Debunking the Pastoral Myth

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Most of us are a few generations off the farm.  We are probably living in a metropolitain area.  We are probably earning decent incomes.  We have insulated homes, heat, electricity, running water.  We buy our organic groceries at a supermarket.  We don’t realize that most of the people who work on farms do so hoping that their children will get a good education and get a job living in the city.  This includes our forefathers. Why?  Because farming is a shitty way to make a living.  It is not a hobby you perform on your off time with a $60,000 a year salary to earn during the day or a pension check coming in each month.

Californians are living in a complete delusion.  They look at the pastoral pictures thinking that those people living in borderline poverty performing manual labor from dawn to dusk have the good life.  Agriculture for most people in the world is a second or third world existence.  They wish it on no one.

A majority of our food comes from industrial agriculture.  Our quality of life and our ability to feed ourselves is dependent on large scale agriculture and agricultural science.  And because of industrial agriculture only a few percent of the developed world’s population works on farms.  Even today most farmers in the developed world want their children to live and work in the city so they can enjoy a better quality of life.  When we ask farmers to produce “organic” products we are actually reducing yield and the farmers are making less money.  Our romantic notions about agriculture are actually imposing more work for less return upon the world’s farmers.  Organic agriculture is a formula for poverty.

For most of the world, growing and eating locally is not viable.  Many regions have short growing seasons that greatly reduce the number and type of crops that can be grown.  Yes, staples can often be grown locally during one season, but winter and the need for nutrition and variety of diet requires long distance transport of produce.  California is the exception, not the rule, and should not dictate agricultural policy for the rest of the world.  Fuck local.

The world does not want to be hungry.  In many cases scarcity in other countries is due to our food fetishes or our food phobias.  Let the people of the world coordinate the growing of crops to feed themselves using the latest techniques of agriculture and aquaculture.  Yes, one company owning all seed varieties is a crime against humanity.  However, there are good agriculturalists who can apply large scale agriculture for our benefit.

Think Global.  Let Us All Eat Bread, Meat, Poultry, Fish, Fruit and Vegetables Year Round.  Cake, too.

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My Inc.: Open Capitalism

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There are another two words I would like to introduce into the discussion: “democratization” and “personalization”.  We are encountering many new technologies and they are going through phases.  Most simply put they are going from specialist who is knowledgeable how to use the technology for the user, to technologist who uses the technology on behalf of a knowledgeable user, to personal where the generalist knowledgeable user interacts with the technology directly.

We are experiencing mass personalization of technology.  And this is leading to further phenomena.  Personal Cooperation and Personal Corporation.  People are as Howard Rheingold www.rheingold.com describes sharing more and more information freely.  But they are also discovering the worth of their reputation and knowledge and turning it into a business like Guy Kawasaki www.guykawasaki.com who is using ghost writers on twitter.

I foresee everyone  sharing their personal knowledge cooperatively and upon establishing worth selling the best of their personal knowledge corporately.

It is a beautiful future where everyone is personally incorporated and everyone personally outsources to everyone else globally.

Sharing information freely and openly is a dead end game, because we all have to make a living.

Sharing information on a globally set price scale and reputation system that recognizes the worth of the information and work every incorporated individual can provide is Open Capitalism (you heard it here first) and will free us from exploitation.

Let’s turn the race for the bottom back into a personal global race for the top.

This will be the true “Knowledge Economy”.