Saturday, November 10, 2012

Enterprise for the 21st century

I have seen the ills that corporatocracy bring, from turning small downtown squares to ghost towns, to the disenfranchised setting themselves on fire in protest to a system that crushes the dreams of millions that cannot find a way to support themselves or their families. I am pleased to say, however, that through speaking to literally thousands of people, doing thousands of hours of research, and doing training courses and other practical ways of gaining skills, I have come to a solution. A solution that I think will eventually end corporatocracy and replace it with something all-together more humane, that provides for the needs of all people, while being ecologically and socially responsible, based on time-tested means, cutting edge research by some of the most progressive thinkers in the world, and is a concrete map from our current operating system to a true post-scarcity, resource-based localized economy where the needs of every human being can be met.

This is a bold claim. Everyone should be skeptical of it. However, I am not asking for anyone to believe this on faith alone. I will base my arguments of things that can be factually verified, and if I am operating on anecdotal evidence, I will describe it as such. First, let us look at our current operating system to see what data we can draw from it.

Currently, the United States has the highest per capita trade deficit in the world, a concurrent deficit since the late 1960's. Most of our debt is owned by China. Of the companies that currently derive most of their salable products from China, we see that Wal-mart is currently in the lead, where 60% of their goods are imported, and their imports from China represent a whopping 15% of the US deficit. Additionally, in order to keep prices low, Wal-mart pays their employees so poorly that 80% of them qualify to be on government assistance. What does this tell us?

As can clearly be seen by these two graphics, there is an inversely proportional relationship between the civilian participation in the economy, which represent a much truer estimate of unemployment in the economy, and our trade deficit. Interesting.

Next, let's draw some conclusions on what this tells us. Our country has the biggest budget of any country. This comes from taxes that the government receives. Where do these taxes come from?

The vast majority of these taxes come from individuals and small, non-corporate entities. As we can see from the historical data, payroll taxes have largely replaced corporate taxes. Fiscal conservatives would say that this would have been done to not burden job creators like major corporations. Is this actually true though?

So, if 47% of Americans do not pay taxes, and corporations pay about 9% of total taxes, and have been replaced by payroll taxes as where a large amount of "hidden" tax revenue comes from? Let's look at one more set of data from the small business adminstration.

Small firms:
•    Represent 99.7 percent of all employer firms.
•    Employ half of all private sector employees.
•    Pay 44 percent of total U.S. private payroll.
•    Generated 65 percent of net new jobs over the past 17 years.
•    Create more than half of the nonfarm private GDP.
•    Hire 43 percent of high tech workers ( scientists, engineers, computer programmers, and others.
•    Are 52 percent home-based and 2 percent franchises.
•    Made up 97.5 percent of all identified exporters and produced 31 percent of export value in FY 2008.

So what does this tell us? 

1. Our government gives tax breaks to the wealthiest corporations under the pretense that they create jobs. The data does not reflect this to be true.
2. Mega-retailers are responsible for the vast majority of our trade deficit.
3. Small business, the segment of the economy responsible for the most positive economic well-being of the most Americans are currently disproportionately affected by taxation.
4. American small business cannot compete on in an international market because it is overburdened by taxation and the need to provide its employees with a living wage, which the largest corporations do not do.

Next, let's look at the United State's politics, specifically campaign finance. As most everyone knows, the vast majority of contributions come from corporations, and that it is almost impossible to get elected in this country without these contributions. In order to be elected or reelected, our politicians, who are suppose to answer to their constituents, must instead kowtow to those that hold their political fate in their hands, the corporations that pay for campaigns. This is not a partisan issue; this affects both parties equally. This is just the tip of the iceberg, but is enough to say that corporations have undue influence in the operation of our government.

Let's look at human health. In the last 3 decades we have seen several things. There has been a huge increase in obesity, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic illnesses, which also corresponds with the increased prevalence of GM foodstuffs. Peer-reviewed science has already demonstrated that certain strains of genetically modified corn leads to obesity, genetically  modified sources of L-tryptophan
killed dozens and permanently disabled thousands. GM soy has been shown to have severe effects the survival of mice, both from low weight to issues with pregnancy.  Additionally, we can see that a great many of these long term illnesses are being treated with pharmaceuticals, as over half of American's are now on prescription medications that are 6200% more likely to kill a person than violence. 

To summarize, the U.S. is in a financial, political, social, and health crisis. What is the common denominator? Corporations. In order to solve these problems, we are going to have to do something about corporatism. You are probably asking yourself, "What can we do about that? They produce the vast majority of goods and services we need for a modern quality of life." This is most certainly true. However, there are many  projects that are actively being worked on for the last few years that, when complete and combined, will change this paradigm. These are the beginnings of a movement to revolutionize the way we do business on a local basis. In order to fix these global problems, we must first go local.

The Transition Network is a project aimed at helping small communities to transition from a fossil fuel infrastructure to one based on renewable sources of energy and revitalize local economies by doing this.

Open Source Ecology is a project that is prototyping and open-sourcing 50 fundamental industrial and agricultural technologies that are required for a modern existence. This toolkit is also known as the Global Village Construction Set, or GVCS for short. On average, these technologies cost eight to ten times less than their proprietary equivalents. In short, what this means is that these technologies are inexpensive enough to be deployed everywhere, and provide a concrete means to produce the goods that would be imported from places like China in the current paradigm, and produce them on a local basis, when fully realized. Additionally, all of these machines are designed for lifetime use, as opposed to most products today which are based on planned obsolescence, so that they break quickly and often so that they have to be repurchased cyclically. 

In conjunction with the industrial technology that is the main focus of the GVCS,  I am creating a sub-project called the Holistic Aquaponics Greenhouse Toolkit. This toolkit is a series of modularized technologies, the vast majority of which are already widely used by greenhouse and aquaponic growers world-wide, and open-sourcing them. It is designed to augment the GVCS and provide the ability to produce superfoods in climates where they would not normally grow, in order to provide the ultimate in nutritious, organic, and inexpensive foods on a local basis. 

So what else is needed? Well, after having heard countless great ideas about how to create solutions to these problems, I've yet to hear of any of them making rapid progress towards their goals. The reason is simple. they do not have the funding that it takes to make them a reality. In order to accomplish this, we need to find a way to get them the funds they need. We need local credit unions that provide local loans  to local businesses. Right now, the globalist banks dominate this area. If we are to change anything, we need to change this first. Since the Occupy Movement started pushing for people moving their funds out of the Too Big To Fail banks and into credit unions at a rate of almost double of transfers of years before, over 2 million between June 2011-2012. By creating not-for-profit credit unions on a local basis, excess income can go into charities and local microloans to create even more local business opportunities that strive to relocalize production of goods and services that have been taken over by multinational corporations which, most certainly, do not have the best interests of people and small communities at heart, as, by design, their only concern is to increase the wealth of their stockholders. That is why I advocate a start here.

So how would we go about creating these things? First, we find people willing to make deposits into  local credit unions. We then make the first microloans to build aquaponics greenhouse to provide jobs and quality, organically produced foods and herbs as a means to exercise preventative care for chronic illness in our communities. We also retail these goods in larger markets, like farmer's markets in large cities, Whole Foods and other cutting edge food retailers. This boosts the local economy again, and, in turn, allows the local credit union to make even more micro loans in the local economy in the following five spheres:

1. Financial and Logistics

2. Food and related industries that boost preventative care
3. Industry and infrastructure based on the Global Village Construction Set
4. Education and Innovation
5. Tourism and Recreational

There is obviously a great deal more that needs to examined in each of these areas, but for now we can say that with proper planning, we can create local businesses in these areas, create jobs and income for people, and meet their needs based on local resources, not on imports that, over time, remove wealth from the communities that use them. When we start to replicate this throughout the United States and the world at large, we can improve the lot of people in a fundamentally sound way, and an answer to the ills of the demands of corporatism, a system that is fundamentally flawed, as it requires infinite growth in a finite world in order to continue. What is needed is communities with a pioneer spirit that see the problems of the current system and the courage to face these challenges head on, and, in the process, become greatly enriched.