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

This is a chapter from the book, Money; A Mirror Image Of The Economy. Visit that link for more information about the book.

Trying to provide an answer to both capitalism and communism the past 50 years, the Progressive Utilization Theory, Prout, www.prout.org, “integrating economic democracy and spiritual values,” is speaking to full and equal rights for each and every person, very similar to our approach. Those reading both philosophies may want to add a spiritual approach to this strictly economic approach and perhaps add a full understanding of Henry George’s philosophy applied across the full economic spectrum and a socially owned and operated banking system to Prout’s cooperative philosophy.

While waiting for the world to throw off the current beliefs which maintain their poverty, let’s design an emerging-nation development plan utilizing cheap, broadly-available resources that can be accomplished within the current monopoly structure. Almost all countries have traditional, fireproof, earthen homes hundreds of years old. Most developing nations have large numbers of unemployed labor quite capable of building in the traditional ways and 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, etc.

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 but the workers’ pay would be their training as master home builders. For example, assuming five workers to a crew on an adobe or rammed earth home, every three or four houses built will result in five more master builders who can return to their home regions, sign up apprentice home builders, and rapidly expand the home building project. 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@ amaonline.com is an internationally known expert as is Richard Register, ecocitybuilders.org.

Additional industries are necessary to produce doors, windows, plumbing and electrical systems, flooring, roofs, and furniture. These industries will expand in step with the expansion of home building.

Though these homes will be built cheaply, they have full, actually superior, 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, primary 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 infrastructure, industries, businesses, and inventory necessary to service a developing community.

Simultaneous with building homes, a country or region must develop a prosperous agriculture. Permaculture fruits, nuts, berries, tubers, and vegetables work will with eco-village housing. Master permaculturists can be trained and returned to their regions to train more just as described above with master builders. Commercial farms, equipment, and the food produced have value and, as it is locally produced, money can be socially 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, buying power increases to purchase the new production, and community values rise.

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 high 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, waterpower, and sunlight into electrical energy. It is possible to train ambitious local inhabitants to assemble electronic equipment, such as TVs and computers, which can provide a free education via satellite and solar powered WiFi.

However, a developing country or region will soon need technology and industries that, unless the revolution we addressed throughout this book has taken place, are firmly under the control of the imperial centers. It is at this point that regions must federate (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. Local resources will be purchased far below their full value, resulting in the familiar inevitable debt traps for the developing regions sucking up any money that has been created.

The key is cheap, quality, local production of social infrastructure. But the money created must be protected against claims by international creditors. Collecting the rental values of nature’s wealth as per Henry George’s property rights laws (chapters one through five) prevents capitalized monopoly values, provides development funds, and protects the entire nation from having those values attached to repay debts. Henry George’s principles of society collecting socially created rental values 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 resource rents and interest on loans prevents those nature-produced values from being capitalized, keeps them out of the hands of creditors, and thus nature’s wealth and socially-produced values are forever kept in trust for a nation’s citizens.

By all classes being available via satellite or WiFi and studied on home TV, it is possible for the developing world to educate their citizens for 5-15% the cost of conventional brick and mortar schools. Not only would the youth become well educated, so would many older citizens. WiFi wiring those emerging nations would give the talented access to jobs and markets in the highly developed world. Apprentice labor working side by side with skilled labor will soon build a skilled labor force.

Currency values can only remain stable if a country’s productive capacity is efficient and stable. So a country needs to develop infrastructure cheaply and efficiently and 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 that such industries will require trading alliances or full federations between weak nations, 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 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 (federate) 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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This is a chapter from the book, Money; A Mirror Image Of The Economy. Visit that link for more information about the book.