[permaculture] 'invisible structures'

Nancy Elizabeth nesutton at yahoo.com
Wed Aug 3 01:52:36 EDT 2016

(Love Scott's direction, btw, )  Posted far outside the main p.c. channels....

If you are interested in this stuff you might want to track down Bill Mollison's 1983 PDC. He breaks down a whole system of using the existing institutions of the nation state such as trust law to form non profit public interest trusts (the same legal form as churches and universities) that own profit seeking companies. The trust owns all of the land and capital equipment collectively and lends or leases it out to profit seeking companies owned by the trust. The profit seeking companies then donate all of their taxable profits to the trust and the trust pays what is effectively a minimum basic income to all of the beneficiaries of the trust (who are also the people in the companies and operating the land trust). Because all of the land, housing and capital can be provided by the trust holdings the basic income stipends can be below taxable rates but still provide a living wage. It's pretty much what Joel Salatin describes in this talk but with a more communitarian focus and a few sneakier institutional strategies. Effectively it means that a small group can get together, provide a livings for each other, pay no or almost no tax and be very legally defensible if state or corporate interests try to come after them (as they did with the original permaculture institute which was modelled this way).This land based form can then be networked into regional coops. Mollison largely models this on mondragon which the exception that there is a care of the earth, care of people etc charter in the coops (so they don't end up making consumer goods like standard washing machines). These coops can then be knitted into bioregional groups where the waste products of one coop become the inputs for another not unlike the Plant in Chicago. At this scale the groups would be large and coordinated enough to run local political candidates or have considerable sway in local politics which could remove regulatory barriers to regenerative and ecological activities.The whole thing is very interesting, especially since it's a roadmap that used existing institutions and legal forms which largely serve corporate interests but turns them to the service of regenerative social ecological systems. Rather than sitting on our thumbs waiting for nations to collapse it gives us an effective means of using the existing nation states to become incubators for permaculture federations which would have some measure of independence from centralized means of control. Even better than that it allows for a prefigurative politics and staging a social prototype in a context of use which allows us to identify 'misfits' and sort out problems that would not be apparent in theoretical plan. What's more everything he talks about was able to be done in Australia or in larger cases in the Basque regions of Spain. It's not a bunch of pie in the sky postulates or theory.

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