If you drew a shape for capitalism, it would be a triangle… you know the model, a tiny tip of wealthy winners, based on a large foundation of poorer workers… the closer to the earth, the poorer the workers.
If you drew a shape for the new economic system we’re creating, let’s call it genesis, it would be a toroidal donut. Why? Because what goes around, comes around? Because King Arthur decided to have a circular table for his knights? Because you can eat donuts, but you can’t eat triangles? No, although those are possibly all true, the REAL reason is that 2012 is all about the collapse of the time space continuum as we’ve known it.
Along with that collapse, we are also seeing the collapse of the patriarchy, the collapse of capitalism, the collapse of the U.S. economy, the collapse of the middle class, the collapse of ecological systems, the collapse of the consumer model, the collapse of the U.S. dollar, the collapse of the endless growth model, and most important of all, the collapse of popular support for governments and corporations and the rule of the world by wealthy people.
As systems collapse, we face total chaos. However, fractal geometry shows us that out of chaos, patterns inevitably emerge and order always ensues, just as stars die and are born again, just as we die and are born again, and life continues eternally.
Nobody trusts each other any more to do business. Even though business goes on, this hampers matters considerably. Nevertheless, people are endlessly adaptive, and are continually finding ways to make things happen.
Here’s a possible way for a pattern to emerge out of all the collapsing arond us, a model of cooperation, of sharing and prospering by helping each other. First of all, everyone who takes part in this system has to agree to the principles of sharing and caring for others, as well as making quality of life the priority rather than profit. In this system, altruism is greatly rewarded, and we’ll see how that can happen.
What I propose begins the shift into a new model through international trade. The people of the world will have to work out the details of how this new model of genesis gets fully implemented. It’s not appropriate for any one individual to project how it can all be worked out. However, I can lead the way in the new direction with some ideas.
First, let us consider our toroidal donut as our model, a donut that you can hold in your hands and turn and turn and turn so that the inside moves to the outside and the outside moves to the inside.
We could begin anywhere, all points on the donut being equal, but let’s begin with a woman married to a farmer in a developing country. They live in a small house without electricity, indoor plumbing or running water. The woman spends all her time caring for their children and cooking meals. She also works in the fields.
Surely in today’s modern world, nobody lives like that any more. Wrong.
So first, if we are to empower this women to lead a better life for herself and her family, they need electricity. Maybe the town gets a solar panel display that provides electricity to 200 or so households. The children can stay up later studying now. A work center is built in the town with office space and computers.
University graduates, usually women, come and organize production, marketing and distribution, gaining experience as they go along. Training classes are held for women to learn to use sewing machines, computers, cameras and other household appliances, toilets, refrigertors, bicycles, etc.. They are issued these products on a credit basis, to become their own over time based on credit they earn with their work.
A woman can take a sewing machine home, pick up five or ten bags of pieces of garments and bring them home to sew during the week. When she’s done, she returns to the work center with the finished garments, collects her pay/credit, and picks up another lot. The work is done between meal times.
With a little more cash to spend, she has a little more time because she picks up the bread from the bakery or soup from a stall. She no longer has to spend all of her time cooking everything for her family. The bakery and food vendors have more custom now.
The work center grows as a training center as well as an office. Young people can get training in work trades, electrical, carpentry, masonry, etc. They can also get training in business skills. University graduates get management training by spending a few months in each department.
After a year, they can remain in the village, move to another one, or go to a city to start their own business. A website will connect them to the trading network where they can always get help, if needed, from a small business mentoring group.
Small businesses grow from this work center like blossoms on a tree. Microloans help the young people get started. They are not obliged to make payments until they reach a certain level of profitability. However, after another level of profitability has been reached, they are obliged to contribute a certain level of credit that is part of their income into the central bank to help others get started.
Workers gain credit as well as pay that they can use to start their own business or to help a friend start one. Credit can be earned from good ideas as well, and from helping others. There are many, many ways for individuals to get credit in addition to pay.
The trading network uses barter as well as trade. When the apples are falling off the trees in one place, others can come help harvest them and take some home, or get them shipped in exchange for potatoes, perhaps… or credit or cash, be that as it may.
Also the trading network can include other countries. Communities can come in, still abiding by their own countries’ laws, regulations and practices, to participate in a loosely arranged trading cooperative and its central bank/credit cooperative. Although certain principles and core practices are common to everyone, at least half of the business is organized to flourish in the local environment.
The beauty of this economic system is that anyone and everyone can participate at some level, get training, get equipment, have access to office space and support systems, and move around freely to try different kinds of jobs, to create a work day that suits them.
Highly skilled workers from Western countries who want to take part in this, can provide training, skills and funding, and move around freely, trying out different kinds of jobs and projects, and even starting their own businesses with credit they earn in this new system by helping out others.. Workers in a company can choose to join this cooperative.
However, the key to making this work so that it benefits the people at the bottom the most, is keeping it small and attuned to their desires and needs. Everyone gets paid the same for their time. Value added, especially with helping others, gains credit.
Credit can be given away to help others, which earns the giver some additional credit (to be added at a later date when certain conditions are met), or it can be used to start their own business or project or for training in new skills.
So we have an economic model that encourages helping others, that rewards work on community projects, that gives people a lot of freedom in determining the combination of work/study/leisure they want or need, and which can be continually adjusted.
The genesis collective could have shipping arrangements with select companies that are subsidized. Or it could build its own container shipping fleet of ships with solar panel arrays and sails powered by computers that uses sun and wind power to supplement its engines.
There are many kinds of mutual benefit that could be derived from many town centers and small businesses forming a global international trading network that uses a combination of credit, barter and cash for deals, and has its own bank that the most successful members support the most.