Anonymous asked in Social ScienceEconomics · 9 years ago

Should We Expect a Rise in Co-Op Based Personal Economics?

The alternatives would seem to be trying to fix a broken system, that is on fire, and totally dysfunctional, and utterly unable to receive any information from outside it's broken self.


We can just do nothing and slide down the drain as the whole US economy and all US power in the world slides down the drain, so at least we didn't waste any effort trying to do anything to save ourselves ..


We could start building personal networks of Co-Op based economics.

There are 1000 kinds of Co-Ops (food, clothing, toys, books, tools, fuel, vitamins, whatever).

A sovereign individual who is in some way productive could join one or several co-operatives and make it a policy "I never buy anything from anybody that doesn't buy anything from me."

These would all be considered restraints of trade, under the Sheman Act, the Clayton Act, the Robinson Patman Act etc, but with the government collapsing under its own weight and into it own corruption and filth, it is very unlikely that they will send a team of DOJ lawyers to your house to monitor and convict you of the crime of economic survival. Remember you have a right to a jury trial. The other folks on the jury might be doing the same thing or getting ready to.

So, the sovereign individual, by necessity, operates maybe not so much in accordance with each and every rule that was popular in 1940. Necessity is often a legal excuse, and sometimes even a justification.

Trading communes could link up, so many specialized communes can trade through hubs. This is on a members only basis. Membership is protected by freedom of association guarantees in the First Amendment, that's why some country clubs still get to pick and choose their members. Trading communes are like clubs not like public markets. They are more like intra-nets or LANs than they are like the Internet.

To stay viable they need two things -- They need legacies -- fairly large ones -- help defray their very frugal but unavoidable administrative and legal expenses. There are tons of rich people in USA. Some believe in the sovereign inidividual concept. They want to see more of it, instead of a sluide into socialism and finally into anarchy. So legacies are a possibility. If PBS and NPR can get them, why not Economic Self-Reliance Communes?

The other thing that's needed is exports. But not exports to China. Just to outside the Commune. Stuff has to be created within the commune and sold to outsiders for gold, or cash that is immediately converted into gold. This is called Merchantilism -- and it was the entire basis of the economic success of USA during the period 1787 till 1887. It does work. And the exporting is easy -- just take the stuff down the block, sell it at a farmer's market, sell it on Ebay, or Craig's list. It's exporting because it is merchantilist trading with an outside economic actor.

Hard cash is needed even by sovereign individuals because they can't make their own patent pharmaceuticals. They have to trade with the world for that. They can't do their own surgical operations. They can't build their own computer chips. So, for some things there has to be disposable hard cash. That means the Commune must have a source -- Legacies and Exports.

Three basic choices (1) fix an unfiaxable system (2) passively go down the drain with it or (3) unplug from it and start an alternative economics -- a new reality, when the old one won't do.

In management this third option would be an example of the Blue Ocean Strategy, first made popular by the Boston Consulting Group.

It's for smart people.

So thank goodness for the First Amendment -- not every highway has to be a public highway.

Networks of Trading Communes linked together by quality control, well designed goods, and free flow of information -- everybody in the system gives good weight -- liike Bob Dylan said -- when you live outside the law you MUST be honest.

This does not bring down capitalism. It does not bring down socialism. It bypasses both with harm to neither. It's inherently convivial -- live and let live. Exercise your liberty or you don't merit its continuance!

2 Answers

  • Favorite Answer

    I respectfully differ with Bored Goblin: if employee ownership can work in a company as large as Publix Supermarkets, and it works well enough that Kroger tends to avoid going head-to-head against Publix, the only Krogers left in Florida being standalone drugstores, then I see no reason that hospitals and manufacturing firms cannot follow the cooperative model.

    Some years ago on MacNeil/Lehrer instead of doing the usual Hallmark Card boilerplate Thanksgiving story an economist did a report on the economic history of the Pilgrim and Puritan colonies: They failed as Corporations because the workers did not achieve their maximal productivity for the benefit of absentee owners, they failed as collectives because the free riders floated along at the expense of the producers, but succeeded as cooperative ventures where the rewards of productivity were more equitably portioned, thus giving the workers greater incentive to work hard and well.

  • Anonymous
    9 years ago

    Co-ops will rise in economically blighted areas, where people cannot even afford to move to a better place.

    Coops will not work for people with modern job skills, as coops severaly limit choices, and cannot offer much to specialists. You know any coops that could use a cell phone designer? Or a neurosurgeon? Or a corporate law specialist?

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