Bartering Broadband to Cooperacy

Previously in another post, Cooperatively Barter, Trade, and Swap, I indicated a number of ways for a community to prevail in tough economic times.  More specific though to this blog is how you can use bartering, trade and swap to ensure the success of your community’s broadband endeavors.

As part of your community’s network business plan consider bartering broadband access to those community resources that can be of assistance.   Think about the resources that you need such as installers, technicians, an accountant, a lawyer, a web developer, computer repair, etc.  There are a considerable number of resources that are going to be needed.  So, in exchange for service you offer not only free broadband and VoIP, you offer them a lead generation agreement as well as being part of a service cooperative.  For every qualified lead that becomes a customer, or perhaps a cooperative member, you credit their usage account.  These credits can be used directly for the benefit and success of the community’s network.  These credits may also be used by the resource for additional service such as access to locally available online applications, perhaps business video surveillance.  Or, the credits may be even donated to a local charity, or, a local charity’s silent auction.

These resources become in fact stakeholders in an enterprise and could also become shareholders.  This in turn leads to cooperacy.  I’ve explained this in more detail in another post here, Cooperacy through Community Stakeholders and Shareholders,   This transition can be readily accomplished by a community willing to invest in their own economic future.

What Happen$ in the Community $tay$ in the Community!


Big Box Stores without Big Boxes

What big box stores do you want in your community?  Better yet, what specialty stores do you want in your community?   Your community demographics, that is, population, need not be an issue to address your needs and your community’s.  If you’re a remote Canadian community in the Yukon, wouldn’t it be nice to have a Cabelas close at hand to outfit your hunting and fishing needs?  If you’re a remote Arctic community wouldn’t it be nice to have a Canadian Superstore at hand to get groceries?  Wouldn’t it be nice to have a Sears store in the community to buy your apparel?  Wouldn’t it just be nice to have some of the conveniences that those in large urban markets have?

Sure you can order online now and pay substantial shipping costs if you are really remote; but there is a better way. 

Some of you might be familiar with CSAs, Community Supported Agriculture, and the concept of membership to receive fresh produce on a regular basis from local farms.  You might also be familiar with site-to-store programs from various retail big box stores where you order online and they ship it to your nearest store for you to go and pick up.  Several companies are already participating in this program of site to store:  Best Buy, Staples, and Walmart for example.  Order aggregation would be another way for big box stores to address another market opportunity, the rural and remote one.

So, why not a site to site program, that is, order products through an online community portal website to be delivered to a local community catalogue store site which may even serve as the local post office?  A little while ago, I wrote about the revirtualization of the country catalogue store where residents and businesses would be notified upon their purchase’s arrival to the local catalogue store via e-mail or perhaps through a local community smart phone application.  Shipping costs might be free for community development cooperative members.  A weekly consolidation of local grocery orders may be shipped once a week from a participating retailer which could substantially reduce food costs for very remote communities and may even be shipped directly to the local grocery store.  The community’s portal would have affiliate marketing agreements in place to accommodate the site to site program.  Non members and/or those ordering online from other sources might incur shipping costs or local service fees.

Your online community portal hosted locally in your community can be your gateway not just to lower costs through Big Box stores but to facilitate and promote local buying as well.  This service would greatly assist the community’s elderly and the disabled who may order online and then a local delivery service could deliver products.

Financing the Cooperative Startup

Let’s take another approach at financing other than looking just for government subsidies and handouts with respect to addressing community aspirations.

Hopefully we’re all familiar with service clubs such as Rotary, Kiwanis, Lions, etc. who do such great things locally, regionally and internationally.  There are service clubs in demise which could be resurrected under a different tutelage.  Most communities have some sort of community center which in some cases amounts to the local watering hole or restaurant.  Think of these clubs as cooperatives which in a way they are, one member, one vote.  So, now think of having a generic community service club which anyone can join regardless of religion, race, or creed.  Can you see where I’m going with this?  All I’m doing is giving you a different perspective on what already exists to formalize the creation of a local Community Development Cooperative.  To some degree these already exist in a different form such as the local Chamber of Commerce or local trade association which really aren’t broad enough in their membership to encompass residents or in some cases businesses which may be franchised for example.  Instead of a charter the community should have a cooperative agreement perhaps even tiered to consider the difference between residents, businesses, associations and institutions with only residents having voting privileges in this case.  You may even already have a community association in place which could become the Community Development Cooperative as the economic self-sustaining center for the community or region.

Think of what service clubs do for financing and fund raising: membership fees, luncheons, silent auctions, etc.  Look at what is being spent by the community outside of the community and how much of that could be kept in the community.  What Happen$ in the Community $tay$ in the Community!

Cooperatively Barter, Trade, and Swap

No doubt with the economy tanking and with the political unrest we’re all looking at ways to support ourselves and our families and our community.

I’ve indicated several ways that a Community Development Cooperative could benefit your community such as:

  • creation of a Community Media Center
  • establishing a local Community Foundation to facilitate philanthropy and granting
  • establishing a generic and non-discriminatory community service organization to identify and meet community aspirations and needs
  • fostering other community cooperative endeavors

Another aspect that the cooperative might venture into is establishing a barter exchange for members.  A barter exchange facilitates the direct and indirect exchange of services and products.  Alternatively, like a community walled garden the creation of a barter exchange itself could be another way to establish a community cooperative.  Ideally a barter exchange might include a local pawn shop to facilitate the safe and secured consignment of valuable jewellery etc.

The vendors at the local farmers’ market could use bartering as another way of promoting their involvement.

Some resources that you might want to explore with respect to a barter exchange are as follows:

It would seem a natural fit for your local farmers’ market to become a barter exchange, for more often than not they have farmers’ market dollars to promote buying of local produce which could be used as currency for bartering purposes with the farmers’ market still making a percentage.   There are more and more websites and phone applications appearing to assist sellers and buyers.  Not only are there the aforementioned but the following are extremely useful to promote and match local buyers to local sellers:

 A fascinating perspective on combining cooperatives with bartering is the Puget Sound Cooperative Credit Union which has established a bid and bartering service.

Another resource to acquire items that are needed in the community would be through Estate Auctions or Sales:

Another cooperative twist are CSAs, Community Supported Agricultures where basically members commit to buy produce from a local farmer which may be part of a cooperative itself such as the Siskiyou Sustainable Cooperative.  The buying group itself could be a cooperative as well.  To get a better perspective on CSAs go to Local Harvest.

Software can be acquired to run on the community servers to facilitate local exchange empowerment.

Regardless, local bartering, swapping, and trading is becoming a necessity while generating a better sense of community endeavor.  If you are aware of other resource websites that might be of interest to promote local businesses please leave a comment.

Noah Today

Wished I could take credit for the following, or give credit to the original author as I merely “Maplized”, that is, made it more relevant to my own community of Maple Valley.  A friend sent it to me and given my previous posting, Community Ark of the Covenant, I thought that I would share as we seem to be in a need of direction, any direction.  The only way to recover economically and democratically has to be pursued at the community level.  I know of no better way than through community cooperation which can be easily organized through a Community Development Co-operative.  The proposed day of reckoning, that is, May 21st, 2011, came and went and once again being proposed for another time.  Regardless, I thought it would be appropriate to create some awareness through levity to the event if only to create a sense of community and provide some direction through this website:

In the year 2011, the Lord came unto Noah, who was now living in Maple Valley, Washington, and said:  “Once again, the earth has become wicked and over-populated, and I see the end of all flesh before me.”  “Build another Ark and save 2 of every living thing along with a few good humans.”

He gave Noah the blueprints, saying: “You have 6 months to build the  Ark before I will start the unending rain for 40 days and 40 nights.”

Six months later, the Lord looked down and saw Noah weeping in his yard – but no Ark.  “Noah!,”  He roared, “I’m about to start the rain!  Where is the  Ark?”  “Forgive me, Lord,” begged Noah, “but things have changed.”

“I needed a Building Permit.”

“I’ve been arguing with the City Inspector about the need for a sprinkler system.”

“My neighbors claim that I’ve violated the zoning laws by building the Ark in my yard and exceeding the height limitations. We had to go to the local Planning Committee for a non-conforming variance and they are still deliberating.”

“Then the local City Council and power company demanded a shed load of money for the future costs of moving power lines and other overhead obstructions, to clear the passage for the Ark’s move to the sea.  I told them that the sea would be coming to us, but they would hear nothing of it.”

“For the first time I’m getting calls and e-mails, consuming considerable time,  from the City Council looking for photo opportunities.”

“I have Public Works wanting to inspect the Ark for milfoil and ensure that if I intended to float the Ark on Lake Wilderness that it was electric powered and can’t exceed eight miles per hour.”

“The United States Coast Guard routinely inspects for the number of PFDs, personal floatation devices, that we have, and whether or not they conform to their standards.”

“A local boat builder is complaining to the City about unfair business practices and competition by a big boat company.”

“Getting the wood was another problem.  There’s a ban on cutting local trees in order to save the Greater Spotted Barn Owl.”  “I tried to convince the environmentalists that I needed the wood to save the owls – but no go!”

“When I started gathering the animals the SPA took me to court.  They insisted that I was confining wild animals against their will.  They argued the accommodations were too restrictive, and it was cruel and inhumane to put so many animals in a confined space.”

“The City is wanting to charge me license fees for the animals unless I can prove that they are not pets.”

“Then the Environmental Protection Agency ruled that I couldn’t build the Ark until they’d conducted an environmental impact study on your proposed flood.”

“I’m still trying to resolve a complaint with the Human Rights Commission on how many minorities I’m supposed to hire for my building crew.”

“Immigration is checking the Visa status of most of the people who want to work.”

“The trades unions say I can’t use my sons.  They insist I have to hire only Union workers with Ark-building experience.”

“To make matters worse, the IRS seized all my assets, claiming I’m trying to leave the country illegally with endangered species.”

“So, forgive me, Lord, but it would take at least 10 years for me to finish this Ark.”

Suddenly the skies cleared, the sun began to shine, and a rainbow stretched across the sky.

Noah looked up in wonder and asked, “You mean you’re not going to destroy the world?”

“No,” said the Lord. ” The Government beat me to it.”

Community Ark of the Covenant

What is needed to weather the impending storm of revolt is for communities to become united and self-sufficient.   The Internet has become unprecedented in readily accessing information, and anything anyone says, including myself, no longer has to be taken at face value but can be readily researched online.   There is no doubt class wars are occurring worldwide in revolt against oppression.  Tyranny and bullying comes in many forms, and can be inflicted by all levels of government upon the masses through dictatorships, oligarchies, and corporate plutocracies. 

Regardless of race, culture, religion or political beliefs most people around the world aspire to the same thing.  People just want to be productive, happy and content.   I say most, as there are those afflicted with ego, greed and lack of morality to the point of contemptuous inconsiderate disdainful behaviour and to the extent of inflicting crimes against humanity.  They have their own agenda, sometimes executed en masse through secret societies, but typically with the end result of inflicting pain on those just wanting peace and happiness.  I have a basic theory in that sociopaths and psychopaths, whose actual numbers are quite alarming, have inadvertently gotten control due to the naïveté of those with conscience.  How else can you explain the lack of conscience and pathological lying that has taken us from one economic crisis and war to another.  I hope at some point in time that geneticists can create something that when an individual lies their skin starts to turn some alarming color, and when these lies lack conscience, and inflict pain and suffering on others, they become some outlandish color or pattern which only subsides when truth is consistently told. 

In the meantime, perhaps we should subject people to psychological testing and put a tatoo of a “no sign” on their forehead on these guilty pathetic individuals because they are incurable, and need to be avoided.  The will and safety of the majority far outweighs individual rights.

We’re not going to be able to immediately change the country’s political and economic woes because the conscientious political will has been corrupted and seemingly lost, but as communities we can unite and help each member of the community by instilling basic responsible human values that comes by helping each other, and in doing so help oneself.

Many communities are already moving towards self-reliance, basically moving themselves back to democracy away from plutocracy.  It is time that communities create a covenant, an agreement, and build an ark, something that affords protection, to not only re-establish and protect basic human moral rights but to prevail in these desperate times.  Communities need to become self-sufficient, empowering themselves to address community shortcomings in areas of education, health, and public safety.  Community networks are not just made up of fiber, copper, cable, or wireless infrastructure, they are made up of who wish to communicate, socialize, and share in harmony to the mutual benefit of all.  Broadband is merely a tool and means to community fulfillment.

I’m tired and dismayed over community networks that are not established as private/public partnership and are run solely by government and only linking public institutions.  What you will find on this website is the basics for empowering communities through a truly democratic process called co-operatives.  You will find information, including web links, about:

  • community development co-operatives made up of the community’s residents, businesses, institutions and associations;
  • community foundations for philanthropic donations and grants such as USF;
  • community co-operative banks for local membership benefits;
  • community bonds for schools, clinics, community center, etc.;
  • community currency to foster and promote local buying; and
  • working with incumbents such as carriers, service providers, etc.

These all have the basic adage of “What Happen$ in the Community $tay$ in the Community” accomplished through the establishment of a Community Ark of the Covenant thereby returning to basic moral values, civil decency, and democracy, initiated at the grassroots level, while circumventing and avoiding the misguided self serving postulations of politicians, bureaucrats, and lobbyists.

Rise up against the miscreants by empowering yourselves through Community.

Charge of the Community Broadband Brigade

Charge of the Community Broadband Brigade “BYTE Me!”

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