Country Renewal Co-op

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The Country Renewal Cooperative is a Project to reawaken the dwindling spirit of community life in Australian country towns. It proposes organizing a network of Country Property Owners (CPOs) who offer working holidays to selected city youngsters, along with educational and artistic activities in programs organized by the Project Managers.

This page is currently in preparation, but the following introduction is provided for those interested.

The end of work

The Industrial Age forced people to move into cities to work in offices and factories. We are now in the Post-Industrial Age that increasingly doesn't need people at all, least of all in cities. It has been estimated that about half of all jobs will disappear inside a decade due to AI and automation, so even a traditional education is of dubious value, and debt-laden degrees far more so.

This means that a whole new model of social ambition is needed. We're still acting as if the desirable norm is to "get an education, get a job, get married, settle in the suburbs, have kids, get as rich as you can and retire". Of course, many no longer aspire to those things, but all public discussion assumes them implicitly. They are not only undesirable, but increasingly impossible.

Young people have no idea either of what's really happening nor of how to tackle it, but suspect they're being ripped off. Adults know enough to understand some of the problems, but few do anything about it, mostly because they've no idea what to do, and are fearful of their employment prospects should they take action. Most older people are simply retired and "out of the game".

A return to country living

The obvious solution is for people to move back to the country, and learn to lead slower, more peaceful, more natural and Nature-centred lives. Even someone as obtuse as Scott Morrison has recognized this, and is insisting that young folk should be required to undertake country work instead of the dole, but as politicians always do, he's using a threatening, punitive model: "Do it or else!"

A far better approach is to establish "Country Living Farms" where young folk can apply to spend a few months experiencing the following lifestyle:

  • A morning's country labouring work - fruit-picking, weeding, raking and hoeing, etc.
  • An afternoon studying and practising arts and crafts that they enjoy - music, carpentry, yoga, martial arts, painting etc.
  • The evenings creating their own entertainment by presenting their artistic skills to the community.
  • And, most especially, spending clear nights watching and studying the stars, sitting around a fire and retelling the old myths and legends in which so much traditional knowledge was preserved.

Funding the Farms

The Australian bush and outback are unique environments eagerly sought out by tourists. The peace and quiet of a secluded country retreat, and the spectacular view of the stars at night, can attract paying visitors from across the world, and especially from the crowded cities of Asia. Country Living Farms can therefore serve a dual function if correctly set up and marketed as Country Living Holiday Resorts. Not only will this make them financially viable, it will also provide alternative employment opportunities for young Australians working on them.

Australia has a reputation in Asia as a supplier of high-quality, unpolluted food, including especially organically grown fruit and vegetables. This can provide added interest and value to the holiday options presented to visitors, and quickly establish brand recognition to generate and sustain an export market for produce from the Farms.

Moving beyond politics

This initiative cannot emerge from today's social structures because:

  • Governments no longer run countries: TransNational Corporations (TNCs) do.
  • The dominant purpose of most politicians is to get re-elected, and to serve the interests of the banks and corporations that fund their campaigns.
  • Banks and Big Business benefit enormously from having people crowded into cities.
  • Agribusiness does not want people living relaxed and enjoyable lives in the country, and especially not growing their own food.

From these considerations it is evident that we have also entered the Post-Political Age. Politics, and especially democracies, no longer serve the interests of the populace, but enslave them to the interests of the banks, the TNCs and their servants.

So as well as new social ambitions, we also need new social structures. The situation is now so critical that half measures simply will not serve, as innumerable recent events clearly demonstrate. Changes so fundamental and of such magnitude have only ever been achieved by war or revolution in the past. The greatest challenge we face is therefore to find a solution requiring neither.

How and why supermarkets are bankrupting farmers

Coles and Woolworths are following two business models called vertical integration and horizontal integration. The former allows them to take over entire supply chains such as milk, meat and vegetables by owning everything from farms through to retail shops, while the latter refers to taking over related operations such as transport, warehousing, packaging manufacture and the like. When this process is complete they will own the entire food supply industry as well as associated manufacturing, and will then charge the highest prices that the market will bear.

This is deliberately intended to drive consumers into debt and bankruptcy: those who own houses and other assets will be forced to sell them just to meet living costs, and Australia will become a nation of debt slaves who work full-time just to survive. The unemployed will spend all of their government benfits on basic essentials, and Big Business will thus earn additional profits from government funding of welfare.

Click here for an explanation of how vertical and horizontal integration work.

  • Vertical integration pictures a supply chain as starting with the lowest level of production, moving up through various processing stages to distribution networks and ending at retail outlets:
    1. Taking the supply of milk as an example, the lowest level is the dairy farmer who milks his cow every morning and delivers it to a dairy processing plant.
    2. Dairy processing plants often began as local cooperatives funded by local farmers and sometimes operated by them.
    3. The bottled and packaged milk was then sent to wholesale warehouses - which were often indenpendent businesses - using transport companies which again were often independent.
    4. The wholesaler then sold to retailers, who inturn sold to consumers, and the supply chain was complete. As the processing plants grew bigger, they became independent corpoate entities in which most farmers bought as shares. Following the expansionist corporate model, these either listed as public entities or borrowed funds from private equity sources. The result was to dilute and eventually eliminate all local control.
    5. They then increased processing charges, reducing farmers' profitability.
    6. The big supermarkets then established direct supply links with the processing plants, eliminating wholesalers.
    7. They also operated their own trucking fleets, eliminating the transport companies.
    8. By setting up retail "price wars", Coles and Woolworths are effectively acting as a cartel to drive down prices.
    9. They also have such intimate business links with processing plants as effectively to own them.
    10. The only link in the supply chain they do not yet own is milk production. Bankrupting farmers will allow them to buy their farms at rock-bottom prices, and vertical integration of the milk supply chain will be complete.
    11. They can then charge consumers whatever they wish for milk.

Nationwide disillusion

 

To be continued.

 

 

 

 

List of articles

Some articles are available publicly and some require a login. They are grouped in three categories:

  1. Country Living Farms addresses the support, funding and setting up of the Farms themselves.
  2. Modern Society presents information and evidence that is ignored or denied by mainstream media.
  3. New World Community looks ahead to desirable communities, societies and nations for the future.

Country Living Farms

Modern Society

Chemical Fertilizers

Corporate control of grain supplies

New World Community

In preparation.