The Fourth World Economic Commons: Coexistent with the First World Market Economy
A. Allen Butcher
… building the time-based economy of labor-exchanging, labor-gifting, and labor-sharing, in parallel or synergistic with the debt-based, monetary economy of the dominant culture. A. Allen Butcher • The School of Intentioneering • www.Intentioneers.net • 4thWorld@consultant.com • July 2013
Constructing the Essential Economic Dichotomy Money is one of the things that people tend to take for granted, since money is the economic medium that we swim in every day. Like fish in water, we do not usually think of a world without money, yet just above the ocean surface is the world of air, and like fish adapting fins to legs and gills to lungs, we humans can live in a society that does not use money internally, as many people have done through the ages, and do today. Actually, it would be more correct to think of this the other way around, since money was created only about 3,000 to 5,000 years ago while our human prehistory extends for tens-of-thousands of years before money was invented. Analogies can be ambiguous in that way.
“Participatory economics” in Michael Albert and Robin Hahnel’s Looking Forward and The Political Economy of Participatory Economics; “Sacred Economics” by Eileen Workman; and in books, articles, and videos by Charles Eisenstein; “Social Ecology and Communalism” by Murray Bookchin [www.communalism.net]; “Solidarity economics” by the Solidarity Economy Network [www.populareconomics.org/ussen]; “Steady-state economics” by Herman Daly and Kenneth Townsend in Valuing the Earth; And other theories and advocacies such as The Social Enterprise Alliance and Benefit Corporations, where social mission is more important than profit.
Like water and air, money has certain properties natural to it. Primarily, money supports the concept of the private ownership of property, and therefore the values of possessiveness and competition with taking and exchanging. However, money can also support the common ownership of property such as in government, and in nonprofit and tax-exempt organizations, along with the values of sharing, cooperation, and mutual-aid.
Most of these proposals are intended to modify the monetary system with models like Mondragon and other producer and consumer cooperatives, labor unions, community development corporations, and public banks serving to mitigate the excesses of the monetary system while maintaining the values of possessiveness and competition within exchange-system economies.
However, the tendency of the profit motive and its attendant dog-eat-dog, survival-of-the-fittest mentality has over-shadowed the ideals of mutual-aid and simple human compassion. Now there is “austerity” and “toobig-to-fail” bailouts, proving that in the dominant economic model the health of the system itself and its ideal of “corporate personhood” is more important than the lives and health of people and other living things.
In contrast, the most essential economic dichotomy is between systems supporting entirely different, opposing economic theories, beginning on the level of basic values. This is sharing and cooperation versus possessiveness and competition, along with the opposing political-economic concepts of decentralism and participatory governance versus centralism and authoritarianism.
And so there grows in response a host of proposals for redesigning monetary economics to be more socially and environmentally responsible. The list includes: “Buddhist economics” in E. F. Schumacher’s Small Is Beautiful, and Phara Payutto’s book by that title; “Ecological Democracy” by Roy Morrison; also in Herman Daly’s and John Cobb’s For the Common Good; and in Jeffrey Sachs’ Common Wealth; “Ecological Economics” by Juan Martinez-Alier; and in Kenneth Boulding’s Economics as a Science; “Green economics” in Alanna Hartzok’s The Earth Belongs to Everyone; “Mindful Economics” by Joel Magnuson; “Natural Capitalism” by Amory and Hunter Lovins; also described by Paul Hawken;
The sharing values are most advanced when market labor [generating monetary income] is combined with domestic or household labor in a single, integrated, nonmonetary, egalitarian, time-based economy. While it may be difficult to think of an economic system that does not use money internally, consider that economics simply means the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services, and money is not needed for any of that, when replaced by a time-based economic system. Today time-based economies grow apace or in parallel with monetary economics. The names for the dominant, monetary, debt-based economy and for the alternative, non-monetary, timebased economy are given in this writing as: First World economics and Fourth World economics.
A. Allen Butcher • The School of Intentioneering • www.Intentioneers.net • 4thWorld@consultant.com • July 2013
The Fourth World* as Economic Commons A Cultural Identity and an Economic System for the Commons Movement Identifying the Commons Culture
Explaining the Commons Economic System
The Fourth World is defined in different ways by different people and organizations. Sometimes the Fourth World is described as being comprised of societies having locally-based, decentralized economies and governments such as ethnic groups within nation states, and sometimes the term is used to represent only indigenous cultures like Native American tribes, and sometimes it essentially means any culture refusing the economic, political, and cultural model of the First World. In the case of the latter, the Fourth World is largely comprised of people who have either left the First World to become Fourth World, or it is comprised of people who participate to varying degrees in both the First and the Fourth Worlds, the two co-existing in the same space and time.
As the First World uses monetary economics in an ever larger, more integrated global system, some Fourth World societies use alternative currencies to build decentralized, local economies. Of these, some include labor exchanges which value all labor equally. Other Fourth World societies create forms of non-exchange, time-based economies. These include traditional tribalism and the neo-tribalism of intentional community, both practicing forms of laborgifting and/or labor-sharing, valuing all labor equally.
While the Third World is trying to develop into either the First World (i.e., market economies) or the Second World (i.e., state-planned economies), the Fourth World affirms its own unique society and culture as the opposite of the First World. The Fourth World does not transition to or merge into any of the other three worlds, instead developing apace with the First World as two interwoven, parallel cultures. As two synergistic, parallel cultures, the First and the Fourth Worlds are co-dependent, each learning from and adapting aspects of the other, in an ongoing, dynamic, co-creative process.
Time-Based Economies in Fourth World Communities using Labor-Gifting and Labor-Sharing: 0.45% of USA Fourth World: People self-identifying as a society separate from the dominant culture. (See: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourth_world) The U.S. population in the 2010 Census was 308.7 million. Of that, 5.2 million people (1.7 %) self-identified as American Indian or part Indian. Of that, 22% or 1,144,000 Native Americans live on reservations. (See: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Native_Americans_in_the_United_States See also: “The American Indian and Alaska Native Population: 2010”)
In 1980 there was an estimated 150,000 members of Catholic Monasteries, 80% being women. (See: Lawrence McCrank. 1997. Religious Orders and Monastic Communalism in America. In Pitzer (Ed.) America’s Communal Utopias. Pp. 227, 230)
In 2007 there were an estimated 100,000 members of other intentional communities, including 11,250 Hutterites, in the USA. (See: Laird Schaub, State of the Communities Movement, 2007. Communities Directory 2007. FIC. P. 20 See also: www.hutterites.org/the-leut/distribution/) Doing the math: (1,144,000+150,000+100,000) / 308,700,000 = 0.0045 or 0.45%)
* The Fourth World embraces small nations of under twelve million inhabitants, groups working for their autonomy and independence at all levels from the neighborhood to the nation, minority groups whether ethnic, linguistic, cultural or religious, and those in the fields of peace action, ecology, economics, energy resources, women’s liberation, and the whole spectrum of the alternative movement, who are struggling against the giantism of the institutions of today’s mass societies and for a human scale and a non-centralized, multi-cellular, power-dispersed world order. —Nicholas Albey and Mark Kinzley, How to Save the World: A Fourth World Guide to the Politics of Scale, Wellingborough, Northamptonshire: Turnstone Press, 1984. Quoted in: Center for World Indigenous Studies – www.cwis.org/GML/background/FourthWorld A. Allen Butcher • The School of Intentioneering • www.Intentioneers.net • 4thWorld@consultant.com • July 2013
All Labor Is Valued Equally! — ALIVE! Presenting a new theory for the old practice in the economic commons:
Time-Based Economics LIVE FREE!—Labor Is Valued Equally • For Realizing Economic Equality! In community we clearly see that we are all in this together, while in the monetary economy it is understood that everyone is in it for themselves. In time-based economies, labor-gifting involves donating time to any community function other than making money, while labor-sharing integrates both domestic and incomeproducing work in a communal economy, sometimes using vacation-credit labor systems.
In the monetary or debt-based economy people focus upon getting as much as they can in the labor market, or taking as much as they can as business owners, and then pride themselves in “giving back to the community” as volunteers and “paying it forward” as philanthropists.
The monetary system relies upon a scarcity paradigm of supply & demand, and the Time-based economies value all community labor equally, economic model fails as over-production and abundance cannot be sold, thus advanced no matter what is done or who is doing it, providing capitalism focuses upon “financialization” of freedom from the alienation of monetary economics the economy, creating “casino capitalism.” through labor-gifting and labor-sharing. Meanwhile, in the time-based economy or • Labor-gifting is practiced in collective intentional plenty paradigm, goods and services are communities sharing privately-owned property, such as produced by common intent, and distributed cohousing, community land trusts, and some ecovillages. according to need & fairness. • Labor-sharing is practiced in communal intentional The two economic paradigms can have a communities sharing commonly-owned property. harmonic relationship as parallel cultures, as • Labor-exchanging is practiced in Time Dollar systems. the two economic systems of exchanging and Because they do not involve commercial exchanges, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has ruled that in timebased economies people:
Live free from taxation! The IRS has given three reasons for labor-exchange systems like Time Dollars being tax-exempt: 1. An hour is always an hour, regardless of what is offered; 2. They are backed only by a moral obligation and are not legally binding; and 3. Their purpose is charitable. The three actual tax exempt rulings are posted at: www.mketimeexchange.org/are-time-dollars-taxable
taking along with gifting and sharing are arranged to be synergistic. This provides the freedom for each person to choose how they are to live. People can then remove their economic consent to participate in one system and give it to the other. People need to have the freedom to choose, and many people live in both economic paradigms.
For the tax-exempt status of labor-sharing systems using the 501(d) section of the Internal Revenue Code see: www.culturemagic.org/PDF/c3IRS%20Manual%20Religio us%20and%20Apostolic.pdf
A. Allen Butcher • The School of Intentioneering • www.Intentioneers.net • 4thWorld@consultant.com • July 2013
The Scarcity and Plenty Paradigms in Synergistic Relationship Interwoven Economic Systems of the First World and the Fourth World Lifestyles of Gifting and Sharing
Intentional Community – A fellowship of unrelated individuals practicing common agreement and collective action. All use some form of time-based economy. Includes tribal cultures that do not use money internally.
In the time-based economies of gifting and sharing there is no reciprocal exchange. In labor-gifting individuals agree to work together to provide shared domestic services in the community, with no minimum labor commitment. Failing to contribute does not result in loss of membership in the community. In labor-sharing there is a required labor commitment for integrating business and domestic work, from 5 to 50 hours a week. Failing to honor this agreement results in loss of membership and expulsion.
Circumstantial Community –
In the debt-based economy labor is valued differentially, with variable compensation, according to the labor market.
In the time-based economy, all labor is valued equally.
A group of people living in proximity by chance, such as in a city, village, or neighborhood. All use debt-based economics (i.e., money). During a disaster a group, village, or town may function as an intentional community.
Types of Gifting-and-Sharing Economies and of Exchange Economies Gifting & Sharing Economies (time-based):
Exchange Economies (debt-based):
• Labor-Gifting (fair-share labor systems) – no minimum • Labor-Exchange (time-based) – hour accounting labor requirement (pure altruism) used as trading commodity (reciprocal altruism) • Labor-Sharing – requires a labor contribution • Barter Economy – item-for-item, or “indirect barter” » Labor-Quota Systems – flexible hour commitusing mediums of exchange such as wampum, ments using labor accounting (rational altruism) tobacco, chocolate, precious stones or metals » Anti-Quota Systems – labor requirement with no • Monetary Economy – currencies (may be backed by a accounting, often with gender-specific work roles commodity): coin, paper, electronic, digital (anti-altruism) Sharing Theory: Exchange Theory: In Time-Based Economies • Rational Self-Interest (Adam Smith) • Rational Altruism labor-gifting is to labor-sharing, • Comparative Advantage (David Ricardo) • Mutual Advantage as barter is to money • Intentional Hand • Invisible Hand (Adam Smith) in debt-based economies • Multi-Faith Reciprocity Ethic • Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of and the Spirit of Communalism Capitalism (Max Weber) A. Allen Butcher • The School of Intentioneering • www.Intentioneers.net • 4thWorld@consultant.com • July 2013
Motivations for the Intentional Communities Movement When money is not used within a community, encouragement and reward for participation requires creative methods of expressing group affirmation and appreciation for the time and skills contributed by each person. Since there is no monetary reward for motivating work in the time-based economy, forms of positive reinforcement for contributing work may include: Personal satisfaction for doing work valued and appreciated by others, or which serves the common good; Knowing that other members are also doing the best quality work they can for the community. This results in a sense of group awareness and commitment, or ésprit dé corps (to use a military term), which helps to avoid or decrease burnout, or the loss of the intention originally inspiring the individual due to the daily effort required to maintain commitment and participation; Recognition by friends for one’s good work, especially when offered personally. There is a large amount of psychological and sociological material about what motivates people, suggesting that “carrot and stick” approaches which inspire hope-of-gain versus fear-of-loss is not the most important concern. In the book, Drive: The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us , Daniel Pink explains that once our basic survival needs are met, our greatest motivation for what we do is Intentional communities reverse the the resulting growth and development that we realize, “enclosure of the commons” by using toward expressing our personal human potential. The author time-based economies of labor-gifting analyzes the components of personal motivation as being first and labor-sharing for an economic autonomy, or the desire to direct our own lives, then also mastery, system that emphasizes and supports or the desire to continually improve what we do (and the more it people working for the common good, matters to others the better), and also the desire to be of service to an in place of monetary economics ideal or something that is larger than just one’s own life. which results in everyone working for In the book, Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, themselves. Time-based economies Incentive Plans, A’s, Praise, and Other Bribes , Alfie are used for coordinating community Kohn goes further to say that “artificial inducements” only labor, essentially pushing back work for a period of time, after which the lack of a meaningful against monetary economics to create context for what we do can cause people to lose interest in the and expand the economic commons. bribes offered. Rewards can actually work against creativity as they discourage risk-taking when the safest way to earn a reward is to follow the methods designed and imposed by others. Kohn identifies the conditions for authentic motivation as collaboration with others, the meaningfulness of the work, and choice or self-direction, all of which can be provided in the social-economic-political design of intentional community.
Exploit the Monetary System to enjoy Communitarian Luxuries When the monetary system is used to support the time-based economy, the result is communitarian luxuries that would not be possible through either system alone. Both collective community and communal society use the monetary system for creating community in different ways. In both cases, communitarian luxuries can include: Trust Luxury – the priceless peace-of-mind from knowing your neighbors on a first-name basis; Social Luxury – the informal ambience of common spaces for food service, childcare, gardening, shops; Holiday Luxury – visiting people in communities around the world, returning to a home well cared-for; Spiritual Luxury – the fellowship of community conforms our lifestyle to the love-thy-neighbor-ethic; Politically-Correct Luxury – having your views wanted and respected through participatory governance; Self-Esteem Luxury – valuing equally all community labor shows the worth of each person’s abilities; Inter-Generational Community – both young and old caring for each other is cultural elegance. A. Allen Butcher • The School of Intentioneering • www.Intentioneers.net • 4thWorld@consultant.com • July 2013
The Labor-Gifting, Time-Based Economy of the 4th World Gifting as a Cultural Assumption
Labor-Gifting in Cohousing Community
Labor-gifting can be as simple as helping a friend, a neighbor, or a stranger with a need, or volunteering at a school or hospital or other non-profit organization (people rarely volunteer at for-profit businesses!). Whether it is more appropriate to consider doing family chores as labor-gifting or labor-sharing is up for debate.
Cohousing community is the fastest growing form of intentional community in the world for several reasons. Perhaps the most important reason is that cohousing best provides for the balance of the sharing of privately-owned property, derived from market labor in the First World, with the sharing of domestic or household labor in a Fourth World community of shared public spaces separate from one’s private space.
Common expressions of labor-gifting include: “giving back to the community,” and “paying it forward,” and “random acts of kindness,” as well as the reciprocity ethic of “do for others as you would want that others do for you.” Labor-gifting is clearly a common activity, easily understood and accepted in every culture. The provocative question is then, how may it be possible to expand the practice of incidental volunteering to the level of a basic cultural assumption and matter-ofpractice in a society, as the principle of labor-gifting? While organized labor-sharing results in communal society, organized labor-gifting results in collective community. The term “collective” is chosen for this context as it suggests the joining together of community residents’ privately-owned property as well as the contribution of the residents’ personal time, in order to deliberately form an intentional community, such as in cohousing and community land trusts, as opposed to the sharing of commonly-owned property in communal intentional community.
As cohousing community becomes more common, many different methods of labor-gifting are being developed in them. For a discussion of these see: Gifting and Sharing: Living the Plenty Paradigm in Cohousing and Communal Society, a PDF document free for download at: www.CultureMagic.org “We give without expectations for the level of effort of others. The desire to help is nurtured in an environment of acceptance of whatever people are willing to contribute. To do otherwise would no doubt lead to friction.” —anonymous cohousing resident “This is a very generous and beautiful statement … Many of us who spent ten hours a week the first year or two doing what others “couldn’t wouldn’t didn’t” have pulled back. I sure don’t know what the answer is. … Perennial optimists, we are set to try a new plan….” —California cohousing community member
A. Allen Butcher • The School of Intentioneering • www.Intentioneers.net • 4thWorld@consultant.com • July 2013
The Labor-Sharing, Time-Based Economy of the 4th World Time-based economies involve methods of nonmonetary production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services. The different forms of time-based economies are explained on the previous page as: labor-exchanging, labor-gifting, and labor-sharing. Early in the Industrial Revolution people sought to create a non-monetary economic system in order that workers would benefit from the full value of their labor. This ideal first became widespread in England where industrialism started earliest and grew most rapidly. One of the first people to write about this idea was William Thompson of County Cork, Ireland, in his book, Labor Rewarded: The Claims of Labor and Capital Conciliated, printed in 1827. Robert Owen, the Welsh industrialist who created a cooperative mill town at his factory complex in New Lanark, Scotland, took another of Thompson’s books printed in 1824 with him to America, where he created the short-lived New Harmony community in Indiana. Robert Owen is often given credit for the ideas developed by others, such as Thompson’s “labor theory of value,” because his wealth made it possible for him to apply these ideas. Therefore, it is Owen’s influence that is credited with the development of what became the theory of “socialism,” even though he drew important parts of it from such earlier thinkers and writers as Thompson, the Quaker John Bellers, and the communities in America of the Shakers and Harmonists. (Garnett, pp. 20, 46-9)
While none of Owen’s communities in UK or USA using “labor notes” lasted more than a few months or years, other communitarian organizers continued to experiment with different labor systems. Josiah Warren left Owen’s New Harmony in Indiana (1825-27) to experiment with labor exchanges in his “time store” and in a succession of communities: Equity, Utopia in Ohio, and Modern Times in New York State (1833-63). In California the Kaweah Colony used “time-checks” (1885-92), and the Altruria Colony used “labor-checks” (1894-5). (Fogarty, pp. 127, 149, 179, 181, 196, 213, 217) Thus, for 142 years, until a break-through was achieved in 1967 by Kat Kinkade at Twin Oaks Community, various organizers sought the Holy Grail of communitarianism; a system for organizing communal labor-sharing for economic equality that would rival monetary economics. Kat’s inspiration came through the utopian novel Walden Two (1948), written by the behavioral psychologist B. F. Skinner, who credited his ideas to the book Looking Backward (1888) by Edward Bellamy. Bellamy may have been influenced by Josiah Warren’s work as both later lived in Massachusetts.
William Thompson wrote in Labor Rewarded that inequality was due to the system of exchanges [i.e., money], not from the differences in productivity of different workers, and so the solution was cooperation among workers who would build their own wealth in cooperative businesses, rather than expropriate the wealth of the rich. This is an important difference of the communitarian theory of the Owenites versus the communist theory of the Marxists, both terms entering the English language from the French words developed in Paris prior to 1840. (Garnett, p. 50; Bestor, p. 280)
Kat’s invention of the “vacation-credit” variation of the labor-credit system has proven to be stable over the long term, scalable to different numbers of people, and replicable among different intentional communities. As of the 2010 Communities Directory, these communities are: Twin Oaks (Virginia, 100 adults, formed 1967); Sunflower (Kansas, 30, 1969); East Wind (Missouri, 71, 1973, see 1995 Comm. Dir.); Los Horcones (Mexico, 21, 1973, see 1995 Comm. Dir. And Kuhlmann p. 139); Acorn (Virginia, 15, 1993); and Emma Goldman (Washington State, 11, 1996). Total adult population is 248, although changing constantly. These communal societies (except Sunflower, a student co-op) survive due to their labor-credit systems used in businesses generating millions of dollars a year, along with domestic work of child/elder care, food service, and cleaning, also agriculture, construction, governance, etc.
* Bestor, Arthur. (1948, June). The evolution of the socialist vocabulary. Journal of the History of Ideas, Vol. 9, No. 3. Univ. of Pennsylvania Press. * Garnett, Ronald. (1972). Co-operation and the Owenite Socialist Communities in Britain, 1825-45. England: Univ. of Manchester.
* Communities Directory. (1995; 2010). Rutledge, Missouri: The Fellowship for Intentional Community * Fogarty, Robert. (1980). Dictionary of American communal and utopian history. Westport, CT/London, England: Greenwood Press. * Kuhlmann, Hilke. (2005). Living Walden Two. Univ. of Illinois.
The Vacation-Credit Labor-Sharing System as used at Twin Oaks Community • The labor-quota is the minimum amount of work members agree to contribute as a requirement of membership. Members accumulate labor credits at the rate of one credit per hour of work completed, then quota (e.g., 40 hours/wk) is subtracted from each member’s personal labor credit account at the end of the week, resulting in a running balance. Called: labor accounting. • Labor supply = quota x number-of-members. Labor supply is divided among managerial labor budgets. Adjustments include lower personal quota for sickness, leaves-of-absence, pension (subtract 1 credit/yr for each year over age 49) • Labor budgeting involves annual planning processes (e.g., Trade-Off Game), with review cycles for deciding what tasks are to be included in the labor system. This sets the amount of the labor-quota. Members agree on what work is “creditable,” or that when completed adds credits to their personal accounts as “done labor.” In different labor systems, this may be only one kind of work, such as cleaning or income-producing, or may include many tasks. • Members indicate their work preferences from a list of creditable tasks, and get a weekly “labor sheet” scheduling their work, appointments, and chosen vacation time. A weekly “Labor Master” is posted showing everyone’s schedule. • Working under quota results in deficits, or being in the “labor hole,” which must be made up by working “over quota,” for a person to maintain good standing and membership in the community. • Working over-quota results in the accumulation of “vacation credits” which may be used for onsite vacations or when traveling, or given as PSC. • Labor credits are only transferable according to special agreements, such as “personal service credits” (PSCs), involving the use of vacation credits given to others for services provided, or for helping someone out of a labor hole. • Labor credits can be used to purchase items made in over-quota production in community businesses for acquiring products to send as gifts.
Communal Distribution in the Labor-Sharing, Time-Based Economy at Twin Oaks Community None of the communal distribution systems in laborquota sharing economies involve the exchange of laborcredits for goods or services. Instead, one’s labor assures membership in the community, with the right to access of all of the wealth of the community. Earning, purchasing, and owning are aspects of exchange systems not of labor-sharing, time-based economies. In egalitarian communal societies forms of participatory management are developed for empowering the entire membership, such as regular planning cycles setting labor and money budgets. Money is earned in worker or community-owned businesses for exchange with the outside monetary economy for goods and services. “Our labor-credit system is the glue that keeps this community together!” Mala, Twin Oaks, in BUST magazine article, “Ecovillage People,” by Emily Rems, Winter, 2003.
Communal distribution includes budgeting or rationing, since there are always more ideas than there are resources. Through collective intent a community can expand the possibilities for providing the greatest good to the greatest number, with the highest degree of fairness possible. One budgeted item is usually small personal allowances, for commodities that the community does not provide, and for vacations. Other forms of communal distribution include: firstcome-first-served (e.g., food service and items for personal use like furniture and alarm clocks called “trusterty”), to each as needed (e.g., health services), seniority (e.g., Twin Oaks’ sabbatical program), and drawing lots, rolling dice or other systems of chance. The “double-blind preferences matrix” enables the optimum distribution according to stated preferences, often used for assigning private rooms. Happiness is Labor-Sharing From 1966 until about 1976, Walden House, Twin Oaks, and East Wind communities experimented with “variablecredits,” rewarding some work done with more credit than other work, until members decided to value all labor equally.
Political-Economic Structures of 4th World Communities A great variety of political-economic systems exists among communitarian designs in the Fourth World, however, the terms typically used in the First World for different political-economic structures can be very imprecise and confusing. Therefore, there is a need for a better way to describe the various types of intentional communities in the commons movement.
The analysis of communitarian political-economics begins with the identification of the different aspects of political processes, or of forms of governance for the control of wealth, and of the different aspects of economic processes for the ownership of wealth. These aspects comprise two continua, one each for politics and for economics:
Political Continuum — The Control of Wealth Participatory and Authoritarian and Decentralized Decision-Making Mixed Centralized Decision-Making ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------Consensus Process Democratic Majority-Rule Political Elite: Party or State
Economic Continuum — The Ownership of Wealth Common Property Private Property and Equity Ownership Economically-Diverse and Equity Ownership ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------Shared Common Property Both Common and Private Property Shared Private Property [Communal Society] [Community Land Trusts] [Collectives: Cohousing & Co-ops]
Joining the two continua above in a matrix creates nine methods of economic ownership and political control, resulting in more precise and descriptive political-economic terms than those of liberalism, conservatism, libertarianism etc. See the names given for the nine political-economic structures on the following page. A. Allen Butcher • The School of Intentioneering • www.Intentioneers.net • 4thWorld@consultant.com • July 2013
Conclusion: Economics Through the Looking-Glass Various fantasy writers have used the literary convention of the creation of an alternative world in order to present ideals or moral beliefs to the reader. Lewis Carroll had Alice fall down a rabbit hole to discover Wonderland, before she stepped through the “looking-glass” mirror into a reversereality world. C.S. Lewis had children grope their way through a stuffed wardrobe to discover Narnia, before entering a picture to join the Voyage of the Dawn Treader. In reality there is a similar dichotomy, named in this writing the First World and the Fourth World, although in our reality both worlds are real. Most people may not see the dichotomy or economic duality since the mass media tends to ignore it, so one does have to actively seek their own portal into the alternative world-view and reverse-economic culture. Along with the dominant culture there is also the alternative culture, the two having diametrically opposite value structures, with the two co-creating a combined reality, each learning from and adapting aspects of the other. In this way, two different yet complimentary real-worlds exist in the same space and time, the First World and the Fourth World, between which people may freely and frequently move; or live in both worlds simultaneously.
The significance of the existence of the co-evolving First and Fourth Worlds may be dismissed with the idea that people always see the grass as being greener on the other side of the fence, citing the truth that people often move between the two economic worlds. Yet the essential nature of the two economic worlds being comprised of opposing concepts always becomes of greatest importance when the dominant, monetary economic system fails, such as during natural disasters, and during human-made crisis such as recessions, depressions, lost generations, dark ages, and climate change. In such times people naturally revert to gifting, sharing, and mutual-aid as default assumptions for how people can relate to each other. Although a minority of people have always preferred the sharing lifestyle, and maintain or recreate the economic commons in every age, it becomes important that even those who do not choose the sharing lifestyle at least understand how to create and live it as a contingency lifestyle for when monetary economics no longer serves its purpose. For these reasons the School of Intentioneering develops and presents information on the founding and building of intentional community as lifestyles of choice, and strategies for anticipating, reflecting, and quickening social change.
Published on Jul 11, 2013
The Fourth World economic commons is coexistent with the First World market economy. These two diametrically opposed economic systems have...