Producing International Cooperation

[the following is an idea submitted to during an Open Government event, where a single website was developed to play host to the encouragement of participation in government by allowing the submission of ideas from the general public to many different government agencies, as well as the ability for participants to vote and comment on the ideas submitted.]

why not use US funds to promote international well-being by aiding in the development of Small Self-Regulating Cooperative Non-Profit Organizations; such as schools, hospitals, credit unions, coop grocery stores, coop goods manufacturers, coop service providers (power, water, waste), insurance providers, et cetera...

promoting the development of Sustainable and Self-Regulating Democratic Organizations who's goal is merely to provide quality services, products, and employment, and not to earn a profit, alleviates the need for USAID and individual governments to worry about and subsequently spend more money and energy regulating businesses in order to maintain their level of accountability. a non-profit organization's business charter, when properly designed, should account for it's overall responsible regulation and transparency.

and it's important to note that, although there are plenty of examples of successful credit unions and cooperative grocers, there are few examples of successful non-profit goods manufacturers. if this were to change, the world over, surely there would be a steep incline in the health and happiness of people everywhere.

considering that the goal of these organizations would be to develop and produce only the best quality goods, while also providing quality employment to individuals, not only would decent wages and full benefits obviously be made available to all employees, but customers would be able to take pride in paying the price of the goods; since they would know they were promoting the health and well-being of not only themselves but also the individuals that produced the goods. this is in contrast to today's shoppers who must navigate complex pricing schemes--carefully designed to confuse and manipulate the customers simply to promote the excessive wealth of only a few individuals--and who regularly find themselves doubting the value of the goods they purchase.

and of course, because these Non-Profit Cooperative Organizations would be designed to be socially responsible as well as environmentally responsible they would be capable of greatly reducing the need for governmental regulation in regards to green house gas emissions and general pollution. one of the topics most highly debated currently within world politics--climate change--could be easily abated by the direct action of the communities who suffer most from the pollution that has generally taken place around factory centers: those who live and work there.

profit = no right to protest

from slashdot:

"The Federal Court has ordered an Australian distributor to pay Nintendo over half a million dollars for selling the R4 mod chip, which allows users to circumvent technology protection measures in Nintendo's DS consoles. The distributor, RSJ IT Solutions, has been ordered to cease selling the chip through its site and any other sites it controls, as well as paying Nintendo $520,000 in damages."

[this device allows a person to store well over 300 DS games on one chip, which limits the need to even sell the games via cartridges. which could dramatically limit the cost of distribution, both financially and environmentally. R4 like devices also allow a person to create or use open source software to do things that the DS manufacturers did not intend, like run linux or ebook reader software.]

my response to the slashdot post:

i think, the issue is quite clear.... so long as the original developer and distributor 'of anything' makes a profit off their work they have no room to argue that someone else has infringed on their rights. basically, if they can stay in business, they ought to just shut up!

the whole idea of copyrights wasn't to give an industry ultimate control over their own ability to maximize profits, especially not indefinitely. and anyone who whines cause they think they 'should' be making more money, after making millions, should be taken out and put down.

seriously, how petty must the corporate world get before things change? does Nintendo make games to make a profit, or does it make games so that people can enjoy them? if the earlier is true their right to do business should be revoked! making money may be required to stay in business, but making that the goal sets up a business to eventually act excessively selfish, greedy, or downright irresponsible--at the cost of actual human beings.

case and point: they sued a smaller, nobody, company because the technology they produced was used for piracy--or could be, but they still refuse to provide adequate means for people to do the awesome things that device legally allowed a user to do.

in fact, i've copied and given away ALL of my DVDs, CDs, and video games/systems. i believe wholeheartedly that maintaining a large collection of disks, cartridges, and entertainment systems is beyond irresponsible in a time where the construction and shipment of those items consumes so many better used non-renewable resources. the tonnage of plastic used to make those things, and now sitting on a shelf unused or in a land fill somewhere, is beyond unbelievable. let's not even consider the environmental cost of the energy needed to make them or the transportation fuel needed to get them to my home. i now have one hard drive, and one back up drive, where all my media is stored--though i do often copy some files to other portable devices; like my phone which functions as an MP3 player, eBook reader, handheld gaming device, etc. and my computer can emulate just about any gaming system.

furthermore, if the government had any sense at all, it would not only throw out any case brought against a company that allowed for the mass digital storage of otherwise individually sold items, but it would also sue the pants off the original developers for refusing to provide the same service. or simple provide the technology to the public itself via the development of a non-governmental non-profit organization, simply in the hopes of limiting the future distribution of waste to their already overfilling landfills. they could even use the money from the lawsuit to pay for the development of the non-profit manufacturer.

salt - who knew

around 81 b.c. the teenage emperor of a then unified china gathered 60 notables from around china to openly debate state administative policies. the central subject at the time was the government ruled monopoly over salt and iron, which was imposed and used mostly to fund military activities.

this debate ended up covering many different issues. but i found it interesting that when confucians, inspired by mencius, were asked how a state should raise profits, they replied, "why must your majesty use the world profit? all i am concerned with are the good and the right. if your majesty says, 'how can i profit my state?' your officials will say, 'how can i profit my family?' and officers and common people will say, 'how can i profit myself?' once superiors and inferiors are competing for profit, the state will be in danger."

as so it is.... like drr like drr people, 81 b.c., get with the program!

(for reference see "salt: a history of the world" by mark kurlansky, p33)

government control over industry

other persons comment:

None of you brought up the efficency of mass transit or of rail to save gasoline! Disel-electric trains are super efficient. Electric rail can be powered with a solar suppliment. As for cars, all electric is perfect for short range (mass transit is better) and hybrid electric (using bio-disel) is old, existing technolgy. Save gas for air travel. The whole problem is willingness to demand change from the entrrenched business world. That's where government intervention is needed. who else speaks for the good of the people? Not business, they are too short sighted.

my response:

"The whole problem is willingness to demand change from the entrrenched business world. That's where government intervention is needed."

how about instead of requiring glutinous corporations or a lazy governments to do our job for us, we do it for ourselves. The solution to who will produce stuff for us that we really need, but that doesn't guarantee a huge monetary profit for the energy, time, and money invested is obvious to me. Co-Operative Non-Profit businesses that can produce goods rather than just provide services, like most of the Non-Profits that exist today.

Most people know that when you want something that requires the effort of more than just yourself to build you can incorporate; you can join with and cooperate with others to build those things. I read once that he first corporation in the US was actually a non-profit arranged for the erection of a single bridge, then disbanded. However, today we build most things for profit. Possibly because each of us rarely needs more than one of each thing, but the tools we use to make each thing are often specialized and capable of making many such things. Or perhaps because we lack the skills necessary to build something and therefor need to trade for the assistance of a skilled builder, and money is easy to trade because it has a standard value. But I'm sure we also have a tendency to build many things for profit because we've been taught to be greedy; greedy beyond what could be considered natural or sustainable amount.

Don't get me wrong, there are still areas where the for-profit business model can function successfully. I don't doubt that at all, nor am I interested in replacing all For Profits with Non-Profits. But when it comes to doing things like developing the best and most affordable electric vehicles, wind turbines, solar panels, or developing the most efficient insulation for homes; it just seems to me that a company run by those dedicated to the purity of their product and not concerned with ANY monetary value--beyond what's required to sustain themselves--are more likely to produce the best product, without question, at the most affordable price.

They would also be more likely to adapt their industry as new technologies were developed while maintaining a merely sustainable income, rather then try and make as much money off their current designs before producing better products and then selling the new product at unreasonable costs.

Proper non-profits are also chartered to do fairly specific things, and limited from becoming for-profit businesses later on. So if, say, a non-profit co-op was arranged to design and construct efficient water catchment and retention devices, but discovered that all their products were toxic and should no longer be used, they would either adapt to known non-toxic products or disband their business; they would not legally be able to sell their business or property mind you, they would be forced to disband and to donate there property either to the state or other non-profits.

I really don't see any other solution that is sustainable indefinitely. I believe our world currently requires the development of many small, local, yet associated, Non-Profit Co-Operative businesses that can design, build, and construct sustainable and environmentally safe products.

If you require a sample of what I mean by small, local, but associated businesses, look no further than one of your local Credit Unions that's a member of the National Credit Union Association, or your local Food Coop that's a member of the National Cooperative Grocers Association. Both of these businesses provide services, more than goods, but they both aim at providing the best services, and have the support of a larger community to maintain their ability to do that.

My favorite concept for this idea is that of Statewide Limited Electric and Hybrid Automobile Manufacturing and Recycling Centers that cater to the needs of their state alone, but share research and development resources with other State Limited Automobile Manufacturing and Recycling Centers. Having local manufacturers allows for the on-demand manufacture of cars, for customizations that better meet the needs of the vehicle users, as well as a drop in the amount of space needed to store unused vehicles, and the energy needed to transport the vehicles and materials.

Initially materials would need to be imported into the area, but because these manufacturers would also be recycling old cars the amount of imported materials would slowly become less and less. They could also adapt their designs specifically to make use of what materials they can easy obtain; like hemp woven cloth for car-seats in states where industrial hemp is allowed, or organic cotton in states where cotton is a primary export.