I am about to present this proposal to church folk involved in economic/social developent in poor areas close to where I live. My first meeting is in two weeks. This is the opening pitch, more or less. I'd like any feedback or comment you have.
Proposed: let us use a new, combined domestics/production cooperative business model derived from social experiments conducted over the past century to solidify the bottom of our economy, reduce government entitlement payouts and bring small-medium manufacturing back home where it belongs.
I’ve been a believer in cooperative solutions for 40+ years. I’ve lived on worker-owned cooperative communities in Israel (kibbutz) and in the US (rural commune). Both were built as attempts to marry economics to social change. Both failed with the social change which has tended to obscure the fact that both achieved substantial successes with the economics.
Both required almost no skilled labor. Both allow for turnover in population—the American ones in particular. Both relied on cooperative organization to reduce costs. Both permitted members to live significantly more plentiful lives than they could have on the same money as non-members. This is the major advantage of using the structure as a business model. It supports people well at significantly less cost.
And that is the idea: seed this structure as a residential manufacturing company in an economically disenfranchised section of the city-region. Offer struggling people the chance to join the company to own and work their own business cooperatively. Let people keep off or get off welfare. Let them contribute something important by building small business and returning a manufacturing base to the economy. And let them create their own secure futures.
Unlike living on a commune in deep, rural isolation under the pressure of “creating a new society” while interacting with the same people always, day in, day out, working/owning the urban company should be like holding a very flexible job doing something you like (or at least doesn’t nauseate you) or would have to do anyway while you live in a friendly neighborhood with people you happen to work with, some of whom help you out by doing your laundry, cooking for you, doing shopping for you, and helping take care of your kids. Part of your work for the company is to return this help in kind or equivalent as set by company policy (which you have a vote in setting). It all begins with the structure.
Then follows a detailed description of the structure. If there is interest, I would be happy to share it.