Much of this is already emerging - especially the DIY Economy and Sharing.
Much of this is already emerging - especially the DIY Economy and Sharing.
Some of you have reminded me how hard it is to give up the idea of a Job. Many of us don't have much of a network outside of the workplace. Most do not have access to health insurance outside the workplace.
I want in this post to tell you a bit more about these barriers. And to offer you a real hope that you can overcome them.
No Network - I worked for 20+ years for a financial institution. It asked all of me. I had no energy left for much outside of work at all. My family was hanging on by a thread and I certainly had no network outside my work. I had clients etc but no group of trusted friends who had things on their mind that I shared.
About 2 years before the bank and I parted ways, a good friend told me that all my signals were about how much I hated being in the system. This was a surprise to me! I was scared and angry to hear that. But after a few months realized that she was right. But what to do? I asked her if I should quit. She told me not to be stupid. "It's an institution Rob - they don't care one way or the other". Instead she advised me to create a new and parallel life outside the bank. I started to do a lot of public speaking about what I had learned about organizational design. I emerged in to the public eye as a thinker and not just another drone at the bank.
At the same time I was working on our healthcare costs at the ban. Why were so many so ill and why was this getting worse? So I began to get involved in the larger issues of health and I started to talk all the time with others who shared my concern. I did mini projects with them on my own time to help us make headway.
So one day the day of reckoning took place and I said the words that killed me. As I spoke them I knew that the bank would have to let me go. Of course they were very nice about it all - after all I was one of the boys - I was like the son who goes off the rails - still part of the club but you know the nutty one. They were very generous and civil.
The next day I started paid work with 2 of the people I had been working with before. I have never looked back.
I offer this story up to any of you who are feeling trapped "Inside". It's not a bad plan. You must create a real network with people who like and trust doing real things. Not your Facebook Friends. Real friends. Do just talking about stuff but DOING THINGS.
Now onto Health. I live in Canada and am blessed by living in a country where Health Care is not a barrier to free lancing.
But what I have learned now - all connected to my work on health at the bank all those years ago - is that we can have a lot of control over our health. If we live our lives close to our evolved design. That means eat the diet we are evolved to do best on. Have a social and work life as we are evolved to do best in. And to inhabit our bodies and the world as we are designed to do best in.
If we do this - we are naturally healthy, Of course a car accident is another thing. But most of the risk we have to day is from the chronic diseases of the modern world that DO NOT EXIST AT ALL IN TRADITIONAL SOCIETIES THAT DO LIVE IN HARMONY WITH THEIR DESIGN.
Luther changed the world 500 years ago by telling people that they could trust that they on their own could find salvation and God. That they did not have to use the church as the intermediary. Until then all in Europe had taken it for granted that ONLY the church could save their souls.
Is this not the same? If we organize differently, we can work with people we love and trust to do the things we need and offer to each other the things that are essential to life. If we live more like a Free Lancer we actually live more like a Hunter Gatherer. We have 4 million years of experience hard wired into us and we instinctively know how to be this person.
If we do this, we have our health too.
We lived for 4 million years and had good lives without the need for a job. We got out food, we had shelter, we raised our kids, we entertained each other. We can surely find a new way of taking all mof this back into our own hands now?
We are smart aren't we? That is why I post these little gems showing people who are doing this - like urban farmers, 3D Printing, Pasture Farming etc.
I am not talking about putting on skins and living in caves. I am talking about using our ingenuity to use what we now know of how nature works to partner with her in gaining her help.
Posted at 09:24 AM in Commons, Community, Complexity, Corporatism, Cracks in the System, Design, Econolypse, Emergence, Energy, Environment, Evolutionary Fit, Fab Lab, Family, Food Systems, Freelancing, Great Disruption, Health, Ideas - philosophy, Leadership, Local Resiliency, Messy World, Michael Rose, Mindset, Missing Human Manual, Organizations and Culture, Paleo, Paradigms, Peak Oil | Permalink | Comments (6)
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The Urbee - made in Winnipeg - the key parts are 3D printed. Here is the story. The short video is the best way to see how all this emerged. The ultimate Hack! You will see the scale of thr 3D printing - entire panels!
Henry Ford changed the world in 1905 when he applied the then NEW idea of mass production to the making of cars which had been made in bespoke ways until then. Now we can see how even car manufacture can be localized.
Urbee shows us how we can make local Bespoke Cars that also use almost no energy - designed to reduce the energy that cars need.
This post is written in July of 2011 - The Murdoch New Empire, the Police in the UK and the Tories in the UK are being rocked.
We can see now that this revolution began in the Arab world but now, this July, we are seeing that the Network is a real threat to the most powerful in the west as well.
I think that history will show that power is shifting from the Machine Institution to the Network.
This will be a real revolution unlike 1917 that merely replaced one top down regime for another.
This is more like 10,000 years ago when a new food system changed everything about how humans lived and their place in the world.
I think that the forces that will take us there are now in motion. Not the least that millions of people have been cast out by the old system. That many of these millions are well educated and have the personal power to act. These are the kind of people that drove the French and the American Revolutions that in their own day also cast down the old power system.
They are likely people just like you my dear readers. We are the immigrants in the brand new world that we will make for ourselves - not in a new place but in a new "Space" that we create ourselves.
Without knowing it, you have just left Ellis Island and you are in this strange New World.
How strange this all is.
Fortunately the pioneers have been here for some time and this post will show you what the new rules are and how best to get around in this new place and to realize its potential.
In essence - people here in the New New World - or New World#2 - live the lives of the Hunter Gatherers - they live lives much like all hominids and Humans have lived for millions of years. But with a difference, now we know how all of this works. We know the science and we have tools that empower us to be this old way anew.
So let's wander around NW#2 and see how they live and work. Let's see the models they use.
And by the way - all of this exists for real today - just in a very small and scattered form. It just needs organization to come to life.
Home and Work - Home is that old fashioned Home where we all live and work.
For in NW#2 we mainly work from home for ourselves or in tribal groups - some partners are next door but some are the other side of the world.
We don't just do one thing either - the bigger cash generating deals are like a hunter bringing home an elk and get paid in cash by the larger system. But we do a lot of gathering for no money. We trade services with each other - I do some work on your site, you give me veggies. We offer up our place for rent and move in with our sister who lives down the road and we split the money.
We don't just sell services either. With our network of 3D printers and jigs we can make almost anything locally. Hey we even make cars using the Wiki Car Company - an open source design for cars that uses a series of chassis's that we then adapt to create unique one off cars. For less cost than a mega car plant - we don't have their fixed costs.
More than 50% of the things we need - we make locally. All are built using Open Source designs.
The result is that there is work here for all.
What were hobbies become "Livings". Your weaving, your knitting, your soap making, your talent for music or knowledge of astronomy, your mechanical genius, your coding, your cooking, your green thumb, your strong back, your relationship with children - your real skills - the real you.
No one gets super rich but all can be very comfortable and secure. Secure because no outsider can take away your living. For we are so interconnected. The gap between producer and consumer has been closed. We are always both.
Our children grow up in the middle of all of this. They see what their parents do to make a Living. They participate early too - either to help the family or to play their own role. Many children have their own Living. The gap between helpless child hood and being a participant is tiny.
For the kids too are not shunted off into a world separate from life called school or youth.
Nor are our babies and infants given away to strangers. In our physical community we help each other a lot with the little kids. We spend very little money on daycare or nannies. We have family close, we have other families in the same boat - we have a good system. The kids also have access to tremendous resources from all over the world. They have lots of mums and dads - as kids always used to have. There are lots of Eyes on the Street in our place.
Our teachers are very different too. They are not "professionals". They are largely us.
Our older kids meet in study groups and use materials from the web. If they have a question that they cannot solve themselves - they can access the local learning network for advice. This local Network extends all over the world. Our kids can talk to the best teachers in the world and they do.
We used to pay a lot of money to educate our kids for not very good results. We now pay a fraction of this and our kids have learned to learn and they mix with really talented people. They don't need a piece of paper to show what they have learned. They have a reputation that has been earned.
So where did all the teachers go? Where did all the people with non jobs go?
In the old country almost no one did any work to get or prepare food. In the NW#2 food and energy is where most of the work is done. Everybody contributes here. In 2000, less than 5% of people worked to produce food and most of them were no more than slaves.
Now 85% of us participate in one way or another in food and energy.
About 30% of the food we eat is grown locally - and we are in Montreal. There are gardens on roofs - front yards - back yards in public spaces. Small animals too - chickens are everywhere and there are goats and sheep in town.
Nearly everyone spends time on growing and preparing food - we grow a lot on our own or in local groups in the community and we also help out in the country.
The rail service to the surrounding farm land is working well again and 50% of our food comes in from the direct hinterland. Many also go out there and help work for food. We help with the cultivating and harvest - for the Community Ag Model that we use, integrates the customer into the producer. That way we we keep the costs down for all. No immigrant slaves here - we belong to farm groups as helper/consumers. CSA on steroids.
Consequently, we pay very little money for food. But food growers do well. We all benefit from the Network Effect.
Farming itself is very different too. We also work WITH nature and not against her. She does more and more of the work as a result.
Farms tend to be small - about 100 acres and worked by a family and by the neigbours.
Those growing veggies mainly use Permaculture that needs no external inputs and that has yields that rise every year and where the work also falls. In many of these mini farms, the main work of the year is harvest.
Almost no machines are required. Almost no external inputs and certainly no agri chemicals.
In our food system, vitality grows every year. The natural capital increases and our need for external energy reduces.
We used to have no time and so had to pay cash for everything - now we have time we don't need as much cash. THIS is the central big idea in New World#2.
Like Open Source Software we trade goods and services a lot for no money - we do have an exchange now - so the Ledger can be converted into currency of needed. This was how the old country store used to operate.
Energy/Travel - You cannot replace oil as a convenient source of energy - but oil is very expensive in the New World#2. So how do we still have a great life? We have redesigned how we live to reduce the need for oil.
This is why the home and the local community has become the centre. We had to go far away every day to work and school and to get anything. Now most of those routine trips in the car are not essential any more. The need to drive everywhere has been designed out of the system.
Some of us do go to face to face distant meetings now and then - it is always vital to meet face to face. But these occasions tend to be rare and are often largely social - the point is to bond again.
When we travel we mainly take some time and we tend to stay with each other or rent a place from a person. Co Working places are ubiquitous. Few have offices that are exclusively theirs except at home. Why would you pay to have an office all for yourself?
The Global Co Working Network also allows you to have an office in any town, city our country.
Heat in the winter up north and cooling in the summer in the south demand significant energy. Here design has helped too.
Much of the sunbelt, short of water and boiling hot has lost much of its population. Those that remain have gone back to building design that fits this climate. Adobe is common again. Even here permaculture works and, as was tested in the desert in Israel, is able to produce food and this practice is gaining ground on the desert itself.
Here up north in Montreal, the typical co-housing of Montreal East was designed with winter in mind. With neighbours alongside and above and below, heating demand has been reduced further by insulation.
Community heat and stoves using waste fibre are common.
Large scale and long Distance Energy
The truck is no longer the centre of the system. Most things are made locally - much is recycled locally - even steel. We trade things we can't grow or make.
As back in time - water is the way that really heavy goods are carried. The seaboards and river and canal systems are the new/old highways for heavy goods.
We have time now so we too use the trains and ships.
Big Industrial food no longer makes sense with very expensive oil. In the old country we used to spend a fortune on health. But now we eat so much better, we are so much more active, so much less stressed, we are naturally mainly very healthy and fit.
Grains depend on factory farms, serfs or slaves. Oil is too expensive and no one wants to be a slave anymore. So very little grain is grown anymore. We eat meat, that is grass fed, veggies fruit and nuts. This was and is our ideal diet.
So Big Pharma has little place here either. We are all working hard at breeding better animals and seeds that fit our local enviroment. We share this knowledge around the world. Big Ag has no place in this vast cooperative effort - for if we fail here, we starve. The IP issue has gone away for the system that could enforce it has collapsed.
Most research now uses an Open Source Model - for we all benefit.
So what about the Medical professionals?
Of course, if you have an accident, we use the Dr's. Specialists operate all over the world too. Even a small community hospital can have a world class surgeon operate - for she is in her community and telemedicine is the norm now.
But there are not that many doctors - and the ones we have are oustanding. But we don't need a lot of them, because so few of us are ill.
The frontline healthcare system is now run by Health Facilitors who help us in groups work out how to get control of our health back. We pay them to keep us healthy. Health is all about matching our lives to our design.
We get our news and information from each other. The old highly centralized media system was show to be what is was a shill for ther old system. They were largely made irrelevant as their role was exposed. And then their costs brought them down.
Most people have a voice now. A profound shift in human consciousness.
There is still an entertainment business but it is more of an aggregator. We don't need as much distraction as we used to. With a more full real life, we need to depend less on a fantasy life.
So how did we get here?
No social engineering brought this about. Much of the pioneer work was done in the 1990's. But it will be desparation that takes us here. Cities that can go no lower such as Detroit are along the path now.
We will get here because the people who were cleared by the landlords will have no choice. We have to eat. We have to have work. We have to raise our kids. We have to have our health. In the old world all of these things are provided by the institutions. They are shutting us out. We either cannot afford them - such as healthcare or what they offer - such as public school - is rotten.
So we will do what we have to and create an alternative world alongside the old world.
In this new world, by using the network effect and open systems we will dramatically undercut the sunk costs and rigidities of the old world. We will drive them out of existence.
This weekend as I write this - we can see this process in action. The Bastille has been stormed. It's early days but we can feel our power and sense the weakness of the regime.
BUT they will not go quietly and the attacks we see on local food systems and the massive effort to protect IP in things such as seeds is a sign of their fear.
In my next post - The Inquisition and how to defeat it.
Posted at 09:39 AM in Activity, Aging, Children, Citizen Science, Commons, Community, Complexity, Corporatism, Cracks in the System, Current Affairs, Design, Econolypse, Education, Emergence, Energy, Environment, Evolutionary Fit, Fab Lab, Financial Markets, Food, Food and Drink, Food Systems, Great Disruption, Health, Hope, Immigration, Inquisition, Leadership, Local Resiliency, Magic Numbers, Media, Messy World, Mindset, Music, Music Industry, Natural Organization, Open Source, Open Space, Organizations and Culture, Paleo, Paradigms, Parenting, Peak Oil, PEI, Politics, Prince Edward Island, Public Media, Public Service Media, Public TV, Resilient Communities | Permalink | Comments (8)
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Are all of us, who are today unemployed or under employed or never to be employed, failures and misfits?
I think that most of us think that we are in some way bad people. I think that, even as we hang up our Consulting Shingle, or our Craft Shop sign or offer our availability to do free work or volunteer work - or just wonder where the rent cheque will come from - still hope that we will once again get a "real job" that pays enough to give us a life.
I think we want to go home to a nice job.
Well my dear friends, I don't think that is going to happen.
I think we are seeing a return of an early pattern. When the hunters became unemployed when all the big game died off 10,000 years ago. Or more recently when the landowners "Cleared" their agricultural peasants of the land.
We are the new displaced.
This is not your grand father's layoff. This is not another downturn or recession. We live today at the turning point when one culture and its power system and economy will be decisively replaced by a new one.
In this context, those jobs are NEVER coming back. But all is not lost. WE have been here before and I think I see how we can see ourselves in a new and more hopeful light. Where we can create an entirely new economy for ourselves with each other. A new economy that will give us the opportunity for a much better life than the one we failed to hold onto or even get a taste of.
There are so many of us now - mainly the young and the middle aged - that we have reached a critical mass. All we have to do is to "SEE" the opportunity.
So this is what really is going on - this is the pattern and this is where I think we might go.
The Industrial Revolution created its workforce by using new methods of agriculture to throw the people off the land. Waves of displaced peasants who had lived and farmed for millennia in rural villages in Europe were literally thrown out. They went to the new cities and their factories or to the New World.
They could never return. Their displacement was vital to the birth of industrial society. Not a good thing but a key systems factor.
By 1905, thanks to Henry Ford, wages in this sector had begun to offer a middle class life for labourers. Not an easy struggle to get there. But by 1950 it was normal to be able to life a good life with few deep skills. By 1970, the more literate could live an even better life in an office setting.
But then the process of Globalization began.
What started on the factory floor now affects white collar work as well. Now even call centres.
For those of us in the West with Western expenses, we are put in an impossible bind. We cannot compete with global wages.
Now Technology is accelerating this displacement and is stripping the work itself out of the system.
Planting in 1600 needed the entire village. In 1750 it could be done by one man and a horse. No land owner was going to bring back his old workforce.
As with farm technology in the 1750's, machines and computers can do so much of what we used to do. Labour on its own in an industrial or office setting is also being replaced irrevocably by machines and technology.
The Jobs are not coming back and the jobs for our kids will never be there.
This is current data from OECD and Statistics Canada.
This is the modern equivalent of the Highland Clearances.
All the puffery of the politicians about getting behind job creation is misguided. How can the jobs come back in Europe or North American when our living costs are so high compared to places like China?
For all our key costs in the west are based on the old model. Housing, energy, education, health, food - all of these are based on the old reality and are systems costs based on the cost of the industrial and centralized model.
How can we bring the well paying labour based jobs back when technology has made us truly redundant?
OK enough doom and gloom - do you get my point though? The well paying jobs for routine work cannot come back. And here is the proviso - so long as we hang onto the industrial model!
So where is the hope and also the health? For this kind of stress - low self esteem - low status - lack of a sense of meaning is a killer.
The hope is here - that there are millions of us with talent and energy - old and young - who have nothing to lose by "Immigrating" to the Real New World Economy. The New Personal Networked Economy. Where the Household Oikonomia. Where the Household/Tribe is the core unit.
The irony of where we are going is that we the Displaced will have the tools that will take on the industrial economy on and decisively beat it.
Where we will use the new tools that empower the small and the network that gives scale and power to the aggregated small.
In the next post I will go into some detail about what this may look like - but here are a few teasers.
One thing that all of us share is that we don't have much money and we worry about how we will afford to buy the things and services that we need.
So where are we Immigrants going too?
I think to a more dispersed and more stable pattern of settlement.
We are in the 1740's in America - with the early colonies. Colonists who still have to obey the King's rule and the King's men.
But in a short time, we will start to organize. Our power will grow. In the end, the King's men and all his power will not be enough to subdue us - we will create our own place.
And then my friends, the words of the Statue of Liberty will call out again:
“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.
And millions will answer.
Next I will share the details of how the the pioneers are buildong this new system - it is all here in fractal form.
Posted at 10:17 AM in 55 Theses, Corporatism, Cracks in the System, diet, Econolypse, Education, Emergence, Energy, Environment, Evolutionary Fit, Fab Lab, Family, Food, Food and Drink, Food Systems, Freelancing, Great Disruption, Health, Immigration, Local Resiliency, Messy World, Michael Rose, Mindset, Missing Human Manual, Natural Organization, Organizations and Culture, Paleo, Paradigms, Parenting, Peak Oil, PEI, Pensions, Politics, Prince Edward Island | Permalink | Comments (2)
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What might it be like if we chose to get ready for the end of the industrial system? Where oil would be expensive and we would have to relocalize how we lived.
Imagine you are reading this on the web in 2025. Front page and then the pdf.
Would you like to be part of such a great work?
Posted at 03:28 PM in Environment, Fab Lab, Family, Food, Food and Drink, Food Systems, Freelancing, Great Disruption, Health, Hope, Ideas - philosophy, Immigration, Local Resiliency, Messy World, Mindset, Natural Organization, Organizations and Culture, Paleo, Paradigms, Peak Oil, PEI, Politics, Prince Edward Island, Queen Street Commons, Resilient Communities, Social Economy, Story, Technology, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)
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Much of our discourse about the New Enterprise seems to use the premise that our traditional business organizations will be transformed. I am beginning to doubt that. But I think that there is a new Enterprise but that it will look more like that I propose in this post.
All the news about employment remains bad. Will the jobs ever come back? I don't think so. Business as we know it makes less and less and in reality offers fewer roles and jobs that have any meaning or that can pay todays bills. Business as we know it has no capacity to offer most people what they need.
I think that the real new economy is going to emerge out of desperation and out of this failure.
Here are some trends that we should watch out for. They are all linked into the great Trinity of real needs - Food - Shelter and Surplus
Hyper Local Food - If you have no money, food becomes very important. The Food Bank model takes us no where - it relies on charity - offers shit food and does not add any impetus to the lack of work or role. People are doing better than this by making the growing of food the centre piece. Here is an example. We see already in the worst hit cities like Detroit, that people are starting to grow their own food amidst the ruins of the city. And its not just that food is grown but that real community is created. People who grow food together and then share it return to the society of our hunter gatherer past. They become Tribes. With this Trust comes the potential to do more.
Cheap Land and Real Estate - As many areas become blighted, the land and the space becomes very cheap. Offering the opportunity to get the second part of the trinity. In the old model, people would have to pay others to make shelter or working space. But if enough Trust is created by say starting with co growing and sharing food, then "Barn Building" is possible. The "Tribes can help the members have shelter or work space. The capital that is required is less financial capital but social capital.
Surplus - But we still all need money or some way of exchanging value outside the Tribe. This is where the social web comes in. There can be a surplus of food that can be sold locally. Inner Detroit is a food desert. There are only corner stores. This is true for many urban areas. The food operation can scale and can also network with others offering in the end large scale. 1,000 mini farms in a large city can produce a very large amount of food collectively. Enough to feed most people. A real surplus is possible. Those who start to grow food to feed themselves will make a good living feeding other. With this surplus and with their social capital all sorts of new ventures then becomes possible. For the capital costs of business in this context are very low. Anything will soon be able to be made locally with very little capital. This trend is most visible in the media now. Did you know that True Grit was edited by the Coen brothers on Final Cut Pro,? The technology is here right now that can empower a small hyper local group to go even into manufacturing. Here I see the idea like Fab Labs coming into prominence. For about $25,000 a community can equip itself to make almost anything. As with a network of tiny farms, a network of tiny shops can build on a large scale. This was how in fact Germany kept its war production growing throughout WWII. To avoid bombing, all aircraft production was dispersed into small shops and the parts were assembled at the bases!
Again as with food - the social web connects all of this. Producers to Buyers - Suppliers to producers - Producers to Producers. In a network the nodes are small, but the network and so the output and the opportunity can be vast. In the old, we all depend on the MAN. In the network we are all the man. No one is going to move your urban farm to Iowa or your Fab Lab to China.
Food is the starting point I think. We all need it and if we go down this road we re-invent society. Food offers us the core of what we need and growing it and sharing it creates a real tribe. For a food model like this brings us all back together where as the old model splits us all up.
So with this wealth model come also wealth distribution. A new better form of capitalism. Capitalism 2.0?