Appendix II: A Practical Approach for Developing Poor Nations and Regions

This is a chapter from the book, Economic Democracy; The Political Struggle for the 21st Century. Visit that link for more information about the book.

Lets us design an emerging nation development plan utilizing cheap, broadly-available resources. Almost all countries have traditional, fireproof, earthen-material homes hundreds of years old., and most developing nations also have large numbers of unemployed labor quite capable of building in the traditional ways, who can build high-quality earthen homes cheaply. Firing the inside of earth homes creating ceramic walls and floors opens an unlimited potential of beautiful, clean, easily maintained, yet cheap, housing. Some regions traditionally use other building materials such as stone, straw-bale, timber, bamboo, et al.

Local master-craftsmen can train the apprentice home builders, and these newly-trained practitioners can teach others on the job. The teachers would be paid, and the worker’s pay would be their training as master home builders. For example, assuming five workers to a crew on an adobe home, every three or four houses built will result in five more master builders, expanding the home building project exponentially. Other building materials will require differing periods of training to produce master craftsmen, but the principle is the same. (See Hassan Fathy’s book, “Architecture For The Poor,” for an inspiring account of the method that was used to create a total-process system of adobe construction in Egypt.) Having designed and built sustainable housing and major architectural projects in many countries, Phil Hawes (philhawes@theriver.com) is an internationally known expert.

Additional industries are necessary to produce doors, windows, plumbing and electrical systems, flooring, roofs, and furniture. These will also expand exponentially along with the home building itself.

Though these homes will be built cheaply, they have full use-value. As some projects mature, the labor will be paid, while in others the master-builder will train volunteer workers to build more homes for themselves, family, and friends, and are thus paid indirectly, but paid well.

Since real value is being produced utilizing local and regional resources, money can be created by any nation, or region, up to the value of those homes, businesses and inventory. Created money is the proper financial source to utilize a nation’s own resources to build the industries, regional businesses, and inventory necessary to service a developing community.

Simultaneous with building homes, a country or region must develop a prosperous agriculture. Farms, equipment, and the food produced have value and, as it is locally produced, money can be created for that development as well. All resources should be processed locally into high value-added products both for regional consumption and export. As economic activity and production increases, community values rise, and buying power increases to purchase the new production.

So long as countries or regions are utilizing local resources, money can be created to build industries and infrastructure. Correctly guided, this can even include higher-tech industries for manufacturing such energy producing equipment as wind generators, small hydro- generation units, and photovoltaic cells. These can convert the naturally occurring, non-fossil fuel forces of wind, water-power, and sunlight into electrical energy. In some cases it will be possible to train ambitious local inhabitants to assemble electronic equipment, such as TV’s and computers, which can provide a free education via satellite.

However, soon a developing country or region will need more technology and industries that are firmly under the control of the imperial centers. It is at this point that regions must ally together to negotiate with the imperial centers to trade access to resources for access to technology. To not ally together would result in the locally created wealth being transferred to those imperial centers, via unequal pay for equally-productive labor, and the local resources being purchased far below their full value, resulting in the familiar inevitable debt traps for the developing regions. The key is cheap, quality, local production of social infrastructure.

Taxing nature’s wealth as per Henry George principles (see chapter 24) prevents monopolized values and protects the entire nation from having those values attached to repay debts. HG taxing principles are essential both for economic efficiency and protection against creditor nations laying claim to a weak nation’s wealth. The use-value is still there but society collecting the landrent prevents those values from being capitalized, keeps them out of the hands of creditors, and thus those values are forever kept in trust for a nation’s citizens. .

By all classes being available via satellite and viewed on the home TV, it is possible for the developing world to educate their citizens for 5 to 15% the cost of conventional brick and mortar schools. Not only would the youth become well educated, so would many older citizens. Wi-Fi wiring those emerging nations would give the talented access to jobs and markets in the highly developed world.

Creating stable money: The subchapter “Inflation, Deflation, and Constant Value: Creating Honest Money”, assumes a fractional reserve banking system. The imperial centers have, and use, many levers to keep the buying power of weak countries currency low. So what is suggested here has to be looked at carefully from many angles.

Currently most nations are required to keep their reserves in US treasuries. As a developing nation is integrated into the world trading system, lets assume its oil and other resources permits its currency to become strong. Such a fortunate nation could approach mainstream currency traders to put together and market a basket of 30 or more commodities. While their currency value is high, the bank system’s reserves can be invested in those stable values. Keeping a nation’s reserves invested broadly in commodities should protect its currency from most of the many ways a currency can be attacked.

Currency values can only remain stable if a countries productive capacity is efficient and stable. So that country needs to develop infrastructure cheaply and efficiently, the above building of quality homes and support industries cheaply is an example but only a start.

With technology and markets monopolized, high technology industrializing is more problematic. The key is maximum production of high value-added products rather than selling raw resources. Example: an oil producing nation has the option of refining its oil, producing plastics, etc. The monopolies of wealthy nations are so powerful, almost certainly other industries will require trading alliances or full federations between weak nations as a step toward the full federation of all nations.

Stevia is 30 times sweeter than sugar, is cheap to produce, cheap to process, and it does not have the health damaging effects of sugar. William Hayward (<haywardwj@execs.com>) has containers filled with Stevia plants, processing equipment, and instructions ready to ship anywhere in the world. Africa also has a couple indigenous sweet plants that may replace sugar. The gains to a society both financially and in health care substituting any one of these sweeteners for sugar is huge.

Most important is sharing with other developing nations the various ways to protect their wealth from being claimed by speculators of wealthy nations.

Hopefully these nations can ally together to build their infrastructures and protect themselves from monopoly capital. As this simple development plan is put together, other areas of utilization of local labor and resources will become visible.

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Chapters for “Economic Democracy; The Political Struggle for the 21st Century

This is a chapter from the book, Economic Democracy; The Political Struggle for the 21st Century. Visit that link for more information about the book.