[permaculture] Capitalism works fine, I just don't want it.

robscott at sdf.lonestar.org robscott at sdf.lonestar.org
Sat Jul 19 15:26:11 EDT 2003

I'm trying to raise a serious point here. Thanks for being patient.

I want more alternatives proposed for social and economic organization.
Currently, we suffer under a lot of contradictory language. How could we
clean up our vocabulary (and our language) so that we have more
alternatives to choose between on the level of proposals for whole
societies and economic systems?

We don't have to try hard to use language which keeps us in the current
system. The current system is the source and target of most creative
endeavors these days. John Schinnerer showed this, by forwarding those
webpages with cow analogies to illustrate the already available
systems of government and commerce. I enjoyed the webpages, and so I
acknowledge the contradiction: it is comforting to laugh at the
dearth of alternatives. But this is not what I'm after...

> Michael Murphy wrote:
> If democracy refers to a social system in which the participants as a
> whole determine how the political system operates, then capitalism
> refers to an economic system in which the participants as a whole
> determine what will be produced by the resources available.

I make no apology for calling this an apology for capitalism.

> Like democracy, capitalism is a very flawed system ...

This is where I disagree. I think that the current social and economic
systems are doing precisely what they are designed to do. They aren't
flawed designs -- they work. I don't want these designs, but that doesn't
mean they are flawed.

Analogy: I don't want nuclear bombs, precisely because I know that they
do what they were designed to do. They aren't flawed design -- nuclear
bombs work... but I don't want them.

Robert Waldrop made some good points about markets and violence.

I'm interestd in applying the principle of diversity to the social and
economic domains. How would the fair marketplaces defend themselves from
the free market we currently have?

In human history, societies which exist in a general state of peace and
non-violence are taken over by societies which use violence. If
Permaculture is a peaceful form of sedition, how can we prepare for the
day when the current society (and economy) disagree with our designs?

Not what already-existing system do we want, but what not-yet-existing
system do we want? I consider this a legitimate question for designers.


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