Ming the Mechanic:
Creative Resourcing

The NewsLog of Flemming Funch
 Creative Resourcing2002-05-07 22:07
8 comments
by Flemming Funch

I was looking at a page about "Creative Resourcing" at the changemakers.net site. To answer the question "What is Creative Resourcing?" it says: "Creative Resourcing describes an ability to find new ways of engaging the resources in the local environment (i.e. funds, people, goods and services) to support an organization and make it self-sustaining". Which is a great thing, of course. And my first thought was: "Great, that's exactly what I'd like to have happen". But my second thought, after looking at the examples, was that what I'm really interested in is something more pervasive.

I'd really like teams of people doing good things to be self-sustaining. I'd like that to happen by some kind of networking of resources.

But within the framework of our current civilization, that mostly means either that one appeals to the charity of people who have an abundance or money, or that one sets up some other clever fund-raising mechanism, like a bake sale or a car wash or something.

What bothers me is that organizations doing things that need to be done have to tap into the profit driven mainstream society in order to be funded. There's something there I really disagree with. The whole idea of being "funded" bothers me.

The concept of "funding" builds on the idea that, first of all, we need money to do things. And, secondly, the source of all money is some agency that is beyond the need for doing anything useful or valuable. A bank, for example. Or somebody who's made so much more money than they need that we can appeal to them to share some with us. Or somebody who's made so much money that they carelessly have bought a lot of resources they didn't need, and then conveniently forgotten about them, so we can then go and use them.

Either way, the basic idea seems to be that all the power is somewhere else, but that there's enough of it, and that if we're a little clever, we can sneak it away from those who hold it.

Now, what I would rather hope for, might at first glance sound very similar, but is fundamentally different, I think. The networking of resources itself being the basis of all economy.

Here we have a planet. A lot of stuff is naturally going on on it that we might participate in and take advantage of. The sun is shining, plants are growing, the ocean is moving around, etc. And we've developed some resources on top of that. Skills we've developed, stuff we've built, and methods of doing things.

In the bigger picture, the issue is just how we network all of these resources in a way that works well for most of us, and in a way that ensures that more and better resources keep becoming available.

A big hindrance is the fact that most of the world is operating on an economic model that is trying to do something quite different: to extract a profit out of everything that is done. Not a benefit, but a profit. I.e. you put in 2 cows and you get 3 cows back. A sustainable system is not possible based on such a principle. Within such a system, indeed, the most promising source of sustenance is the guy who got an extra cow for nothing, and who maybe can be persuaded to share it.

Even though that system has most people's attention, and most people are very concerned about making a living, or making a profit, and planning for your retirement, and paying your rent, etc., I think it is quite reasonable to build up another system next to it.

The system I'm interested in would be the networking of resources, not just within the gaps of the capitalistic system, but by and of itself.

To make anything happen, you need to bring the resources together that makes it happen.

Our mainstream capitalistic system has an addition to that: "... and you need to come up with something extra to make a profit for the bank or the investors, and maybe for yourself". And our socialist police state system has another addition to that: "... and you need to pay some taxes for the right to do this".

It has been explained elsewhere, but it is important to understand the math of this. What has happened is essentially that somebody has messed up the math of equations. In a resource economy, the point is to add everything up so that all the resources are accounted for, so that the natural cycles of thigns will continue, but arranged in such a way that we get maximum benefit from it. The equations add up. The amount of sunlight received by the planet equals the amount that the earth's surface receives, plus the amount that is absorbed in the atmosphere. The amount of water in a river equals the amount that enters into it, through rainfall, through the streams leading into it. And the water flowing into the ocean at the other end equals the amount that flowed into it, minus the amount that evaporated and the amounts soaked up by plants or by the earth. That's all obvious, albeit over-simplified, of course.

But the economic system we've somehow accepted says something quite different. It says that there is no (economic) point to merely exchange or network resources. If you have an extra apple tree and I have an extra cow, and we feel we can just swap, with equal benefit to both of us, that transaction would have no economic value. But, worse than that, if we actually told the government about it, it would want to have us pay taxes on it. Which makes it no longer make sense. Suddenly it isn't enough to just have a cow and and apple tree. We need to come up with some extra money from some kind of other source in order to pay for the right to do such a trade.

Anyway, my point is that it is entirely possible for us to arrange a network amongst us that gets around all this artificial profit, interest, tax, financing, funding kind of game. It is not easy, but it is possible.

I think it would take an attitude of deliberately ignoring the money economy, but continuously confronting the nonsense that comes with it, and to focus instead on the resources that exist. And, even better, figuring out how to arrange things so that most of us will continously have the resources we need for what we want to do.

Yeah, yeah, I know a lot of people will say I'm dreaming, or that it is unrealistic, or they will start explaining to me why I've misunderstood the money system and it is perfectly fine already.

But, no, what would truly change the world would be the establishment of a system that steps over that, and that manages to successfully network the resources available to people who are working for the benefit of the world. Radical Creative Resourcing.

I think it is inevitable, because the capitalistic money system is doomed in the longer run. It is based on bad math. It is a pyramid scheme.


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8 comments

8 May 2002 @ 00:48 by dadak : LETS
Ming hello

Is what you think about somehow related to LETS ? [link] see 1.1
I don't see how this could happen on a non-local scale though. But i guess this is your questionning. It would become a GETS.
I know some people involved in LETS, my father for example. They had the same problems as usual and had to divide. Greed, hatred and delusion.

If it was possible to attain this ideal without a radical inner practice (that is inner work, hours upon hours, weeks after weeks, years after years) i think it would have already happened.

So my idea is that it needs both, outer and inner work, in balance. For example, if voluntary simplicity is not in the "program", i don't see how it could work. If unequal repartition of ressources doesn't ring a bell, it wouldn't go very far. But sharing, not only ideas, is in itself a spiritual practice that has deep roots in human history. Simplicity as well. Jesus and Buddha and many others offered a solution by showing that you can live with a garment and a pair of shoes (not even that in some cases).

Anyway i think Arne Naess has already cleared the way to what you are thinking "into" and gave an analysis of a structured approach to unity in diversity towards a worthy goal. Mahatma Gandhi as well.  



8 May 2002 @ 02:05 by ming : LETS
Like LETS but more. Frankly I don't know what the trigger is that will make it work. As to LETS, even Michael Linton, who's a great guy, who's pretty much the inventor of LETS, and the author of that page, says that LETS is only meaningful at this point as a complementary currency. I.e. as another way of doing it, on a small scale, and not as any replacement for the mainstream system. And I know lots of other people who've come up with various alternative currency systems or gift exchange systems. None of them have gotten any further than being, at best, a minor supplement to the regular economy. Kind of like rebate coupons or frequent flier miles. You might save 10%, and if you're really persistent you might work up to a free trip or something. But we need something drastically more, that actually might replace the current system. And maybe it is dependent on something else happening first, like most of us changing inside, I don't know.  


8 May 2002 @ 07:07 by dadak : inside
Well, that seems obvious to me. Do you really have any doubt ?  


8 May 2002 @ 08:28 by ergodicity : Riff-Raff
Gnutella is a system that seems aloof to the profit motive. Here’s a site that defines it in a non-technical way, [link] The greatest thing about its functioning is the apparent fair degree of anonymity it affords.

A new governing system will need to be designed, built and then released as a practical finished product, served up on a silver platter, requiring little work or sacrifice to get up and running to serve one’s own ends. I state this from an understanding of at least two things, one, the powers that be ultimately don’t want competition for control of the world and have and will continue to want to smash such efforts. Anonymity avoids giving the current insanity targets to vent its preoccupation with an “anything goes, might makes right” cosmology.

The second reason why I believe the major development of a working governing system will be done privately and quietly is that a major portion of humanity is quite psychotic. The efforts to accumulate a large body of understanding of shared relationships is science. Science is shunned and in the public eye, actually derided and cajoled. To many there is something beyond logic. A non-literal use of a term in describing system theory is indicative of the “anti-communication” tendency of this psychosis. There are hierarchies here. There are hierarchies in everything and anything anywhere. Every network, every “system” is what it is because of its internal and external relationships. Relationships differ in their magnitudes and direction. The differences are what makes hierarchies exist. In fact if you look at the evolution of life you see a general overall trend to create ever more complex and capable hierarchy. Complete and utter death of the universe has been postulated, the state of greatest overall thermodynamic probability, physical entropy. I suppose in such a theoretical landscape, there is no hierarchy. I don’t think one could live there though.

Consider these newslogs. No doubt there is competition for high level placement. Want a lawless life? Don’t need rules? LOL  



8 May 2002 @ 14:31 by ming : Change
I guess I'm as well searching for new systems that would constitute a Design Science Revolution, like Bucky Fuller called it. I.e. the invention of some new artifats, or a new system, that is just so compelling that people spontaneously will adopt it and use it, and that just happens to have as an essential component some more healthy principles, or a better way of thinking. In other words, don't change the world by trying to persuade people to act differently, but provide them with something that will make it a no-brainer to do so. It is not easy to persuade people to recycle if it is really a big hassle to do so. But if it is obviously easier and more rewarding to recycle than to throw away, of course people are going to do it. Same with new economic ways of interacting. If somebody comes up with a truly better way of doing it, which just happens to not have the same weaknesses, of course people are going to use it. Nobody's going to stand up and feel sorry for the Federal Reserve Bank or something.

I certainly think and hope and believe that people will change inside. But I wouldn't want to gamble on it, and depend on everybody changing inside before the world can change. Lots of people will not change before the world obviously has changed around them.  



8 May 2002 @ 14:52 by ergodicity : Comprehensive Anticipatory
Design Science Revolution, yup.

Are you as amazed by ephemeralization as I am? Thought I knew what the word meant but it is still surprising to see these institutions becoming ucloaked. We're gonna need something real pretty quick cause they are coming unglued too. If we got nothing to break their fall, we're liable to be broken ourselves.  



8 May 2002 @ 16:45 by ming : Sudden Change
Yeah, I think things can change very quickly. I do think many existing institutions are dinosaurs that are bound for extinction. They're holding on very hard, and making it look like nothing much has changed. Media, publishing, military complex, silly patents, power industry, etc.

But a couple of run-away phenomena, like a Napster or Gnutella kind of thing, in a few different areas of society, might suddenly change everything. Any obviously-more-efficient power-to-the people kind of technology. If that was invented in the field of money/exchange and in the field of energy production, the world map would be re-drawn overnight.

So, one way or another, it would be a good idea to have some infra-structure ready, in case the old centrally controlled structures suddenly disappear.  



9 Dec 2002 @ 10:10 by dcaark : Networking Renewable Resources
Hello Fleming,

I have been away from NCN for sometime but I am happy that I have come back. I am amazed at how much easier NCN is to use (and benefit from) for us "virtually" handicapped types. Your comments above require me to attempt to renew our dialog about ways that we can create a new system that will allow us the opportunity to "network all of these resources in a way that works well for most of us, and in a way that ensures that more and better resources keep becoming available."

If my memory is correct, you spent sometime a couple of years ago reviewing parts of the concept for THE ARK. Based on your comments above, I can only conclude that my ability to communicate the deeper apects of the philosophy, design, methods and potential of THE ARK concept, are far more lacking than I realized.

I say that because I see within THE ARK concept all of the capabilities, principles and ingredients you describe in your comments above. In my mind it is the perfect match.

I hope that I will now be able to better utilize the tools and membership that you have assembled here at NCN to correct that shortfall. I will make a brief attempt toward that objective in the following comments.

It is my belief that our present economic system is the primary culprit in the excellerating deterioration of our society and world. I also believe that our governmental system has the foundation and potential to evolve into an ideal system if we are able to remove the adverse effects that our economic system is now forcing on the American and world governments. It is obvious to me that we must change the economy in a way that will help people change so that they, the people, can then change the government.

I agree with you and Bucky Fuller that this new system must be "so compelling that people spontaneously will adopt it and use it and that it just happens to have as an essential component some more healthy principles, or a better way of thinking. In other words, don't change the world by trying to persuade people to act differently, but provide them with something that will make it a no-brainer to do so."

THE ARK concept has just that ingredient but apparently it is hidden so deeply by my writing skills (or lack of) that few people have been able to understand. Most people see THE ARK concept as a simple system to assist small independent businesses. That feature is actually little more that one of the lures used to compell people to spontaneously adopt it and use it.

There are many other lures within the concept that are necessary designs to compell people to adopt it and use it, but there are many other features that are designed to assure that this new economy will always have healthy principles and a better way of thinking. These features are designed to assure that the new system is capable of encompasing the entirety of all economies and keep this new economy more balanced, equitable and open to all people.

The depth of these features can probaly only be understood by others through the process of constructive dialog between people who unsefishly want to work together to design a better system that will help create a better world.

It is my hope for the coming days and weeks to better utilize the tools you have provided here, along with THE ARK Website and its' discussion groups, to find the people who will be able to dialog this concept into a working entity with unlimited potential for good.

At this point THE ARK is only a concept with many strong features and principles that are capable of leading to a hands on working system for the good of all people and the Universe. It will never, and cannot, become more until the right people come together to add their wisdom and knowledge to help the concept approach perfection before it is implemented in a way that will compell the masses to adopt it and use it.  



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