It is really interesting to observe that ideological changes in people lead sometimes to considerable shifts in where and how people live. For example, the move away from a rural society, based on subsistence farming, to a city or urban society. This happened as a consequence of people seeing that the city people had more things because they had more money and access to these things. The result is that there have been shifts. People moved in very large numbers from the land to the towns and cities. Some of these people could find jobs. Many could not. The migration took place without the correct thinking or understanding behind it. The understanding that was ignored at the time, and still is today, is made up of two key elements.
- The first is that economy as a principle is substantially based on the products provided by nature. These are not found in the cities once they have become established and large.
- The second is that economy only comes about where people do things for others.
What do the thousands of excess people do now? They live in squatter camps, poverty and filth, without dignity or skills. They cannot get their hands on nature products and all the products required by those living in the cities are already being provided by others.
If we go back to the principles once again, and yes, they are repeated frequently out of necessity:
- Value is created only when mankind is present in nature. In a nature economy, without the presence of human beings, there is no exchange of value because nature is not conscious.
- Human beings are conscious and produce things for others. When they produce things for themselves, there is no exchange and no economy.
- In producing things for others, there are two essential sources of value:
- They are firstly when a nature product is worked on by human labour – to produce a wooden pole for example. This can then be exchanged for value.
- The second source of value created is when human labour is differentiated and one does one task and others do different tasks for example in the supply of wooden poles worked into furniture.
The efficiency and diversification that is facilitated by specialisation in this way also generates value in an economic sense. A wider product range becomes available.
The point that must be taken from the above in this specific case is that nature is a key part of value creation. Nature is in food of all origins, in housing, cars, roads, aeroplanes, office cabling, power supply and so on. So here we have this incredible situation of extremes:
- On the one hand where there is only nature and no human beings, there is no economic activity.
- On the other, where there is an abundance of human beings but no nature, as is the case in cities, there is difficulty with economy and therefore jobs.
The dream of course still remains that in cities there are jobs. Is this reality or fantasy when the products needed by people of the city are already provided for by those already there?
For me this is the crux of the problem today. If people had stayed on the land, they would have the means to feed themselves but the economy would be small in these areas as people are far from training and the market. So what can we change as ideology, as understanding, that would make a difference to this situation and allow people into the economy and so be able to have the basic necessities of life?
Let’s just imagine for a bit and not place unnecessary obstacles in our way. Let us let go for a short while our current logic and reasoning.
We build a large warehouse-like building right next to a squatter camp. We place the following rules for the use of the warehouse by the squatter community (SC):
- Make products that originate from Nature products efficiently; and
- Make products that your direct neighbours want and that are not for yourself; and
- People want to learn and develop and need guidance and support for this; and
- The SC wants equity and justice to prevail.
- Barter or a local currency is fine.
Three heads will work together to administer this venture as defined above:
One who wants human dignity and development (L)
One that knows business/economy as we call it to day (F);
One that makes sure that agreements made are met (E)
With the above rules and structure in place, let’s see if we can create dignified jobs.
The three heads (L, F and E) would have a meeting and agree that people need employment for personal dignity and welfare. They would welcome the building. They would establish a source of funding from within the community on a ‘Stokvel’ basis.
- E would take on the role of making sure that agreements were signed for funding and paid back according to terms contained therein.
- F would identify tasks that people were doing for themselves and encourage the splitting of these tasks into specialisation where people would do their task but for others as well. People would be encouraged to do different tasks so that they all became dependent on each other. Trade would result because this is what economy is – people providing for the material needs of others.
- If any capital or raw materials were required, E would be asked to arrange funding.
- F would put forward the best tools/machine to be used for that manufacturing task.
- L would assist in identifying the specific person or people for this task because L and his advisers know the SC people well. L would know all the individuals applying for positions or loans and would support them or not.
- If L, F and E support the wrong people to take the loan or run the operation, they would not get their funds back and would end up paying more for the goods not efficiently made or not relevant.
- L, F and E also know that if the economy started to come alive, there would be tax payable to E that would help them get churches and priests, schools and day care centres.
So, to give examples to the above ideas, a person would want to bring water to the (SC).
- He would need a water pump and storage tanks.
- Many people collect their own water at present.
- Others in the SC would agree to a few dedicated water collectors so that they could do something different like cook meals for others using a small space in the building provided.
- The manual water pumps, piping and tanks would be provided for with funds from the SC community.
- The E people would be the people managing the disputes if the terms were not met. They would also take commission/tax on these deals that both F and L were aware of and had agreed to.
- F would sell water to the food cookers and for washing and vegetable growing at a price agreed.
- A small area of the building would be used for the shower facilities that another would run and supervise and get paid for.
- The vegetable growers would provide vegetables to others at a price. They would pay the water people with this.
- Others in the SC would do clothes washing and charge for this.
- Others would do food processing like making tomato sauce and bottling it,
- and still others transport of goods.
- Others would source wood and wood working machinery to supply roof timber, beds, chairs and tables.
- All these loans would have to be managed and taxed.
- The L people would want the right people in each segment of the economy (F) and E sector as this would make the whole work better.
- The L people would also want the entire SC people trained and educated to understand the above concepts so that their community could develop.
- Taxes gathered would go to the L sector for this and would be supported by the F sector because they would want these better people.
- In the building there would be space provided to leather tanners, shoe makers, cotton spinners, jersey makers and more. They would all be doing things for others with the products of nature as a start.
With the value add from these activities, which has to appear in currency, a portion of which would be taxed and either used for basic infrastructure and services or redistributed to the L sphere for training, development, and human care, the SC would uplift itself and make it possible for members to enter the greater economy and developed societies. People would diversify their skills, understand that doing things for others is where economy is started and that access to raw materials of nature from wood, food, metal, animals, is essential to allowing economy to form. The overcrowding problem would become less of a burden on the existing society and donations and support from them would flow in abundance, and they themselves might learn a lot that they have never contemplated.