Thursday, January 31, 2013

A City as an Expression of Human Nature

It is the structure of the city which impresses us by its visible vastness and complexity, but this structure has its basis, nevertheless, in human nature, of which it is an expression. On the other hand, this vast organization which has arisen in response to the needs of its inhabitants, once formed, impresses itself upon them, in turn, in accordance with the design and interests which it incorporates. - A 1915 quote from Robert E Park
Baden old town

That’s Not What Placemaking Is

So writes Jim Russell in a recent post over at Burgh Diaspora, in arguing that cities are wasting their money on Placemaking when they should be focusing more directly on talent development. In his view, widely held these days, Placemaking is about plunking down “cool urban amenities” and increasing token diversity to make a city seem edgy or superficially interesting. It’s a simple cut-and-paste process of taking some signifier of young, contemporary, urban hipness (a bike lane, public art, a funkily decorated coffee shop) and inserting it into a neighborhood in the hopes of re-framing that neighborhood as the Next Big Thing.

That’s not what Placemaking is. Or at least that’s not how many of us who use the word mean it. For every person who thinks that you can ‘placemake’ unilaterally by dropping in cool amenities, there is another who believes that Placemaking is as much about the discussion that participants have with each other as it is about whether a space contains public art or picnic tables when all is said and done. The physical attributes of the space in question are important, but they are the means, not the end. If you’re not building social capital in the community where you’re working, you’re not Placemaking; you’re just reorganizing the furniture. - Brendan Crain

Essensen av system - A

Min kommentar til artikkelen Kommunane er vertskap for viktige samtaler, skrevet av Halvard Dahle Lægreid, publisert hos

Den fundamentale feilen med dagens planlegging er at den arbeider under hva Alexander kaller for system B, hvor man forholder seg til virkeligheten ut fra et mekanistisk verdensbilde. Dvs. at planlegging ikke er en morfologisk prosess, morfogenese som utgangspunkt for arkitektur og stedsskaping er forøvrig tema for hans neste bok.

The Eishin Campus i Japan er et av veldig få eksempler på miljøer som er skapt ut fra system A i nyere tid, og tema for Alexanders siste bok. For å gi en pekepinn på hvordan en planleggingsprosess fungerer innen system A, eller et organisk verdensbilde, vil jeg gi et lite utdrag fra boka:
The essence of site layout in system-A, and in the way which it fundamentally differs from making a plan in a planning office, lies in the fact that one physically draws the site plan out from configurations that may be seen because they are discernible in the land. Thus the site plan is not an abstractly conceived, or designed, or invented figure, but a figure pulled out from the features of the land itself. This activity comes from the root nature of system-A. It is based on the use of feeling that allows you, and shows you how to judge the wholeness of a configuration. It is a feeling-based estimation of the degree of wholeness in a piece of land, and whether large or small in scale, it is a dynamic, ever-changing process, constantly monitored by feelings and sensitivity to details which seek harmonious results.

In system-A, it is always the wholeness of the place that matters. To intensify the wholeness of any place - whether it consists of existing buildings in a town, or of virgin land that is largely unbuilt - proposed construction and buildings must be decided, and that means "felt" and thought through on the site itself. It is really not possible to do it in any other way, since the relationships which exist between the buildings and the world around them are complex and subtle.

On a drawing or a plan, one simply does not see enough. The drawn plan does not give enough information. So trying to make decisions by drawing on a plan is doomed to failure. To produce a plan that has reality, and to bring the actual place itself to life, decisions are made gradually, on the site itself, under circumstances where one visualizes the situation as the whole it really is. Step by step, this brings buildings positions to life in the mind's eye - and so, in imagination, one conceives the buildings literally, in their full size and volumes as they are really going to be. - Christopher Alexander, The Battle for the Life and Beauty of the Earth. A Struggle Between Two World-Systems, side 163-164

Monday, January 28, 2013

Eyvind Skeie om "Gud og Abraham"

I artikkelen unngår Skeie å nevne den fanatiske vitenskapsideologen Richard Dawkins uttalelse om at Abrahams handling var en forløper til Nürnbergprosessene, der mantraet lød: "Jeg fulgte kun ordre".

Mot Dawkins dårskap framstår Skeie i denne innsiktsfulle artikkelen som reineste profeten, utvilsomt en av de beste artikler som noensinne har vært presentert på Verdidebatt. Selv pleier jeg ikke å gå inn på denne sida grunnet alt det middelmådige pjattet den domineres av, men i dag var det som om en indre stemme fortalte meg at det var et viktig budskap som ventet der.

Les Skeies kommentar hos VD:

- Gud og Abraham

Rembrandt. The Sacrifice of Abraham

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Blog: Ugly Modern Buildings

I just came above this very promising blog:


Please support this blog!

A lifeless scene in Brasilia, a city in a country that is full of life

Four Things That Were Better in 1899

Great article by Erik Curren from Transition Voice. He also gave a very interesting link to different architectural styles of his hometown Staunton in Virginia. Below follow an excerpt from the article, read it in whole here.
  1. Food. There’s a good reason why food guru Michael Pollan says not to eat anything your grandmother wouldn’t have recognized as food. Back in 1899, most food was whole and it was grown organically by local farmers. Today, it’s hard to avoid processed foods. And nearly all of them contain newfangled ingredients that, if they won’t kill you quickly, will certainly kill you slowly: high fructose corn syrup, MSG, soy. With hybrids and GMOs, even whole foods like corn and wheat are now suspect. It’s a scandal that the Bible’s staff of life and America’s amber waves of grain was degraded in the 1960s and 70s into “dwarf wheat,” a high-yield hybrid that cannot be properly digested by humans. Sadly, this pseudo-wheat is probably what’s in that loaf of peasant bread you just got at Whole Foods. Yuck.
  2. Local Economies. Back in 1899, about the only thing besides opium that came from China was tea and, well, China. Imports from other countries were mostly luxuries like the aforementioned champagne. Today, I don’t know if you can even buy an American-made microwave oven. But in 1899, people in my town could buy a rock solid cast-iron stove forged locally by the WJ Loth Stove Company. Indeed, nearly everything Americans needed everyday was made in the USA, from trousers to tables to tallow candles to horse-drawn carriages. And like the hay to fuel the horse that pulls the carriage — whether barouche, fiacre, hackney or landau — both our food and our energy in 1899 were not just domestic, but they were also overwhelmingly local.
  3. Streets and Buildings. Speaking of transportation, when you have automobiles, you get today’s landscapes built for cars, with monster expressways, six-lane highways running past cul-de-sac subdivisions and cities covered in parking lots. Back in 1899, horse buggies and mule carts and the occasional streetcar didn’t overwhelm streets built at a human scale, so all cities were walkable. And I dare you to compare any building of 1899 against the mid- and late-century concrete boxes found in every city and town today. Italianate and Queen Anne Victorian or Planet of the Apes modernism? It’s no contest.
  4. Clothing. Call me an old fogy, but I have to agree with your grandmother that the flashing basketball sneakers, sweatpants, sweatshirts and baseball caps worn by both sexes on the streets of any big city today — a look that James Howard Kunstler has aptly described as “clownish” — are no improvement on the dignified and gender-specific clothing that people wore in public in the 1890s. Give me a woman in an A-line skirt and leg o’ mutton sleeves and a man wearing a gray coat with covered buttons and matching waistcoat, dark trousers, short turnover shirt collar, and floppy bow tie any day. When our fellow citizens look intelligent and confident and move with grace, we respect them more and our whole society acts with more seriousness.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Architectural Lessons From Environmental Psychology:The Case of Biophilic Architecture

Read this great essay on biophilic architecture:

- Architectural Lessons From Environmental Psychology: The Case of Biophilic Architecture. By Yannick Joye from the Free University of Brussels

Cathedral of St. Stephen with belfry in Litoměřice, Czech Republic. A view from The Chalice House in the southwest direction. Hazmburk Castle is visible on the left horizon, less than 14 km away. Photo: Karelj

Elinor Ostrom on Going Beyond the Tragedy of the Commons

In 2009, Elinor Ostrom won the Nobel Prize in economics “for her analysis of economic governance, especially the commons.” A few years earlier, Ostrom and Charlotte Hess edited a useful book titled Understanding Knowledge as a Commons: From Theory to Practice (MIT Press, 2007). Sarah Schultz

Some Search Results on the P2P-Wiki on "Tragedy of the Commons"

Some search results on the p2p-Wiki on "Tragedy of the Commons":

  • '''Main thesis = Freedom in a commons brings ruin to all.''' [ Note the author's self-critique:
    21 KB (3,384 words) - 05:57, 23 January 2011
  • '''= the excessive fragmentation of property rights preventing transactions from taking place''' when a resource is underused because it has been divided up by a number of owners who may not be willing to agree or cooperate with one another."
    12 KB (1,881 words) - 06:50, 15 October 2011
  • ...ssay: Tragedy of the FOSS commons? Investigating the institutional designs offree/libre and open source software projects by Charles M. Schweik and Robe ...llective action. This is markedly different from traditional environmentalcommons settings."
    9 KB (1,434 words) - 05:52, 24 December 2011
  • ...akes in Hardin's thesis on the [[Tragedy of the Commons]], on the occasion ofElinor Ostrom's Nobel Prize in Economics. URL =
    334 B (45 words) - 03:18, 7 January 2010
  • '''* Essay: Achim Lerch: The Tragedy of the “Tragedy of the Commons”''' ...eal with the question of the common use of resources, The [[Tragedy of theCommons]]
    13 KB (1,996 words) - 04:44, 10 January 2010
  • ...storical use of norms, cooperative ventures such as incorporating a river, thecommon law, and top-down command-and-control regulation to reduce air and w [[Category:Commons]]
    701 B (101 words) - 07:17, 24 July 2011
  • ...niversity College Dublin, School of Law). Global Warming: A Tragedy of theCommons on SSRN. .../2010/08/ogorman-on-global-warming-hybrid-approaches-to-the-tragedy-of-the-commons.html
    2 KB (353 words) - 16:00, 20 August 2010
  • #REDIRECT [[Tragedy of the Commons]]
    36 B (5 words) - 18:27, 16 October 2010
  • ...ade at the World Social Forum, Dakar, February 2011, for « The commons on theglobal agenda » chapter in" [[Category:Commons]]
    606 B (97 words) - 20:08, 14 May 2011
  • [[Category:Commons]]
    123 B (18 words) - 03:10, 23 July 2011
  • '''* Article (series): War and the [[Tragedy of the Commons]]. H. Patricia Hynes. Truthout, 2011. 7-part series''' URL =
    1 KB (224 words) - 11:48, 19 September 2011

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Downward Spiral of Un-Commoning

A huge obstacle is the shift toward greater privatization and commodification of physical and social assets. Many things that used to be shared—from open spaces for recreation to support systems to help a neighbor in need—have been privatized and commodified; they’ve been moved out of the community into the market place. This triggers a downward spiral. Once things become privatized, or un-commoned, we no longer have access to them without paying a fee. We then have to work longer hours to pay for all these things which used to be freely available—everything from safe afterschool recreation for kids to clean water to swim in to someone to talk to when you’re feeling blue. And since we’re working longer hours and spending more time alone, we have less time to contribute to the commons to rebuild these assets: less volunteer hours, less beach-clean-up days, less time for civic engagement to advocate for policies that protect the commons, less time to invite a neighbor over for tea. And on it goes. Bill McKibben

Eineståande viktig intervju i Klassekampen med biletkunstnar Christopher Rådlund og sosiolog Alexander Ibsen

Les heile intervjuet i Klassekampen:

- Kvifor er den så stygg?

Under fylgjer eit utdråg frå teksta:
At menneske har fått det betre på grunn av det modernistiske prosjektet, er likevel ikkje ein påstand forfattarane går med på.

- Industrien jobba for folket med masseproduksjonen. Alle skulle få ein verdigare kvardag, eit verdigare liv. Men stilen har aldri jobba for folket. Den har lata som at den har gjort det, men folket har aldri bedt om udekorerte fasadar. Det var ei elite som gjorde det. Modernismen er jo eigentleg ein borgarleg hobby, seier Rådlund

Han trur slett ikkje modernistiske blokkhus er den einaste vegen til å løysa dagens bustadmangel i norske byar.

- Det fins ein idé om at det å byggja meir tradisjonelt eller vakrare er dyrt. Men det fins mange døme på at ein kan byggja tradisjonelt til same pris. Det handlar om kvalitetssikring, dyktige arkitektar som sikrar at det ikkje vert kitsch. Med tydeleg definerte og strenge kvalitetskriterium, kan ein få fin nyklassisisme, bygd for omtrent det same, seier han.

- Det vil bli vakrare miljø, der folk vil trivast betre Det fins ingen rasjonelle argument mot dette, korkje økonomisk eller kjenslemessig. Kvifor gjer ein det ikkje likevel? Jau, ideologi og førestellingar.

Som døme på korleis folk søkjer mot meir tradisjonell arkitektur, trekk Rådlund fram Oslo-bydelar som Grünerløkka, Ullevål hageby og Frogner.

- Desse bydelane vert no oppfatta som snobbeområde. Dei trivelegaste områda vert dei dyraste. Men alle fortener å bu i slike miljø, seier han. 
Alle fortener å bu i slike miljø, vel og merke med unnatak av alle bilane. Gimlevegen med Frogner kyrkje i enda av gata, Frogner i Oslo. Foto: Kjetil Ree
Gentrifiseringa av gamle arbeidarklassestrøk viser korleis folket motsett seg styresmaktenes moderniseringsplanar, meiner Ibsen.

- Denne oppussinga skjer gjerne fordi ein eigentleg har hatt ein draum om å riva det heile, men så får ein ikkje gjort det, det vera seg grunna lokale protestrørsler eller av økonomiske årsaker. Det vert sett på som ein suksess for moderne byplanlegging, men det er jo ikkje det; det er ein suksess for gamle arbeidarbustader! Christopher Rådlund og Alexander Ibsen, forfattarar av boka "En sort bok om arkitektur"

Avhengigheten av en velferdsstat har tatt bort ansvarfølelsen den enkelte hadde overfor det nære fellesskapet

"Avhengigheten av en velferdsstat har tatt bort ansvarfølelsen den enkelte hadde overfor det nære fellesskapet. Dette er ikke noe forsvar for liberalisme som kun erstatter velferdsstaten med avhengighet av private institusjoner som utfører de samme tjenester, men da er man i tillegg bundet til et rotterace. Ansvar og fellesskap må være organisk om det ikke skal utvikles til et passivt mekanistisk forhold mellom stat og borgere." - A. Viken

Godt skrevet, Øyvind.

Avhengigheten av en velferdsstat har tatt bort ansvarfølelsen den enkelte hadde overfor det nære fellesskapet. Dette er ikke noe forsvar for liberalisme som kun erstatter velferdsstaten med avhengighet av private institusjoner som utfører de samme tjenester, men da er man i tillegg bundet til et rotterace. Ansvar og fellesskap må være organisk om det ikke skal utvikles til et passivt mekanistisk forhold mellom stat og borgere.

Det handler om å rykke tilbake til start, utgangspunktet, som begynner med å ta ansvar for sin familie. Det innebærer å ikke stue bort barn og eldre på sinjtitsujoner, men tvertom innlemme alle familiens medlemmer i storfamilien som er grunnlaget for ethvert rotfast samfunn. Økonomismen, det vil si forestillingen om økonomi som alle virksomheters høyeste mål, skjøt fart med protestantismen, som tok mysteriet og det hellige bort fra det Gudommelige og erstattet det med en rasjonalistisk, forklart og fornuftens Gud, som selvsagt var dømt til å dø, tappet som han var for livskraft og saft.

Grådighet, materialisme, egennytte og ikke minst en egoistisk motivasjon for å tro, lar seg godt kombinere med protestantismens avarter. USA er med sitt megalomane hykleri satt i system, Statskirken, den etterhvert sosialdemokratiske versjon av kristendommen, står for meg som den tristeste eksponent for religion denne arme kloden har klart å frembringe. Det er å håpe at restene av den faller sammen som et korthus med tiden, noe som ser ut til å gå i oppfyllelse ganske av seg selv.

Kanskje kan mennesket finne tilbake til en essens om det blir tvunget til å leve med utgangspunkt i det essensielle i en krisesituasjon, kanskje er det for sent uansett. Uansett så vil materialismen om den ikke får avløsning fortsette å tære på restene av sivilisasjonen til nihilismen ikke bare fremstår som en avgrunn, men en permanent tilstand hvor alt er like lite verdt når man gjør opp regnestykket.

Det beste man kan gjøre er å begynne med seg selv, reformere eget liv, finne en samklang med det som har betydning utover ens eget korte liv. A. Viken

More Responses to My Article “Beyond Separative Modern Urbanism: Looking for the Connective Design that’s Already ‘Out There’”

Two more responses to “Beyond separative modern urbanism: looking for the connective design that’s already ‘out there”. The original version of the essay is to be found here.

  1. Patrick S Says:
    Hi Oyvind,
    thanks for the reply, and much to ponder here in both your original and extended comments.
    I realise your critique of the ‘welfare state’ is quite complex – it reminds me to some extend of the idea of a need for a more ‘Relational State’ that I think was posted here recently – . And in Scandinavia, I saw a talk by Dan Hill (@cityofsound) recently who’s now at SITRA in Finland arguing something a bit similar. Another Scandinavian example (which Michel wrote a chapter towards) is the book.
    But on the energy example in particular, as a good example – contrast Norway’s approach of taking a big share of oil revenue for a sovereign wealth fund, with my home country of Australia’s approach – where the vast majority of our mineral wealth being rapidly extracted is going to multi-nationals, and only a small portion to workers and the state. Of course, there is the Alaskan alternative of just paying an equal dividend to all citizens – a step towards a ‘basic income’ which it seems many of us are in favour of.
    I know a little of Alexander’s thinking but haven’t read his books in full – is on my todo list for next year, haven’t come across Zahavi or Bongard.
    Whilst I’m generally interested in subsidiarity, devolution etc my current research interest in public transport systems does seem to suggest that in the developed world we do need a strong (but ideally both democratised and readily transparent) state to at least play a strategic and tactical role in organising and providing such services.
    As you point out though, the point is not to go backward but imagine forwards, and energy and other environmental constraints suggest a new pattern is needed. One possible future I’ve been thinking about lately is one with a much more democratically controlled industrial sector providing much of our material needs with minimal employment (using automation, P2P principles etc) but with surplus distributed more evenly e.g. a basic wage – along with a flourishing civil society and private sector in service provision, farming, and environmental remediation.
    The latter because the issue of ‘unemployment’ does seem persistent and pressing. But there are plenty of useful things to do in our environmentally-stressed world (thinking along permaculture lines etc) – just not within the constraints of a profit-driven capitalist market. So some kind of new settlement with the state (basic income etc) could seem to unlock this potential as a benefit, rather than liability. But as Keynes suggested in ‘Economic prospects for our grandchildren’, this would be a v. difficult social and psychological transition to go through, not just a new economic approach.
  2. Øyvind Holmstad Says:
    Hei Patrick!
    Yes really, my governments have been clever in making most of the oil income become a “benefit” for its people, only a fraction of the income goes to the corporations. Here you can see the speed of which the oil billions trickle in (the moving number in the heading):
    As you see the oil money flows into our economy with a speed of 100.000 N.Kr. every 5 sek., or 1.200.000 N.Kr. every minute or 72.000.000 N.Kr. every hour or 1,73 billion N.Kr. every day. The Oil Fund named “The Government Pension Fund – Global” of the Norwegian State is on about 3700 billion N.Kr., making it the world's largest pension fund. Still, the pension obligations for the state only to public workers is on 4300 billion N.Kr. And note that this fund is invested into corporations, so the welfare state is completely depended upon the benefit of the corporations.
    Note also that the number of public workers increased with 110.000 just the last 7 years, about the size of Norway’s fourth largest city. Or an increase with 15 percent:
    Anyway, I’ve changed my original text from getting rid of the bureaucratic with getting rid of the corporate welfare state, from inspiration of Michel in another comments thread here recently. He also wrote we need to replace it with a partnership state:
    Bongard will soon launch his book “The Biological Human being” in English! Here’s an interesting comment from him I just came above:
    “Godt observert, Jens Andreas. Som du vet har vi i boken vår “Det biologiske mennesket” (Akademika 2010) laget en skisse over en mulig vei å gå for å få kontroll over disse problemene som oppstår i store samfunn, gjennom å benytte nettopp de egenskapene som dukker opp i nære relasjoner (raushet, samarbeid, kontroll over korrupsjon osv). Kaller det for Inngruppedemokratiet, det innebærer blant annet demokratisk styring av produksjon og fordeling. En kombinasjon av Høyres selveierdemokrati og det egentlige målet for miljøbevegelse og venstreside: Rettferdighet, fordeling, bærekraft og trygg framtid.” :
    My translation:
    “Well observed, Jens Andreas. As you know we have in our book “The Biological Human Being” sketched out a possible way to overcome these problems which arise in huge communities, to play on these properties which arise in close relations (generosity, cooperation, control over corruption etc.). We call it In-Group Democracy, it means among others democratic control of production and distribution. A combination of the self-owner democracy of the right and the true goal of environment movements and the left: Justice, distribution, sustainability and a safe future.”
    Why I really write you now is because I just got a comment that summarizes perfectly the essence of what I wanted to say with my article, on the Norwegian Deep Ecology blog
    “Avhengigheten av en velferdsstat har tatt bort ansvarfølelsen den enkelte hadde overfor det nære fellesskapet. Dette er ikke noe forsvar for liberalisme som kun erstatter velferdsstaten med avhengighet av private institusjoner som utfører de samme tjenester, men da er man i tillegg bundet til et rotterace. Ansvar og fellesskap må være organisk om det ikke skal utvikles til et passivt mekanistisk forhold mellom stat og borgere.” – A. Viken
    “The dependency of a welfare state has taken away the responsibility the single person felt for his nearby community. This is no defense for liberalism, which only replace the welfare state with dependency on private institutions performing the same services, but when you in addition is bound to a “rats race”. Responsibility and community must be organically if it shall not develop into a passive and mechanistic relationship between state and citizens.”
    In these words A. Viken has masterly said everything I wanted to say with my essay.
    Also I was tired of everybody criticizing the corporations while nobody criticized the corporate welfare state, I think these people are cowards. Actually I sent my article to before giving it to Bauwens, but the editor there was almost mad at me for complaining about my welfare state. Also Bauwens said he didn’t agree with me, but he didn’t mind. For him it was ok to put it up as long as it was somewhat p2p-oriented and might got someone to think.
    About transportation I think the most important is to design for walk-ability, and a recent study shows this is best done through self-organizing:
    ‘Messy’ street patterns provide the most functional urban space:
    “Venice has 1,725 intersections per square mile. “It’s very complex, it’s very messy, and people walk,” said Allan Jacobs, urban design consultant, former San Francisco planning director, and author of Great Streets.
    Brasilia, near the opposite end of the spectrum, “has 92 intersections, and you don’t walk there,” The Vancouver Sun reported Jacobs as saying. “Irvine, California is the classic automobile city. It has just 15 intersections, the lowest I’ve ever counted.”"
    On Zahavi, who discovered the “handicap principle”, his work and it’s significance is brilliantly explained in Bongard’s book, I’ll let you know when it’s published in English and German language. Bongard’s point is that we only have a basic salary decided democratically, while what motivate us is by utilizing the positive energy found in the handicap principle.
    By the way, I plan my next essay to be about the thrush bird the Arabian Babbler, which Amoz Zahavi studied for about 40 years. I will write it for Kulturverk first, but hope to translate it into English.
    About Alexander you’ll hopefully understand how important our physical surroundings are for creating a sound democratic and cooperative spirit of people:
    "The built environment, with its geometrical symbolism, talks about the culture that has created it, and expresses the intimate values of a culture. So, if in the past the built environment was interconnected with their physical and spiritual surroundings, the contemporary has expressed the excessive power of a mechanical culture determining the loss of human identity in favor of “artificial identity”. This artificial structure has transferred its cultural reductionism also to urbanism and architecture and caused laceration of society and deformation of ethical and esthetical values. This new design represents and symbolizes new values like hedonism and a devoid sense of nothing, and is the sculptural expression of our society." – Biourbanism

Hunkjønn under press

Meget interressant artikkel: Oslofolk har tatt livet av hunkjønn.

I Oslo er hunkjønnet i språket dødt og begravet. Men også på Toten går det den gale veien med likestillinga. Å ta livet av hunkjønn fører tankene hen til Kina og India, land som vi ellers ikke liker å sammenligne oss med, hvor hunkjønnsdrap foregår i stor stil.

Skal vi ha likestilling her til lands må dette også gjenspeiles i språket. Oslospråket har blitt direkte hunkjønnsundertrykkende, jeg fatter ikke at hunkjønnet finner seg i dette! Håper kravet om gjeninnførelsen av hunkjønn blir hovedparole under forestående kvinnedag.

What is the Uncertainty Principle?

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Så bøyer vi oss i støvet for Barcode

Overskrift i dagens Aftenposten: "Barcode snart ferdig, kritikken stilner".

Ja, selvsagt, nå får vi alle se stjernearkitektenes genialitet senke seg over jorden, nesten som da englekoret steg ned over Betlehemsmarkene. Disse individualitetens engler, disse opphøyde genier, modernismens hellige tempelbyggere. Lovet være den hellige anti-natur!

All kritikk stilner og hele verden bøyer seg i ydmykhet over denne åpenbaringen av modernitetens Nirvana. Vi snakker om intet mindre enn Barcode, Oslo. Er det noen som ikke lar seg blende, lik skjæra? Foto: Bjørn Erik Pedersen


Saturday, January 19, 2013

Characteristics of Degrowth

Yves-Marie Abraham:
  1. This [degrowth] is not an economic depression, nor a recession, but a decline in the importance of the economy itself in our lives and our societies.
  2. This is not the decline of GDP, but the end of GDP and all other quantitative measures used as indicators of well being.
  3. This is not a decline in population size, but a questioning of humanity's self-destructive lifestyle.
  4. This is not a step backwards, but an invitation to step aside, out of the race in pursuit of excessiveness.
  5. This is not nostalgia for some golden age, but an unprecedented project to invent creative ways of living together.
  6. This is not degrowth imposed by the depletion of the biosphere's resources, but a voluntary degrowth, to live better here and now, preserving the conditions necessary for the long-term survival of humanity.
  7. This is not an end in itself, but a necessary step in the search for models depicting free societies, liberated from the dogma of growth.
  8. This is not a project of voluntary deprivation and impoverishment, but an attempt to find a “better life,” based on simplicity, restraint, and sharing.
  9. This is not “sustainable development,” but a rejection of capitalism, no matter if it is “green” or “socially just,” and no matter if it has State-run or private enterprises.
  10. This is not ecofascism, but a call for a democratic revolution to end our productivist-consumerist model of society.
  11. This is not voluntary simplicity, but a revolutionary political project that implies the adoption of the principles of voluntary simplicity on the individual level.
  12. This is not an "anti-modern" movement, but a "neo-modern" movement, based on respect for the values of freedom and equality."

Friday, January 18, 2013

The Really, Really Big Picture

The really big picture goes like this: Humans discovered about 400 million years worth of stored sunlight in the form of coal, oil, and natural gas, and have developed technologies that will essentially see all of that treasure burned up in just 300 to 400 years.

On the faulty assumption that fossil fuels will always be a resource we could draw upon, we fashioned economic, monetary, and other assorted belief systems based on permanent abundance, plus a species population on track to number around 9 billion souls by 2050.

There are two numbers to keep firmly in mind. The first is 22, and the other is 10. In the past 22 years, half of all of the oil ever burned has been burned. Such is the nature of exponentially increasing demand. And the oil burned in the last 22 years was the easy and cheap stuff discovered 30 to 40 years ago. Which brings us to the number 10.

In every calorie of food that comes to your table are hidden 10 calories of fossil fuels, making modern agriculture and food delivery the first type in history that consumes more energy than it delivers. Someday fossil fuels will be all gone. That day may be far off in the future, but preparing for that day could (and one could argue should) easily require every bit of time we have. - Chris Martenson

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Revolution is Not an Event, it's a Process

Revolution is not event, but a process. There is nothing inevitable about it, and our freedom is not historically determined. To win it, we have to build movements able to fight for it, movements that struggle over long periods of time to knock down the institutions of the status quo and replace them with the institutions of a free society. That means growing, practicing, learning, teaching, and winning things that put the movement in an increasingly better position to win more; it means fighting back to protect ourselves while pushing forward to create new possibilities. Yotam Marom

Den eneste grønne energi som finnes er den som ikke brukes

Den eneste grønne energi som finnes er den som ikke brukes. Mennesket må forbruke og forbrenne mindre, så enkelt er det i prinsippet. Mye av diskusjonene omkring klima og CO2 minner om røret om kosthold, hvor noen tror at man skal kunne spise seg slank, mens man fortsatt sitter på ræva. Det eneste som nytter er å legge bort vekstøkonomien og tankegangen om frihet uten ansvar. - Grønn Gerilja

Monday, January 14, 2013

It Takes a Village to Raise a Child

Breast-feeding infants, responsiveness to crying, almost constant touch and having multiple adult caregivers are some of the nurturing ancestral parenting practices that are shown to positively impact the developing brain, which not only shapes personality, but also helps physical health and moral development,” says Narvaez. 
Read the whole article here.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Bongards kommentar til artikkelen "Er vi dømt til å gi opp velferdsstaten?"

Foto: Mariapb
Godt observert, Jens Andreas. Som du vet har vi i boken vår "Det biologiske mennesket" (Akademika 2010) laget en skisse over en mulig vei å gå for å få kontroll over disse problemene som oppstår i store samfunn, gjennom å benytte nettopp de egenskapene som dukker opp i nære relasjoner (raushet, samarbeid, kontroll over korrupsjon osv). Kaller det for Inngruppedemokratiet, det innebærer blant annet demokratisk styring av produksjon og fordeling. En kombinasjon av Høyres selveierdemokrati og det egentlige målet for miljøbevegelse og venstreside: Rettferdighet, fordeling, bærekraft og trygg framtid. - Terje Bongard

Isopor = maurbol (isolasjon mot grunn i bolighus)

I en artikkel i Ny Teknikk nr. 12, 2012, s. 92, omtales en ny rapport fra folkehelseinstituttet, som er bekymret for den økende bruken av giftbekjempning mot maur i grunnisolasjon, særlig i forhold til barn. Bruken av insektmidler til skadedyrbekjempelse i bygningsmasse har doblet seg de siste ti årene.

Folkehelseinstituttet konkluderer med at den eneste trygge isolasjonen mot maurinvasjon i grunnisolasjonen er Foamglas, mens Isopor er verstingen. Men alle typer skumplastisolasjonsprodukter er meget utsatt. Aller mest utsatt er rom som i tillegg har varmekabler, da kombinasjonen av Isopor og varmekabler skaper et paradis for stokkmaur og sukkermaur. I verste fall kan disse ødelegge bæringsevnen til isolasjonen. Dette er særlig ille der det er benyttet trykksterke skumplastplater under bærevegger.

Ny Teknikk skriver:
Stokkmaur kan også gnage seg gjennom trekonstruksjoner. I begge polystyrenproduktene (EPS/XPS), deriblant isopor, gnagde maurene raskt ganger, og de etablerte reir. Foamglas forble urørt av stokkmauren. Kombinasjonen av varmekabler og myke isolasjonsmaterialer gir et perfekt bosted for maur.
Foamglas er en svensk produsent av skumglass, i Norge har man Glasopor, men de leverer kun som løsfyllisolasjon. Merk at Foamglas har cirka 2,5 ganger bedre isolasjonsevne enn Glasopor løsisolasjon, som har lik isolasjonsevne med Leca. Både Lecakuler og Glasopor må komprimeres, men Glasopor har den fordelen at den blir mer sammenpakket i ettertid. Dette er særlig viktig ved utbedringer av rør, da Lecakuler vil strømme til hvis man en gang skulle utbedre rør i grunn, slik at bæringen under betongsåla vil svikte.

En ringmur vil trolig kunne minske tilgangen for maur til isolasjonen under betongsåla.

I dette bygget er benyttet lecakuler, også i baderommet i bakkant. Komprimert  glasopor ville vært å foretrekke i baderomsdelen, da lecakuler vil miste understøttingen under betongsåla ved utbedring av rørsystem. Dessverre ble det benyttet et 5 cm lag styrofoam på toppen av lecakulene for badet. På kontordelen, nærmest, ble det kun lagt et tynt betonglag uten armeringsjern, hvor det ble lagt tilfarergulv ovenpå, en god løsning. På baderommet burde det først vært benyttet komprimert glasopor med et lag foamglas på toppen, da plater av foamglas isolerer like bra som isopor. Merk også at det er benyttet lecablokker i bæreveggen.

Saturday, January 12, 2013


Den moderne sivilisasjons "tradisjoner" er intet annet enn gravsteiner over en død kultur, og selv på disse gror det mose

"Ikke at symboler, riter, historier og merkedager ikke kan ha stor betydning, men fordi symbolene er som gravstener i samtiden. Symbolene er ikke tegn på det levende og aktive lenger, men det døde og glemte, suttekluter for en sivilisasjon som har fortapt seg selv i endeløse spekulasjoner." - A. Viken

Brune skrev: Jeg har også lest om dette sykliske historiesynet, Kali Yuga, jernalderen bla bla bla. For meg blir det kun tom retorikk, og ikke minst naivt, selv om jeg liker tanken, om at til tross for alt mørke og elendigheten så kommer det en ny gullalder, en ny vår eller hva en nå vil kalle det. For meg blir det kun tom retorikk og ja, det er jeg egentlig lei av. Jeg personlig, selv om jeg virkelig vil, klarer ikke å kjøpe argumentasjonen. Det blir som et luftslott. Jeg tror bare ikke at det etter kollapsen, dommedag eller what ever automatisk venter en ny vår eller en fremtid for nordmenn, europeere tibetanere etc. Sagt på en annen måte: jeg tror ikke at “vi” nødvendigvis overlever ragnarok og får se en ny vår. Ikke per automatikk i hvert fall. Jeg tror faktisk noen ting slutter eller tar slutt i historien. Gir ikke empirien et klart svar på det? Du tenker kanskje at jeg har et heller dystert syn på fremtiden og tja, det stemmer vel. hehe.

Du refererte kanskje egentlig til den andre teksten min “Å du deilige endetid eller Kali Yuga hele jula”:

Uansett så får jeg bare oppklare noe:

Kali Yuga er en del av en syklisk tankegang innen hindusimen som i likhet med Spenglers historiske sykluser fra en høykulturs fødsel til dens undergang, beskriver et organisk forløp for en kulturs blomstring og med tiden uunngåelige fall. En ny “gullalder” betyr ikke at den samme kulturen blomstrer opp, tvert om det innebærer at det er eventuelt en ny kulturell gnist som vokser frem, som kanskje fortrenger sivilisasjonen som ikke var livskraftig lenger.

Det er ingenting som tilsier i dette begrepet eller etter min mening at det finnes noe skjebnegitt håp for en sivilisasjon som Vesten. På mange måter er Vesten død som kultur ettersom den kun gjentar og endrer ytre former for strukturell selvoppholdelse uten evne til å tilføre mening, vilje og visjon. Spørsmålet er egentlig bare: hva skal komme etter sammenbruddet?

Et sammenbrudd som ikke nødvendigvis er en stor dramatisk katastrofe, men mer som en ild som langsomt slukner ut, mens den blaffer litt opp i noen øyeblikk før den går i svart. Så nei, det er ingenting som gis oss mennesker, uansett kultur, det er vår vilje og vilje til mening og virkelighetsforståelse som setter premissene for fremtiden. Bønner eller fatalisme har her ingen betydning.

Ditt syn kan godt oppfattes som dystert og pessimistisk hvis du hviler på oppfatningen om at ”ingenting nytter” etc.  Men du, ja vi, lever her og nå, du her ikke mer eller mindre makt enn andre til å gjøre noe ut av den levetid du har til rådighet og det er opp til deg å avgjøre hvilke krefter du stiller deg til disposisjon, enten aktivt og bevisst, eller passivt og ubevisst. Mer komplisert er det ikke i sin essens. Overgangen til en ny tid er ikke forunt en enkelt generasjon selv om den kan oppleve en revolusjon, den forløper over flere generasjoner, umerkelig til et nytt paradigme er etablert som selvfølgelige sannhet.

Her er vi alle små tannhjul i historiens større maskineri, eller kanskje heller vanndråper i historiens grøde.

Du skriver og lengre opp i en kommentar:

Forøvrig en god omtale (som alltid!), men om jeg ikke husker feil så utelater Ruppert en viktig detalj angående sine fremtidsutsikter, men han er jo amerikaner. Hva skal disse stammene (den forlengede familie) bygges opp av, eller hva skal binde dem så de hører naturlig sammen. Mitt spørsmål er forøvrig retorisk og trenger intet svar. Det er bare å åpne øynene og sprenge sine egne luftslott og utopier. Stammer oppstår ikke ut av det blå! 

Nei stammer og fellesskap oppstår ikke ut av det store intet. Vet ikke om du kanskje hinter nasjonale fellesskap eller etniske størrelser siden du skriver så kryptisk, men selv føler jeg ingen tilknytning til nasjonalstaten Norge forstått som stat og politisk system, dets samtidige eksistensberettigelse er meg fremmed.

Fremmed i den forstand at jeg ikke kjenner noe felleskap med mennesker her fordi de er født, oppvokst her og snakker samme språk. Selv søker jeg verdi- og interessefelleskap med mennesker som tross ulikheter deler fundamentalt min virkelighetsforståelse og mine verdier, dette er mennesker jeg kan føle tilhørighet med, ja, min stamme.

Et eksempel: debatten omkring norsk kultur i det siste, viser tydelig hvor fjernt jeg personlig står fra mennesker som identifiserer seg med en overfladisk festdag, et flagg, folkemuseum, eventyrfortelinger om tusser og troll, individuelle rettigheter eller en matrett, for å nevne noe av det som folk har kommet med. Ikke at symboler, riter, historier og merkedager ikke kan ha stor betydning, men fordi symbolene er som gravstener i samtiden. Symbolene er ikke tegn på det levende og aktive lenger, men det døde og glemte, suttekluter for en sivilisasjon som har fortapt seg selv i endeløse spekulasjoner.

Disse restene av det som en gang var et dypere felleskap betyr egentlig ingen ting lengre; de er strippet for sin opprinnelige mening og det som gjenstår er kun relikvier og skuebrød av en kultur som en gang var, men som nå er helt overtatt av en sivilisasjon som handler om forbruk og fordeling av forbruksevne. Så i likhet med hva Ruppert uttalte så ser jeg min ”stamme” som en som oppstår som svar på de store menneskelige utfordringene som møter oss nå og i fremtiden, og som tar konsekvensen av dette i et verdisyn forankret både i realitet, men og visjon om en større tilværelse enn individuell behovstilfredsstillelse, i meningsfylt balanse med natur og menneskenatur. Min “stamme” har ikke sin rot i stat, overfladiske ideologiske benevnelser eller patriotisk nostalgi, men rot i et viljesfellesskap. Mennesker som finner sammen i et sam-funn.

Men det er mitt syn, andre søker tilhørighet i andre former for fellesskap, hvilket står dem fritt til å velge så lenge de ikke legger begrensninger på mine idealers utfoldelse, og her er det vel kampen om fremtiden begynner og slutter for oss alle, i grensegangene mellom ulike gruppers valg av verdier og tilhørighet.

Med ønsker om et konstruktivt og meningsfylt nyttår. - A. Viken, Kulturverk


Klikk på bildene for forstørrelse

Mennesket + husdyr = 90 prosent av alle pattedyr

Da mennesket for cirka 10.000 år siden begynte å dyrke jorden, begynte det også å temme husdyr. Bare målt i antall må husdyrene sies å ha hatt suksess med å bytte ut en vill natur med menneskets fjøs og beiteområder. Dagens raser omfatter milliarder av individer og utgjør 60 prosent av alle landpattedyr. Nå er 90 prosent av alle pattedyrene mennesker og husdyr, mens vi for 10.000 år siden utgjorde under 0,2 prosent.

Kilde: Illustrert Vitenskap Nr. 2, 2013, s. 21.

Wise Greeks Return to the Land, Stupid Greeks Go to Norway

While Oslo is the most rapid growing city of Europe because of immigration, more and more people leave Athens and other Greek cities. And as the above video from Al Jazeera shows, many of these wisely return to the villages and the land of their forefathers.

Unfortunately some are stupid enough going to Norway, and the most stupid of stupid Greeks go to Oslo to compete about the jobs together with Spaniards, Portuguese and Swedes, among others. In the fishing industry of the north there is easier to get a job.

They come here because they believe Norway is a land of milk and honey, but the truth is that it is a land of oil and gas. Here you can see the speed of which the oil billions pushchairs into our GDP.

The sad truth is that Norway will go the same way as Greece, just a little later, but much harder. So stupid Greeks, coming to Norway getting children here is just passing of the suffering to your children and grandchildren. They would have come better of in the beautiful Greek villages, believe me!

Many Greeks return to the beautiful villages of their country nowadays. Norwegians too dream about living fulfilled lives in such a place. Panoramic photo of the villages of Selianitika and Longos taken from the nearby hills.

Related reading:

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Replacing Intellectual Property Rights by Idea Credit Rights

Excerpted from Heather Marsh:
Copyright and patent laws which are structured to ensure fame and profit for those that can afford the fees and are the quickest to file forms have created a society and a history filled with people celebrated for creations they did not originate and filled also with creative people who died in poverty and anonymity because they did not have the gift of self promotion. The user group has a key role to play in ensuring that credit is given where appropriate.

This may seem out of place in an argument against personality driven systems, but it is essential. While ideas need amplification from those with the power to do so, stealing credit for ideas creates resentment, discourages sharing and most of all, creates power where it should not exist. Unlike copying, which is not theft, taking credit deprives the rightful owner of it and is theft. The frustration felt by those who know they will never receive credit discourages sharing and open discussion and destroys the joy of creation. A true idea driven culture is one where it is not necessary to be an extrovert with millions of Twitter followers and public speaking skills to receive not just recognition of an idea but of the real idea originator.

Credit theft is a severe impediment to equality. In a world where media with global reach is controlled almost exclusively by western men, from owners to reporters to the 85% male Wikipedia editors, the result is women and others are photoshopped out of every important story. The news creates the fame which feeds the awards and recognition which perpetuates the cycle of exclusion. Where ideas translate into potential careers, credit theft is even more reprehensible. It is as common now as ever for a person with access to powerful forums to pick up an idea from a person unable to reach the public and use it to enhance their own reputation. This is frequently brushed off in groups fighting for societal change as ‘the hive’ owns the idea, everyone does the role they choose, and it just so happens that the role most suitable to those in power (western men) is interviews, public speaking, books, etc., while the silent and unrecognized work is more ‘suitable’ to the introverted or those without the power to take the stage. Any criticism or resentment is met with outrage that the originator cares more for their own fame than ‘the cause’. It is time to call an end to this practice which has existed far too long. There is no longer any pretend need for an extroverted man to present every idea, in these days of internet communication even a disabled, impoverished single mom does not need anyone else to say her words. The practice of making every public appearance by a woman an opportunity for sexual intimidation or sexual assault is an attempt to prolong idea theft and prevent women (and other marginalized groups) from ever holding power. It needs to stop.

Idea credit theft is even a problem in cases where the origin wishes to remain anonymous. It is very common for anonymity to be lost because the originator or their friends see an outside person claiming credit for an idea they know came from elsewhere. Just as free software and creative commons licenses allow anyone to use an idea but not claim ownership of it, there should be an attempt to protect ideas which are released for all from being claimed by one. If this seems silly, observe many cases where people are wrongly claiming credit for starting protests and even revolutions, promoting themselves to become the voice that is amplified when others are trying to find out goals and characteristics of the movement.

Idea credit theft is unfair to listeners who may wish clarification, or are interested in more ideas from the same source. False claims of origins usually result in ideas being improperly explained and the loss is to the user group. In a world where the user groups made every effort to find the original source of ideas, creative people would receive credit without being made to take a public stage or engage in public relations battles with extroverted people whose gifts are in marketing and self promotion.

While intellectual property rights need to be abolished as they are inhibiting progress and being used as a tool of inappropriate permanent economic control and intimidation, idea credit rights need far more recognition and need to start being applied to the originator, not the copyright or patent holders.

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:
    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:
  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:
    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 ..
  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:
    If you like to contact him, his contact information is to be found here:
    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
    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:

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