[permaculture] Permaculture Designers Manual - What the F$%K are you talking about

Permaculture Cooperative permaculturecoop at gmail.com
Mon Nov 16 15:32:15 EST 2009

1. Group Effort: the Designers Manual is a group effort manuscript was
written and edited by Bill's x-wife: Reny Mia Slay. It was illustrated by
Andrew Jeeves. Do they get any money, royalties or credit ? where are they
now ? I heard Reny went broke and now drives a taxi.

2. Sourcing: There are precious few sources, or references for such a big,
dense book ? so, the filter of Bill's mind, then his dictation/colloboration
to Reny and to Andrew make this legal, but maybe not the most ethical way to
write such a designers manual. The contents of the manual are drawn from all
over the world, and rebranded "permaculture"

3. Inspirational not very educational: as an inspirational guidebook, a
pointer to future research directions, the Tagari Permaculture Designers
Manual is the Old Testament. its stands apart, a kind of keystone to the
Permaculture guild of books. However, as an actual Designers Manual, its not
that good. I realise for many this is heresy, but I know quite a few people
in Australia, that went through a long phase where they treated the PDM as a
manual, and quite frankly they are p%^ed off. Its full of factual
inaccuracy, half baked theories, poor references, and is indiosyncratic in
the extreme.

4. Tagari Farm the Reality: I went to Tagari Farm in Tyalgum in the mid 90s,
during the peak of that wave of Permaculture popularity, the Global Gardener
had followed-up In Grave Danger of Falling Foods on national TV in Australia
and the Designers Manual had just come out. The story I was told was that
something like 3000 species has been planted in something like 20 acres.
Already the ecosystems had signs of unbalance, bamboo running, sweat potato
spreading. Worse the damns - 30% was to be aquaculture - eventually sprung
leaks. The property Tagari in Tyalgum was eventually abadonded and is kind
of the skeleton in the closet, the crazy aunt in the attic of permaculture.
The Tyalgum farm was meant to embody, manifest the glories of the
Permaculture Bible (Designers manual) from the Prophet Bill. No doubt if
someone was crazy enough to buy the Tyalgum property for 2 million
Australian, Tagari in Tasmania would be in a much better financial
situation. http://www.tagari.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/web_version.pdf

4. Spanish and other language editions: why isnt there a Spanish translation
? My understanding was that someone made a verbal arrangement with Bill, did
the translation and had copies printed. Then there was some kind of dspute
with the Prophet and it came screeching to a halt, and the Spanish
translator went broke. These kinds of stories around copyright with
Bill/Tagari are legion.

5. Permaculture Copyrighted - Tagari tried to Copyright and license the
actual WORD Permaculture. That would mean all of us, using or planning on
using Permaculture in marketing material would need to obtain (and
presumably) pay for a license. How many of the Copyright is good crowd have
a paid-up license for using the Word ?

6. International Copyright - most developing nations, especially the United
States of America IGNORED intellectual property regimes during their
development. It was the only way that they could break free of the
imperialism of Europe and establish their own economic rights. The founders
of the US where deeply sceptical of Copyright.. From the authors of the
original Copyright Clause, Jefferson and Maddison
Stable ownership is the gift of social law, and is given late in the
progress of society. It would be curious then, if an idea, the fugitive
fermentation of an individual brain, could, of natural right, be claimed in
exclusive and stable property. If nature has made any one thing less
susceptible than all others of exclusive property, it is the action of the
thinking power called an idea, which an individual may exclusively possess
as long as he keeps it to himself; but the moment it is divulged, it forces
itself into the possession of every one, and the receiver cannot dispossess
himself of it. Its peculiar character, too, is that no one possesses the
less, because every other possesses the whole of it. He who receives an idea
from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who
lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me. That ideas
should freely spread from one to another over the globe, for the moral and
mutual instruction of man, and improvement of his condition, seems to have
been peculiarly and benevolently designed by nature, when she made them,
like fire, expansible over all space, without lessening their density in any
point, and like the air in which we breathe, move, and have our physical
being, incapable of confinement or exclusive appropriation. Inventions then
cannot, in nature, be a subject of property.
—Thomas Jefferson, to Isaac McPherson 13 Aug. 1813 Writings 13:333--35[14]

7. International Development: If someone is starving to death, say in East
Timor, your are not going to send them a book of high-level concepts and a
myriad of interesting and inspiring stories. You need to help them with
practical information now. The idea of sending the Permaculture Designers
Manual to the Global South is basically like sending Bibles to the natives.
Its much better to support the writing of a local edition of a Designers
manual, drawn from global best practice (there are dozens of good
permaculture and related specialty books now) and local knowledge. An
excellent example is the East Timorese Permaculture Designers Manual,
written like a cartoon, containing local species and traditional practice,
in the local dialects. This book was funded and written in East Timor,
"authored" by Ego Lemos


8. Online Market for the Designers Manual: there isnt one, there never has
been, and chances are there never will be. If there is any money to be
extracted from the Mollison PDM it will be captured by Google and your ISP.
Not the online publisher. There has been a huge ongoing debate about
opensource, opencontent etc.. and many, many commercial operations -
software especially - release software code AND documentation FREE.. .they
do this as a kind of loss leader, a marketing exercise.

9. Squabbling while the planet burns - the Copenhagen Climate talks are
offically going to fail. However, the http://www.Klimaforum09.org is
organised by a permaculturalist Tony Andersen, and they are working on a
plan called 10 000 Trees per lifetime and less than 1 tonne GHG per persons
year. To implement this plan they are lobbying for a carbon tax of 100 euro
per tonne. They want to use the international permaculture network and
expand the base of permaculture institutes from 300 to 50 000 in 50 years.
Whether this plan gets funded or not, it gives one a sense of the WORK

10. Permaculture.coop - what if the 300 institutes and hundreds of design
and related permaculture businesses and cooperatives and organisations,
established a Permaculture.coop Intercooperation Framework (using Mondragon
as a good model, like Mollison said in 1983.
What is this Permaculture.coop Intercooperation Framework had a Retirement
Fund, that could provide Pioneers like Mollison with an income and real,
tangible support. Like maintaining their farms in Tasmania and Tyalgum  ?
What if their was a sensible, global mass-multi-media campaign developed,
where the large array of books, DVDs, courses etc, was managed like a global
commons, and exploited sustainably ? If we gave away a lot more courses,
books, videos etc, and got a lot more work and funds, and expanded the
international permaculture network, this argument would simply disappear
into the history of the 1990s.


11. Freedom is Not Free: I know how much time, money, resources go into
publishing - I was webmaster for The Australian and The Daily Telegraph, and
about 30 other newspapers in Sydney at News Ltd. The realities of modern
print publishing are really pretty dire. Its not easy printing these
Designer Manuals. But it would be a hell of a lot easier if there was a
cooperation system that went beyond email exchanges and some casual sending
of funds. Online publishing is a nightmare. Quite literally MOST of the
economic value of internet publishing is being gathered by Google. Look at
the Google Books Settlement or this

12. Like Evan, who I respect, I have been trying to get the International
Permaculture Network to adjust to the realities of the 21st century; sudden,
abrupt cllimate change, globalisation, neoliberalism and the Internet. Evans
publishing of the PDF is important as a political gesture but its irrelevant
in terms of effecting sales of the book. Reading PDFs online is not a great
experience, and you would have to be pretty desperate (and poor) to do so.
Those that can afford to buy the book, will. But sadly, many people in the
West, and most people in the South, and that includes those who need them
cannot afford them.

13. A different model: The computer book publisher, Oreilly invented a new
subscription based service, that allow you to spend say, 20 USD per month
and you get access to a limited number of chapters and videos.
What would happen if we did something similar ? a quality online offering ?
allowing users to pay and login and access books, videos etc online for a
subscription. It would actually create a market where none existed before.
We could then pay authors, and offer free access for schools etc.
Live together, die alone

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