Blog 2: Prototype – Self-Sufficient Community Plan

This is an example of the Pilot Demonstration Plan (PDP) discussed in the book  Toward Self-Sufficiency, A Community for a Transition PeriodIt comprises about 1/3 of the book.  The balance of the book discusses the factors that make this type (or a variation) of this type of community a necessity for the future.  The transition period is a period during the demise of capitalism as it is being practiced now.  This is when the pursuit of money is the most important activity for many people and when we are also being captured  by the spell of social media and an insecure internet.  William Ophuls in Immoderate Greatness – Why Civilizations Fail, describes this time period as an era where we are climbing rapidly out of humanities safe zone.  He notes why ecological exhaustion, exponential growth, expedited entropy and excessive complexity are factors that provide limits as to what we can do as a civilization.  Many other books  noted in the 340 reference book listing in “Toward Self-Sufficiency” also provide similar conclusions.  This is why I designed a community to counter these destructive trends and provide sustainable opportunities for the future.

I (Willlliam Ophuls) argue to the contrary (that technology will save us) that industrial civilization will yield to the same “passions” that have produced the “same results” in all previous times. There is simply no escape from our all -too-human nature. In the end, mastering the historical process would require human beings to master themselves, something they are very far from achieving. (This is why democracy, considered by some to be an asset in the struggle against the forces that challenge industrial, is in fact a liability). Commanding history would also require them to overcome all the natural limits that have defeated previous civilizations. As will be shown, this is unlikely. Hence our civilization will decline and fall.

The proposed community design is described in my book and each will be noted in detail in further blogs.  For example, the design for a triplex can be changed to a duplex or a single family home just by moving a 8′ long wall.  The duplex has three 500 sf units, the duplex has a 1,000 and a 500 sf unit and the single family has a 1,500 sf unit.  The kitchens for the triplex is bolted to the wall and can easily be removed and be reused in other units.  Pipe and electrical connections are left in the wall.  The sizes of each of the units can also be made larger initially.  In reverse, the single family can be a duplex or triplex at a later date so it can be changed to other uses.  For other plans add-on units can be added after the original construction.  Some of the plans in the community (including triplexes) can be used for businesses, rentals or for nonprofits. 

There are many other variations that will be noted in further blogs.  I hope many readers will offer suggestions to make the community unique and viable.

 Education within the community is essential and the main emphasis is on landscaping, agriculture, business and home construction.  Facilities for teaching are located in the community as wells student housing.  Various methods of construction will be used including, wood, metal studs, brick, stucco, adobe, straw bale, and combinations of materials.  The homeowners are to keep records of maintenance costs in order that the different types of construction can be evaluated.  Different energy, sewage and water costs will also be evaluated.  Sustainable systems will be evaluated to determine the cost return of each of the systems,

Other topics discussed in the book are noted in the List of Contents in Section 2.  This can be found in the review of the book on Amazon.  These topics are included to show what  is happening politically, environmentally and culturally in the United States and the world.   As an example, one of the most important subjects environmentally and socially is what is happening in agriculture.   (May 2019 – Hightower Lowdown)

The 2018 median farm income for US farm households was minus $1,553! (“Net farm income” is the money left over after a farm family subtracts the cost of producing their crops from the amount they get paid for them.) You can’t pay for groceries, rent, medical bills, kids’ clothing, a trip to Disneyland, etc. on negative income. And $1,553 in debt is the “median,” meaning that half of America’s farm families went even deeper into the hole. (Hightower Lowdowner)

This is just one fact noted in the Lowdowner.  Other facts are found in my book.  Over 100 examples of excerpts are included in my book and the following is an example.

The Costs of our Food and Other Information: One of the most comprehensive books about agriculture is the 2014 book Global Eating Disorder (AL66) by Gunnar Rundgren. Part 1 includes chapters 2 through 9 and discusses the progression of agriculture from 12,000 BC to the present. The data noted is referenced in the book and will not be noted here. The book has to be read to get its full impact. Many statistics are found throughout the book (AL66) that gives considerably more information than what is shown here:

The food chain now favors the big supermarkets because they can dictate what they want, mainly higher processed foods, at the peril of the farmer. In the United States in 2011, out of each dollar spent on food, the farm sector got 10.8¢, food processing 22¢, packaging 4¢, transport 3.5¢, retail 12.2¢, food services 31.2¢ (food distributors), energy 5.5¢, finance and insurance 6.1¢, advertising 2.4¢, and legal and accounting 2.1¢. The famers share has gone down by more than thirty percent in just 20 years, and the share for the farmers and their employees work is now less than 2.7¢, more or less the same as advertising costs of the food industry. As much money is spent on convincing us to eat branded products as to remunerate the people who actually produce the food in the field. Using regenerative processes will not ensure we have good and wholesome food, but we certainly will be closer when we have embedded our food system in ecology rather than in the economy. This is just a brief description  of Toward Self-Sufficiency and I hope it and further blogs will allow further engagement and comments by readers.

-George Hunt

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