In response to a letter about Charles Eisenstein.

Some of his analysis is very off and his approach is dangerous – it
could destabilize a system that really needs very few changes. I also
think his attitude is very unpleasant. He is underinformed by reason
and in his skills and overinformed by a sense of superiority and an
inability to access his own intellect.

Michael Shuman’s book is far superior as is Elizabeth U’s. Other
people have talked about negative interest rates in a way that is much
more convincing. Occupy Money is a good book. He’s the kind of guy
who’s easy to market but people should stay away from his work and
stick with more middle of the road, for-profit people because their
methods will work. All of these books are much more empowering.

I frankly am not interested in giving! I’m not interested in getting, either.

I’m interested in compensation for work. Bartering and gifting are not going
to work better than working for money. The issue is that we have
inefficient distribution and poor training, systemically.
Not that we don’t appreciate each other.
I also should clarify: I was including the Quebec Convergence in my
post as they were actually charging me to attend. So I don’t need more
appreciation rather than just some sensible compensation. I could pay
money and receive appreciation, which happens all the time and is a
symptom of our reactionary attitudes towards money, authority, our
parents, and our own potential for success.
The last thing we need is to be more touchy-feely – I say that with love. The kind of love that is balanced and leads to a stable future. I also do not want more intimacy in my transactions. It creeps me out.
We created this kind of economy and are already getting what we already wanted. If you talk to people, they want money. Intimacy without money is taking advantage of people. Paying people fairly is intimate.

Eisenstein’s ideas are attractive to college educated people who would
experience bartering as a novelty. Few of such people have ever been
hungry nor experienced instability otherwise. It seems like a fun little
game until it falls apart. I would prefer to use my standing in a way that
creates a civilization that really works, rather than regress because I
don’t see the valuable in being comfortable.

MAB&TBH

Not speaking at permaculture convergences.

Hi All:

Sad to say I’m bowing out of the convergences in Maine and Quebec this
year because neither would provide a free admission for speakers, and
because of car trouble.

I’ve decided to stop talking on financial permaculture if I have to
pay to do so as the material is incredibly valuable, financially and
otherwise, and I am personally putting  a lot of cash out in order to
research it, develop talks, and go to school to get a CPA credential
in order to promote this work.

It’s really too bad that we have the attitude of minimalism towards
money, covert or otherwise – I had that attitude for years and it
causes one to miss a lot of opportunities to do good. The very least
we can do is compensate people for their work, or at least not charge
them to do it.

I hadn’t given it a second thought until the reality of the value of
my time and knowledge hit me, and an understanding that the stress of
taking on an added burden is completely unnecessary because we can
either change our attitude or the work will happen in another way.

I think attitudes of volunteerism and even altruism to a certain
extent are doing us harm – altruism at one’s own expense is still
destructive to someone involved in the situation.

I do hope future events will raise money to cover at least admissions
for people who are doing farsighted work that will save us all a lot
of trouble. I am looking to work as efficiently and effectively as
possible, and I am finding that the people who pay are the people
getting the work done.

Best,
Katherine

Job hunting.

Hi there!

It’s been awhile. I’ve been moving a lot and working and in school and writing my book instead of my blog. I know to do both now.

Here’s, I hope, useful information on job hunting:

- Recruiters seem to be a waste of time. They each ask you in for a separate interview, they are often unprofessional themselves, and working with them prolongs the process of finding a permanent job.

- Check these jobs boards daily and apply:

1.) Career Builder – the Quick Apply function lets you apply to several jobs within a minute.

2.) Indeed – also has an apply function that is easy to use.

3.) Craigslist – tons of jobs and you can apply quickly by writing a form email for each type of position that interests you and just copying it and pasting it when you write a new application via email.

Freelancing:

- Thumbtack, Freelancer, and oDesk. Thumbtack has a nice, simple process – people find you and you submit a quote. The other two have good reputations but I haven’t found work on them yet.

Other stuff:

- Handybook (https://www.handybook.com/): housecleaning that pays you via direct deposit every three or so days. A nice way to stay in shape and see properties that will inspire your future design adventures. Let me know if you sign up and I will split a referral fee with you. Tell them I sent you – my name is Katherine Policy.

- Lyft (https://www.lyft.com/): Drive people around with a giant pink mustache on your car. I’m enjoying it thus far for sure and you can work at night. Ditto about the referral fee.

Best of luck with your dreams.

May you and all beings and things be happy.

Overtaxation? Underutilization of representation?

Please post your thoughts and arguments for or against having tax brackets based upon income levels.  

Tax brackets would prevent people from making so much money that it is a detriment to civilzation. Brazilian entrepreneur Ricardo Semler states in one of his books (Maverick or The Seven Day Weekend) that everyone on the planet could make twelve million dollars before their activity causes problems for anyone else. I would suggest heavily taxing everything about twelve million and then using a gradual bracket system for everything less. Rates comparable to the World War II and Cold War eras would be appropriate to prevent people from hoarding resources and cash. Under that amount, the rates should depend upon what kinds of services people want and are willing to pay for them. If there is a general mandate for healthcare, then we would pay significantly more than if not. We could look at European countries with higher tax rates and higher satisfaction with their services than here for benchmarks.

 

Also, should tax rates ever be able to be raised?  Why or why not?  If you argue that they should, under what circumstances should the government be able to raise the tax percentages?

Raising taxes should be a last resort. It is much easier to be more efficient than it is to raise taxes. Raising taxes just encourages greater inefficiency. It is inconceivable that we should require more money to do what we already do. We should run the government like a scrimping household – the only reason we do not already is that people think they do not have time to be aware of where their money is going and do something about it. Greater participation in democracy would help significantly.

We should raise taxes to fund projects that permanently improve infrastructure and reduce costs elsewhere – funding a sustainable food system to reduce welfare dependency, for example. Also housing, education, healthcare. We should not raise taxes to fund bailouts of entities that have already proven they are failures. I also doubt that we need to raise taxes to fund war. We already spend incredible amounts of money on it. It would be easier to eliminate the causes of war by spending on infrastructure. We could also eliminate lobster lunches for Congress until they eliminate the deficit.

 

At what tax level do you believe the citizens would rebel, if any?

I agree with other posters who have said that people are already going to rebel. I think people might not do it overtly, but over time, the kinds of economic conditions we are currently facing take their toll on people. If people do not receive something substantive in return for their tax dollars, then it is not unreasonable to affect changes in the organization spending the money. I also think that people have a duty to become much involved in their government now before a situation that warrants that kind of response emerges. They need to know what kinds of jobs they want and push to have funding encourage their creation. They need to know how their schoolsystems should look, their food systems, healthcare, and utilities and go to their representatives to get what they want.

Known in silence, stays in silence.

I’ve been thinking that maybe the reason I forget revelations is because it’s rude to reveal them. Like peaking under a saint’s skirt. They forgive because of their extraordinary patience but it is still not constructive to go poking there and telling the world.

Mysticism is about relationship moreso than telling. Than knowing. If I put another human in a box by knowing and telling about them, I do the same with the divine.  Right?

It’s been way too long since I put a post up! I’ll have to do it more often.

Hope you’re having fun.

May all beings and things be happy.

Creating Worlds

Looking at ruby courses. Ruby and rails are separate courses from the people who wrote the pragmatic programmers book. Looks good so far.

I was looking also at the books they have for sale and they reminded me of Edible Forest Gardens. The two volume set. Permaculture is a way of consciously creating a space to live, even a planet, really. It seems that a few ways of thinking or philosophies have that goal in mind. It’s a wonderful thought to me that a creature would look at nature, at the species in its environment and their interactions, and find so much inspiration in them that they would imitate the process of creating a landscape, ecosystem, etc. People can do it to themselves as well – choosing what they put in their minds, to some extent what they continue to experience, what they do with their lives. Crafting a life. I’m going to dovetail this way of thinking with the ruleschange work and write up a little plan for what we could do in this country in the areas that Gar Alperowitz (What Then Must We Do?) identifies, and probably some others.

Would be fun to do a little permaculture app – you aim to create a certain type of consciousness and certain steps get you there while others don’t. It’d be totally up for discussion what works and what doesn’t but it would get people thinking. Engender a sense of moderation in personal property: ten points. Competition goes down, thinking goes up, greater intellectual development and thereby more efficiency in society in general. Twenty points. Efficient spending in the process: another ten points plus the tax rebate that results leads to higher GDP and lower unemployment – another ten points.

Message me if you want to work on developing this game.

May All Beings and Things Be Happy.

 

Permaculture Festival Sustainable Business Info

Hello Everyone,

I hope you had a super fun time at the event today. I was there in spirit. I’ve moved to Boston to focus on sustainable finance and got ill trying to do too much.

Anyhoo, the discussion was going to be about using permaculture principles to develop an approach to the economy and running a business that promotes the highest quality of life possible for everyone and everything involved.

I was going to focus on tools and information for business owners.

Here are the key points to keep in mind and resources regarding each:

1) What is the difference between a sustainable and non-sustainable business? You could substitute the word “resilient” or “thriving” for “sustainable.”

One important point is that thriving businesses focus on stakeholders and are accountable to everyone and everything they affect. Other businesses focus on shareholders and are accountable solely to the people who invest monetarily, whether or not they have a close relationship or direct impacts mutually.

Please read The Shareholder Value Myth by Lynn Stout for more info on the distinction. Also Strategic  Management by R. Edward Freeman. Both books explain the limitations of shareholder thinking and explore how to actually improve the quality of civilization through business, as opposed to running businesses at the expense of civilization.

A general idea to keep in mind is that businesses “create value.” They can create value for a limited group of investors, or they can create value for everyone and everything. The latter approach yields many benefits for the business and its owners, and is really the only way make a profit since one isn’t really making money if taxpayers are covering for one’s disasters and employee healthcare.

The groundbreaking book One Report details an approach to financial reporting that will give business owners further ideas about for what a business is accountable and how more meaningful reporting could usher in an era of thriving businesses. (Businesses have done well, or thrived, in the past, but generally as an exception in a landscape of poverty and compulsive work.)

Another general point is to keep in mind whether your business embodies the permaculture values of “People Care” and “Earth Care.” Do you contribute to the quality of life of your employees, customers, board members, community members? Are you just a neutral influence? Are you detrimental? How about the environment? Do you respect the carrying capacity of natural resources? Contribute to sensible and nourishing urban planning? Externalize environmental damages such that your income statement shows a profit whereas you’re actually sucking value out of society? Are you improving the environment? Thriving businesses co-create thriving communities and their environmental context.

2) Entity types –

It’s worth taking some significant time to research and consider what entity is right for you. The entity is the legal form of the business and the form you choose affects your liability related to the business (what people can say is financially your responsibility personally even though the issue in question might be a result of business activities) as well as taxes. It also affects the extent to which and ways in which you control the business.

Google these types of entities:

- C Corp

- S Corp

- L3C

- B Corp

- LLC

- 501(c)’s: 501(c)3 is a well-known form of nonprofit. Certain forms allow for political activity while others do not. Ditto for agricultural activities. You can mix revenue generating activities with a nonprofit structure but you have to be very careful about how you do it.

- Associations and cooperatives

I’m creating an educational nonprofit with agricultural and political activities and am getting advice from Cutting Edge Capital in California (http://www.cuttingedgecapital.com/). Their fees are reasonable and they can at least help you understand what you should ask a lawyer and where to look for more information.

Michael Shuman’s Local Dollars, Local Sense has case studies about different kinds of businesses of different entity types and some of the fundraising approaches they’ve used as well as issues they’ve encountered.

Business Model Generation is a very popular book that guides entrepreneurs through the process of developing a concrete structure as to how one does business, or one’s “business model.” The business model is particular to each business and at least exploring ideas about yours will help you to understand the type of entity that is best for your needs.

Your accounting systems and financial reporting requirements will also be different depending upon the entity you choose. The B Corp organization offers some basic consulting on whether the B Corp status is appropriate for your business. Otherwise, get a good accountant. It’s worth going the extra mile in your accounting so that you know what you’re really making and where, and so that you’re complying with the law and paying the right amount of taxes. You can ruin your business through inaccurate accounting.

 

3) Where to get money and for what:

Again, it’s worth finding someone like Cutting Edge Capital to help you to write a fundraising plan. Michael Shuman’s book also details ideas, as do Owning Our Future by Marjorie Kelly and What Then Must We Do? by Gar Alperovitz.

I would suggest reading these books and jotting down what you find interesting.

Write a basic business plan through liveplan.com. An affiliated site has sample plans – bplan.com. Focus on start up funds – what you need to get started – and on how you can maximize your efficiency so that you are making money as quickly as possible instead of relying on further investments.

For example, say you want to start a business that needs $150,000 in the first year for a facility and payroll (include healthcare and tax calculations in your projections). You’ll make $125,000 in the first fiscal year because you’re operating only part of the year but then the next year you’ll make $500,000 and net $250,000 such that you can pay everyone back (you might make much less profit on your revenues – just an example. Please look up and research the difference between revenues and profit.). Not too bad. If you find that you’re taking several years to pay people back, you need to find a way to make more profit sooner to pay people. Or, for nonprofits and other eligible entities, get more grants and similar funding.

Then, when you have an idea of what you need to start the business, look into how you can raise the funds through your community. Direct public offerings, self-directed 401(k)’s, memberships, pre-payments, and crowdfunding are a few increasingly popular options.

Find a good lawyer and someone to help with the fundraising (an organization with a large mailing list, legal know-how, and expertise in securities issues as well as options for investors and business owners – Cutting Edge Capital is good) and raise your money.

The Foundation Center has online directories of funders to which individuals and organizations can subscribe. You can research organizations and particular grants and other funding and apply for the money using the info from the site. The Foundation Center also has online and live classes in issues related to business development. I enjoyed their grant writing class.

Also check out organizations like the Solidago Fund and Proteus Fund – there are many organizations out there that fund specific projects, initiatives, and individual endeavors that support certain missions.

That said, The Revolution Will Not Be Funded is worth looking into for ideas about how dependency upon foundations affects the success of altruistic organizations.

 

4) The next item to consider is your organizational development.

Everything is really interesting but I like this part a lot.

The key points:

- organizational structure: is it hierarchical or lateral? Are you all about top-down authority or do employees self-govern? Do they work in teams?

- compensation: who determines it, how does performance affect it (bonuses, commissions, stock options, other performance incentives), what kind of benefits can you offer, do you have other non-monetary compensation?

- ownership: this issue goes hand in hand with the entity selection. Do the employees own the business? Members? Founders? Some combination? You can do some really interesting things in this area.

Check out Valve’s employee manual: http://newcdn.flamehaus.com/Valve_Handbook_LowRes.pdf. It is inspiring and hilarious.

Also Ricardo Semler’s Maverick and Seven Day Weekend. Semler’s company in Brazil has achieved significant rates of growth with extraordinarily low turnover and what sounds like a very interesting workplace by empowering employees to self-govern, including setting their own compensation and vacation time.

This Skillshare class on alternatives to hierarchy was interesting:

http://www.skillshare.com/classes/marketing/Killing-Hierarchy-Organization-Design-for-Startups/465270004

I’m not sure when they’re offering it again, but I think the teacher has other resources available on the subject.

 

Additional resources:

Check out Coursera for free classes in finance and related topics.

Stanford offers free classes online in entrepreneurial subjects – organizational analysis (the development part above) as well as technology start-ups. http://online.stanford.edu/courses. Permaculture based business definitely has room in it for making money through technological innovation, perhaps including apps.

Ruleschange.org has some detailed writings on sustainable finance and information about an upcoming conference in DC in March that may be incredibly groundbreaking – some of the most significant thinkers in finance, economics, politics, business, education and the media as well as students and entrepreneurs will come together to streamline decades of work in all of the above areas so as to realize a modern American Dream of abundance and peace of mind.

DreamChange (Dreamchange.org) is a an organization bringing permaculture to business and is definitely worth checking out.

 

Also, read about the Mondragon cooperative online and in the book Making Mondragon.

There are tons of examples out there of employee owned businesses as well – the books above detail a bunch.

Your local independent bookstore might have some great progressive business books and events as well. Food For Thought in Amherst, MA, had some good suggestions for me the last time I was there.

 

I hope this info was helpful and I wish you success with your business and in all things that bring you happiness.

Please email me at katherine.policy@gmail.com to discuss specific issues.

Also, paolucciinstitute.com has some information on the business I am starting that I mentioned above. I welcome your comments! I’m looking for a campus in the first or second quarter of 2014, in Central Massachusetts.

May You And All Beings and Things Be Happy,
Katherine