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Is the World Tottering on the Precipice of Peak Gold?
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woodburner



Joined: 06 Apr 2009
Posts: 2387

PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 4:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Even better if you acquire some chickens, then you can have eggs even if you drop all of your baskets.
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Tarrel



Joined: 29 Nov 2011
Posts: 1968
Location: Ross-shire, Scotland

PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 7:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Laughing
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Mr. Fox



Joined: 24 Nov 2005
Posts: 246
Location: In the Dark

PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 9:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

woodburner wrote:
Even better if you acquire some chickens, then you can have eggs even if you drop all of your baskets.


Unless you'd been foolish enough to count the eggs before they'd hatched. Wink

Tarrel, would you include 'community and trust' on you list under the heading of 'Skills and renewable resources'? Smile
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Tarrel



Joined: 29 Nov 2011
Posts: 1968
Location: Ross-shire, Scotland

PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 11:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Tarrel, would you include 'community and trust' on you list under the heading of 'Skills and renewable resources'?


Yes, absolutely. Although I was thinking more about how one invests or converts existing assets for the future.

I've had an interesting experience over the last few years. I was brought up in and around London, and have spent most of my career in the corporate world, either employed or, for the last 16 years, running a small company providing services to corporations. 3 years ago we bought 60 acres of productive woodland in Northern Scotland, and a cottage in a nearby town. We did this as a lifestyle-based downshifting decision, rather than as a hedge against peak oil (although it's worked out well in this regard). The woodland and town are in an agricultural area; predominantly sheep and arable.

What I have experienced, I can only describe as a "culture of abundance", which I have taken a long time to adjust to. My neighbours (i.e the farmers) are helpful and hospitable. They are forthcoming with advice and help, such as the loan of equipment. Sometimes they charge for their services, often they don't. I find myself able to offer little in return, except friendship and good neighbourliness. The point is, initially this bothered me a lot, and I found myself "keeping score" and getting worried about owing too many people too many favours. What I have learned is that this is not how it works. The interdependence that exists in the community is much more organic and long-term, and I have to keep telling myself that, as I become more established, I will have more to offer (hopefully).

My experience of working in the corporate world of the south-east can only be described as "You scratch my back, and I'll charge you to scratch yours. Then you'll sue me if I don't do it right.". OK, maybe that's a little extreme, but you get the idea.

So, how does one invest in community and trust? I guess in our case we started by becoming engaged with people, using local services, asking for advice. Being prepared to accept that we didn't know it all, and that we didn't want to take over. I suppose it's a bit like an apprenticeship. You have to earn the right to belong, and win the respect of the long-standing members of the community. And, just like an apprentice, you don't do that by pretending to be better than the guy who's been doing the job for 30 years, but by respecting their skill, showing enthusiasm and trying to be a "good lad"!
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Mr. Fox



Joined: 24 Nov 2005
Posts: 246
Location: In the Dark

PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 2:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tarrel wrote:
I found myself "keeping score" and getting worried about owing too many people too many favours. What I have learned is that this is not how it works.


And it never was.

In a recent book (Debt - the first 5000 yrs), anthropologist David Graeber does a pretty convincing job of demolishing the 'myth of barter', noting that

Quote:
The definitive anthropological work on barter, by Caroline Humphrey, of Cambridge, could not be more definitive in its conclusions: “No example of a barter economy, pure and simple, has ever been described, let alone the emergence from it of money; all available ethnography suggests that there never has been such a thing.”16

..Barter is what you do with those to whom you are not bound by ties of hospitality (or kinship, or much of anything else)...

..in the century or two before Smith’s time, the English words “truck and barter,” like their equivalents in French, Spanish, German, Dutch, and Portuguese, literally meant “to trick, bamboozle, or rip off .”


Graeber traces this fairy-story about 'barter' having existed in some mythical past back through Adam Smith to Aristotle, suggesting that the reason modern economists perpetuate it - in stark contrast to just about everything else Smith wrote - is 'because it is central to the entire discourse of economics' and that without it, they, like Smith, couldn't really run about pretending that 'economics' is a 'science'. Very Happy

My guess is that what really pisses them off, is that it tends to put the lie to the whole 'competition' mantra, if they admit that the 'natural' basis for human relationships - as you've so eloquently related - is that of a 'Gift Economy' based on mutual trust and respect, or 'conditional co-operation'. Wink
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woodburner



Joined: 06 Apr 2009
Posts: 2387

PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 7:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tarrel wrote:
So, how does one invest in community and trust? I guess in our case we started by becoming engaged with people, using local services, asking for advice. Being prepared to accept that we didn't know it all, and that we didn't want to take over. I suppose it's a bit like an apprenticeship. You have to earn the right to belong, and win the respect of the long-standing members of the community. And, just like an apprentice, you don't do that by pretending to be better than the guy who's been doing the job for 30 years, but by respecting their skill, showing enthusiasm and trying to be a "good lad"!


That sounds a good summary.

We have a new neighbour, moved in from a higher house price area, wants to make major changes to the property which is the other half of ours, makes demands, doesn't offer or accept help, and rejects advice. Once he's done his changes intends to move on.

This does not make for a comfortable existence.
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