Sharing Our Livelihood
See also writeup & attachments in section D. Participatory Structure
Impetus for understanding Indigenous economy came from the context of Natural Food Cooperatives and Buying Groups networks developed across Canada & the United States. The co-ops were 95% Consumer run with 5% Worker Producer Co-ops. One-member / one-vote structures didn't allow for co-ops to give accounting recognition & empowerment to contributions. The individual co-ops, buying groups regional, provincial and state networks were failing as consumers refused to recognise workers, suppliers and founding member contributions and market economy decisions weren't be made to keep the essential economic niche developed. Groups began to form to study indigenous economies of the world and of First Nation in the americas as sustainable structures around which to organise. Consumer co-ops reacted against discussing, debating or considering other than one-member / one-vote consumer run business and the whole network collapsed by 1991. A number of innovations were implemented at local levels such as Participatory Multi-Stakeholer Founder, Worker, Supplier and Consumer Associations and accounting modules.
ETYMOLOGY OF 'COOPERATIVES'
The word 'cooperatives' first is documented during the late 1400 - 1500s meaning 'co' = 'together' + 'operatives' = 'multi-stakeholders' was a call to return to the Guild systems of Europe as a means to overcome the concentration of wealth arising from aristocratic plunder in first the Middle East and then in the Americas. It was with the further loss of this heritage that Rochdale turned to 'one-member / one-vote' organisational decision-making, which eliminated the possibility for multi-stakeholders with livelihood realities to be able to collaborate.
In business and industry participatory models such as the Keiretsu of Japan (eg. Toyota), Chaebol of Korea, Associative Economics (Rudolf Steiner) of Europe and industries such as Tembec Forest Products (Canada and the USA), Dofasco Steel, Tom's Toothpaste, Ben & Jerry's IceCream and hundred of others were being developed and performing way beyond their corporate competitors. Corporate structure innovators such as W. Edwards Deming were able to support the Japanese economic resurgence in using their own participatory heritage.
From these indigenous economy study groups and local level businesses came ongoing study and the development of indigenous participatory corporation models both from inclusive economies and mainstream industry. We were missing essential factors of starting with the Domestic economy in whole community multi-home Longhouse (apartment-like) and Pueblo (townhouse-like) organisation and economies. We were still thinking in terms of standard colonial Commercial and Industrial Economic organisation, accounting and thinking. Some small alternative economies survived as did some of the mainstream participatory economies, but when competing in a global monetary financial capital market place, the lack of domestic economic concertation left divided under-capitalised businesses at the mercy of predatory financiers and market manipulators. The multi-billion dollar loss through political manipulation disowning Forest Product producers from their rightful victory in the USA-Canadian Softwood lumber court case overturned by Canada's Conservative Brian Mulrooney government took away savings and rights from a host of participatory companies across Canada.
The economic concertation problem can be understood from the lack of Domestic Economy concertation which backwoods communities face in their detached nuclear family isolation. Often city-dwellers moving to rural outskirts and other rural residents are living on quarter-sections away from villages and community. The communication and collaboration difficulties which arise don't allow for generations to work together. Centralising economies mean that adults from rural communities are more car dependant then ever. The nuclear family alone can't provide friendship or diverse mentorship opportunities for children. These kinds of personal and family goals for which people work become unreachable and unproductive in isolation especially when there are no opportunities for collaboration or for accounting for contributions. The Longhouse and Pueblo economic organisation allowed for critical numbers of people living in proximity to collaborate their production and consumption economies. For example an average apartment or townhouse complex building of 35 dwelling units respresents more than 2,000,000$ of earning and spending economies per year. 2,000,000$ is greater than the critical size for most small business. Through working and buying together these economies so that dollars, time and energy can be recirculated within buildings and communities, young, handicapped, old and all can work together in complementation of skills. When domestic relational economy is organised first it gives residents the secure capacities and economic strength to launch all manner of commercial and industrial business.
STRING-SHELL AND CORD ACCOUNTING
The two pictures of the North-east Turtle Island (US & Canada) Iroquois Beads and the Quipu of Inca areas of South America show aligned concepts growing from Production Society accounting in each community. Production Societies involved progressive ownership from apprentice to elder based in a cycle of contributions, investment, experience, expertise and decision-making acumen. See also sections on Apprentice Education, the Indigene, Sharing our Livelihood with Community Ecological Economic Participation and other sections in general.
Records describe a combination of integrated community 'value' functions:
- CAPITAL accounting for labour on a time-based system, accreditation to each worker & voting with both string-shell and with cord systems.
- CURRENCY exchanges for goods and services with these same value systems.
- CONDOLENCE according of string-shell and cords to those who suffered injury or family member death as a form of Social Security.
- COMMUNICATION and record keeping using the string shell in combination as much of the Americas as well employed graphic writing systems.
- DIPLOMATIC CONVEYANCE between parties involved in shared-resource harvesting allowed individuals, families, communities and nations to compensate each other for diminished resource impacts by one economy over another.
- COLLEGIAL progressive ownership and status accreditation based in progressive ownership and experiential recognition from youth to elder.
- COSTUME including string shell arrangements provided group specialty or trade appropriate clothing in each bio-region of the Americas and world as well as group affiliation to identify members.
- and more
Attached below is a model multi-stakeholder participatory incorporation model called Indigene Sharing our Livelihood with Community Ecological-Economic Participation