Showing posts tagged P2P
Back in April, Nick Clegg restated government resolve to pursue ambitious environmental goals. The Deputy Prime Minister rebuffed rumours that the credit crunch had killed environmentalism. On the contrary, “going green has never made so much sense” and sustainability, in fact, coincides with economic recovery; “lean times can be green times”, he repeated. Clegg called his idea “environmental thrift”, which is basically just good housekeeping. Indeed, it seems quite possible that Mr Clegg’s speech was inspired by our grandmothers war-time abilities to make a little go a long very way. And good on him for that. The global economy has a thing or two to learn from sound home economics.
Mr Clegg’s position makes a lot of sense, but he’s missing one important factor in the equation. His speech draws our attention to two areas of government action: cutting consumer energy consumption to reduce emissions and alleviate financial pressure on households and building up low carbon sectors to create a competitive green industry for Britain’s economic future. That’s all well and good, but it misses the crux of the matter. Clegg’s proposals are top-down initiatives. Real “environmental thrift”, honest, hand-on, efficient and effective housekeeping, is not happening top-down, through policy. It’s happening bottom-up, through consumers.
One Lean Car
This guy has done some very radical things: First, he collaboratively built a 100 gallon/mile car, called Wikispeed, in a couple of weeks. How? He applied test-driven development methods from the software world (agile, lean, scrum) to revolutionize the manufacturing processes. It’s very possible that this new distributed approach to design & manufacturing will do to our world, what the assembly line did almost a century ago… Watch to learn how.
As every good cook knows, one’s method of production affects the nature of the outcome. In short, how you make your food, matters. In much the same way, the production methods we base our society on affect our quality of life. Recently, with the bitter after-taste of the financial crisis still in their mouths, an increasing number of citizens of the industrialized world have begun to take a closer look at just what is going on in the kitchen.
Our means of production of wealth, our kitchen, if you will, is capitalism, which, according to Wikipedia, is an economic system “generally considered to favor private ownership of the means of production”: this is my kitchen not yours, pay me if you want to use it, or come work in my kitchen. The thing with capitalism is that it demands economies of scale and concentration of capital: really big kitchens make more food and buy more kitchens to make more food and buy more kitchens… You get the idea. This necessarily leaves some people with no kitchen and no food (i.e. no means of production of wealth and no wealth). The opposite of capitalism is communism: the state kitchen. A bit like the school canteen, but worse, that’s an alternative I’d rather avoid.
Three Acres and A Cow
In a powerful paradigm shift from the capitalist v communist duality, there emerges a third way. It’s nothing new, two papal encyclicals first came up with the idea in the early 20th century, it later became know as Distributism, I call it the third kitchen.