A series of fortunate events has aligned this week in my thinking. I have long been struggling with how to equitable organize a small community that was at the same time true to my growing free-market beliefs and yet protected my investment and maximally insured the project took a positive path. A dear friend came down from Sacramento for the weekend and we got to talk a good bit. He really encouraged me to look at a lease arrangement on my own land for those who wish to try the close community experiment. They wouldn’t get the benefit of owning land, but they wouldn’t have the expense either and they would have the benefit of the community. Combine that with real, resilient economic opportunity and those who made the commitment would realize economic benefit while I would be able to insure my control over the real property and act as a buffer for the community against excess. This would become less necessary, I think, as the community matured, but would be essential in the beginning.
And today I was listening to Badquaker’s podcast. He reminded me that the most powerful, effective and accountable markets are local. That it takes a lot more faith to believe that levels and levels of bureaucrats will all effectively do their jobs ensuring the food I eat is safe vs my picking up my food from the grower and looking for myself at the quality of the establishment that he runs. And this is true across all market segments.
This leads me to a realization that a small community, based on a small marketplace, is viable. I can keep the level of security I need as a landowner while providing a positive economic opportunity for others. I have been focused on building a community that is resilient because it lives close together, shares utilities and yet maintains enough distance to not be living in each others laps. What if that was based on a market rather than a cluster of houses? Could we invite in a larger segment of the community to be involved, still allow for those who want to live in tighter community to do so, yet also build a larger, more resilient community based on an artisan’s market?
I think this is the larger economic model I have been looking for that will allow me to not only have a small, tight community but not feel like I am trying to set up my own little fiefdom. This is the mechanism of inclusion I have been looking for, I think.
More on this to come. Another source for my thinking is http://alt-market.com