Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Riff on Alternative Economics

Found this, “Local Utopia as Unobtrusive Resistance: The Greek Village Micro-Economy “ by, Marina Karides
Florida Atlantic University

After the Intro, and then the few paragraphs of rather dry econ-speak, we get to the Meat…Alt Econ.

“Historically, individuals and communities in the global South have developed through independent action solutions to the ecological destruction, poverty, and unemployment wrought since colonialism.
These efforts have significantly increased, and were first conceived as traditional or “backward” and anathema to development (Geertz 1963), and later as part of the informal sector (Portes 1983). Over the last several decades of neoliberalism these same activities are considered emblems of entrepreneurship. “ (1)

….as well they should be.
I’m thinking, while reading this, in the context of my Disappointment with the Capture of Libertarians, by the Corporate Model. (Corporation’s very existence is dependent entirely on Government, from courts to rules and regs, and enabling legislation). This is Germaine, because for all of the hollering we heard, starting in 1980, about Deregulate! Free the Market!!....the most important Market Entities of all, Families and Small Business(not Raytheon) have seen their Economic Activity increasingly Regulated…often out of existence. This is among the reasons I left the  Libertarian Party.
I’m also thinking (becoming a trend) about Mason…what’s wrong with it, and whether or not it can be modified for the better.(2)

“The astounding growth of alternative economics in the last decade is also distinctly informed by popular rejections of work and careers that are regulated and organized for capitalist production, hierarchical, and punitive. Formal jobs, often in urban environments, require such a commitment of time, mind, and physical presence that many who enter into one aspect of alternative economics or another are choosing to do so for the sake of having some personal control in their everyday lives. Actors in both the global South and North are acting, in Harvey’s (2000: 235) phrasing, as “insurgent architects” who attempt “to shape their own beingness,” not condemning themselves to work paths set out by pre-existing structures and values. “ (1)

 The Current Paradigm almost ensures that we will work ourselves to death, with little to show for it.(we, here, meaning Po Folks). Even when one is able to get a small business going, and get out of Wage-Slavery(3), often one finds that it’s not really worth it.
This state of affairs seems to be regarded as perfectly natural, for a place like Mason…way out here, in the Wilderness.
I don’t think that’s quite as certain a thing as is commonly thought.
Localism, again!
I envision Toilet Paper as a Cottage Industry!
(I’m only a little hyperbolic, here.)
We Import far too much, from outside…and, in exchange, Export our Wealth, what there is of it.
A lot of this is Habit…left over from the glory days (Clinton), when there were lots of Jobs and Opportunity, and more Relative Wealth. A lot of it is, also, due to the Walmartisation of the , formerly, Local Economy.(this is well documented)
Still another factor is the Corporatisation, overall , of the American Economy…Rules and Regs written Of By and For Giant Multinational Fictional Persons.(see; Acres USA, and Ch. Walters, for application to Giant Ag, vs the Extinction of “family farms”)
Why isn’t there Mason-Produced Beef, Chicken, Pork(feral hogs, anyone?), Goat, Lamb and Fruits and Veggies on the shelves at the One Store?
The answer, of course, is the nexus between the Corp Ruled Market Structures, and the Corp- Benefiting Regulatory and Tax Structures.
For the Meat, there’s nowhere to legally, economically, or efficiently slaughter and process. Too much BS for anyone to want to even try to do that.
For Fruits and Veggies, it’s all on the Corporation that operates the Store. When it was Super S, they told me I’d hafta take my Produce to the Warehouse in Houston (!!) if I hoped to have anything over a tiny amount in the store.

.” Yet by virtue of scale and intention, small and micro- enterprises operate outside capitalist principles of mass production and consumption and centralized bureaucratic control, offering environmental viability, autonomy, and creative expression in one’s work.” (1)
Here, they’re talking about the Black and Gray Economies…in Mason,from Dope, to Tamales, to Yard Work, and Handymen….and Garage Sales.
City/County could encourage Cottage Industry, including Ag. First, by resolving to keep their fingers out of the pie…Tax the Imports. Regulate the Imports(aside from necessary, but unobtrusive Health/Environmental Concerns).
Second, by following the trail blazed by a couple of towns in Vermont(4)…essentially going around the State and Federal Governmental Regs that are at least one of the Roots of this problem.

More:” To locate small shops, farms, and artisanal enterprises in a framework of resistance to capitalism and social inequality, it is worth resuscitating Ivan Illich’s (1973) position for “tools that guarantee the right to work with independent efficiency” that is in advance of but consistent with the current growth of alternative economic studies. In Tools of Conviviality, Illich (1973) builds an argument against industrialization or large-scale production in which workers are no longer directly in control of their labor or “tools” such as technology, production facilities, or systems of decision-making. For conviviality to occur there must be “autonomous and creative intercourse among persons, and the intercourse among persons with their environment; and this in contrast with the conditioned responses of persons to the demands made upon them by others” “(1)

 Remember, lest I be labeled (again! Sigh) a Rabid Marxist, that when these folks say “Capitalism”, they mean, for the most part, “Corporate/Monopoly Capitalism”…the Walmart Model.  Remember, too, that Adam Smith advocated against such Behemoths, as detrimental to Liberty and widespread  Economic Prosperity. His “Wealth…” and “Theory of Moral Sentiments”, along with Marx’s “Das Capital”, were evangelism for the widest possible Distribution of the Means of Production.
Diversity = Robust Stability = Multiple-Redundancies.
Economy as Ecosystem.
These same ideas may be familiar, to folks who remember the early 70’s…Back to the Land, etc.
Those efforts, back then, were subverted politically, pooh-poohed rhetorically, and undermined economically(by the above mentioned means). Instead of pursuing such Egalitarian endeavors, we instead went whole hog in the other direction…Reaganomics, Supply-Side, “Neoliberalism”.(5) All of these are of a piece…they describe a System where Large is Beautiful, and the only thing that matters is Profits.
Look where such Wild Eyed Utopian Experimentation has gotten us!(6)

We must begin to Think about these things…instead of continuing to merely beat up on the Victims of Neoliberalism.(all of Us, but especially the Poor)

2 I’ve got around 20 Word Docs, in progress, on numerous topics of what I consider to be of Local Concern…attempting to leave Campaign Season(and rhetoric) behind.(snort)
Remember, my usage of Right/Left is of my own Taxonomy,….and Not about Political Parties. Machine (Matrix, Leviathan, Corpo-Governmental Nexus, whatever) …Leans Rightward…towards the Large, Wealthy and Powerful.   Phaoronic Hydraulic Despotism, as business model of Empire.
or get a job in town.

6 by just one metric, Real Wages have stayed the same or Fallen, Relative to Inflation, in this same period…while Prices for Everything have risen enormously.

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