… The appropriate framework for a viable sub-economy is a democratically governed cooperative. Not just a consumer co-op, nor just a single-product worker’s co-op, but a cooperative entity that includes a variety of enterprises and shared resources, so that there are significant internal transactions. In this way we get the benefits promised by a local currency, as the internal transactions can simply be recorded on our books as co-op credits and debits.
Such a cooperative can be seen from two different perspectives. Viewed from the inside, the co-op is modeling the kind of society we want to create. Viewed from the outside, the co-op is a viable start-up business. By being a model of what we want, it is ‘building the new’; by being a viable start-up business, it is thriving ‘in the shadow of the old’. In order to serve as a model of the new, our co-op needs to operate in the way we want our new society to operate. In order to be a viable start-up business, our co-op needs to be launched with a sound business plan.
If we can ‘build it’ – a co-op that offers people real economic benefits – then ‘they will come’. If the co-op grows and prospers, more people will join. Ultimately, the community itself could be operating as a cooperative, participatory, entity. We would be building the new society in the shadow of the collapsing old society. A society in which people control their own destinies, working together. A society with a transformed culture, a culture based on participation, collaboration, empowerment, and inclusiveness….
Look at it this way, if your local grocer purchases food from thousands of miles away with paper dollars that just happen to be accepted as valuable currency in both places, you ability to survive depends on the perpetuation of that universal acceptance. The fed is printing almost a trillion dollars a year while the underlying economy which is denominated in that currency produces a small fraction of what it did 20 years ago. This isn’t rocket science. The time to grease the gears of localized economic activity is now.