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An experiment in localized economy
“The basic question is how to remove the unhealthy influence of centralized economy. The real issue is, who will bell the cat? If the vested interests fail to be guided by righteous intellect, then people will have to
take matters into their own hands. They will have to create circumstantial pressure from all sides, uniting around the slogan: "Abolish centralized economy to end exploitation; establish decentralized economy."
Susquehanna County can feed itself. Yes it can, there is the potentiality. There is plenty land and several people with good intention and spirit. Food is a primary necessity. Our experiment can be centered on food as a beginning process and further extended to other primary necessities like clothing, shelter, education and medical assistance.
“The first principle of decentralized economy is that all the resources in a socio-economic unit should be controlled by the local people. In particular, the resources which are required to produce the minimum requirements must be in local hands, and all the industries based
on these resources will have to be controlled entirely by the local people.”
When we advocate that Susquehanna County can feed itself we are considering two necessities, one is food production and the second is food distribution. Both have to be in local hands. Hence the Farmer's market and other forms of food distributions like C.S.A. or cooperatives will have to be in local hands. To distribute locally produced food through Price Chopper or other similar entities should be discouraged. Even if a local producer has the capacity to produce and sell through a commercial chain like price Chopper, it will weaken the solidarity among those who choose to produce and distribute locally.
“The second principle of decentralized economy is that production should be based on consumption, not profit.”
The whole world is suffering because of a prevailing system of economy that runs on a profit basis principle and not on a consumption basis principle. To revert it on a local basis equals to undermine the foundation of capitalism. That is why it is so vital and so difficult at the same time. To succeed in Susquehanna County, State of Pennsylvania, United States of America ... it requires a deep rooted consciousness. An awareness that goes beyond the only purpose of feeding better food to our children or having access to organic produce at a better price.
“The third principle of decentralized economy is that production and distribution should be organized through cooperatives.”
Individual or family based economy cannot compete against the commercial giants of the capitalistic world. Without a coordinated effort on a broad basis individuals will hand up lowering their prices and fighting one another for grabbing the green paper kept dandling over their heads by the mighty ones.
“The cooperative system is a must, and it is only possible through decentralized economy. The cooperative system and decentralized economy are inseparable.”
Are there food cooperatives in Susquehanna County? Are there food distribution cooperatives in Susquehanna County? How many of their members are directly involved in their operation? How many members adhere to coops in Susquehanna County in general? There are just few questions that can point in the direction of creating more cooperatives for food production and distribution.
A Community Supported Agriculture (C.S.A) is a form of cooperation although it is not technically a cooperative. Can we envision other forms of cooperation if not cooperatives altogether that can efficiently transfer the produce from the field to each table in the County?
“The fourth principle of decentralized economy is that the local people must be employed in local economic enterprises.”
It would be good to find out what is the percentage of employment per sector of economy in Susquehanna County. What is the percentage of people employed in the primary sector of economy (agriculture)? Is it increasing or decreasing along the years? In the United States the average people employed in agriculture is less than 5%. A balanced economy rates agricultural employment around 40%.
“The fifth principle of decentralized economy is that commodities which are not locally produced should be removed from the local markets. “
This is a policy that is applied in the Farmer's market where only the local produce is allowed to be sold. It is a vital point and markets who don't abide to this policy should not be considered as viable for the distribution of local products.
“An important characteristic of decentralized economy is that money will always remain in circulation, hence the economy will move with accelerating speed.”
Why to keep the money in the pockets if there is no gain for it? Without profit motivation the money is free to circulated and get more value has it changes from hand to hand. Decentralized economy requires a shift of mind, from greed to share. If this shift does not occur, any system will not work. A predominance of moral and spiritual values is required for a localized economy to succeed. Is Susquehanna County ready for it? Is there enough moral and spiritual fiber to weave a local economy and a better society in Susquehanna County? The answer could be yes and it would be a good start to identify the spiritual and moral resources available in Susquehanna County in order to sustain and nurture such a radical change.
In The end – what type of Food are we talking about? some Food for Thought ... we believe.
Quotations are from an article published on “Proutist Economics – Discourses on Economic Liberation” by Prabhat Rainjan Sarkar. The book is available by Ananda Marga Publications or can be requested by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
The original discourse was given in Calcutta, India on March 16 – 1982.
Ac. Vimaleshananda Avt.
PRS NY Sector