Nicole’s question

Some of the folks who come through the communities conference have incredible energy.  Nicole was this year’s hard charger.  Working principally through social media she is building up a network of representatives from the communities which she calls Hybrid RBE for Hybrid Resource Based Economy.

Clever enough for me

Clever enough for me

She drives her members through hooking people up and asking what she hopes are penetrating questions.   She posted this recently:

Which would you rather have? A. Your current wage with no guarantee of it covering all your basic needs rather long being able to afford your wants. or B. Basic needs guaranteed to be covered, with the possibility of your wants being met as well, and no wage at all.

Most of her hybrid RBE folks think they want choice B.  Some feel that this is just a government handout, which it certainly is not in our case (though we did get some Obama stimulus money at Twin Oaks to put up solar panels).  Nicole wants me to explain what we do for money:

At Twin Oaks we currently have 7 business areas:

  1. Hammocks
  2. Tofu
  3. Indexing Books
  4. ConferencesGathering and Workshops
  5. Outside Work
  6. Wholesale non-GMO seeds
  7. Growing and selling organic seeds

Acorn has the retail seed business, which is larger than any single business of Twin Oaks.

These businesses are exceptional because they are run largely cooperatively, and with as little hierarchy as we can get away with (which is fairly little actually).  They permit flexible labor forces to work in schedules which permit child care and other regular schedule shifts.  These businesses all have stable customer bases and in many cases continue to grow with minimal marketing.  [Most people who are interested in sales and marketing don’t want to live in a rural commune.]  All the “supervisors” in these businesses do line work as well, there is a strong training culture in most of our business ventures.  Excellent parenting benefits.  Full health and dental coverage. Post secondary education support for children, etc, etc.

our tool library looks nothing like this

Our tool library looks nothing like this

But this is not what makes us really interesting.  What makes us worthy of model value is that we have a tremendously powerful library system which dramatically reduces costs and shrinks our carbon footprint.  Some of the libraries/insurances we have include:

our distributed library does not look like this.

Our distributed library does not look like this.

So if we take just one important example, we have 17 cars.  The average group of 100 US Americans (about our size) have 77 vehicles.  Our vehicles drive about as much as each of the mainstream cars, only with many fewer miles per person served. We do clever collective shopping, don’t commute to work and carpool fiercely.  And at the end of the day we are well over the needed 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions that the UN IPCC is demanding.

We are successful business people who have a tiny carbon footprint and are living relatively low stress life, eating the food we grow in the buildings we build, surrounded by kids we are homeschooling.  It is nothing less than a model which if scaled up would save the world.

But we probably won’t do it because we need to have our own stuff.


Should we change our behavior to address this?

[Edited by Judy Youngquest]

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About paxus

a funologist, memeticist and revolutionary. Can be found in the vanity bin of Wikipedia and in locations of imminent calamity. buckle up, there is going to be some rough sledding.

3 responses to “Nicole’s question”

  1. Jeremy Walker says :

    Paxus Unfortunately (tragically so ) the community’s lifestyle cannot be scaled up because of several reasons . 1 it requires planing and active participation . Ask yourself do you know anyone in community that is not their by Conscious choice ? 2 it is not an easy lifestyle gardening (or any other task )on the scale we as community’s do it is hard work . 3 it is very much out side the comfort zone of most Americans on many levels . 4 Socially community life is so different and some times difficult . that is my criticism no for a solution Many more community’s each with its own culture and solutions to living together in harmony with the environment .

  2. vivekan says :

    hi, i’ve been devouring your blog recently and love what you are sharing. i visited twin oaks once back in the late nineties during my saturn return. one of the many things i found attractive about it was not only the flexibility of the work but also the diversity of work. i assume that’s probably because of its size? if people were starting an egalitarian community from scratch, how would you go about it? one of the things i most appreciated about visiting twin oaks was how it opened my eyes to another way of both living in the world & making a living in the world. there’s an awful lot of propaganda out there about how stuff will make you happy. how do you sell the commie lifestyle in a bigger, grander way?

  3. Benji says :

    Sorry pax, tofu is #1 baby!!!

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