Posted by: terrapraeta | January 20, 2010


I’ll give you this for that
That for this
We’ll make a trade called “barter”
I’ll give you this for that
That for this
We’ll have it made with barter

from Schoolhouse Rock 😀

A quick follow up on Monday’s post… another article has come to my attention: Why ‘Community’ Might Not Need ‘Organizing’ I have never run across Rob Hopkins before, although the “Transition Culture” seems vaguely familiar. In any case, he is obviously someone that has been involved and thinking about these things for a while, so I’ll be planning to check out his thoughts in more detail.

In any case, my first thought on seeing his title was to recall my own writing on un-intentionality. And he does address this somewhat and I think the idea that “Intentional Communities” are far too formalized and idealistic to be applicable in most cases is gaining ground. My second thought, as I read the article was that the small town environments he describes fit well within my own experience here in central Colorado.

One of the reasons I have become so comfortable in this small Colorado mountain town is that there is underlying cultural assumption much different from anything I experienced in the Midwest. Here, the “bro-deal” is a way of life: in other words, if you are a local and you want something, just find someone you know that can make it happen. This applies to local businesses trading product rather than paying one another cash (when working at the Coffee Shop it was very common for someone to walk in with a voucher rather than cash. The local plumber, carpenter or graphics designer providing a service for the shop in exchange for food and drink.) But also on an even bigger scale: the biggest draw here in the winter months is our local mountain. Skiing, Snowboarding… you know. What always struck me as amazing was that you could walk up to the rental counter, and if you knew someone working they could set you up with gear in exchange for a six pack of beer (or whatever they wanted). The fact that that happens is unsurprising. What was surprising was that this did not happen ‘off the books’. It was just assumed by management that this would occur. Part of the business model, apparently. This place simply has a different mindset, even amongst the most “corporate” locals.

This has affected a lot of my thoughts on my potential soda business. The potential for developing a viable permaculture system. No more am I even thinking about cash income. I’m thinking far more in terms of “what can I offer for those things I need?” Might I be able to trade fresh produce for meat? Soda and Salsa and paleo sweet breads for a night out on the town? Home cooked meals for my rent? And then, the little cash I do take in can be diverted to those few “civilized” pleasures that I cannot get in trade. (ie fuel or plane tickets for traveling, books from Amazon, car insurance)

It’s a different way of looking at the world… and whether I stay here or move on, this will stay with me where ever I end up.

On top of this, vera has written an addendum of her own. And it fits in nicely with what I was feeling my way toward in this post. Community as an abstraction, as an idea, as an object will always fail. Community is an action. An action between individual human beings. Or to take it another step, an action between living beings no matter their species or kingdom. Community as an emergent property of relationship is the only community that actually can exist much less thrive.



  1. All kinds of cross posting going on and mutual leavening. Very very interesting… Dmitri Orlov has chimed in with his “community does not need organizing”.

  2. Hey —

    I thought I had already read that, but apparently not… and it’s a good one! 😉


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: