The Bracebridge Seed Exchange Template
The Bracebridge Seed Exchange
Template For An Ultra-Conservative Community
ABSTRACT: A community divided against itself cannot stand. Another way of saying this is that a community that is exposed to risk and threats of loss is not resilient and is less able to sustain itself. In this discussion Robert looks at two possible community models, the liberal and the conservative. The liberal community must, it is concluded, be divided. There are no paths to the elimination of disagreements in liberalism. In this discussion we put forward a community model called the Ultra-Conservative model. Not only does this model improve sustainability and resilience it does this by creating a place without division. For simplicity of presentation the model focuses on one small town setting up a seed exchange.
The Bracebridge Seed Exchange serves as a guide to the structure of a Conservative Community. This may need some explaining. Conservatism is contrasted with socialism or liberalism. These are opposite paradigms each with its unique economic and business model. Ultra Conservative Communities possess both sustainability and resilience.
To be conservative is to be economically bullish. Conservatives tend towards sounder economic policy and think in terms of long-term strategies. Conservatives also favor cash and greater liquidity.
Economic liberals are more lavish and focused on immediate gratification. There is a tension between these two models. Ultra Conservatism is an attempt to divest our model of all liberal contaminations and inclinations and build solidly on a economic conservative foundation.
Food chains, conservatives believe, are the highest priority. Housing and clothing are necessarily local. Whatever failings exist in these areas has little to do with external threats. Food is another matter. Bracebridge being in Canada must adapt to a short growing season. However, it is short sighted to allow climate dictate the size of our Supply Chains.
If COVID-19 taught Canadians anything, it is risky to assume things will remain the same. The problems we and other nations had with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) drove home the inadvisability of becoming dependent on foreign suppliers of vital goods and services. PPE were not that difficult to produce once we decided it had to be done. Food shortages are not so easily rectified. Whether due to supply chain issues or external factors such as riots or pandemics, replacement of food stuffs is not as simple as producing face masks. We cannot convert a factory to the production of fruits and vegetables over-night, however, this is not the same as saying it could not be done and ought not be done as a longer term strategy.
The issue of cost will undoubtedly arise. Are local crops competitive with imports is an obvious question? The question can only be answered after we decide what the cost of exposure to long supply chains is. Do you prefer to pay $200.00 a week for food bought locally or $100.00 a week for food bought from overseas suppliers and $30.00 to subsidize unemployed farmers, $30.00 in transportation and pollution costs and $30.00 in taxes to supplement the taxes not paid by local processors hurt by importing substitutes for the local option?
Even if the local option costs more in real terms the comparison of costs is meaningless. If we want local food security, we pay the price. Comparing the price of options is even more difficult if all of the real and secondary costs are not and cannot be factored into the price we pay for the import.
Some years ago China was accused of putting Melamine into milk powder. How often does food get contaminated with the bacteria of human excrement? There are costs to every choice. You have to decide what a product or service is worth.
Bracebridge has land we have people. What more do we need? If we need more people and more land to produce what we want, lets look closer to home for it.
There is one other thing needed. Some say we need will power to get things done. Will power is determination expressed by one person. This is important but will power is most effective when expressed on the context of a Conservative Community. For will power to bear fruit it needs a solid platform on which to work. This platform is called ownership. Conservative Communities are privately owned places.
Buying foodstuffs outside of Bracebridge shifts power to an alien place. The justification for doing this is the amount of benefit it brings to the buyer. Ultra Conservative Community’s turn the community into a brokerage so that buying and selling decisions are made in a wider context.
It either pays to import a product or not. Without accounting for the costs and benefits of a choice how do we know which choice to make? What needs to be considered is if the purchase benefits a single person or the community as a whole.
Who ought we to trust to determine the net benefit or loss of a transaction? We could contract the buying to Walmart, Independent Grocers, the provincial or Federal government and various other well-placed individuals, however, it is the citizens who pay the ultimate price. Citizens ought to be the ones keeping the books.
Think of an island owned by Joe. Joe is very rich; he invites us to his island. The island has one store from which we buy what we need. Joes Store gives us an allowance or store credit. Some might say we are free persons, freer indeed than many. However, subjects have only the freedom they are given. The freedom subjects have is the freedom farm animals have.
Joe asks us to work 23 hours a week on community projects. Every person is paid the same allowance per week. The only penalty the island has for criminal behaviour is ejection from the island. Unemployment and inflation and taxes and crime would be zero or close to it. Banks and public servants would not be needed. Because we are all paid the same rate those who are good at something would naturally gravitate to that and few would complain because the objective would be to get the assigned job done as quickly and as efficiently as possible. This is not a description of an ideal community. Joe has absolute power as an autocrat. Are the people on the island free or not? Do they have power, are they oppressed? This mental exercise helps us understand conventional thinking about economic freedom is not that useful.
Workers in liberal democracies have little economic power. However, businesspersons have little economic power when compared to their silent partner, the liberal state.
Power is ownership. What we own we have power over. The power we have is tied to the amount of ownership, not just the quantity of things owned but the quality of the ownership. The only way to abdicate a position of power is to abdicate ownership. To be food secure is to own our food sources. It is not sufficient to have access to food, we need to own the supply chain. We need to have power over it.
The easiest way to gain food security is to shorten the supply chain until the source of our supplies are within the confines of Bracebridge. However, pragmatic considerations will extend our buying into Muskoka, Simcoe and Ontario and even beyond. The intent ought to shorten the Supply Chain and permit it to stretch further only when the risks are fully understood and accounted for. The further the source the less crucial is the supply and the greater the distance the product travels the more that is saved through the use of the distant market.
We can tolerate 5000 km long supply chains for sneakers, it is less advisable to permit similarly long Supply Chain for heart medications.
Conservatives are not just those people who attempt to tone down the progressive rhetoric of liberals or caution them about increasing debt levels.
Conservative Communities look to conserve what we have. This is a two-edged sword because we cannot allow things to remain idle nor use them carelessly. This dilemma gives us a sense of purpose because it tells us we must be useful but in a specific targeted way defined by the possibilities of our situation. More importantly, this level of usefulness must be validated in a quantified way. It is for this reason the Conservative Community has the structure of a brokerage.
Every conservative is entitled to a Common Share in the Conservative Community. An Ultra Conservative Community assumes the form of a brokerage in which each citizen owns a Common Share. Brokerages buy and sell on behalf of its clients, in this case the citizens of Bracebridge. The brokerage gives buyers and sellers security and removes risk from the transactions they participate in.
As sellers to the Exchange clients produce things of value. Value is expressed in the Exchange as equity. Equity is value added to an asset. The earth we plant in and the seeds planted are assets of Bracebridge. Planting and growing seeds adds value to the Bracebridge Brokerage. Reaping and processing adds further value to the crop. Purchasing product from the brokerage or brokers transforms the equity of the buyer into new assets for the seller. The Brokerage serves as an underwriter and guarantor for the buyer and seller. By going through a brokerage risk is liquidated for the participants in the transaction.
Conservatives use the equity of issued by the Brokerage as a medium of exchange. The brokerage business represents the equity created by broker members. The equity created by growing crops or processing the crop can be turned into a currency. Equity in the brokerage is issued as Preferred Shares. These shares are issued in the same denominations as the domestic currency and replaces fiat and bank money for local purchases.
Prefers (P), a contraction of preferred shares, refers to the medium of exchange used by the brokerage. The person who creates $500.00 worth of value for the brokerage is paid or credited with 500 units of preferred shares. Prefers are used by the client to purchase 500 units worth of products from the Exchange.
The brokerage is composed of small groups. Each group is composed of around twelve to fifteen persons. Each cell appoints a chairperson. The medium of exchange is designed by the Brokerage to be used as a medium of exchange between members of the brokerage. As the goods and services made available by members expands and increases the Exchange structure will also become more complex.
To form the Brokerage clients come together to specialize. Each grower grows two or three crops. Reaping and processing is performed by clients as is the selling and other tasks. Each person is paid for the value they create for the Exchange by the Exchange according to a predetermined schedule. All product is paid for using prefers. Prefers are issued as credits to the account of the client. Purchases are debit from client accounts. The brokerage maintains a ledger in which these accounts are maintained.
Exchange groups seek to specialize. Similar occupations group in the same Exchange. As groups diversify and specialize new Exchange units are created. The Ultra Conservative Community is identified with the Brokerage and the use of a currency backed by and issued as, preferred shares.