Autarky System Development (DRAFT)

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#1

(A wiki with strategy proposals for building the Autarky System for Households initiative. Initial writeup by @matthias, but this is a communally owned wiki: any additions welcome.)

Content

1. Priorities

2. Potential Workflow

3. Compensation Mechanism

4. Potential Collaborations


1. Priorities

  1. The most important products and services are those that we have to spend a large chunk of money on regularly (accommodation, food, heating, electricity, phone and Internet bill, personal mobility, health insurance - in that order).

  2. Second most important are products and services that need a large chunk of money as a one-time investment (computer, smartphone, kitchen stove, washing machine).

  3. Least important are those ubiquitous, low-tech products that are available for free or very cheap in Europe, because Europe is awash with them (clothing, kitchen items, body care items, other small stuff).

2. Potential Workflow

  1. Join. A member of the Edgeryders community joins this group and writes a wiki contribution about their own situation and needs. This will often be motivated by joblessness, unpaid bills, material deprivation or other forms of precarity.

  2. Select a guide. From a wiki page that lists volunteering “guide” members who are experienced in “self-supply economics”, select one and message them if they’d agree to be the guide.

  3. Get your personal self-supply plan. The guide will talk with the new member to analyze their resources and needs, and together with them work out a step-by-step plan for becoming more and more self-sufficient via the “community self-supply economy” we organize here.

  4. Become a producer or developer. One of the first steps will be to offer something so you can get self-supply products of others in exchange for your products or services. Depending on your talents and interests (and the project’s needs), you could become a producer or a developer. A producer creates a specific self-supply product according to existing open source designs. Developers collaborate to invent and optimize these open source designs, and also create production machinery.

  5. Get self-supply tech you need. You would start to order your most-required self-supply tech in exchange for your own products or services. For example, you could get a gardening equipment, a camper trailer for accommodation, or a pelletizer and pellet stove for heating with trash paper.

  6. Become a guide. After your essential needs are covered and you have gathered experience in how the self-supply economy works best, you can opt to be a guide for others in the future.

3. Compensation Mechanism

The OpenVillage Solutions initiative is not meant for Edgeryders making “profit” from one another, but for everyone to get a fair compensation. The egalitarian “same pay for same worktime” is considered fair here. Here’s how to organize this with minimum management overhead, using the PayCoupons platform:

  1. Track your time, money and in-kind investments. Producers will have to track expenses whenever producing something, as this is needed for pricing later. Developers have to track their worktime, as they are paid by time.

  2. Producers agree on a common product price. Based on the average time to make a product and an hourly rate that is the same for everyone in the OpenVillage Solutions initiative (like, 40 EUR/h), producers will agree on a common price for their common product. This will also include average monetary investments for making a product. The price can be recalculated and adjusted at times.
      Side effect: Because monetary investments are only reimbursed in barter value, and time investments are also reimbursed in barter value with a relatively high rate, the motivation is to keep monetary and also in-kind expenses for own products as low as possible. Which is exactly what a self-supply economy should do. Producers with an unavoidable high degree of monetary spending for their type of product can however agree to raise the price.
      Another side effect: Because producers are not simply paid by time, but by all producer’s average production time, each still has the motivation to become faster and better in producing their product.

  3. Order a product from all producers nearby. Product prices for the same product can still differ because of shipment costs, so one will order from those nearby. However, out of solidarity with the OpenVillage project one should order from all producers nearby to give all of them a good chance to get barter exchanges, not just those producers who create the best quality.

  4. Donate 20% of turnover to the ESSENTIALS user for development. (This also has to be calculated into the price of course.) For the donations, the PayCoupons Transfer feature will be used by all producers (like, once a month donating 20% of their aggregate turnover with products sold to Edgeryders / OpenVillage members). Using PayCoupons Transfer means that these donations are executed “just in time” when they can be spent, which has the nice side effect that both the ESSENTIALS user and developers can “save up” in donations until they have something where they want to spend them on.

  5. Development work is contracted. The OpenVillage project account on the PayCoupons platform user will then redistribute incoming PayCoupons Transfer payments to developers by ordering worktime from them and telling them what to develop. They will be paid with the same hourly rate that is assumed for producers.

  6. Group decision making on what to develop. Development is an investment into better products in the future, and all OpenVillage Solutions initiative members will have to discuss and decide priorities. Because, not too much development can be done at the same time to keep prices reasonable: More than 20% of sales prices is probably unsustainable. In any case, new development work that can be contracted is limited to the amount of incoming but not yet transferred donations visible in the OpenVillage project’s PayCoupons account. (However, this can be extended a little: development work is usually post-paid in PayCoupons, which means that a developer can start working once a order is in, even if completely unpaid yet, as they will usually trust that the OpenVillage project account will be able to pay it later; this enables the OpenVillage project user to order more development work and get more development work delivered than there are current incoming donations, because there will be future incoming donations too; it just must not be overdone, or developers will not consider the OpenVillage project account credit-worthy of their worktime investments anymore.)

  7. Maintaining a list of work opportunities. It is difficult to provide enough development work to all developers at all time, and also to provide enough orders to producers at all times. Because the market is small and very dynamic: if it has 100 members, a smartphone remanufacturer will have very few orders after producing 100. Trying central production planning is too difficult at this point, but expecting members to be flexible and maintaining a list of work opportunities is possible.
      Being flexible means that each will be able to wear 2 or 3 hats at the same time, each being a specialization in production or development. This is also relevant as it increases the amount of deal finding options on the PayCoupons platform. It just should not be much more than 2 or 3 specializations, as efficiency would take a hit.
      A list of work opportunities means that products and development work which is in demand but has few or no providers is listed there and everyone can choose to become a provider of these.

So in total, there should be several providers for every type of development work and type of product. This does however not lead to capitalist competition: there is no race to the bottom in prices, and no way to maximize them in an exploitative way, as prices are based on worktime and the same for all producers, and orders are made from all relevant producers at the same time. So the PayCoupons algorithm will decide who gets what amount of business, and not “competition”.

There will be cases though where some intervention is needed, like when members with unfulfilled basic needs do not get enough deals to fulfil them. For these cases, there should be an appeal mechanism that will trigger a review by the group (or the guides) and several ways to solve the issue (including other group members ordering more from them, a PayCoupons Transfer donation to cover immediate needs, or some custom-made deals on PayCoupons to drive business to this member).

4. Potential Collaborations

Just a list of ideas. No talks have started yet.

  • Cooperativa Integral Catalana. They intend to set up a full-scale self-managed autarkic “maker economy”, providing all products and services to the community that the community needs. Calafou is the first of their spaces, and already has little companies that do car repairs, produce soap etc… See cooperativa.cat.

  • PayCoupons. An Edgeryders-integrated project by @matthias and @daniel, providing a non-monetary mechanism for economic exchange. See pay.coupons. It could be the marketplace for trading the self-supply items in a way so that everyone can get all they need, as this marketplace is not limited by the scarcity of money.


#2

Hmm how about building revenue streams?

I think one of the major challenges that makes this a scary prospect is the sense of not being able to make a living outside the employment paradigm. To get to self-sufficiency you need some materials and time as well as space to build things. I noticed that for many of us that the process by which value is paid for is a black box. I started to try to put something together a while ago from the perspective of someone who has just been laid off their job or is just starting out (very young and inexperienced) here. Does this fit into what you are trying to do with Essensials or no? If yes then I could just work on it in this group instead.