scarce due to the way our society and economy are set up.Wrong. Certain resources needed for survival are indeed “scarce,” not because there isn’t enough raw material, but because it’s not readily available to all consumers in usable forms. Crude oil and natural gas have to be refined using complicated processes that can’t just happen in anyone’s basement. PCs are complex machines that have to be manufactured. Not all of us have access to rivers or streams that can be dammed to generate power. Even windmills and solar cells have to be manufactured via sophisticated processes, otherwise they don’t work as well as we need them to. Not all of us own enough land to grow our own food, and not all of the land we own is even arable. None of this scarcity is “due to the way our society and economy are set up;” and changing the set-up won’t change the underlying causes of scarcity.The point is that when in a society where fear for survival is non-existent, there is no point in trying to manipulate your neighbor into giving you stuff for free. You already have all you need. Why would you need to get more?First, how, exactly, is fear for survival made non-existent before we are able to abandon our competitive ways? Second, on what do you base your flat assumption that I will have everything I need regardless of myprevious circumstances? And third, who are you — or anyone else — to question my need, or desire, to get more than…well, more than what exactly? More than what someone else, or “society,” decides is my fair share? It really sounds like you’re saying that I’ll have everything I “need” under this utopian scheme, as long as I don’t actually assert myself, ask for more than others have chosen to give me, or strive for what I think I need.The freedom of alternative economies lies in what you are permitted to do, once you are no longer in competition for basic abundant resources. You are given the freedom to devote your energy to fulfilling your own personal goals and exchanging the bounty of your creativity with others on a level thats more substantial than mere need.Perhaps it’s a matter of tone more than content; but this is not only vague, it’s blatantly manipulative: everything will be fine as long as you give everything you can, and stop worrying about yourself and “competing” for what you want; trust us, we know what’s best for you, and sticking up for yourself is selfish and primitive and can’t be tolerated. Sacrificing for the long-term common good is all very well, but any utopian scheme that depends on me not getting uppity and “competing” is simply not to be trusted.

  5. medaille says:

    I like the fact that you push your opinions back at me. A lot of people cower from strong opinions and no discussion is made that can benefit either party. This allows us to at least better present our opinions and there basis to come to the mutual understanding of each others sides.I’ll try to explain some of the points I left unclear.This whole utopian scheme, like others before it, is based on the premise that consumers are all stupid frightened sheep under the old-style oligarchs, but once the oligarchs are overthrown, all of those sheep will magically transform into rational, compassionate, mellow, independent beings who no longer stress out about feeding their kids or paying for their braces. Sorry, but this logic is utterly unconvincing, and no amount of wordy essays or “business papers” will improve it. I’m not that naive. If I haven’t made it clear as of yet, let me state this bluntly: Nothing I say is based on magic or conspiracies or anything else like that. That kind of talk is for people that don’t want to get to the bottom of the issue. I believe that everything happens for a reason, meaning that if we were all-knowing, we would be able to see the causes that influenced people to act in the way that resulted in the action we percieved.Are consumers stupid frightened sheep? Sometimes? Of course. Most of the time? Maybe. Will they admit it or even realize it if it is the truth? I doubt it. If you watch TV advertising for any short length of time, it is easy to see that their advertising isn’t designed to stimulate you to purchase their products based on proving to you of the worthiness of their product. Most of it uses indirect or unconscious means to influence you. That certainly is one example of large companies certainly not doing something that’s improving humanity or even their customers lives. Where does anorexia come from? Why do some people spend all their time trying to make themselvesaesthetically pleasing to the opposite sex that they fail to understand that they are only altering the wrapper and also fail to live fulfilling lives? Certainly, oligopolies aren’t helping those situations, and I would think that it would be hard to argue that in those couple of cases that the entire industries surrounding them are heavily based on making the consumers feel inadequate with what they have and thus need to get that quick fix.Assuming a magical transformation, will people transform as well? Of course. What will they transform into and will it be significantly better? It depends on the transformation that occurred to begin with. People are not completely inflexible by nature. A person’s brain is constantly changing so that it is fine tuned to best handle the situations that it has to deal with most frequently and most recently. If an entity where to magically transform society and the way that it was structured and you put a normal person in that world, they would at first be shocked and bewildered. Since the world that they lived in was different than the one they currently live in, the patterns in their brain would not be best suited for the new world. They would not be comfortable with the situation. What happens when you immerse anyone in a completely new environment or situation? They start out uncomfortable (unless they are used to being in constantly new situations and are comfortable with newness and unfamiliarity) and then as the their brains adjust to their surroundings and the world gains concreteness they become more comfortable. Do you remember when you first moved away from home, first went to kindergarten, first got a real job? This is what it would feel like to be immersed in a new world. People will mold themselves around their environment. So the question is not will people magically transform into better people, but more “What kind of changes in their environment need to occur to promote them into being the people that they would be most happy as?”Wrong. Certain resources needed for survival are indeed “scarce,” not because there isn’t enough raw material, but because it’s not readily available to all consumers in usable forms. Crude oil and natural gas have to be refined using complicated processes that can’t just happen in anyone’s basement. PCs are complex machines that have to be manufactured.First of all, it is very important to understand that fossil fuels are an anomaly. They will be a blip on the timeline of the earth as long as they are consumed faster than they are produced. Fossil fuels are mechanisms for energy storage. They are not sources of energy. When the storage runs out, the energy is gone. An energy source (for practical purposes the sun is an energy source as well as all the “renewable energy sources”) provides a relatively consistent amount of energy for a given amount of time. Nature is based on energy sources, not on stored resources. Civilization of this century has been blatently ignorant of this law of nature and has grown so that it’s population can only be sustained using stored resources. Before fossil fuels, we competed directly with other species for the energy from energy sources. With fossil fuels, we don’t have to compete for energy. When fossil fuels become to scarce to be practical, we again will return to a world where we compete with other species for more than just space. So the main point this paragraph was trying to come to was that fossil fuels are not necessary for human survival and that it is unnecessary for us to be dependent on them. Scarcity is only an option if we let it be. If we reduce our population to a sustainable level, then fossil fuels are unnecessary.I’m not convinced that is what you were talking about, but it needed to be said. I’m under the impression that you were talking about present day energy sources. Are you aware of the vast discrepency between how much energy the average American uses compared to the average human or even the average European? How much of that energy is needed for mere survival? How much of it is needed for a comfortable life? How much of it is used for luxury that doesn’t dramatically help improve our happiness? To start with automobiles aren’t a requirement for happiness, they are just a requirement for being able to exist within the system that has been created for us by the social elite that came before us. Few nations are as choicefully dependent on fossil fuels based on the way their infrastructure has been created. Again, I diverged. Not all of us have access to rivers or streams that can be dammed to generate power. Even windmills and solar cells have to be manufactured via sophisticated processes, otherwise they don’t work as well as we need them to. Not all of us own enough land to grow our own food, and not all of the land we own is even arable. None of this scarcity is “due to the way our society and economy are set up;” and changing the set-up won’t change the underlying causes of scarcity. What do you mean we don’t have access to rivers or streams? Do we not have legs to move to where the streams are? Have we been so domesticated that survival without the masters hand to feed us is impossible? What do you mean, we don’t have enough land to grow food on? Are you starving? If not, than somewhere the food was grown that got into your belly. Why is it required that someone else be laboring on that land instead of you? Whats preventing you from taking a small section of land anywhere in the “Breadbasket of America” and growing your own food? Is it more than just laws? Even with laws, agricultural land here in Minnesota only costs something like $1000 dollars an acre for good growing land. Most city dwellers will spend much more than what they would need just to live in a “nice” house that’s close to a “good school.” Don’t tell me that life on a farm is so abysmal so as to be unworthy of human life. Most scarcity on earth is due to inadequate distribution of resources. If the average American consumes just 5x the amount of energy as the average human, that means that America can support over a billion people and still be average. That of course ignores the fact that fossil fuels are limited, but of course we’re talking about fossil fuel based lifestyles and not the average lifestyle. If you own a computer, you have more than enough resources that any scarcity in your life is due to your own unwise actions, so why couldn’t you just choose to live just as comfortably with less? Couldn’t you use the library or some community co-op to gain access to a computer? Can’t you avoid the ownership costs of an automobile by using one of the many forms of mass transportation created by the abundance of technology? What technology do you have in your life that is unable to be shared effectively with your peers in an effort to reduce the waste of resources that could go to creating a mere comfortable lifestyle if the need came to it?First, how, exactly, is fear for survival made non-existent before we are able to abandon our competitive ways?Again, people will mold themselves to their environment. Competitiveness is due to scarcity. Fossil fuels make scarcity irrelevant. Inadequate distribution of resources maintains scarcity despite its abundance. Change the distribution problem so that scarcity is irrelevant and competitiveness will be “forgotten” because it is not necessary for survival. It is forgotten because the new patterns of the world that flood the brain are constantly telling the brain that resources are abundant and the brain will decide that competition due to scarcity is a waste of energy, like male animals avoiding fights to the death, because the damage done to the self will outwiegh the benefit of destroying opposition instead of merely pushing it to the side. The old patterns of scarcity will get pushed to the back of the queue (in the brain) and the new more relevant ones will be the ones that decisions are made upon.Second, on what do you base your flat assumption that I will have everything I need regardless of my previous circumstances?</i?You are part of a civilization, aren’t you? If you are an American, you are one of 250 million plus people that all give a little bit of power to create laws under the guise that we will al be better off than if there was no civilization at all. Convince everyone else to change the way resources are distributed so that individual actions aren’t a requirement for survival, then you will have everything you need.And third, who are you — or anyone else — to question my need, or desire, to get more than…well, more than what exactly? More than what someone else, or “society,” decides is my fair share? It really sounds like you’re saying that I’ll have everything I “need” under this utopian scheme, as long as I don’t actually assert myself, ask for more than others have chosen to give me, or strive for what I think I need. In my view, the current society is woefully unassertive and my view of how people should interact with each other is actually assertive. In the current society, people make the choice (although, usually without being aware of better options) to not be assertive and accept that they must be in competetion with each other for resources. They could just as easily be assertive and say “Give me what I need and I’ll give you what you need and after that we’ll discuss how to best split up the remaining resources so that we can all be comfortable in our existance.” Why make the choice to say, “Give me what I need or I’ll take it from you unless you are bigger than me in which case I’ll find someone else to prey on.”? If you have 200 million people that are in agreement with you that unnecessary competition is silly and a waste of energy then don’t you have enough power to prevent the other 50 million people from trying to compete with you? If you’re at a gathering with all your relatives for a great meal, you don’t have togo steal all the childrens food in order to make sure that you have enough right? Are you capable of preventing your dog from eating your food without trying to take its food? Of course you are, why would it be any different on a societal level?Perhaps it’s a matter of tone more than content; but this is not only vague, it’s blatantly manipulative: everything will be fine as long as you give everything you can, and stop worrying about yourself and “competing” for what you want; trust us, we know what’s best for you, and sticking up for yourself is selfish and primitive and can’t be tolerated. Sacrificing for the long-term common good is all very well, but any utopian scheme that depends on me not getting uppity and “competing” is simply not to be trusted.I hope I’ve made it clear that this is nothing like what I believe. If I am being manipulative at all, its not in an attempt to convince people of what they should do right now, but more in an effort to get them to see all the possibilities so that when the time comes that enough people can see all the possibilities, there can be an actual discussion about how to best set up a society to the benefit of all. Right now, with most people there isn’t a discussion about other possibilities. There is only discussions about how to interact in the system that was given to us. Wouldn’t it be more assertive to accept that while we are living in a system (society), we do have the power to mold it to our own desires and that we can mold it in different possible ways. Until people are aware that their life can be changed by changing the system, then pushing change on them isn’t effective. First awareness, then action. That said, I’m convinced that change can be done in small increments by a small group of people that can make awareness for others easier to obtain.The point I’m trying to make is that people today are “sticking up for yourself” only under the system that they can’t see. I’m talking about people “sticking up for themselves” in the manner that they don’t passively, unknowingly accept the system and thus condemn themselves to have to “stick up for themselves” by competing for resources. Sacrificing for the long-term common good is all very well, but any utopian scheme that depends on me not getting uppity and “competing” is simply not to be trusted. You’re thinking that I’m trying to convince you to change while staying within a fixed system. I’m not. I’m trying to convince you that the possibility exists that the system is not required to be as it is now and that you don’t need to be changed, because if the system is changed you will mold yourself automatically to best take advantage of the system that you are immersed in. If your society is set up in a manner that is best taken advantage of by giving others what they need then that’s what you most likely will do. Competition for pleasure is called sport, not survival. Competetion for survival is never desirable by the competitors. It only exists when they can see no other option.Surely, a few of the multiple billions of people on this planet can think of some manner that appease both of us, so that you can trust the change in society so that you won’t be taken advantage of and I can live in a society where my energy can stop being wasted by competing with others, when it could be used to make my life more enjoyable.

  6. Sam Rose says:

    We are applying some of these micro-enterpise concepts and ideas you are talking about at:http://go.webassistant.com/4u See also:http://go.webassistant.com/4u/upload/users/u1000468/pub/1000365/index_flash.lhtmlor http://tinyurl.com/7rewtWe would be very interested in your feedback, Dave.

  7. Raging Bee says:

    What do you mean we don’t have access to rivers or streams? Do we not have legs to move to where the streams are?Of course we do. But at some point (most likely in the past), all of the good spots will have been taken, and the rest of us will have to settle as near as we can and bargain with the lucky/rich/powerful/armed ones to get what we need from what they control. This is pretty much true of ALL the material goods that we need or want, to varying degrees depending on specific regional situations. This is how and why economic systems are created in the first place.You are part of a civilization, aren’t you? If you are an American, you are one of 250 million plus people that all give a little bit of power to create laws under the guise that we will al be better off than if there was no civilization at all.And how am I different from an Albanian or an Ossetian in this regard?Convince everyone else to change the way resources are distributed so that individual actions aren’t a requirement for survival, then you will have everything you need.How can individual actions NOT be a requirement for survival? If we have what we need for survival, it can only be because all individuals (or enough of us at least) have done our respective parts to extract, create, refine, move, and/or distribute the material goods we need to stay alive. Unless of course we let space-aliens do everything for us, which is dangerous, spirit-crushing and boring.And once again, you’re failing to establish any specific cause-and-effect relationship between any individual or collective action you advocate, and everyone getting everything they need.Right now, with most people there isn’t a discussion about other possibilities.That’s because no other possibilities have been described in enough nuts-and-bolts detail to enable meaningful public discussion and assessment of possible results. Your post is a perfect example: long on ideals and criticism (some of it valid) of the status quo, short on specific individual, technical or institutional alternative solutions.

  8. medaille says:

    I don’t have much time, but I’ll try to answer some of your comments.Of course we do. But at some point (most likely in the past), all of the good spots will have been taken, and the rest of us will have to settle as near as we can and bargain with the lucky/rich/powerful/armed ones to get what we need from what they control. This is pretty much true of ALL the material goods that we need or want, to varying degrees depending on specific regional situations. This is how and why economic systems are created in the first place.So…? whats the big deal? So that means all of us that were unlucky enough or those of who prefer not to live a cut-throat lifestyle are screwed? We’re supposed to just bend over and take it? Wouldn’t it make sense to try to bargain with them? Provide them with something in return for something? Even if you don’t have access to any land or any resources, there’s still plenty that can be offered. Happiness is a very simple one. Our society isn’t a very happy one and people like to be happy. Spiritual relief? Community? A safe place for their children to grow up into the best people they can be? Those aren’t things that are impossible or even terribly difficuly to provide someone if you already had a community established that promoted it. It wouldn’t be too terribly hard, although it still would be a challenge, to set one up with enough people and resources to pool together. Yes, economic systems are used for distributing resources between areas that have certain resources, but not all the ones that they desire, although the arguement can be made that people shouldn’t be living in areas that are ill equipped to provide the basic necessities required for living. It seems like your limitation in this quote is that you can’t imagine any way of dealing with individuals or groups that are more powerful at the moment than you are so you stop trying to imagine ways to achieve your goal.And how am I different from an Albanian or an Ossetian in this regard? I’m not sure what your point is with this? I picked america because that’s where I live and I know roughly the population size. Humans are humans regardless of where they live and we’re all living a lifestyle that on a scale of 1 (barbarian) o 10 (ideal lifestyle as determined by your god or by representing nature) thats about a 3-4 in my opinion. My point being that we aren’t even close to achieving our potential for living happiness and our civilization is what’s standing in the way. It needs to be changed. period. If we don’t change we will consume everything on this planet and it will become barren. That option suits no one.How can individual actions NOT be a requirement for survival? If we have what we need for survival, it can only be because all individuals (or enough of us at least) have done our respective parts to extract, create, refine, move, and/or distribute the material goods we need to stay alive.I like this comment because it illustrates an example of why discussion is good. That is something that I take to be an intrinsic part of what needs to happen so I just forgot that I even had to mention it. Here’s how it currently is. A person is born into the world. They have no idea what is going on. They know what they want to do. In their development they are slowly told an arbitrary set of rules that they must follow or they will be punished. Everywhere they look they see barriers that prevent them from surviving (ie unnatural barriers) in a manner that is natural to them. They are funneled by these rules into living life in a manner that makes their life very predictable. They become cookie cutter clones of each other, where they are only allowed to choose between options that are given to them. If they choose to live in a manner that’s different than how the rules say they should live, they are punished and access to food and shelter is withheld from them unless they find a creativeway to avoid being detected by the system. Their individual actions as you named them are very predictable because they have to follow the rules. My problem has nothing to do with individual action because its blatently obvious that the work required for survival needs to be done. My problem is with the rules that mandate what kind and how much individual action the individual needs to do in order to be able to obtain what’s needed for a thrifty comfortable life. I believe Dave made a post a while back stating that the amount of work required to ensure a very basic yet comfortable life was something around 10 hours a week, which is a farcry from the 40+ hours which is standard today. In my humble opinion, those 30 extra hours are being forced upon the populace by the structure of our economic system and our political/legal system. Most of it. in my opinion, is waste. It goes into the pockets of the rich and powerful allowing them a comfortable (material wise) lifestyle and making it difficult for everyone else (global scale here) to have enough for comfort. Society promotes high birth rates (higher than desired for a sustainable population) which escalates the problem and makes more work per person mandatory, while ignoring that a comfortable life for the children of the future and all other species of today are being slowly eliminated by our lack of conscious action.What I’m pushing for is to head in the direction of a society that promotes healthy, sustainable lifestyles. This is currently a failure. All healthy lifestyles are accomplished despite our society and we certainly aren’t sustainable as a whole. I don’t think that individual action is something that is a huge hurdle to overcome. People naturally want to do their part to ensure their survival. We only see evidence to the contrary because our society makes the road to survival much more difficult than it needs to be. This difficulty causes painful lives of those born into poverty and it makes those that would normally be ableto survive naturally but unable to overcome the obstacles provided by society much more likely to just give up and stop trying. Our society provides two options for these people. Live in dignity and be hungry or do something that allows the rest of the population do the work for you. This could be welfare or going to prison or joining the army even if they didn’t want to or any multitude of other undesirable options. We are already feeding them for free, so why not make the path for them to achieve self-sustainability easier for them so that less people would have to be fed on other peoples time and effort? Most of their failure is due to the obstacles that society provides them via the system and rules that they must interact with, again change the system to something better so that failure is a less likely option and overall less people will need to be fed. In the terms of Illich, provide them with convivial tools instead of insitutionalized industrial ones that are only suited for a few. This will increase the base level of existance for the society and prevent them from dragging against the effort of everyone else.There still should be a welfare type of system for the reasonable times when self-sufficiency is not possible. there are reasonable times.If the space aliens that any sense of compassion, certainly they could do a better job managing our population than we can ourselves.That’s because no other possibilities have been described in enough nuts-and-bolts detail to enable meaningful public discussion and assessment of possible results. Your post is a perfect example: long on ideals and criticism (some of it valid) of the status quo, short on specific individual, technical or institutional alternative solutions.The big difference between you and me is not in how we see society. It’s in how we live our lives. You see some obstacles and you say, “well there’s nothing that can be done. Those ideals are impossible, so I’m not going to try to imagine how to get around them.” I say, “Well, I see these obstacles but I will try my best to find ways around the ones that I can imagine ways around, because certainly any work that goes to helping find ways towards a better lifestyle is worth it. I certainly don’t want to leave this planet without having done something that makes life less of a hassle for those that come after me. Otherwise no progress will have been made.”The chances of any one person creating an entire system that is an alternative to the current model is slim to none. That said, there is no reason that should be a limiting factor for us. That is why we have forums like this, so that we can bounce ideas off of each other in an effort to come to a more desirable way of living or a method of “how to save the world.”In this entire discussion that you and I have had, we’ve each played very polarized well-defined roles. My role has been to try to overcome flaws that I see in society and bring them to light in a public domain for discussion. Your role has been to point out percieved flaws in any attempt at overcoming the original flaws so that no progress can be made. Maybe that’s not the role that you imagine you are fulfilling. Your role is good in the sense that you are refining the way that I present my ideas and pointing out holes that I may not see, but the creativity for ways around problems is only coming from one of us. If both of us were playing each role, we would make far more progress. There shouldn’t be any requirement for everyone but you to create the alternative solutions. Life isn’t a passive sport. Throw some options out there and then we can refine them into something better than each of our ideas alone.

  9. Raging Bee says:

    So that means all of us that were unlucky enough or those of who prefer not to live a cut-throat lifestyle are screwed? We’re supposed to just bend over and take it? Wouldn’t it make sense to try to bargain with them?Yes, indeed it would. That’s why I explicitly mention “bargaining” in the paragraph you pasted into your reply. Most political-economic systems are, in fact, the long-term result of just such bargaining between interest groups, not all of it fair or explicit, of course.…although the arguement can be made that people shouldn’t be living in areas that are ill equipped to provide the basic necessities required for living.Well, that pretty well rules out about 95% of the Earth’s surface. Are the makers of this argument implying that people who aren’t in a position to live in the manner they consider ideal, don’t deserve to live anywhere? And if these starry-eyed idealists’ design for living won’t work for most humans today, then what good is it today?A person is born into the world. They have no idea what is going on. They know what they want to do…No, a newborn baby has no clue what he/she “wants to do,” other than stay alive. How can a baby know what he/she wants, without knowing what’s possible?In their development they are slowly told an arbitrary set of rules that they must follow or they will be punished.What rules are you talking about? Toilet-training and basic manners are not “arbitrary” rules; they’re specifically devised to deter behavior that is known to cause harm or offense to others. The rest of the rules — obey the law, study what you need to know, etc. — are devised to enable people to function and thrive in the highly complex society into which they’re born.Everywhere they look they see barriers that prevent them from surviving (ie unnatural barriers) in a manner that is natural to them.That’s because it is nowphysically impossible to survive in a “natural” manner. Hunting and gathering are no longer an option for about 99% of us, so we have no choice but to create, or participate in, a civilized society which can allocate scarse resources in a more or less efficient manner.They are funneled by these rules into living life in a manner that makes their life very predictable. They become cookie cutter clones of each other, where they are only allowed to choose between options that are given to them. If they choose to live in a manner that’s different than how the rules say they should live, they are punished and access to food and shelter is withheld from them unless they find a creative way to avoid being detected by the system.Again, what horrible stifling rules are you talking about? If one chooses to ignore the rules about not stealing from or killing one’s fellow human, than, yes, one will indeed find oneself on the outs. With no sympathy from one’s victims, or from me. You may be more easily bored by other people than I am, but I don’t see all civilized persons working within reasonable rules as “cookie-cutter clones.”What I’m pushing for is to head in the direction of a society that promotes healthy, sustainable lifestyles. This is currently a failure. All healthy lifestyles are accomplished despite our society and we certainly aren’t sustainable as a whole.So here we are in a society that has given us unprecedented peace and prosperity, with opportunities and choices undreamed-of even fifty years ago, let alone one hundred, with new technologies being invented daily for all problems or endeavors (including increased efficiency and reduced pollution), and you’re calling the whole thing a “failure?” Sorry, but “demanding better” or “upholding a higher standard” does not mean “acting like a spoiled brat who takes everything he has for granted, and insisting that ‘everything sucks’ when imperfections appear.” Been there, done that, grew up, enjoy life morenow.The big difference between you and me is not in how we see society. It’s in how we live our lives. You see some obstacles and you say, “well there’s nothing that can be done. Those ideals are impossible, so I’m not going to try to imagine how to get around them.”You know nothing about how I live my life. More specifically, you have no information to tell you how I think about obstacles to this or that ideal goal. What makes you think I don’t “imagine” a better way than I see?Furthermore, being able to “imagine” a better way only goes so far. Sooner or later, you have to make what you imagine real, and relevant to your fellow humans. Or, at the very least, let go of those imaginings that don’t go anywhere.Throw some options out there and then we can refine them into something better than each of our ideas alone.Engage in political action to ensure that our capitalist system is sensibly regulated, and that innovations and alternative business-organization models of the kind Dave describes are free to test themselves in the real world, and don’t fail solely due to unreasonable legal constraints. Does that sound reasonable to you?

  10. Not much of a comment alongside all THAT but it appears you fellows have all said everything for me on every which side of the topic I know…but hear hear for you RB! :)

  11. Dave Pollard says:

    Someone should send this thread to Lakoff as a classic example of a debate between two people who can’t see possibly appreciate other’s POV from the perspective of their own frames. Not suprisingly I find myself nodding at everything Medaille wrote (since I think I largely share his frame) and shaking my head (“no no you don’t understand what I’m saying”) at everything RB wrote. But I’ll give credit to RB for keeping his comments civil (he hasn’t always done so). To me Medaille’s comment summed up my thinking perfectly: “The big difference between you and me is not in how we see society. It’s in how we live our lives. You see some obstacles and you say, ‘Well there’s nothing that can be done. Those ideals are impossible, so I’m not going to try to imagine how to get around them.’ ” I respect RB for protesting that comment, but I think Medaille is right on, and I thank him for clarifying my arguments so well, and so patiently. It is how we live our lives that creates the frames through which we see society, and what we can and cannot imagine as possible, and clearly the reason we are so far from consensus on how to make the world a better place is that different frames produce completely irreconcilable views on this subject.

  12. medaille says:

    Well its been a couple of days and I finally have the time to respond with the effort this deserves.To begin with it seems that RB’s comments come from the perspective of an individual placed within the system and how small they seem in comparison to the system, whereas my comments come from society itself, where specific individuals matter little, but changes need to be made for the good of all individuals, even if the reward for the specific individual thats creating action is slight.When I was talking about a newborn child, I wasn’t literally talking about just a newborn. More precisely, I was talking about the lack of cultural influences on them and the various cultural forces that are impressed on a person as they mature. The contrast I was making is that for me, I have fairly clear ways of living that seem to be completely natural to me, but they operate in contrast with the way society desires its people to act, so I’m constantly feeling the resistance of society preventing me from living the life that I feel is natural for me to live, and natural doesn’t mean something as dull as committing crime. I think that each person has this internal fate that they are instintively drawn to try to fulfill. I won’t decide if its internal at birth or determined after we’ve been influenced culturally etc, because frankly thats unimportant. Most people have the cultural programmings that drown out their inner programming. This is initiated due to school and lies within the Superego or Parent depending on if you classify it using Freudian terms or Transcational Analysis terms respecitvely. There is this constant nagging that the life they are living is not completely true to them. In my mind, this is the root of midlife crises. All of a sudden the child in them has a moment of clarity and the parent gets shut down for a little bit. The child realizes its dreams and goals are not being fulfilled at the expense of the cultural fulfillments the Parentis trying to actualize.When I talk about rules, there are two types of rules that are involved. The first type are mere cultural patterns that people mimic instinctively unless they consciously choose otherwise. The second type are actual laws that promote the cultural patterns previously mentioned. They aren’t all as irelevant as toilet training. For example, society extremely resists being homeless. Despite being the method of our forefathers: hunter/gathers, nomads, certain native american tribes, it is difficult to live without interacting with the notion that someone owns the land that you sleep on and that you must deal with the rules that come with land ownership. You literally have to earn money or barter in order to have a place to sleep at night. You cannot live free of persecution without either being homeless (like ratty hair homeless) or without working to earn money to buy shelter. There is no option to just try to gather enough natural resources to survive daily. This is a societal choice not an individual choice. Another rule lies in the distribution of health care. Health care is “regulated” under the guise of providing safe health care, when in actuality our health care system (USA’s not Canada’s) allows only health care to the rich due to the fact that its access is artificially restricted by laws which prevent people from providing unlicensed health care. There is a large group of people that refuse to go to get the health care they need because it either costs too much, they don’t have health insurance, or they fear the cost of their insurance will go way up. There is no option for example to have doctors act as teachers to allow the general population better access to take care of themselves for the most part for simple health care issues like getting stitches or the like. We (we as in a lobbyist type society not a group of individuals) also have chosen to subscribe to the notion that company controlled medicine is the only safe form of healing. This is great for pharmaceutical companies, but not great for people on average in the long run. These types of rules are much different than the rules you were talking about because your rules are simple, they are designed to protect the individual from another. The rules I mentioned are created, maybe not on purpose, but in the end to result in one person or style of life to have a dramatic competitive advantage over other styles of life to the effect that people will choose to follow those pushes from society because it is the path of least resistance.You may be more easily bored by other people than I am, but I don’t see all civilized persons working within reasonable rules as “cookie-cutter clones.” Your definition of civilized appears to be the average person working a job so as to make money so as to survive. While that is the lifestyle of a “cookie-cutter clone” as I called it, that is a symptom and not the reason why I called them a clone. I called them a clone, because without knowing it, they are living a lifestyle that isn’t congruent with what their inner child is telling them. I see this all the time. It comes out whenever someone is working a job they hate just to make ends meet, while at the same time being having so much energy and time devoted to work that their true passions and hobbies are compromised in the process. Maybe they can devote some time to it, but they certainly can’t devote as much as they’d like and they can feel it. The cookie cutter part comes from the fact that they are all living nearly identical lifestyles that is determined by society and not themselves, although many are manipulated into thinking that they are choosing their own lifestyle. It is easy to tell if you are making a cookie cutter decision because in nature, you have to create your options from nothing and then you pick the best course of action, but in society you pick from the options that are presented to you.So here we are in a society that has given us unprecedented peace and prosperity, with opportunities and choices undreamed-of even fifty years ago, let alone one hundred, with new technologies being invented daily for all problems or endeavors (including increased efficiency and reduced pollution), and you’re calling the whole thing a “failure?” Sorry, but “demanding better” or “upholding a higher standard” does not mean “acting like a spoiled brat who takes everything he has for granted, and insisting that ‘everything sucks’ when imperfections appear.” Been there, done that, grew up, enjoy life more now. This whole comment is based on the frame that you are settling for what’s been given to you. What you call better is defined only under the assumption that your way is better. I have clearly described areas where my points of view have offered better options than what is currently available or areas which can be improved upon. And no, I don’t take what I have for granted. I have far more than enough to become who I want to be, assuming that we are talking only about monetary terms. I certainly don’t think we have enough in the terms of freedom to live the lifestyle that we naturally desire.That’s because it is now physically impossible to survive in a “natural” manner. Hunting and gathering are no longer an option for about 99% of us, so we have no choice but to create, or participate in, a civilized society which can allocate scarse resources in a more or less efficient manner. Again you are talking as an individual and I’m talking as need for society. It is not impossible to live in a natural manner, it is only impossible if you live under the rules and laws of society. A police system is required to enforce conformity when the actions of the individuals are not inline with the societal ideal as determined by the social elite. This civilized society creates a rigged game that is designed to create competetion between the different levels on pyramid. Its all designed so that the effect is to keep people competing with eachother and spend less time fulfilling their own life goals. It is antifreedom in the sense that who you are born to determines how much of a struggle you must face in fulfilling your life goals. Sure it delivers resources from the source to the user in an efficient manner, but the much more important matter is does it provide happy people and does it provide the option for them to fulfill their own life goals.Furthermore, being able to “imagine” a better way only goes so far. Sooner or later, you have to make what you imagine real, and relevant to your fellow humans. Or, at the very least, let go of those imaginings that don’t go anywhere. While its hard to disagree with your point, you’re making an erroneous assumption that you build upon in an attempt to disprove me or to prove yourself. You’re operating under the assumption that what I’ve done already isn’t a step in the right direction, that if I don’t achieve complete change than I’ve failed. That assumption implies that not doing anything is equivalent to doing something and only making some progress instead of total progress. Progress isn’t necessarily the result of making all the right moves, it can also be the result of many many moves of which only the positive ones are kept after failure is learned from it. You’re also making the assumption that because you don’t agree with me that nothing I’ve said that involves change is right, when clearly there is truth in both of our posts.Engage in political action to ensure that our capitalist system is sensibly regulated, and that innovations and alternative business-organization models of the kind Dave describes are free to test themselves in the real world, and don’t fail solely due to unreasonable legal constraints. Does that sound reasonable to you?It is a very small step in the right direction. It is small, because it operates against the force that society pushes it. It would be similar to african american rights or womens rights in that initially it is very difficult to operate under a unique culture when all the rules and laws are against you, but if the rules can be changed to allow both options to be equally viable then it would be a much easier to make significant change. Legal constraints are irrelevant. The ones that are applicable here are the ones that matter the least. They are the laws that decide how people interact as opposed to the ones that protect rights and freedoms. Changing them would be like changing the clothes you wear. Its only superficial to the core of our beliefs but it can have important consequences.

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