Ok, so maybe wanting to found ones own state is somewhat far off. But then, at least I want the state to let me live the way I want to. Which means, it must be a minimal state: caring for outer (military) and inner (police) security, and perhaps caring to prohibit corporate monopolies. And, because much freedom must be granted to inhabitants, the state has to severely limit the number of its inhabitants. Also, the state should build infrastructure, but only what people cannot build themselves: streets, bridges, phone and Internet lines, tubes for an automated logistics system. And that is it.

I do not want the state to: regulate where I am allowed to build what; that and how I must do health insurance; what to do on the street; how to build a vehicle; what to write on a website; if I am allowed to have a weapon; etc..
As a minimal state would not have the government to collect taxes, it should perform its tasks rather by people doing state service for a time.

It is however true that a minimal state cannot be a welfare state at the same time; except if granting an unconditinal basic income while still  staying away from regulating other areas of life.

In addition to the minimal state, we need of course other instiutions to care for disadvantaged people etc.. But these would be totally decentralized (like intentional commuities), so not granting the state additional mandatory power over peoples lives as in a central welfare state.

See:

You might have realized my increased interest in resilient communities and all the autarkic technology that they need. Why is this? Of course it is a viable (any my personal) answer to the current financial crisis and generally to the dangers of globalization. But it is also more. Here is a wild and quite unordered list of reasons why I like the “autarkic resilient community” idea:

  • Earning bread, not money. Autarky is about, I want to earn my own bread, not money. That’s the most free style of working, when you create what you need, being neither dependent on others for creating nor consuming. With money, you depend on others for that both.
  • Leaving personal exploitation. It is also my personal way and tool to get out of exploitable dependencies. Totally out. It is the hard-hitting, full-scale, quite extreme solution to that problem. After I met with exploitation in various ways in my few years of adult experience, I do no longer want anybody to do anything like that to me. In effect this means, I do not want anybody “above” or “below” in any kind of hierarchy, as all these relationships can draw resources to the degree of exploitation. The “theoretical optimum” would be personal autarky, with the ability to help all the people around (which would also meet ones social needs). However, this is technically impossible, and still quite lonely: the feeling of being cared for is actually also a good experience. So interdependence is o.k. and desirable, where this means peer-to-peer relationships where no partner can (or will) exploit the other. Like the people within one resilient community, who are able to trust each other. And also like multiple resilient communities, supporting each other, but being fully able to immediately stand on their own if there is the need for it.
    I must admit that this solution to cope with unrighteousness (esp. exploitation, see above) is not really a solution: it is just avoiding to meet with unrighteousness. This is because I see no meaning in coping with or fighting unrighteousness, because it should simply not exist. Being able to successfully fight against unrighteousness is a qualification one would not need in the “ideal world”, so there is better stuff to learn. But that is my view of things. Also, I still think that one should be able to clearly communicate to people that what they do is unrighteous, so that they have a chance to repent and undo what they did; but investing more energy and resources to actually fight back is beyond what I think is meaningful. Instead of that, I better want to invest my energy and resources into developing a parallel, resilient “new world”, where righteousness lives. (To be clear: this is not blasphemy, it is irony. Righteousness lives with God in Heaven alone, but in a very limited sense one could apply it to resilient communities that are able to exclude unrighteousness by reorganizing themselves, through resilience.)
  • A give-based society. This is another personal reason for this autarky thing: I tried to live “according to the moral standards of the New Testament” in my life up to now, which is in essence: to love your neighbor as you love yourself. But it did not work out: “the system” exploited my graciousness, just as people exploit the grace of God. Because “the system” is all about taking, while NT is all about giving; both systems work (and the NT system is much more pleasure to live in), but not if they do mix with each other (then the NT part is worst of all). Which means, God has to find a place for me now … as I still hate the “taking-based system” of capital / wealth / rights aggregation in economic and personal life, and love the “NT system”, the NT standard of love, but find it impossible to live it out in a world of exploitation and hard, exploiting competition. I think the autarkic community thing can be that kind of place for me.
  • Exploitation-free society. I do not exploit, so I do not want to be exploited. It’s akin to anarchism. As people and institutions are unwilling to respect that, I will move out of all their systems. That’s the background of autarkic communities. Among the expolitation-prone relationships to replace are: institutionalized health insurance; the whole “free market economy” thing where every contract is basically exploitable by the other party; large nation states with all their inefficiency and very limited participation options in parliamentary democracy; intellectual property industries; landlords; commercial products; and so on, and so on.
  • The philantropic component. Ah, and yet another thing. Though I have to admit a deep frustration about the “state of the world” and esp. about the business world, and though I seek total independence from peple now, my philantropic, visionary strain did not vanish. This autarky project is not just about autarky for myself, but at the same time about inventing and providing the necessary tools to everybody, so that people can start their own autarky from scratch.
  • A Robinsonade. Still another thing: It is quite interesting that my enthusiasm about autarky started already in my childhood, me writing the story “Primitive Lage” (primitive state) at the age of 12-14 (?), which was kind of a Robinsonade.
  • Against the moral dilemma of inhumane globalized production. And again, another reason: autarky solves the moral dilemma of globalization, namely, that it is not meaningfully possible (except perhaps for the rich) to not buy all the products that have been produced in inhumane conditions somewhere overseas.
  • Ad-free society. And still another advantage: in autarky-based economy, advertisement is unnecessary. Which will add to the efficiency and profitability of this mode of economy, as advertising is simply waste of resources (time, money, energy … everything). Because it is a pull-based economy: people search for the design they need, and then produce it themselves.
  • On not needing large systems. Autarky-based economy and autarky-based society is the discovery that any large-scale system (political, economic, technical) is unnecessary. Which introduces simplicity, as all these large-scale systems are unmanageable, or nearly that, and a good percentage of the population is busy with steering them (using statistics, controlling, business administration, politics and the like). People in the autarky movement have the right to be no longer interested in steering large-scale systems, and to not search for solutions to their problems (“the global problems”).
  • Solving over-population. In autarky-based society, there is not even a problem of global over-population, because of the following emergence: an autarky community will take care to get no bigger in numbers than the amount of people it can feed sustainably (and also in times of crop failure).
  • It’s about small-scale socialism. Autarky-based communities are actually socialism. But small-scale, and that makes the difference. Large-scale socialism cannot work because there is a large free rider and inefficiency problem: large systems are hierarchical, and those higher in hierarchy can always be free riders, as those below have no influence options and also there are no market forces that hinder managers from being too much of a free rider. In small-scale socialism however, every inefficiency and free riding hurts everybody, and as there is no need for hierarchy, there can be effective governance to tackle inefficiency and free riding.
  • It’s Marx minus utopies. The Marxist interpretation of this new autarky movement would probably be that the means of production are now returned to the hands of the people. But contrary to Marx, whose image of humanity was flawed by optimistic utopism, the autarky movement includes precautions to be resilient against the inherent evil of the human being: the means of production are not returned “to the people” as a whole, but to small communities who use them only for themselves (with very limited external trade). Without a central market and central governance, there can be no centralized exploitation (as in real socialism), autarky communities can only fall one at a time. There is no point in using the means of production in any centralized (large scale) way, as this just elicits centralism and centralized exploitation again.
  • Against institutionalized politics. The governance of an autarky community is the governance of a small-scale society: one needs to employ principles learned in friendships, marriage, partnerships, tribes and villages; not those form any kind of larger society where any degree of anonymity exists. Because the examples of small-scale societies mentioned before can be stable, by our experience, so can be the autarky community. And yet: autarkic communities (at least the ones with software governance) are the grassroots approach to pose an end to the system of “politics”. Where the definition of politics is that it is about power: about getting ones chosen way done, not about choosing the right or best way. Only in small-scale entities, where problems are small-scale and therefore understandable and solvable, opinions and therefore politics can be avoided. So it should be done in these small-scale autarkic communities.
  • A mistrust against centralized systems. Main reason for establishing an autarkic community is because I do not trust any centralized systemt to be able to create and maintain adequate living conditions for people.
  • Liberal or social? By the way, is the concept of autarkic communities a (neo-)liberalist or a socialist idea? None of it, and both of it. It is totally liberalist regarding its relation to the state, by not needing the state for anything any more (dear state, if you read this: this does not mean that I intend to do anything against the state; it’s just not needed). And it is totally socialist regarding its inner relations, by needing the other members of the community for everything, by implementing “small-scale communism” within such a group. It seems that the sum of liberalism and socialism in any culture has to be the same for the culture to work; but the distribution can be chosen. So either the “public society” can be mainly socialist, allowing the “private life” to be liberalist / individualistic. Or vice versa (as in the case of autarkic communities). Or a mixed variants in various degrees (as in the case of most Western societies).
  • Biblical support? By forcing things a little, one can even find Biblical support for the autarky / autarkic community idea:  Rom 13:8; I Thess 4:10-12; Acts 2:44-45.
  • Easier to build and maintain than a state. More reasons why to prefer the autarkic lawless system to the large-state law system: it needs less effort to build, while it needs a large movement to change a state, and a large movement to keep it in order, means one community cannot guarantee it. Whenever you cannot maintain or uphold something, you need to let it down because it is a waste of resources. Means you need to let down society with all its problems and questions to go managing the small community, which is manageable.
  • It’s simpler in small societies. Things that will no longer be necessary when moving to autarky-based economy include: Customs duty, and all entailed administration. Because autarkic economy has the intrinsic motivation to not buy essential goods, there is no danger to come into unhealthy dependencies by trade (which just adds luxury items), so trade needs not be regulated.
  • Work as fun and fulfilling. It is true (esp. in the first time) that there is much less luxury and leisure time in an autarkic community. There would be also no commercial entertainment available like videos and music (apart from the vast amount of cost-free stuff on the Internet). And also, people will have to work more. All this is no problem, however, as work is fun and meaningful and fulfilling now. There is simply no need for entertainment, leisure time and luxury if people like their work, think it is meaningful and have enough social fun in an unstressed working condition as to not need leisure time or entertainment. People will value their work to be meaningful because they do create the essential things for themselves, and help the world to do the same – while work for luxury and pseudo-products (like McDonalds food …) is not meaningful because it is avoidable.
    If you want a book to look up more on this: Jerry Mander (Ed.), Edward Goldsmith (Ed.): The Case Against the Global Economy: And for a Turn Toward the Local [here on Amazon]. There is also an excerpt chapter on Indian local economy (swadeshi).
  • The right to use ones full potential. In my view, the “right to use ones full potential, for the good of oneself and of all” should be a fundamental right in society. But it is not, because the unemployed people are not allowed to use their full potential, as no corresponding counter-value is offered to them (by means of a job, or other means) that would allow them to use their potential for the good of theirselves. They could, however, use their potential for volunteering, for the good of all; but a part of the fundamental right proposed above is also to use ones potential for oneself. Because if volunteering is the only option, it is not voluntary, it is collective slavery.
    Now there is no such right in Germany: GG Art. 2 (1) allows to use ones full potential if it does not hurt the “rights of others”, and others have the right to not offer somebody a job – which is the problem of the unemployed. GG Art. 12 (1) allows to choose ones job freely; but does not guarantee the option to choose.
    GG Art. 2 (1): Jeder hat das Recht auf die freie Entfaltung seiner Persönlichkeit, soweit er nicht die Rechte anderer verletzt und nicht gegen die verfassungsmäßige Ordnung oder das Sittengesetz verstößt.
    GG Art. 12 (1): Alle Deutschen haben das Recht, Beruf, Arbeitsplatz und Ausbildungsstätte frei zu wählen.
    Now, what would an autarkic community improve here: by being autarkic (independent of the job market), it allows everybody to use his / her potential, for the good of theirselves and others. Society should at least guarantee to found autarkic communities for the unemployed, so that they can use their time and power to their potential. There are “education” and “occupation” programs for the unemployed, but these are currently just “1 EUR jobs”, which is far from a counter-value for using the “full potential” of time and power.
  • Replacing bad rules. This society has “bad rules”, so I do not want to get socialized into it, instead I want to found my own. The bad rules are the excessive protection of properties by the forces of the state: while the rich get richer, the poor not even get something to help themselves out of being poor. They get subsistence fees. But let’s not miss the exceptions where the state indeed tries to help people realize their full potential, like the EXIST program.
  • The advantage of deliberate societies. Autarkic societies are about deliberate societies: the thesis is that a society that can select its members will work better than one that needs to include everybody just because he / she got born there. This is not about elitism, but about being able to abandon people who do not obey the “social contract” of a society.
  • Eliminating resource conversion friction loss. Also, autarkic community is about eliminating the huge amount of loss (“friction loss”) that happens both when converting personal resources (knowledge, qualifications, tools and time) into money, and money back into personal resources (products and services obtained). This loss is due to many reasons: the state captures near 50% of resources in one full such cycle; there is maximized commercial gain of the supplier parties involved; one might not be happy enough to have customers whi pay good in timely fashion, or even can pay good; and one might not even be happy enough to be able to convert ones resources to money at all (called unemployment, which is a problem in the socioeconomic system, not a necessity of the physical world). In addition, the rich and powerful people succeed to make this system work at a surplus for them, even increasing the loss that the other contributors have to bear in this resource-to-money-and-back cycle, and leading to unhealthy concentrations of power and money.
  • Post-scarcity economics. When it comes to autarkic / sovereign / resilient communities, people often talk about “post scarcity” economy. This does not mean to exploit nature (or fellow humans) even more so that one personally has no scarcity any longer; as this is what people try nowadays, and it creates all sorts of wars and problems. Post-scarcity is about adapting ones choice and use of resources so that the supply is abundant relative to ones use. Then, people can stop fighting against nature and fellow creatures, because there is nothing any more to struggle about. The choice of resources to use would then include all the abundant and the renewable resources of nature: water, air, soil (silicium), aluminium, sun energy, wind, wood, … . Behind the open design idea is the conviction that humanity is depraved of much potential well-being because institutions keep back their designs as secrets, instead of publishing them for all to see and use. read more on that “scarcity economics” background of capitalism.

“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.” — Robert A. Heinlein

They said, the generalist is gone. We say, the generalist is yet to come. The generalism of the pre-industrial age was no real one, as the world knowledge was quite limited. Now that world knowledge is larger, it becomes clearer what a true generalist might be like. And now that we have computers, it becomes clearer that this is feasible. It is not about knowing everything at every moment and being able to do everything at every moment, as this is physically impossible. But it is about having computers with free software at ones disposal, which serve like a “brain extension”, and to have all the qualifications that are needed to aquire new computer-mediated knowledge and abilities in very short time. These “meta qualifications” were named previously “to know where it is written”, but now this includes also technology use that potentiates abilities. This stuff is the only necessary stuff to be taught in school, instead of factural knowledge. If the “meta qualifications” could be a limited set, and the free software that serves as brain extensions could be comprehensive and well-standardized, that would be great.

Examples: There is no need to be able to draw 3D things by hand, as this ability can be “crystallized” in 3D software. There is just the need to be able to operate 3D software. Likewise with calculations, orthography etc.. However, what also must be included, is the ability to quickly “drill down” and understand and perhaps adapt individual calculations done in the software etc.; being a dumb operator is not being a generalist. But being a “universal scientist, artist, social worker and handicraftsman” is.

Remember my futuristic, utopian blog post about the sovereign community concept just some days ago? Now just yesterday I found out there is one approach for such a high-tech enabled power community underway. I was seriously bedazzled. May I introduce: Factor e. It took me the whole night (literally) to read and watch all the interesting stuff on their website.

Here is the most interesting stuff that I found on the web about them:

The challenge: finances. It is easy to imagine that a not-yet-autarkic community that in addition to autarky first of all needs to acquire autarky by creating the toolbox for it, needs more money than it has itself. While autarky brings independence from money, this is not the case on the road to autarky … . So if you like what they do and share their vision, you can surf over to their “True Fans” page and from there, join their “1000 True Fans – 1000 Global Villages” campaign and join by contributing a monthly USD 10 for two years. If we want to enjoy an open-sourced equipment for autarkic living, we somehow need to make that happen first …

This is another post in a series on community concepts and innovative society concepts. Some ideas are new, some are repeated from earlier posts … I need to combine these posts, I know … bear with me, for now. The good thing is, these ideas get more and more mature, and practical, from post to post. Just some steps to go, and this whole thing can come into being in the real world! If you are interested to join this experiment, contact me.

The Sovereign Community concept

What is this, a sovereign community? It is a small-scale intentional community that lives in a mostly autarkic way. Be it in a remote region or a city or even mobile. And why do we need this? Because in effect, this community is a small-scale solidarity union, comparable to the extended family concept that has died out, but voluntarily and supported by high-tech. As such, these solidarity communities are especially stable entities, being able to outlive deflation, inflation, state bankruptcy, civil war and the like. And as such, it presents an alternative to state-based social security etc. systems. Which we are in need of:

The current danger of state bankruptcy in Greece shows what a state actually is: a closure (as derived from math). A shell, a self-sustaining area for all interactions. That is, it should be … by making debts, it does instead make itself vulnerable from speculative attacks from all of humankind. And this kind of ubiquitous vulnerability is what makes the world such an instable place to live today. But the problem can be solved even in small scale: make your own closure. If you do not depend on anybody from the outside, esp. not on credits, you are effectively your own sovereign. And a true sovereign, not a pseudo one like a state with debts. A community of the size and style proposed here is a self-closured community, a true sovereign. That is, near to that. A little coupling to the state remains, as one needs some little money for some stuff that cannot be dealth with otherwise, and this leads to dependency, vulnerable to increased difficulties of obtaining money (that is, the state of the economy). Therefore, the community must be able to exist without any money for some time, at least three years. Exchanging goods is o.k. of course.

This idea, this concept of founding something that is in competition with ones state, and is even better, was ridiculous just some years ago. The state (at least here in Germany) was so powerful, so reliable that the very thought of outperforming that was wasted. But then, the 2008-2009 financial and economic crisis came. And then, the debt crisis in Greece came. And there are many more candidates for similar stories, and we will hear these stories. Live through them. And their lesson is, you cannot ultimately rely on the state. And, that it is now possible to for a small sovereign community to be more powerful and more reliable than a state, with regard to its members. So in some sense, let’s be glad that this time has come. This will be the rebirth of the extended family concept, in the shape of sovereign communities. And because these small groups are sovereign (which includes, autarkic), the world would be a way more stable place to live if partitioned into such small groups. No need even for states.

This power community concept does not include families yet. Because it seems that it is not powerful enough for that; and we can be happy if we are able to sustain each other and then die gracefully. And serve the people who also die and have nobody who sustains them, to die more gracefully. Now we could see this as a problem: if it cannot support families, it is no concept for a society. But it is. Humanity will not die out, no danger of that. So this is a concept for peacefully reducing the size of humanity, until the worldwide resources are again sufficient for the people on earth (where sufficient means, even though todays current, awfully inefficient and unjust resource distribution systems are in place).

One of the biggest problems in all these late-stage (“decadent”) industrial societies is, effort is no longer rewarded. The probability to have no reward from taking risk and initiative is very high (also because of high tax and regulation load, and because of market saturation); while the social security systems still provide a living, with much less strain. Which means more and more people choose that. While in early-stage industrial societies, there is much less social security, and a high reward for initiative. Means people are motivated, and the society starts to flourish.

There is one important insight behind this: as long as there are some human beings left who can do anything, there is no reason for humankind to falter, God permitting. The question is, how to collaborate so that it does not, or even better, so that it flourishes. It’s all about this social question; because the difference between isolated one-person societies (which are all distasters, materially) and a flourishing society is the better collaboration of human beings!! Centralist systems like large states are way to unstable in a globalized world, prone to corruption, fraud, bankruptcy, costly military games called war. So they are no alternative any more. Long live the sovereign community!
The main idea how these communities can work and be truly sovereign and autarkic without undertaking what they cannot do (raw material production, large-scale mining, oil drilling etc.) is this: use the waste of industrial societies. All the old metal, plastics and stuff; both as semi-finished products for creating own products and modifications, and also as raw materials. In other words, it should be assumed that the stuff that humankind dug up from the earth until now is enough. And of course, a major means would be using other “surface” materials where possible, including cut stones for building and wood for interior. Also, some kinds of products like computers and mobile phones are seen as “ubiquitous” (just go around and collect them), and so can be used by sovereign communities that want to be autarkic.

Life in a Sovereign Community

Of course, life will be different the sovereign community way. As it will be comparable in all communities, and all important parts are managed by the communities (as they are sovereign), here is how it might look in a near-ideal, flourishing community.

The lifestyle in the community is coined by “community hours”, which is the proportion of hours per day that everybody has to dedicate for working for the community. These are tracked time, which means that breaks, times with heavy distraction etc. are not counted. Six hours a day would probably be a good amount; this will decrease, the more efficient the community gets in delivering its services to its members, which also happens due to the increase in accumulated technology. In return for the work, the community grants the following to every member: a place to live, food, health care, tools and facilities (a “hackerspace“), a social community of friends, and even nursing care when getting sick and old. For practical reasons of attracting  members, such a community would not be meant to dominate anything but the six hours of daily work for the community. This leaves enough room for people to enjoy the rest of their life the way they want; they might even get some monthly money for their free disposal.

The main reason for being a community (other than the fun factor of course) is because it enables synergy and specialization. So the community would integrate a lot of different people and facilities:

  • Larger house owned (or built) by the community. If necessary, it can also be erected in improvised, squatter style from found materials, plus vehicles. Which would be a wagon place on occupied (unused) ground, like on abandoned industrial space. The good thing is, it is cost-free living place, and if the community gets chased away, there are always more places to occupy. Until one finally finds legally and at the same time affordable housing (and if that means erecting permanent structures oneself).
  • A large backyard for agriculture. Or in the first time, guerilla gardening anywhere else. Only plants and perhaps small animals would be used, as everything else is not resource-efficient.
  • A super-large hackerspace in the house, which itself includes fab lab style production facilities. Here, all the products for the community are produced. (See also my recent blog articles on the hackerspace and fab lab.)
  • Tight integration of a company, offering a broad range of services, organized in agile, power community style. The company products would also be produced in the hackerspace / fab lab. Having a company is necessary to get “foreign currency”, that is, money, as it is used by the surrounding non-communitarian society. As the community needs very little money, getting it has not to be very efficient. Of course, the community is also glad to offer its services, facilities and machines also in exchange for food, raw materials or anything else the community can utilize … which is pretty much everything.
  • Some people might have an external job, also to get forex, and the hours they work there simply get counted as community hours. But probably, at least after an initial phase, it is enough that the community integrates its own company. Which would be darn cool, as working in ones own company is freedom, really.
  • Permanent optimization of technology and mutual education of the people in the community in personal and technical matters. People would be encouraged to correct each other without taboos, but in good rational manner. This education thing will make people useful for society (i.e. the community) which would be considered worthless in state-based societies. The permanent intensive social interactions and community here perform a character-changing coining.
  • Smartphones for everybody, to be used as the collaboration device, with semi-automatic task prioritization and assignment.
  • The collaboration software would include time accounts to be able to compensate for stressful times when people cannot contribute enough to the community.
  • The community includes a physician, a physiotherapist and the like, who educate themselves via the Internet and internships in various clinics worldwide. So there is no need to pay health insurance, as the community includes its own medical personnel.
  • The community also includes an internal education program, closely integrated with the hackerspace as the experimentation area.
  • The community is very strong in reuse and recycling, and maybe sucks up much of the waste it can get from the surrounding area, converting it to products, building material, heat, and raw materials, all of which can be partially sold to others. The community operates also its own fuel production, growing oilseed rape. As it needs very little money, it pays very little taxes.
  • Production facilities. There is so much one can create from simplest things, and the hackerspace and fab lab movements show how.
  • Of course, information exchange is key. For that, the community uses the Internet, and shares all of its experience and inventions on the Internet, as Open Content and Open Source.

Every kind of desperate people will come in. This thing works only, and as long, as the overall workload to survive as the community (with the people currently in it), distributed among members, is less than or equal to the workload one can cope with while also mainly enjoying life. High fluctuation does not matter at all if this condition can be upheld. The only reason to get kicked out would be not working the 6 daily hours, or working under ones personal capacity.

What should also be clear: the standard of living might be lower than the current average in industrial nations. That’s mostly because the sovereign community lacks the infrastructure support and efficient production facilities that our current society relies on. But no problem … much of our “standard of living” is just luxury that can be easily abandoned. (Using bowls to serve food? Eh. Using pots to serve food? Eh. Eating from the pots, that’s the way.) Another good portion of this is compensated by better, high-tech supported collaboration, and by getting everybody to work:

Taxes are contributions to the community, in this case, of the state. So the equivalent to taxes in the sovereign community is the daily hours of work for the community. The difference is that taxes can only be paid by those who have money, while all the other people are termed “benefit recipients”. There are currently 25 million of tax-paying fully employed people in Germany, paying the taxes of 80 million. Which cannot work. The sovereign community idea is superior to this because it makes everybody contribute. It even can thrive upon “benefit recipient” people who are considered a threat or at least liability in states. Because everybody who enters also has to work. And unlike the economy, unemployment is impossible: there is work for everybody, because the community integrates both the home and the workplace, and every time that is contributed is considered of equal worth. Even the old and sick people need to work; and even if somebody thinks he or she cannot work anything anymore, perhaps he or she can peel potatoes. Nobody is overchallenged, but everybody has to work to capacity in his 6 daily community hours.

Founding a Sovereign Community

How to found a Sovereign Community, realistically? It is best founded be inside the church, as the church is the only thing that can be outside the ubiquitous power / suppression fights that we have witnessed through all history. (It can be outside of that, but is only if it is obedient to Jesus …). So a church should include a flat sharing community group that is dedicated to take anybody in who wants to contribute his work time to the community.

It might also be possible to join an existing project (squatter house, wagon place, a churches open house or something) and start this thing form there.

Also, this community could be realized with students (preferably hackers) in cities with universities.

An even better way to start this is by founding a travel group: everybody who joins gets food, travel expenses, housing and health insurance (cheap, as health insurance for abroad is possible). And in exchange has to work 6 hours a day. And has the rest of the day for himself. This includes doing temporary jobs, as the group will stay some weeks to months at places. In my case, traveling would be done in Africa. This group might evolve then into a permanent community, or better, have such a non-mobile community or communities as its offspring in some places, for those that stopped traveling. Starting with a travel group is really good because people accept less comfort and less money without problems, then. Note also that JPUSA was also started as a traveling group. Working to get money can also include using a fab lab that is transported in the group’s truck. Starting that group can be done like this: hand out fliers that offer an application form; people who fill it out promise to join the group wihin a month from that time that the travel group size is reached (probably 5 people); note that this style of founding a movement is done by a libertarian group in the U.S., searching for 20,000 people to move to New Hampshire (see the Free State Project). Travel preparation can also be done in this community style. People can draw back their application whenever they come into a situation that they cannot leave within a month.

Making it a movement

Ah, and here is the way how to make this a worldwide movement. It’s inspired by the words of Jesus, giving a strategy for taking his message to all of mankind (“Jerusalem, then Samaria, then the rest of the world”). For the sovereign community thing it means: start small, with one community, and build new ones in circular fashion around it. Economy in general is largely depending on infrastructure, so even though the communities are autarkic, there is momentum to be gained from synergistic local collaboration and support. It starts with one community, then one house, one street, one quarter, one city, one area, one country, one world. The best thing will be the relaxing effects on the whole of life for all people in the area covered; which will create a marvelous, lovely atmosphere to live: people have what they need, and don’t want more; and especially, they have people they can rely on; and there is not any danger of any large system to collapse, as there is no large system (or at least, none of the communities depends on it).

Browsing the Internet, I had an idea.

There are currently prototypes of “3D printers for printing houses“. As an extension to this, and especially interesting for the developing world: how about a robot that can autonomously dig a house underground, consuming just water and electricity and needing nothing in addition to build the full house? It would be able to create no-cost housing anywhere.

Here is how:

The digbot / underground 3D mill will use a water jet cutter for cutting the soil, maybe photovoltaics for electric energy, and be totally autonomous, controlled by a CAD drawing. It will harvest stones from the cutting area, cut them with the water jet also, and use them to build the walls and ceiling (employing a vault for stability). It should be a self-moving tracked vehicle. It should also be able to carry the cut-off material to the outside itself, or this should be delegated to another self-moving tracked robot.

The underground facilities produced that way can be living space in developmnet countries; in many parts of Africa, no inner anti-groundwater equipment is necessary, as the groundwater level is below 30m; else, a waterproof full inner plastic sealing, insulation and pump is the simplest form. The bot also should be able to create its own abrasive for water jet cutting from hard stones it finds, and to create sand etc. from the stones for mixing concrete, and to apply the concrete for connecting stones (only if necessary) and for creating some. It is no problem if the bots operate quite slow, as it is an unattended, unmanned build process.

The first step to realize this invention would be a tunnel-cutting robot, which can be a shield-shaped one using sprayed concrete and transporting the cut-off stuff on a band conveyor, and receiving concrete, abrasive, electricity etc. likewise in tubes.

Oh, by the way: here are some prices for used water jet cutters.

Again a post about the group of themes involving society models, autarchy, community, the power community idea, technology for all that, and more. The pieces are coming together now … but slowly.

Here is the problem that has to be solved: it is the one and only, the universal problem of humankind. The problem of how to lead your life. (Of yourse, there is a second, even more important problem: getting to know God; this is tackled in the Second Acts series of blog posts, while we keep here with the earth-bound stuff.) Leading life on earth is quite a difficult thing … for some people it is impossible (those who starve to death etc.), for some it is hard (those in the developing world), for some it is boring and lonely (those in the developed world).

Here is the latest solution idea:

There should be a mid-sized (50-150 people) monastery-style community of hackers anywhere in the developing world. That community gets around loneliness by close monastic living, doing so much together. And it gets around the problems of money-induced captivity, loneliness and mind-dullness (all by the “normal” professional occupation) by being autarchic. Where autarchy is here a quite radical concept, including food supply and even medical treatment. That is because to live freely, one has to avoid close coupling to the captivating, exploiting forces in the rest of society (which is always done by money), and to avoid handling money one needs to avoid also buying food and paying health insurance, pension insurance and the like. It would save some money, however, by community integrated companies, for emergency situations and for buying stuff that really cannot be made oneself. Such a thing has to be started in a developing area, as existing on very little money is possible there because it is the norm (cheap food available, free living space in squatter areas, no complex conditions to meet … perfect for a startup). Another major problem that would be solved by such a community is the ever-increasing complexity of highly-civilized societies, where one regulation (like “overhaul of the financial regulation system”) chases the other, and concepts are stacked in more and more meta levels above each other. On the contrary, this community would be a “basic building block” of society: all the complexity is within it, but society itself (made from multiple such communities) is very simple; and therefore, very stable; it cannot break down like our current society is always in danger to do, last time in the 2008 financial crisis. Ah, not to forget: monastery has nothing to do with celibacy here; the community would embrace romantic relationships and marriage.

Any of the ideas that wants to build society from communities has this insight at its core: essentially all of human activity is directed to “happy private life”, including work in companies (their products are directed to improve private life, directly or indirectly), health care (which in effect wants to improve peoples private life), government etc.. Now the problem in highly civilized societies is that we gradually started to do all these activities in centralized organizational forms, and then these forms developed a life on their own, demanding more from the individual that they grant. For example, working in companies is normally a highly stressful and demanding thing, leaving nearly no room for creativity, and social and spare time activities … and all this just for the sake of some money. The community ideas do invert such a society, because: if the central thing is private / individual life and well-being, this should be at the center, and all other stuff should be integrated into that, to serve that goal. Unlike now, where the the individual serves the stuff in the form of centralized institutions like government, companies, health insurance etc.. In this inverted society, the formerly small elements (family / community) now include and incorporate the formerly large / superior elements (companies, governing people) because living (community, family, well-being, being creative etc.) is much more important than keeping organizations running.

I think that the time is quite mature for starting such a thing, because all the ingredients have come into existence in recent years:

  • The Internet, as the all-encompassing source of cost-free knowledge, so that the community can learn anything it wants to. The Internet, with its current content, is the most important ingredient!
  • A vibrant do-it-yourself community on the Internet, which has created an awful lot of concepts and techniques for producing stuff in autarchy. For example, see my recent discovery of the fab lab idea.
  • Prototype communities with proven concepts, such as hackerspaces; see my blog post on that.
  • Abundant technology of many sorts; for example, cell phones have been produced in such vast numbers by now that they are essentially ubiquitous and cost-free.
  • Medical knowledge all over the Internet, allowing to learn and practice medicine from that, for free.
  • Globalization in general, and of the markets in particular; which enables people to get also very special items in short time, and to sell across the globe for the remaining monetary needs.
  • Technology for computer supported communication. A power community needs computer support to enable its highly efficient work style. (I wrote my diploma thesis about such stuff.)
  • Open Source Software and Open Content. These are the really free resources to build upon as a community that has no money. And it can give back by handing modification results back to the general public.