Saturday, January 5, 2013

To Transform the Corporate Welfare State Into a Partner State

Interesting comments thread on P2P-Foundation:

  1. Jes Says:
    I follow this series since they started (and like them!) but with this video I have a really big question mark. Maybe I do a misreading of the message but sometimes I think the intention is to encourage action to demand the State to do laws to protect us. Actually I do not believe that the structure of States that enables the legitimation of corporate laws can or want to do “other” laws. And by the way, are they really usefull? Having an idea, share it and take action are great premises and that’s why I think perhaps is better to concetrate our energies more on walk togheter building autonomous and “glocal” processes, networks and systems…
  2. Michel Bauwens Says:
    there is a long history of social progress through law; think of labor and environmental regulations that really made all the difference; abandoning the idea of the democratisation of the state means leaving the really existing state in the exclusive hands of the 1%; this is of course, pretty much the case now in the western world, hence the understandable scepticism; there is no opposition to p2p glocal action and changing laws and institutions to benefit the majority. Historically, they pretty much preceded the generalisation of solutions through public action. Welfare was a generalizing on a bigger scale, of what the labour movement was already doing. What we need now is to augment the social and democratic traditions with the commonification of public services and public-commons partnerships, to transform the corporate welfare state into a partner state. The bureaucratisation of the state needs to be countered by real democracy and putting citizens in charge.
  3. Jes Says:
    Totally agree mostly with the last sentence :)
  4. Øyvind Holmstad Says:
    Personally I think the pattern should come before the law, and that the mission of the law should be to protect the pattern: permaculturenews.org/2012/02/07/peer-to-peer-themes-and-urban-priorities-for-the-self-organizing-society/
    To me, laws that are not connected to a pattern make no sense. They are like hanging in the thin air with no connection to anything. So first the pattern, and if necessary follows a law to protect the pattern.
    The interesting thing is that at the Eishin Campus in Japan they by time both abandoned rules and uniforms, as the environments made them not feel natural. My opinion is that laws and police is a result of failed environments, or that wholeness is not achieved. I believe that not searching or reaching wholeness is the basic sin of humanity: permaculturenews.org/2010/09/15/lets-make-our-world-whole/
  5. Øyvind Holmstad Says:
    “…to transform the corporate welfare state into a partner state.”
    I love that sentence! This can best be achieved through pattern languages, which will secure an appropriate scale of society. The welfare state of today talks with a double tongue, or it uses a plastering tactics, where they just plaster the wounds of people made from corporations. When they allow Wall Mart or huge bakeries delivering bread to half the country, which is completely out of scale and destroy every attempt of creating a strong civil society, where thousands of people can make a decent living as proud owners of their little store or bakery, giving them true welfare and dignity, the word “welfare state” makes me vomit. If they would give their people true welfare the state would protect the Alexandrine pattern 87, Individually Owned Shops, a strong protection through laws and sanctions: permaculturenews.org/2011/03/04/the-ancient-taberna-in-a-future-world/
    But the fact is that the myriads of experts running the “welfare state” hate the pattern language, as it is a threat to their positions. They like to feel like saints giving their “welfare” to people wounded by the absence of human scaled patterns.
    Also they like to pride themselves with their expertise, as position, money and formal educations are the only accepted therms to feel identify with in a destroyed culture like the Western culture:
    “To make functional stereotypes and identities the only that matter is to deprive the great majority of any basis for pride in what they are, and to make position and wealth an obsession for the talented and energetic minority. Such a situation deprives the majority of all dignity and makes them defenseless against upper classes who jockey for advancement while denying human ties that would make them responsible for others.
    Why is that a good thing? Its natural consequences are envy, snobbishness, resentment, subservience, self-seeking, apathy, and brutality. A ruling class whose members define themselves by wealth, power, formal education, and bureaucratic position may see “affirmative action” as a necessary attack on irrational bigotry, but the majority, who lack the particular advantages on which their rulers pride themselves, and to whom kinship, gender, ethnicity, religion and the like continue to matter, are necessarily injured by comprehensive programs aimed at destroying the significance of basic aspects of their lives.” – James Kalb
    Like it or not, I have no words to describe how much I disgust the Norwegian welfare state, and how much I like to replace it with a society using pattern languages as its basic. But I understand that before this can be done we need to get rid of capitalism, because elsewhere there would be no one to plaster the wounds given people by the present cruel and inhuman, true evil capitalist system.
  6. Michel Bauwens Says:
    I sympathize with the general idea, but, you can’t impose your understanding of the pattern language either, so you’re substituting one form of expertise against another .. the only answer is the democratisation and commonification of the state, and let civil society actors take pattern-inspired actions, while the scientists can debate the merits or demerits of the patterns ..
    Michel
  7. Øyvind Holmstad Says:
    The patterns in A Pattern Language have proved their merits through hundreds of years throughout the world, what destroyed them were the experts (including scientists) and energy affluence. The best is if the patterns evolve through tradition, and that they are discovered. Personally I look forward to energy and recourse decent, as this will force patterns and traditions to re-evolve. What I don’t look forward to in this process is the fighting and suffering which will take place in a world of dwindling resources.
    If people can re-discover the usefulness of the pattern-technology this can be a great help in scaling down society to a proper size in balance with realities.
    This will also give back dignity and self-respect to ordinary people, tearing down the tyranny of an expert-rule like in Norway.
  8. Michel Bauwens Says:
    I was just reading a bio of Strindberg, and while it talked about Stockholm, it recalled the awfullness of the conditions for the farming and laboring classes before the welfare state. As much as we may complain about experts and bureaucratization as aspects of the current form of the welfare state, they can be improved, transformed, while maintaining welfare, i.e. human solidarity … Having lived without welfare, health insurance and material security for over 7 years now; my take is: give me the welfare state back any time. A P2P society can only be based on basic material and spiritual solidarity, which requires strong civic and public institutions. However, they need to be democratized, and it is in such a democracy that the debate about the merit of patterns can take place.
  9. Øyvind Holmstad Says:
    Actually the situation for most farmers in Norway was far better than in Sweden, as there they had to go to war for their kings all the time. That was horrible. Here, in fact, most places were so isolated that the Danish crown didn’t reach most farmers. They were thriving in their own little communities, unaware about war and battles for centuries.
    One that is working hard for transforming the welfare state of Norway is Terje Bongard, a human behavioral biologist. He plans to transform the society around the meta-pattern of in-groups, growing the bright side of the handicap-principle. His book, The Biological Human Being, is soon to be published in English. This is the most promising book I’ve read besides A Pattern Language, and one of very few books I can put on the same shelf as Alexander’s masterpiece. I let you know when it’s available in English.
    Bongard very much agree with me that the current state of welfare, depending on the energy-hungry beast of capitalism, cannot continue. His solution is a flat salary for everyone, no taxes. What will motivate us in an in-group-society is the bright force of the handicap-principle, which is part of the strongest force in the universe and to the essence of evolution.
    Hi’s a hard working man, using all his means for his mission, and will soon have his website up running as well: bioman.no/
    If you like to contact him, his contact information is to be found here: www.nina.no/Kontaktoss/Ansatte/Person.aspx?AnsattID=16117
    I’m sure you should find his ideas and research extremely interesting!
  10. Michel Bauwens Says:
    Thanks, I will definitely look into Bongard!
  11. Øyvind Holmstad Says:
    Another reason why the Scandinavian welfare model has been so successful is because of the strong lutheran influence, in my country should be mentioned Hans Nielsen Hauge in particular:en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hans_Nielsen_Hauge
    When every man and woman alone is personal responsible before God on judgment day, there will be not much room for corruption. Our model is dependent upon thrust, and ironically the secular welfare state is depended upon lutheran moral to work well.
    The lutheran influence is rapidly dwindling these days.
    Thanks for appreciating my recommendation! I forgot to mention that his book will also be translated into German. For Scandinavian readers, here is a three parts discussion program with Terje Bongard from the Norwegian state radio: www.kulturverk.com/2012/10/12/fra-massesamfunn-til-stammesamfunn-terje-bongard-hos-nrks-verdiborsen/

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