[permaculture] NAPC: Scarcity?
cory8570 at yahoo.com
Sun Aug 3 23:13:29 EDT 2014
One more thought - it's very possible we could have charged $50 more and everybody who is coming still would have come. That is something we can look at for next time.
At this point, I do hope that people will look at the whole picture of the decisions we were making and forgive us for any judgment calls that could have been improved upon. I'm sure there are more than one of those!
I am praying and hoping that in spite of any imperfections, that we all show up at the convergence holding the intention to make some meaningful and important progress - for our own needs and careers certainly, but also for the greater issues that exist in the movement that we can best address through collaboration and collective wisdom and resources.
On Sunday, August 3, 2014 10:13 PM, loren luyendyk <loren at sborganics.com> wrote:
Toby- you bring up good points, but I think you may be missing an important one. This is not about scarcity, it is about reality. $150 is a lot of money to some people, especially when you consider travel to get to the event.
I was one proponent of keeping the cost of the event low enough so that folks from "the rest of the Americas" could join (especially after the way overpriced Cuba IPC). This event is not just for well-to-do USAliens, it is the NORTH AMERICAN Permaculture Convergence. There are other countries in North America other than the USA and Canada, "the rest of them" (ie Mexico) will sadly not be equally represented because of- you guessed it- money.
And what about the rest of the PC movement, the other 99%? Those who are just getting started, or those who are not as fortunate as some of us, who may have travels expenses that far exceed the cost of the event- so in effect it becomes a $1000+ affair? Many in the PC movement deliberately avoid making money (reduce the need to earn) because they are not into supporting a degenerative, fiat based currency system. Also, many are on the frontier, are pioneers in their area (geographically) or field, who are waiting for the rest of the world to catch up. For this reason they may not earn what they deserve, or will soon.
It is easy for us to type on our $1200 computers how we should be compensated for our work in order to obtain a yield (ie pay off the computer). Is money the only yield here? What about inspiring the up and comers? What about sharing what works and what doesn't with your peers? What about tithing? I can think of dozens of other yields that will be harvested that far outweigh the speakers fee.
I am honored to be a speaker at this event. I am honored to do it for free. I get paid very well with my work as a permaculture designer and teacher, and I am able to subsidize my trip to the NAPC with this income. I am glad to support this historic event in this way.
Furthermore, not everyone can garner as high a speaker fee as you, Toby. Not that you don't deserve it, its just not equal. Also, many of us don't get called to speak at these events because we haven't written books or are not very good at promoting ourselves. Its all good, this is just reality. Though not yours, obviously.
I think PC Voices was a great event for the PC movement- taking it to the masses, the mainstream, the capitalist patriarchal model- the ones who need to get this info. But PC Voices was HEAVILY subsidized by John Roulac as Wes noted, without his help it probably wouldn't have been such a success. (Perhaps we could have had some sort of sliding scale for the NAPC also.) I personally am glad the PC Voices was successful, and that the PC Elite was able to make some good cash speaking. But to me the NAPC is not about the elite, is is about the other 99%.
I hate to phrase it this way, but I do see PC becoming the model of capitalism that Scott warned us of- where a small group of the regular speakers are getting 99% of the speaking gigs and design jobs, while the other 1% subsidize their PC career with outside work. To me the NAPC is about sharing this wealth- of giving those who normally don't get the calls up on stage. (I know several speakers who have A LOT less field experience than me, who are full on teaching because of a few good career moves. I am not bitter because I have enough, I am just making an observation. Is this what we want to create for PC?)
I have a solution/suggestion. For those who feel that they should be paid to speak at the NAPC, why don't you put a donation jar at the podium, or pass the hat during your talk? I am sure nobody would object. I tell you why I wouldn't- because I would feel like a dick unless I really needed it.
How much do you need in order to feel motivated to speak? This to me is the real scarcity situation going on here- feeling like you cannot afford to speak for free, for fear of denigrating your own work. I was delighted to see Darren Doherty, one of the world's leading PC Designers, take the stage at the last minute during the IPC Conference in Cuba- for free. This to me shows that he has the 3rd ethic firmly rooted in his heart.
Furthermore, I suggest we take up donations for the organizers during the event, who apparently are doing a lot of this work for free- they deserve this support more than speakers IMO. This was one unintended consequence of keeping the event fees so low (agreed not the best design, but this is the first in a series hopefully so there are always better next times). I agree that we could have charged another $50 and most people wouldn't have felt the pang, but why not save that for those who can voluntarily donate to the event organizers, those who can afford it? Like you and I, Toby.
I am good for $50. Heck, lets make it $100. How's that for abundance consciousness?
Accredited Permaculture Teacher, PRI-AUS
ISA Certified Arborist WE-7805A
> From: lakinroe at silcom.com
> Date: Sun, 3 Aug 2014 14:32:34 -0700
> To: permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org
> Subject: Re: [permaculture] NAPC: Scarcity?
> i agree with Toby i agree but what scale would be fair for each speaker that presented , my understanding when NAPC was first organized/conceived that they did not want taking heads , it would be a series of panels/circles that you could or could not be part of if you attended, that has changed i think,
> i love Permaculture Voices and supported Diego from the start with hand outs are our events and also at many festivals. I felt with needed a professional conference for PC. I knew he would be sweating it as PC community waits till the last moment to register. John Roulac of Nutiva save the day by subsidizing a low fee that drew the large numbers in the end. The end result is that Diego was able to have a successful event and now is willing to host this next year.
> It could of failed and never happen again as many PC events get starved because of lack of support. the International Permaculture Conference /Convergence is always facing a lack of financial support for all the same reasons Toby has mentioned.
> I agree everyone need to be part of sharing economy and yes share resources to create a economy that supports the change
> more later thanks Toby
> ps at Santa Barbara Permaculture Network we have always paid PC teachers and travel expenses since our first event in 1997 .
> On Aug 3, 2014, at 12:09 PM, Toby Hemenway <toby at patternliteracy.com> wrote:
> > On Aug 1, 2014, at 12:55 PM, Michael Pilarski via permaculture <permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org> wrote:
> >> Can you imagine how much it would cost
> >> if we had to pay each one of them what they currently get paid for giving a
> >> workshop or keynote speech!? . . . We don’t want to set up a
> >> hierarchy. Come because you are excited about participating ... not because you
> >> are getting paid.
> > Since you mention it publicly, I gather that a number of presenters have asked if they can be compensated for their work. (Warning: rant ahead, and Skeeter, this isn't personal--since I've gotten, like, 8 copies of this notice, it's repeatedly hit one of my hot buttons.)
> > What if a corporation or plantation boss had said, “Can you imagine how much our products would cost if we paid our workers fairly?” Permies don’t get a pass on that just because we’re doing good work; corporations think they are too. It’s also a guilt-tripping argument, which is kind of embarrassing.
> > Here's the answer to the question: Given the expected 500 attendees, another $50 would generate $25,000. More than enough to pay everyone well, including the hard-working organizers. Since the fee structure of NAPC already has a set of $50 tiers, one more would have fit in fine.
> > People aren't asking to be paid just to get money. It's hard work to put a talk together (takes me 40-80 hours for a 90-minute talk), and if our work yields no return, we've designed a bad system that burns us out. Remember "Get a yield?" Not to do so is unsustainable. We should be modeling abundance, not scarcity. "Here, come be a permaculturist, stay broke, live in scarcity, and get nothing for your hard work but good feelings!"
> > The price of NAPC is ludicrously low. $150 for 3 days of presentations, workshops, awesome conversation, meals, and camping? That’s just nuts! For $50 more, NAPC could have compensated everyone well for their work and had broader appeal. And at a regular conference rate, we could have funded the projects we'll conceive there. I know a lot of people who aren’t attending because it’s just the usual folks, camping in a field, like every convergence.
> > It feels like the guiding principle for NAPC is “let’s spend as little as possible so we can charge as little as possible.” That’s a brutally limiting design ethic. Imagine how much richer the event would be if the ethic was, “How do we make this as awesome as we can, pay everyone fairly for their work, and still find ways for everyone to afford it?”
> > One of many ways is how Permaculture Voices did it: A block of very expensive, full-price tickets (which sold well because not every permaculturist is poor!), blocks at half and one-quarter price, and a large block of free tickets. They had 650 very diverse attendees, and a presenters budget of, I estimate, over $100,000 to pay 70 speakers very well. There are many ways to design it to be affordable for all, beyond “do it as cheap as we can.”
> > When 500 people come together, they can generate a surplus that will provide enough for everyone. How did NAPC miss that resource? (I assume, since NAPC isn't paying others for working, that NAPC staff, too, are all doing this for free).
> > It’s not that there is a “hierarchy,” as the letter puts it. There is true diversity in skills, experience, and income. To deny that reality, to not take advantage of it, is poor design.
> > Please, let’s get over the idea that everyone in permaculture is poor, that there is no money out there, that this is a world of scarcity. What kind of a vision to hold is that? This is a huge limitation for permaculture that we have to break out of!
> > Maybe we need a session at NAPC on how to break the scarcity mentality of permaculture.
> > Toby
> > http://patternliteracy.com
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