[FoRK] Chart of the Day...
sdw at lig.net
Thu Jun 10 03:19:14 PDT 2010
On 6/9/10 10:13 AM, Jebadiah Moore wrote:
> On Wed, Jun 9, 2010 at 12:02 AM, Stephen D. Williams<sdw at lig.net> wrote:
>> Especially annoying trends since most of them did not take care of
>> themselves, smoked, didn't exercise, etc.
>> I wonder if the solution, probably in the distant future, is guaranteed
>> reasonably priced housing / healthcare / etc. through some mechanism that
>> doesn't generate its own gigantic money sink. In a hand-wavy sense,
>> providing good, distributed living resources with economy of scale and
>> commercial competition. You would have to have strong built-in competition
>> and "refactoring" and refresh frequently to avoid something like "the
>> projects" result. Roughly what we need for housing in general in some
> What about a health insurance corporation, organized sort of like a co-op,
> run as a for-profit but with shareholders being (at least mostly) customers.
> It would be in the corp's best interests to maximize health, and therefore
> to promote healthy behaviors. One of the easiest ways to do that is to
> provide low-cost healthy food, and as a massive organization it would have
> the ability to either grow its own food or to buy it at discount wholesale,
> then resell it to members at cost. The distribution costs would be lowered
> because they could provide healthcare to employees at, again, cost. The
> corporation could hire its own doctors as well.
> You could lower cost further for some members by organizing group living
> facilities--low cost apartments/housing communities with group dining,
> on-site healthcare (including preventative), etc.--which would have be
> beneficial by cutting transportation costs, having a slightly more
> "enforced" healthy eating regiment, ease of administrating preventative
> care, health benefits of social living, elimination of redundant facilities,
> etc. Beyond the cost advantages for members would be the ease of living and
> group organization. There'd be incentive for workplaces to cluster around
> these facilities, and indeed some portion of the members could be employed
> at the facilities themselves.
> Essentially communes, minus the hippies.
That is more or less what I was alluding to, although I would never call
it communes and I would never advocate running with that mindset either.
Although shooting for roughly the same goals of overall cost and stress
efficiency is the idea. Aggressively lean, aggressively competitive
with feedback, highly unstable stability with constant innovation and
> I think key is that it's not an attempt to circumvent the market system,
> it's not mandatory, it sidesteps the danger of internal collapse that
> regular communes have by having organization from the outside, and it
> doesn't have a social movement or the like behind it (although I guess you
> might naturally get clusters like this--some facilities oriented towards
> Christians, some towards academics, etc.; you could even intentionally
> "theme" them in this way).
I would aggressively avoid and subvert most kinds of clustering in any
physical or strict social sense beyond family. Think corporate,
government, or military mixing based on accomplishing something,
meritocracy (in movement, assignments, privilege), etc.
I don't think of the organization as being strictly inside or outside.
My idea is to start with a more or less normal culture with some tweaks
that are effected by special ownership, rental, employment, educational,
and other contracts, rules, regulations, social norms, and principles
that are allowed to rapidly evolve. An interesting challenge, and
perhaps the main challenge is to get people to operate in the most
enlightened, efficient ways even as most of them are still being
educated and often refusing to operate differently. The main recourse
might be to eject those who refuse to play well.
In quick brainstorming, it seems that you could handle some problems
like worth (and therefore income) inequality by suggesting that most
people have 2 jobs, one that pays something like "minimum wage" and
another that has some higher value in some way. The latter could be the
traditional more difficult and/or take much more education job or it
could be more dangerous, distasteful, etc.
You still come down to taxation in some sense, however it could be more
of an efficient barter-like arrangement for the baseline. Ideally, the
baseline gets covered with minimal individual effort. That can't happen
in most areas because of cost of land, buildings, transportation,
getting food, various service costs, etc. It seems that when any of
those are high, they naturally set the scale for others to some extent.
Anyway, fun to muse on, probably a nightmare to create and run.
However, based on my estimations of human nature, cause and effect
play-out, and even a few out of the box ideas, I'm sure that it is
possible to pull off something interesting.
Perhaps the way to bootstrap it is to create a "company town", but one
with copyleft-like agreement judo and similar shared-responsibility
ownership of things, responsibilities, and consequences. Perhaps a
useful motto might be: "Take care of yourself, take care of others, do
something useful and beautiful." Not "take care of others" as in
socialism or paternalism, but as in "pay it forward" and similar. Just
creating a place for people to exist is likely to be doomed. You need
to make self-improvement and goal-seeking intrinsic with running and
being in the place. That includes making it easy and hard to avoid,
rather than how, for many people in many places, it is pretty much the
opposite: be the human robot for work, etc. And actively weed out those
who are downers.
One of the biggest possible "industries", and also potentially a big
source of expertise and residents in general are the mature and
elderly. Somewhat related in terms of full participation are those that
have slowed down to a stop mentally and have forgotten how to grow or
change. It seems likely that this is the real poverty in such a
society: Those really living and growing sort of provide for each other,
through teaching, mutual activities, projects, etc. Those that just want
to exist and have menial jobs are going to just continue watching TV,
Anyway, just pie in the sky unless you solve each efficiency problem
well and have real income lined up doing something real in a competitive
way. No touchy-feely handwaving would succeed. However, it's clear
that a huge amount of talent, energy, and attention goes un- or poorly used.
Get practically free land (outback of California, Nevada, etc. and other
similar areas), build very-cheap-per-unit housing that is mostly
indestructable and yet aesthetic and adaptable, get starter populations
that are looking for a change / already costing society a lot or who are
having difficulty contributing for various reasons (prisoners, elderly,
unemployed, those with non-mental handicaps, young adults), set up
industry (physical and otherwise, entertainment/art, engineering),
create constant transportation to existing nearby population hubs
(probably via air travel and perhaps as a very cheap or free add-on to
freight flights), etc.
If successful, pod off groups to start new areas or go on extended
projects to the third world or similar.
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