In the late nineteen eighties, the author began doing volunteer work to try to enhance his curricula vitae. It was not long however, before he noted that there was something seriously wrong with the current system in place. A certain “charity”i actively seeking donations for their very profitable corporate ventures, underpaying their paid help far below the minimum wage and reaping the profits was only the first major clue that something was wrong and the system was rife with egregious abuses … often paid for at the expense of those who are most in need of assistance and a hand up, not just an occasional hand out.
Some of the “Major” Charities routinely spend between seventy and ninety percent of all donations on “fundraising” and other “administrative” costs. If you are a not-for-profit administrator, maybe three million dollars or so a year is not a bad gig if you can get it. However, if I am one of the recipients of assistance, and I find out that I am only getting ten cents out of every dollar that is being given to me, I am going to get a little upset. Conversely, if I am donating something to someone, why would I go through a bloated and inefficient bureaucracy that will not even guarantee that ten percent of my donations will go to anything other than “administrative fees” and no guarantees whatsoever that my donation will be even partially used for its intended purpose? I would be much better off merely feeding some homeless person a hot meal … even if such a “solution” only temporarily alleviates a singular symptom while doing nothing to strike at the proverbial heart of the problem. Add in the inefficiency of governmental agencies and it is easy to see why the current “solutions” have failed to enjoy even any real or tangible measure of success.
“If you do not like it, build your own system that works!”
Such was I told time and again, and thus began my journey into building and constructing a charitable organization that would function as planned and designed, without merely enriching the few based on the toils of the masses or at the expense of those who must depend on us, not only for a hand out, but for a hand up so they can, in turn, help the next person in line who needs a little assistance escaping the chains of poverty that enslave them and leaving the world a better place for the future generations in the process.
Over the course of the years, a lot of work has been completed, a lot of good people have come and gone, most leaving only when succumbing ultimately, to death, all of us equally enthusiastic about building an actual system that works. And now it would seem, the time has come to put it all together and begin actually building a system that works … though this may have to be accomplished in a rather roundabout way. (Capitalism really is grand when it can be moved beyond the corrupt system of cronyism in place today)
Ultimately, it will depend on the ability of the people that can be put together, either through this book or as otherwise may be possible, to establish the beginnings of what may in reality, take many lifetimes to bring to ultimate fruition. (Maybe you are the key to putting the plans into motion?)
There are those among the founding members who hate the proverbial “evil corporation” and believe this to be the road to ruin. I, on the other hand, am an avowed capitalist … albeit a compassionate capitalist to paraphrase (and borrow) a similar political phrase. I also believe that ultimately, at the end of the day, the only means to build such an organization as the one being proposed here, is to pay for it ourselves, and in this case, that likely means introducing … even building a corporate empire that will form the base foundation for the charitable institutions and Systemic Sustainable Development as set forth herein.
To note briefly here, as there is more discussion about these establishments later in this book, there are effectively two very similar, though distinctively different types of Community Developments that have been proposed by the founding members. On the one hand, there is a Community Land Trust model, and on the other, there is an Incorporated Model. Frank Hermesdorf is the chief designer and proponent of the Community Land Trust Model and the author of this book is the chief designer and proponent of the Incorporated Model. While the overall objectives and goals remain the same … complete “Systemic Sustainability” or “Whole System Sustainability” as a singular embodiment of the stated goals … the establishment and organizational structure of the two models remains extremely different by necessity and design.
For better or for worse, the only way to fully understand the principles of the Incorporated Model of the Community Developments will be to read this book and/or to engage in hours of an open and honest exchange of ideas. It is imperative to remember that a mind is like a parachute and will only function if it is open. A differing opinion and viewpoint is not, and should never be viewed as a personal affront.
It should also be kept in mind, that the entire purpose of this book is to address the viability of the Incorporated Model of Community Development and does not seek in any way to disparage or otherwise negate the principles behind the Community Land Trust model. Both models are ultimately owned by a foundation, lands and homes are granted through a trust, both provide direct and tangible benefits to the people, and both systems … perhaps most importantly, provide a measured and enforceable voice of the people in the oversight and management of the community and its interests.
If indeed, the Incorporated Model is successful, there is every likelihood that this will be used to begin the process of funding for the Community Land Trust Models in such locations as they have already been approved. Such is the cooperative nature in the need to destroy the root causes of poverty and not just to stave off hunger for one more day. However, in order to destroy poverty altogether, it is imperative to destroy all of the root causes … and to do so in such a way that is does not adversely impact the ability of future generations to do the same. Thus was born the more Systemic Approach.
Sustainability is most clearly defined as the ability to provide for the basic necessities of today, without impeding the ability of future generations to do the same. Thus, if poverty is to be eradicated in a long-term and meaningful … and lasting manner, the means to do so has to be sustainable. These days, people talk about environmental sustainability, economic sustainability and even social sustainability on the rare occasions that this phenomenon is actually addressed, as if they were separate and distinct concepts. In truth, none of these constructs is sustainable unless the entire construct is sustainable. It is imperative to have a systemic solution in place that is wholly and completely sustainable.
In perhaps one of the most tragic … and common cases the author has personally dealt with, is many indigenous tribes foregoing environmental sustainability for the sake of economic sustainability, presuming that the twain are separable and independent of each other. The tragedy stems from the fact that as often as not, the Mining Companies do not create asset backed securities for those assets provided by the indigenous and aboriginal tribes, but rather use debentures … or unsecured bonds that will never be paid off or that will ultimately be purchased back by the mining company for literally pennies on the dollar. The end result is one of both environmental and economic destruction for the people. In short, only the mining companies come out ahead in that game, and damn everything but their individual profits.
There may be a need to engage in some activities that will ultimately be destructive to one part of the system or the other. Mining, just as one example, is very much a part of this reality. However, in a truly sustainable approach, the need for the mining should also provide for the sufficient … and sustainable … returns to allow for the reclamation of the ensuing environmental destruction. Such concepts are only possible if the system is functional as a singular entity and not when everything is fragmented.
Many people will jump in here and claim that government regulations are the answer and the solution, but can there be any defensible case for such a belief? If humanity were perfect, we would not need governance to begin with. As such, governments, like the humans that comprise them, are also imperfect … but also largely empowered. The government infers (and usurps or arrogates) for itself, rights that are not inherent to the individual, often without any direct accountability to the people that very same government is “serving”. How then, can government of the people, by the people and for the people, rightfully grant powers that they themselves do not possess, to a government?
In short, the biggest and most historical problem with governance, is the fact that there is no ultimate accountability to the people which it is bound and sworn to defend and protect … largely leading to government rule over the people as opposed to a government serving the people by ensuring their freedom and liberty. Government is a dangerous servant that must be held in check by the people. When government is allowed to rule rather than to serve, it will make rules that benefit itself and not the people … this is merely human nature in action and is virtually inevitable. Thus, it becomes necessary to ensure an enforceable means for the people to keep the government in check.
If you ever want to get out of jury duty in the USA, all you need do is start talking to other potential jurors about “Jury Nullification” and the “responsibilities” of the jury. You will be immediately dismissed from consideration for jury duty … along with anyone and everyone else who happened to be within hearing range of your comments. The introduction of the Ombudsman Program and the Citizen Review Boards is designed to hold the government to account. Bad or antiquated laws can be struck down, extenuating circumstances can be reviewed in more detail, comments and discussions not pertinent in a court of law can be discussed, and given a weighted voice, the corporations, the governments and the people can have a say in such matters, without any one having the capacity to rule over the others.
Life and nature are all about balance. Any sustainable complex system must have balance. When the scales lean in any direction, there are going to be detrimental consequences. No system is perfect, it is believed that such a system as that set forth herein, reaches and maintains that delicate balancing point that is imperative.
A wise man once said “If you can save just one person … you have set yourself up for nothing more than under-achievement and ultimate failure.”
i I seek diligently not to name any names in this book or in general discussions, largely in fear of being sued for libel or slander even if the facts presented are easily verifiable. However, I have also posted an email address in the copyright section where anyone can discuss their issues with me, and on such occasions as it becomes necessary, all of the relevant information and data will be shared and revealed.
Let us know what you think please!