Discretionary Time and Money

Father's Day Salad 2016

The new interactions we need to heal nature, end poverty and abate climate change

will not involve the exchange of money. Money fueled interactions are not bad. We have

neither the influence nor the desire to change the way money works. Money transactions

are just not suited to tap into the unrealized human and biological potential resident in

our neighborhood.

 

Money fueled interactions are market based. Markets are limited, by the law of supply

and demand, to those things that are relatively scarce to people with the money to

pay for them. The unrealized human and biological potential of a place is everything else.

The resources available to us are those things that have no niche in the market.

 

This is not communism . . .

 

The alternative is for groups of people to cooperate in developing the capacity

to produce things for themselves. No, this is not communism. Every business

corporation is a group of stakeholders who cooperate to develop the capacity to

produce something. The difference is producing for ourselves or producing for

the market. Producing for ourselves we can use the resources that have no place

in the market. All production for the market is limited by the law of supply and demand.

 

This is not barter . . .

 

Say that I have a pickup truck and you have automotive mechanical skills. If you fix my

truck and then I let you use it to do something . . . that is barter. Barter is a market based

system. My ability to barter for truck repairs is limited to the mechanics who have the

need to use a truck.

In a different scenario, you and I use the truck to salvage some building materials and

build a chicken coop. We co-own the coop, the chickens we raise in the coop, and all the

eggs produced. We allocate the cost, work and produce between us. Our investment in

the truck is not an exchange between us. It is an investment in the capacity to produce

chickens and eggs for ourselves.

 

Not everyone wants to grow food . . .

 

True. But every human wants to have food, among other things, and every

human has something to invest in producing those things.

 

Every human being has discretion as to how to use their time. With a job or investments

we may have discretionary money as well. Food is just the example. We all need food,

clothing, shelter, education and health care to thrive. If we pool our discretionary time and

money to produce those things for ourselves, there is less we need to purchase in the market

. . . we need less money. And not everyone has to grow food.

 

As an agent of habitat

 

you know that it is your responsibility to create the world we want for our great grandchildren,

that we all participate in a pattern of interactions within which we have influence, and that we

can use that influence to make our part of the pattern more welcoming.

 

We can obtain a return on our efforts by investing in the production of food, clothing, shelter,

education and health care. There are four levels as this idea scales:

 

1 – invest in the capacity to produce things for your family by your family.

 

This is known as self sufficiency. It may not seem significant. None of us wants to spend all

our time that way . . . Still, each of us can convert our landscape into a deep mulch system

(and spend less time and money than maintaining a lawn) . . . grow a few of our own vegetables

. . . maybe even have an aquaponics system in a greenhouse that provides salads all winter . . .

and still engage in all the diversions that please you.

 

2 – We call the capacity of our neighborhood to provide for itself community

sufficiency technologies . . .

 

Imagine the discretionary time and money available in your neigborhood. There is someone

in your neighborhood who would think of raising chickens as a pleasant diversion. There is

someone there who would think of raising fish as a pleasant diversion. For every task we can

imagine to improve the cycling of carbon in our neighborhood, there is a neighbor of yours

who would enjoy doing that . . .

 

Think of all the facilities you could build if all your neighbors kicked in a little of their

discretionary time and money . . .

 

and all of you can still engage in all the diversions that please you.

 

3 – We call the capacity of our town to provide for itself a community

investment enterprise . . .

 

Imagine all the people in your town or city that do not have the discretionary

money it takes to invest in producing for themselves. When you do not have enough money

all of your time is consumed with just getting by . . . what if our community invested

in the capacity to employ that latent human potential to produce food, clothing,

shelter, education and health care for the whole town . . . ?

 

4 – We call a group of people that begin pooling their resources to acquire

the capacity to provide for themselves a self help corporation . . .

We do not have to imagine all the different ways that people could organize

themselves to provide for themselves while healing nature, ending poverty and

abating climate change through carbon cycling. We just need to get the ball rolling

and people will figure things out as they go.

 

Some have more discretion than others.

 

Our discretionary resources are a consequence of the fortunes of our ancestors and

the results of our own choices. Those of us lucky enough to have both discretionary

time and discretionary money have the greatest responsibility to the future . . .

because we are the ones capable of investing in the future. The main thing holding

us back is the belief that solutions have to be market solutions or government solutions . . .

 

There is a third choice . . . as agents of habitat we can take matters into our own hands.

 

Learn more about Community Sufficiency Technologies.

 

Table of Contents- Synopsis - Lesson Five

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