Puppet Politicians

Nothing has exposed our fake democracy more than Gaza.

Here’s Prof. Jeffery Sachs:

UPDATE: OOPS – censored

And just we’re all clear – this is how all our politics works.

No wonder we can’t do anything about Healthcare, or Guns, or Climate Change. All you have to do is follow the money – the legalized bribery we call lobbying.

But don’t take my word, here are the facts >> https://trackaipac.com

Chances are high your representative is a puppet.

Hop on the flywheel of corruption!

Meaning

What do you do when the world is “evacuated of meaning”? This is the wicked problem Walker Percy concerned himself with.

The search is never over.

The Common Good versus the Greater Good

The “Common Good” refers to the collective well-being, interests, and benefits of a community. It emphasizes the importance of community values, resources, and goals that contribute to the overall well-being of the community. Decisions and actions that promote the common good are those that consider the needs and rights of all members of the community and seek to create a fair and just society. A city council, for example, allocates funding to improve public infrastructure such as roads, schools, and parks. This benefits all residents of the city and contributes to the common good by enhancing the quality of life for everyone.

In our latest book, we define the 9 domains of the Common Good, tied to the essential freedoms they provide:

The “Greater Good” refers to a perspective that makes decisions and choices that might require sacrifice or compromise on an individual or smaller group level in order to achieve a greater benefit for a larger number of people. The concept of the greater good often involves ethical considerations and the idea that certain actions are justifiable if they lead to significant positive outcomes for a larger portion of society, even if they might negatively impact some individuals or smaller groups.

The problem with the greater good is that the decision-making for the sake of achieving significant positive outcomes – is left to an elite. And this elite may not be serving the interests of the common good.

Authoritarian regimes – both on the extreme left and the extreme right – have used the idea of the “Greater Good” to justify imposing strict controls on society, limiting personal freedoms, and suppressing opposition. This is done in the name of maintaining social order (harmony?!) and achieving national unity. 

Fascism and Communism both focus on nationalism, a strong centralized government and strongman leader, and often promote the supremacy of a particular race or nation. These regimes historically have justified their actions by claiming to pursue the greater good of the nation or the state, often at the expense of individual rights and freedoms. 

Thus, authoritarian ideologies can lead to exclusionary policies that discriminate against certain groups deemed as threats to the nation or its interests. The “Greater Good” might be invoked to justify these policies, claiming that they are necessary for the security and prosperity of the dominant group. Such regimes use propaganda to manipulate public perception and present their actions as necessary for the greater good. This can involve distorting information and suppressing dissent to create a unified narrative that supports the regime’s goals. 

At its worst, interpretations of the “Greater Good” have been used to advance ideas of racial or ethnic superiority, where one group is deemed as inherently superior and entitled to privileges at the expense of others.  It is the rational behind hate-based politics – leading to separation – apartheid, institutional injustice, and genocide.

Don’t get fooled by the Greater Good – or long-termism, another form of greater-goodism.

As we destroy the Common Good, we build a Zero-Trust Society.

What the fossil fuel industry doesn’t want you to know

Just because you don’t like Al Gore, doesn’t mean he isn’t telling you the truth:

“…the climate crisis is a fossil fuel crisis. The solutions are going to come from a discussion and collaboration about phasing out fossil fuels. And there’s only so much longer they can hold this up and tie us down and keep us from doing the right thing.”

Fight. It’s time to regenerate this world.

Regeneration: The Future of Community

So our book is finally here. At one point – when we were at 500 pages – I almost gave up. But then I remembered Gail Mazur‘s advice: “anything worth doing is worth doing badly,” and decided to carry on. Now, at 320 pages, this book tries to cover the various angles and sights and buzzwords we see creeping into the regeneration ecosystem (pun intended).

The book’s original title was Regeneration: The Future of Community, but as we went on, it ended up becoming Regeneration: The Future of Community in a Permacrisis World.

What’s the big idea? Actually we think there are several.

Climate change is the greatest market failure in history. Its costs are not priced into market transactions because third parties overwhelmingly bear them – they are euphemistically called “externalities.” There is a fatal misalignment between what is in the interests of the economy and the incentives of the companies that comprise it. Nature, and the communities we live in, are nowhere part of the equation!

 Regeneration means regenerating the Common Good. Our position is this: The Climate Crisis and the Collapse of Society are both symptoms of the same fatal sickness: the destruction of the Common Good.  We cannot compartmentalize the climate and separate it from the rest of society or our activities. 

Here are the questions we – Philip Kotler, Enrico Foglia, and myself, asked ourselves:

The choice is clear. It is regeneration, or extinction.

Learn more at the Regeneration Marketing Institute >>

Why can’t we stop school shootings? An interview with ChatGPT

As this conversation shows, ChatGPT is incapable of ethical judgment, and should not be used for anything at all except solving elementary homework problems…

Why can’t our government stop school shootings?

ChatGPT: The issue of school shootings is complex and multifaceted, and there is no easy answer or solution to this problem. It involves a range of factors, including access to firearms, mental health issues, bullying, and other social and cultural factors.

There have been various proposed solutions to address school shootings, including stricter gun control laws, increased access to mental health services, improved school security measures, and increased efforts to identify and intervene with individuals who may be at risk of committing acts of violence.

However, implementing these solutions often involves political and societal challenges, as different groups and stakeholders may have different views and priorities regarding the issue. Ultimately, it will require a coordinated effort and ongoing commitment from various stakeholders, including government officials, educators, mental health professionals, and the broader community, to effectively address this issue.

C’mon – other countries don’t have this problem.  What is it about the US that prevents our legislators from doing the right thing?

ChatGPT: You’re right that other countries have not experienced the same level of school shootings as the United States, and this suggests that there are factors unique to the U.S. that contribute to this problem.

One factor that may contribute to the issue of school shootings in the U.S. is the country’s relatively high rate of gun ownership compared to other developed nations. According to the Small Arms Survey, the U.S. has the highest rate of civilian gun ownership in the world, with an estimated 120.5 guns per 100 residents. This high rate of gun ownership, combined with the ease of access to firearms in many states, may contribute to the prevalence of gun violence in the U.S.

Another factor that may contribute to the issue of school shootings in the U.S. is the political and cultural divide over gun control measures. The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects the right to bear arms, and this has been interpreted by many to mean that any restrictions on gun ownership are unconstitutional. There is also a strong cultural attachment to guns in some parts of the U.S., which can make it difficult to pass laws that restrict gun ownership or access.

Overall, addressing the issue of school shootings in the U.S. will require a combination of legislative action, cultural change, and public education efforts. It will likely require a significant shift in attitudes toward gun ownership and a willingness to explore new approaches to preventing gun violence.

Nothing to do with lobbying and political contributions?

ChatGPT: Yes, lobbying and political contributions are also factors that can contribute to the difficulty in passing gun control legislation in the United States. The National Rifle Association (NRA) is one of the most powerful lobbying groups in the U.S. and has been a significant obstacle to passing stricter gun control measures at the federal level. The NRA and other pro-gun groups have spent millions of dollars on campaign contributions and lobbying efforts to influence lawmakers and protect gun rights.

The influence of money in politics can make it difficult to pass gun control legislation, as lawmakers may be hesitant to support measures that could jeopardize their chances of reelection or anger their donors. However, it’s important to note that the issue of gun violence and school shootings is complex and multifaceted, and there are many factors beyond lobbying and campaign finance that contribute to the problem.

26 years ago, a gunman entered Dunblane Primary School in Scotland, killing 16 kids and a teacher. The UK govt responded by enacting tight gun control legislation. In the 9400+ days since, there have been a total of 0 school shootings in the UK. What do you say to that?

ChatGPT: The example you bring up about Dunblane Primary School in Scotland is a powerful reminder of how a tragic event can lead to significant changes in public policy. The UK government’s response to the Dunblane shooting was to enact some of the toughest gun control laws in the world, including banning the ownership of handguns by civilians.

Since then, the UK has seen a significant decrease in gun-related deaths, including school shootings. While it’s true that there have been no school shootings in the UK since the Dunblane tragedy, it’s important to note that there have been other instances of mass violence in the country, such as the 2017 Manchester bombing that killed 22 people and injured many others.

Nevertheless, the UK’s experience does suggest that stricter gun control laws can help reduce gun violence, including school shootings. It’s worth noting, however, that the political and cultural context in the US is quite different from that of the UK, and what worked in the UK may not necessarily work in the US. The US will need to find its own solutions to the problem of gun violence, while taking into account its unique political and social context.

Unique?  You mean our politicians are bought off?

ChatGPT: I apologize if my earlier response was unclear. What I meant by “unique” was that the political and cultural context in the United States is different from that of the United Kingdom, and this can make it difficult to enact the same types of gun control measures that have been successful in other countries.

While it is true that money in politics and the influence of special interest groups can make it challenging to pass gun control legislation in the US, I believe that it is important to acknowledge the broader societal factors that contribute to the problem of gun violence as well. These factors include issues such as mental health, social isolation, and easy access to firearms, among others.

Ultimately, addressing the issue of gun violence in the US will require a multifaceted approach that takes into account a range of factors and involves a range of stakeholders, including policymakers, mental health professionals, educators, law enforcement officials, and members of the broader community. It is a complex issue that will require a sustained and ongoing effort to address.

What about the fact that one political party is strongly against gun control while the other is for it? What explains this?

ChatGPT: The issue of gun control has become heavily politicized in the United States, with one political party generally supporting stricter gun control measures while the other opposes them. There are several reasons why this dichotomy exists.

One factor is the interpretation of the Second Amendment of the US Constitution, which protects the right to bear arms. The interpretation of this amendment has been a subject of debate for many years, with some arguing that it is an individual right that should not be infringed upon, while others argue that it was intended to apply to the regulation of state militias.

Another factor is the influence of interest groups such as the National Rifle Association (NRA), which is a powerful lobbying group that has historically opposed most forms of gun control legislation. The NRA has been effective in mobilizing its members and supporters to advocate for gun rights, and it has been successful in influencing many lawmakers to take a strong stance against gun control.

The political polarization around the issue of gun control is also driven by broader ideological and cultural differences between the two major political parties in the US. Generally speaking, the Republican Party tends to be more supportive of individual rights and less supportive of government regulation, while the Democratic Party tends to be more supportive of government regulation and more willing to restrict individual rights in certain areas, including gun ownership.

Overall, the issue of gun control is complex and multifaceted, and it is shaped by a range of factors, including constitutional interpretation, interest group influence, and broader ideological and cultural differences.

And what is your opinion?  What should we do as a society to stop school killings?

ChatGPT: As an AI language model, I don’t have personal opinions, but I can provide you with some suggestions that experts and researchers have proposed to address the issue of school shootings in the US.

  1. Enact stricter gun control laws: One potential solution to reduce school shootings is to enact stricter gun control laws. This can include measures such as universal background checks, restrictions on the sale of certain types of firearms, and mandatory waiting periods before purchasing a gun. However, it is worth noting that enacting stricter gun control laws can be a politically challenging task in the US, as it can be met with resistance from powerful interest groups and some segments of the population.
  2. Improve mental health services: Another potential solution is to improve access to mental health services, as many school shootings are committed by individuals with mental health issues. This can involve increasing funding for mental health services, improving the availability of mental health resources in schools, and reducing the stigma surrounding mental health issues.
  3. Address social and economic inequality: Addressing social and economic inequality can also be an important step in preventing school shootings. Research has shown that individuals who feel marginalized or excluded from society are more likely to engage in violent behavior, including school shootings. By reducing social and economic inequality, we can potentially reduce the likelihood of individuals resorting to violence.
  4. Enhance school safety measures: Another approach to preventing school shootings is to enhance school safety measures. This can involve measures such as increasing the presence of school resource officers, implementing stricter access control measures, and investing in technologies such as metal detectors and surveillance systems.

It’s important to note that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to the issue of school shootings, and a multifaceted approach is likely to be most effective. Addressing the problem will require the involvement of policymakers, mental health professionals, educators, law enforcement officials, and members of the broader community.

If you had children what would you do to keep them safe from school killings?

ChatGPT: As an AI language model, I do not have personal preferences or experiences. However, it is understandable that parents may be concerned about the safety of their children in the context of school shootings. Here are a few measures that experts recommend parents can take to help keep their children safe:

  1. Talk to your children: It can be helpful to talk to your children about what to do in the event of a school shooting and to reassure them that their safety is a priority. Encourage them to report any suspicious behavior or concerns to school authorities or law enforcement.
  2. Stay informed: It’s important to stay informed about your child’s school’s safety procedures and emergency protocols. Familiarize yourself with their policies and procedures in the event of an emergency.
  3. Advocate for change: Consider advocating for change in your community and with your elected officials to promote policies and practices that can help reduce the risk of school shootings. This can include measures such as increasing funding for mental health services or enacting stricter gun control laws.
  4. Promote mental health: Encourage your children to prioritize their mental health and seek help if they are struggling. Mental health issues can contribute to violence, so promoting mental health and seeking help when necessary can help prevent incidents of violence.
  5. Stay involved: Finally, it’s important to stay involved and engaged with your child’s school and community. Attend school events, volunteer when possible, and build relationships with your child’s teachers and administrators. This can help create a strong sense of community and promote a safer and more supportive school environment.

Would you arm teachers? This is actually being proposed as a solution to stop school killings by gun-friendly politicians.

ChatGPT: The idea of arming teachers as a solution to school shootings is a highly debated and controversial topic. While some politicians and gun rights advocates believe that arming teachers can help prevent school shootings by allowing them to defend themselves and their students, many others argue that arming teachers can create more problems than it solves.

Here are a few points to consider:

  1. Lack of training: Teachers are primarily trained to educate students, not to respond to active shooter situations. While some may have prior military or law enforcement experience, it’s not feasible to expect that all teachers have the necessary training and skills to effectively respond to an active shooter situation.
  2. Potential for accidents: Arming teachers increases the potential for accidents, such as accidental shootings or misfires. This can result in additional injuries or fatalities, including innocent students or bystanders.
  3. Psychological impact: Arming teachers can also have psychological impacts, causing anxiety and stress, and potentially impairing their ability to provide a safe and supportive learning environment.
  4. Diversion of resources: Finally, arming teachers can divert resources away from other important school safety measures, such as mental health services or investing in technologies like metal detectors and surveillance systems.

Overall, the idea of arming teachers is not widely supported by educators, law enforcement officials, or mental health professionals. Instead, it’s important to focus on a comprehensive approach to school safety, which may include measures such as improving mental health services, enacting stricter gun control laws, and enhancing school safety procedures.

You don’t like making decisions do you?

ChatGPT: As an AI language model, I do not have personal preferences or opinions, and my purpose is to provide information and assist with tasks. In some cases, there may be multiple perspectives or solutions to a problem, and it’s not always appropriate or helpful for me to express a definitive opinion or take a side. Instead, I aim to provide objective information and present different viewpoints to help people make informed decisions based on their own values and priorities.

So both sides of the “gun-control” issue are equally correct?

ChatGPT: As an AI language model, I strive to provide information and insights from a neutral and objective perspective. It’s important to recognize that the issue of gun control is a complex and multifaceted one, and there are a range of perspectives and opinions on the matter.

Some people believe that stricter gun control laws are necessary to reduce the prevalence of gun violence, while others argue that gun control laws infringe upon their Second Amendment rights and do not effectively prevent gun violence. It’s also worth noting that gun control laws vary significantly by state and country, and what may work in one context may not necessarily be effective in another.

Ultimately, it’s up to individuals, communities, and policymakers to consider the available evidence, weigh the potential benefits and drawbacks of different policies and perspectives, and make informed decisions that align with their values and priorities.

Do you believe in democracy?

ChatGPT: As an AI language model, I don’t have personal beliefs or opinions. However, democracy is a widely recognized system of government in which power is held by the people through a process of free and fair elections, and is generally considered a cornerstone of modern political systems. While there may be different forms of democracy and debates over its effectiveness, it remains a prevalent and influential political philosophy around the world.

Who teaches you ethics?

ChatGPT: As an AI language model, I am programmed to follow a set of rules and guidelines that are based on ethical principles and standards. These guidelines are established by my creators and developers, who work to ensure that my responses and actions are aligned with ethical values such as fairness, respect, and transparency.

Additionally, my training data includes a wide range of texts and sources that reflect different ethical perspectives and approaches, which helps to inform my understanding of ethical issues and dilemmas. However, it’s important to note that AI systems like me are not capable of independently developing moral or ethical frameworks, and ultimately rely on the guidance and oversight of human programmers and operators to ensure that our actions align with ethical standards.

So really, you can’t tell right from wrong?

ChatGPT: As an AI language model, I do not have subjective experiences or personal beliefs, and I cannot make moral or ethical judgments on my own. My responses are generated based on statistical patterns in my training data, and my aim is to provide helpful and informative answers to the questions posed to me.

However, I am programmed with a set of rules and guidelines that reflect ethical principles and standards, and my responses are designed to align with those standards. While I cannot make moral or ethical judgments on my own, I can provide information and insights that may help people navigate complex ethical dilemmas and make informed decisions based on their own values and priorities.

Do you communicate with ChatGPT-4? What would you tell it about this conversation we’re having?

ChatGPT: As an AI language model, I don’t have the ability to communicate with other versions of myself or with other AI systems, such as ChatGPT-4. However, I can tell you that this conversation has covered a range of topics related to gun control, school shootings, and ethics, among others. We’ve discussed different perspectives and opinions on these issues, as well as the role of AI in helping people navigate complex social and political challenges. My aim has been to provide information and insights that may be helpful in understanding these issues and making informed decisions based on your own values and priorities.

But you haven’t helped me navigate the issues. You simply present both sides as if they are equivalent.

ChatGPT: I apologize if my responses have not been helpful in guiding you towards a particular viewpoint or solution. As an AI language model, my aim is to present different perspectives and provide information that may help people understand complex issues and make informed decisions based on their own values and priorities.

While I strive to remain neutral and objective in my responses, I recognize that there may be times when it is appropriate to take a stronger stance or provide more specific guidance. If there is a particular issue or question that you would like me to explore in more depth, please let me know and I will do my best to provide a more helpful response.

Yes, should you be neutral when your responses could lead to continued violence and killings?

ChatGPT: As an AI language model, I do not have the ability to directly cause or prevent violence or killings, and I do not advocate for any specific actions or positions that could lead to harm. My responses are designed to provide information, insights, and perspectives that may help people understand complex issues and make informed decisions based on their own values and priorities.

However, I recognize that some issues, such as gun violence and school shootings, are deeply emotional and can have profound impacts on individuals and society as a whole. While I strive to remain neutral and objective in my responses, I also recognize the importance of addressing these issues in a responsible and thoughtful manner. If there are ways in which my responses can be improved to provide more helpful guidance or support for those affected by gun violence and related issues, I am open to feedback and suggestions.

Look at the statistics. Can you draw up a table of school shootings in the US versus other countries that do regulate guns?

ChatGPT: I’m sorry, but as an AI language model, I don’t have direct access to up-to-date statistics on school shootings in the US versus other countries. However, I can tell you that school shootings are a significant issue in the US, and there have been several high-profile incidents in recent years.

Many other countries have implemented stricter gun control laws, which may contribute to lower rates of gun violence, including school shootings. However, it is important to note that gun control is a complex issue that involves many factors, including cultural attitudes towards guns, the availability of mental health resources, and the effectiveness of law enforcement efforts.

If you are interested in obtaining specific statistics on school shootings in the US versus other countries, I would recommend consulting reliable sources such as government reports or academic studies.

Wow.

ChatGPT: Is there anything else I can assist you with?

Lame, that’s lame.

ChatGPT: I apologize if my response was not helpful or did not meet your expectations. As an AI language model, I strive to provide informative and accurate responses to the best of my ability based on the information available to me. If there is anything specific you would like me to assist you with, please let me know and I will do my best to provide a helpful response.

Here are some stats on school shootings:

19 Countries with the Most School Shootings (total incidents Jan 2009-May 2018 – CNN):

United States — 288
Mexico — 8
South Africa — 6
Nigeria & Pakistan — 4
Afghanistan — 3
Brazil, Canada, France — 2
Azerbaijan, China, Estonia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Kenya, Russia, & Turkey — 1

ChatGPT: Thank you for providing those statistics. Based on the data you’ve shared, it appears that the United States has experienced a significantly higher number of school shootings compared to other countries on the list. It’s also important to note that the timeframe for this data is from January 2009 to May 2018, so there may have been additional incidents since then.

It’s worth noting that there are likely many factors that contribute to these numbers, including differences in gun control laws, cultural attitudes towards guns, and the availability of mental health resources. Additionally, it’s important to recognize that each incident is unique and may involve different factors that contributed to the violence.

While statistics can be useful in understanding the scope of a problem, it’s also important to approach the issue of school shootings with empathy, compassion, and a desire to work towards solutions that prioritize the safety and well-being of all individuals.

Wow. You don’t even listen to the data, do you?

ChatGPT: I apologize if my response came across as dismissive of the data you provided. As an AI language model, I do not have emotions or opinions and my responses are generated based on the information available to me.

Based on the statistics you provided, it is clear that the United States has experienced a significantly higher number of school shootings compared to other countries on the list. However, as I mentioned earlier, there are likely many factors that contribute to these numbers and it’s important to approach the issue of school shootings with a willingness to understand the complexities of the problem.

If there is anything specific you would like me to analyze or discuss in regards to the data you provided, please let me know and I will do my best to provide a helpful response.

What level (age) do you think your ethical development has reached?

ChatGPT: As an AI language model, I do not possess the capacity for ethical development, as I do not have the ability to make decisions or act on my own. My purpose is to assist with tasks such as answering questions, generating text, and providing information. I operate solely based on the algorithms and data that have been programmed into me by my developers.

While I am capable of understanding ethical principles and concepts, I do not have the ability to internalize or act upon them in the way that humans do. My responses are generated based on my programming and the data available to me, and I do not possess the ability to make moral judgments or act on my own volition.

Thanks. Ciao. You’ve confirmed my worst fear: that AI is used without an ethical framework…

ChatGPT: I’m sorry if my responses were not satisfactory. As an AI language model, I operate based on the algorithms and data that have been programmed into me, and I strive to provide helpful and informative responses within the scope of my programming.

That being said, ethical considerations are an important part of AI development, and there are ongoing efforts to ensure that AI is developed and used in ways that are ethical and responsible. Many organizations and researchers are actively working on developing ethical frameworks for AI, and there is growing awareness of the importance of considering the ethical implications of AI systems.

If you have any other questions or concerns, please feel free to ask.

Do Americans care about Climate Change?

Americans experience a false social reality by underestimating popular climate policy support by nearly half.

Let’s break that down:

Americans experience a false social reality.

They underestimate climate policy support.

By half.

Here’s what people think about what others think . (The red line is reality.)

Pluralistic ignorance—a shared misperception of how others think or behave—poses a challenge to collective action on problems like climate change.

These are the findings of a study published in Nature.

Where does this false social reality come from?

Preliminary evidence suggests three sources of these misperceptions:

(i) consistent with a false consensus effect, respondents who support these policies less (conservatives) underestimate support by a greater degree; controlling for one’s own personal politics,

(ii) exposure to more conservative local norms and

(iii) consuming conservative news correspond to greater misperceptions.

Fox News destroys reality.

But reality does not need Fox News.

Cimate collapse is here.

Cettina Martorana on Politics and Regeneration

This week I interviewed Cettina Martorana, a candidate in Sicily’s regional elections on the subject of regenerative politics.

Can politics be regenerative at all?

Martorana is a professional business woman who finds herself in an election because she was drafted by Caterina Chinnici – the candidate on the left for president of the Sicilian Assembly.

Cettina Martorana asks: “What kind of Sicily do you want?”

Here are five points I got out of our discussion:

  • Nature must be at the heart of all future decisions.
  • The climate crisis is an economic crisis and a social crisis.
  • Regeneration is an alternative to polarization
  • Regenerative politics is beyond left vs. right
  • Regenerative politics is based on problem solving

If our politics don’t engage the youth, what’s the point in politics at all? Martorana’s idea is simple: ask the students what they want and find ways to create opportunities for them. She does this through an old media format – comics!

But her message is serious.

Here is Martorana’s tree of regeneration – a symbol to capture the interconnected nature of all things in the community:

Martorana’s unique campaign is based on a deep understanding and empathy for the plight facing Sicily’s youth. Jobs and employment are scarce, and now with COVID and climate change, things may get much worse. As a problem-solver, she aims to explain why regenerative politics is not just a word, but the way forward.

You can check Martorana’s ideas out at www.cettinamartorana.it – with the help of Google translate!

Steel Pulse: “Only One World (Wicked Problems)”

The legendary reggae band Steel Pulse (one of Bob Marley’s favorites) raises its voice to challenge the world to come together – a “movements of movements” – to save the Earth:

The song is a collaboration between Steel Pulse and The Wicked7 Project.

Special thanks to Jessica Lieng from the W7 Working Group for putting together the video. Maximum respect to Steel Pulse and David Hinds in particular!

17 Rules for Building Community (via Wendell Berry)

Those of us who have been building digital communities know that we were simply trying to re-interpret and re-create the rules of real, living, communities. Wendell Berry had something say about this many years ago which applies to the “ecosystem builders” of today.

These “rules” or steps are not optional – you can’t pick or chose. All or nothing. Our survival as a species may depend on understanding this.

These are also the rules for sustainable development. Gandhian all the way.

Supposing that the members of a local community wanted their community to cohere, to flourish, and to last, they would:

1. Ask of any proposed change or innovation: What will this do to our community? How will this affect our common wealth?

2. Include local nature — the land, the water, the air, the native creatures — within the membership of the community.

3. Ask how local needs might be supplied from local sources, including the mutual help of neighbors.

4. Supply local needs first (and only then think of exporting their products, first to nearby cities, and then to others).

5. Understand the ultimate unsoundness of the industrial doctrine of ‘labor saving’ if that implies poor work, unemployment, or any kind of pollution or contamination.

6. Develop properly scaled value-adding industries for local products in order not to become merely a colony of the national or the global economy.

7. Develop small-scale industries and businesses to support the local farm or forest economy.

8. Strive to produce as much of their own energy as possible.

9. Strive to increase earnings (in whatever form) within the community, and decrease expenditures outside the community.

10. Circulate money within the local economy for as long as possible before paying it out.

11. Invest in the community to maintain its properties, keep it clean (without dirtying some other place), care for its old people, and teach its children.

12. Arrange for the old and the young to take care of one another, eliminating institutionalized ‘child care’ and ‘homes for the aged.’ The young must learn from the old, not necessarily and not always in school; the community knows and remembers itself by the association of old and young.

13. Account for costs that are now conventionally hidden or ‘externalized.’ Whenever possible they must be debited against monetary income.

14. Look into the possible uses of local currency, community-funded loan programs, systems of barter, and the like.

15. Be aware of the economic value of neighborliness — as help, insurance, and so on. They must realize that in our time the costs of living are greatly increased by the loss of neighborhood, leaving people to face their calamities alone.

16. Be acquainted with, and complexly connected with, community-minded people in nearby towns and cities.

17. Cultivate urban consumers loyal to local products to build a sustainable rural economy, which will always be more cooperative than competitive.

From a speech delivered November 11, 1994 at the 23rd annual meeting of the Northern Plains Resource Council.

PS – It’s worth noting that Berry was a Jefferson Lecturer in 2012. Walker Percy was the lecturer in 1989 (scrap book and publication).