[permaculture] Why is permaculture more about selling books, DVDs and training courses?

Suraj Kumar suraj at sunson.in
Wed Jun 24 11:41:40 EDT 2009

On Wed, Jun 24, 2009 at 7:04 PM, Lawrence F. London, Jr.<lflj at intrex.net> wrote:
> Very good question, one that has been asked many times in the past. One answer given: they need to retain
> a certain amount of proprietary material, their own knowledgebases, their information resources collected over
> the years to use to earn a living through teaching appointments, workshops PDC training courses they offer.
> If they gave it all away noone would need to pay for coursework, consultation and workshops they offered.

Beg to differ. The Free Software movement revolutionised how people
thought about software. This very question comes up to every person:
"How can software be sold for free?". Mr.Richard Stallman actually
made a living too. He wrote most of the useful parts of the GNU/Linux
Operating System (popularly called "Linux" today). He used to live off
making copies of his software and mailing it to people. Those who
could download it off the internet, did so. Those who wanted it on
tapes (those days) did so and paid him whatever they felt like. He
also gets paid for his talks. BUT he never _asks_ for any specific

Isn't "GNU/Linux" popular today? It has indeed revolutionised how
people look at software.  I remember, when Stallman visited my little
city in India. All he was paid was Rs.10,000/- from the university
which organised his talks. Know what that translates to in USD?
Roughly $500.

Of course, it is true that he lived a much simpler life - like that of
what Bill Mollison and Holmgren advocate and ask us to ponder about.
"It isn't easy" is a shallow answer, IMO.

Is it that one needs "discretionary money for expenditure"? Isn't it
possible to meet those needs by oneself or within the community? Or is
it unthinkable to question one's needs?

All I'm saying is: People do pay if they find something useful. That
is how Stallman made a living. If he could do services for others and
earn a living, why can't permaculturists do the same too? Why is it
that thoughts and ideas have become "property"?

> Personally, I have always thought that more in-depth sharing of information and resources through mailing lists
> and wikis such as permaculture.info would stimulate business rather than reduce it. Course they could always say "we're
> not geting paid to share this material so why do it". Because it stimulates business opportunities that would result in
> greater income for them and add to their personal knowledgebase.

I think I missed you on that. Do you mean to say that "Courses will
die out if information is available for free?". Probably yes, but
things will improve so fast, like it did with the Free Software
movement and there will definitely be new avenues and opportunities.

Anyway, my question was only meant to let people ponder. I'm not
looking for justifications :)

I personally decided to lead by example and just collect a community.
Whether they want to pay me in kind or by money or by grains, I'll
leave it to them. Afterall, if I can get self-sufficient, why would I
need money?.. and afterall, how long can this money keep existing?



"The Greatest Shortcoming of the Human Race is
our Inability to Understand the Exponential Function"
Dr. Albert Bartlett

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