Country Renewal Co-op

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It is estimated that half of all jobs may disappear within the next ten years
as they are eliminated by automation, robotics, and artificial intelligence (AI).

Two responses are possible:

  1. We can ignore these inevitable and unprecedented changes, and hope that things will work out.
  2. We can begin planning and acting in order to address and adapt to them.

The Country Renewal Cooperative is a Project seeking to address these changes. It proposes organizing a network of Country Property Owners (CPOs) who offer working holidays to selected city youngsters, along with educational and artistic activities.

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. If jobs disappear as predicted, long-term unemployment will become the social norm, a change so far-reaching as to require a completely new social structure. In such circumstances, 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 this lifetime agenda, but all public discussion assumes it implicitly. It is no longer desirable, and increasingly impossible for most.

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. Prime Minister Scott Morrison appears to have recognized this, and is insisting that young folk should be required to undertake country work instead of the dole. However, a threatening, punitive model - "Do it or else!" - is not only counter-productive, but fails to recognize the positive aspects of what could be a socially rewarding program with which the electorate would gladly cooperate if correctly presented.

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.

Implementing the Project

A formal Project Proposal is currently in preparation, but some preliminary discussion will be useful. It is likely that there will be three main stages:

  1. Stage One will establish a single Country Living Farm as a test of the Project's validity and requirements. Suitable activities and schedules will be documented.
  2. Stage Two will establish more Farms based on the experience gained in Stage One.
  3. Stage Three will implement Country Living Holiday Resorts on thoses Farms whose owners wish to proceed with this.

 

More material will be added during December and January 2019.

For more information please contact: