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Self Help Corporations
- I want to experiment with a new form of organization I have envisioned to assist those living in poverty. Called a self-help corporation, this new form of organization allows people to contribute their labor to the corporation when that labor is otherwise under or un-utilized. The corporation employs that labor to provide basic necessities to the laborers. Because the cost of labor is paid out of production, the corporation can accumulate resources for growth.
- For each individual contributing labor to the corporation, the right to utilize assets of the corporation is directly tied to the value of the labor contributed. The interrelationship between the corporation and the participants creates an internal economy. The internal economy operates independent of the "outside" economy. However, the corporation also has certain advantages in dealings with the "outside" economy.
- By providing a mechanism for individuals to utilize their own labor to support themselves, the corporation gives people in poverty another option. Currently, many poor people must choose between a life with no hope or a life of crime and violence.
- This web site is a work in progress. I have thought about these issues a long time but, as of June 2003, I now have the time to attempt to express and communicate my thoughts.
- I intend to update this site as I gain new information and as I make connections with others who share my interests. I fully expect that some of the ideas will prove impractical and that I will find many better ideas as I go.
- I have organized this site to proceed from the general to the specific. My own experience in operating a business, participating in non-profit organizations, what I have observed in other organizations, and the available literature, have led me to propose certain Principles of Organization. I apply those principles to the needs of those living in poverty. The result is what I call the Self-help Corporation . A typical business corporation tries to streamline the number of relationships between its suppliers, its production facilities and its customers to achieve economies of scale and efficiency. A self-help corporation, because it operates as a separate economy, seeks to internalize as many functions as possible. It has the potential to contain the most complex set of relationships in the world short of the global economy itself. Much of the complexity comes from establishing stable relationships with the natural world. The plan calls for a self-help corporation to participate in the local ecosystem. My own experience in organic gardening, what I have observed, and the literature I have read, lead me to propose certain Environmental Principles that will provide sustainability and opportunity for a self-help corporation.
- The types of activities that a self-help corporation might undertake will vary depending on the circumstances of the shareholders. The Urban Plan might commence with providing clean safe housing for the working poor. The Rural Plan might commence with a program in animal husbandry. There are many possible beginning points and innumerable potential sequences of growth.
- The organizational and environmental principles discussed above lead me to propose certain new approaches to use of technology, and certain interesting possibilities I would like to explore. In agriculture, I would like to experiment with alternative sources of animal feed through the Biological Potential Project. A self-help corporation would be able to provide its own energy through the Methane Project or the Methanol and Charcoal Project. Because of the way a self-help corporation is structured and because of the needs of the participants, a self-help corporation is uniquely suited to participate in Environmental Restoration Projects.
- Perhaps few of the ideas expressed herein are original. I have read a lot of works by a lot of people over the years and sometimes I cannot remember where I first heard of certain concepts. As I continue to work on this project, I will try to develop a Bibliography to give credit where credit is due. I am also actively looking for connections with people with technical information and others with specialized experience in relevant topics. To the extent I am successful, those connections will appear in Resources.
- Throughout the site, I will note where further investigation is warranted. There are certain DESIGN CHALLENGES where existing technology would be too expensive to make the proposal economically feasible. In those instances, designing technology appropriate for the available labor would allow the proposal to proceed. Further, there are numerous instances where I have not researched details that will vary according to circumstances. These are RESEARCH CHALLENGES that will be noted in the text.
For those of you who may be interested in my background and experience, I have included my Resume. The resume also has my contact information for those who may wish to contribute to development of the ideas I have set forth.
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