Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Village Economy

"How can we be
Self-reliant with our needs
So that we can become
Interdependent with our wants?"
   -Hunter Heaivilin-

Photo: Hunter Heaivilin teaches Village Design on Ifira Island, Vanuatu.

The Village Economy Game was played in order to demonstrate and give a practical experience of how to connect the products & functions of one local enterprise to the needs of another.

  1. Students are asked to create an enterprise that could meet a currently un-met need that they would be interested in pursuing.
  2. A functional analysis is performed to determine the needs, characteristics, functions and products of each enterprise.
  3. Students are asked to find car many connections as they can with other students enterprises (this typically results in much laughter and shenanigans), and then report back to the class about the connections they managed to make.

Here's a summary of the enterpises Vanuatu Villagers came up with, and the beginnings of the many connections that were made between enterprises (see if you can make connections of your own):

Photo: Village Economy Mindmap, 2012 Vanuatu PDC

A simple shift in focus towards making these localized connections, can reduce our reliance upon external inputs while we are contributing to the vibrancy of our community.  We can reduce our waste and cycle energy (in its many forms) within our community many times before it leaves.

Once we have met our needs as a community we find ourselves with a new challenge: what to do with the surplus?  Now we can look to neighboring communities to establish trades with our surplus, enriching our quality of life and that of our neighbors.

If we are smart, we can live within the ecological limits of our lands, creating products & developing  skills shaped by our landscape - these will have enormous value in other communities but will be obsolete in others - we can seek to match these community products with communities where these are in need, and the web grows stronger.

In times of scarcity, we can meet most of our needs within our communities (and reach out to the relationships we have made with other communities if needed), while in times of plenty our collective joy can be multiplied by sharing & trading our surplus: self-reliant, and interdependent.

Photo: 2012 Oahu PDC Village Economy Mindmap Timelapse


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