Ok, so my brain is completely and utterly fried because I just finished all my finals for my 3rd trimester of grad school!
Some quick math tells me that 3 trimesters = 1 year. There you have it, one year of graduate school studying capitalism is done! Hoorah!
I just finished my final project for my Systems Thinking course and wanted to share it, because it’s kind of cool that I just did this for school. (hint: you can just scroll down to the bottom if you are impatient, but there are some good nuggets of info in this here post!)
We had to create our own manifesto based on what we learned in the course about systems thinking. There were some examples to look at. One was the famous Bread & Puppet Why Cheap Art? Manifesto, which you should take a look at because it is awesome. And Bread & Puppet is awesome. The other example was from Futerra, a British Sustainable Communications Company. Check out their 10 Rules for Communicating Sustainable Development. It’s pretty interesting and I always like to see what infographics communications folks are putting out there.
I learned a lot of things in my systems class. My third group project consisted of mapping the seed industry. If you want, take a look at this amazing info-graphic of the Seed Industry System Mapping my teammates came up with!
We took two different paradigms and mapped them side by side to see what that looked like. On the one hand, we had a Monsanto-controlled, monopolistic, system that reflects the seed consolidation, GMO seeds and patent industries. On the other hand, we looked at small-scale organic locally-focused seed companies. They supported biodiversity, resiliency and a multiple bottom line for the businesses. Our major learning from that activity was that the feedback loops that keep the GMO seed conglomerates thriving are what tears down the Small-scale organic seed industry. Which sucks and is sad. However, on the flip side, the existence of the Small-scale organic seed industry tears down the GMO seed conglomerates. Basically, when you have two competing systems (Industrial sized monopolies vs. Small-scale diversity), their strengths are their opponents weaknesses.
Also interesting from that project was when we looked deeper at the ideas of resiliency and biodiversity. The GMO folks up at Monsanto, DuPont and Syngenta are patenting life by creating genetically-modified seeds so that way they can have a monopoly on life. (Yes, it is absolutely crazy.) The seed system they are creating, however, is so incredibly fragile because of how homogenous it is. On the other hand, the decentralized seed system of the small-scale organic seed companies is incredibly resilient because it cannot be easily wiped out.
If we apply these ideas to the economy, we see that centralized economies based on monopolistic conglomerates are much more fragile than decentralized economies, which contain a large amount of diversity and resiliency. Basically, decentralized systems are more resilient systems and are more conducive to diversity (of human experience, of life, of whatever). Yay decentralized!
Did that hurt your brain a little bit? Mine too. So, check out this thing I made for my final project for my systems class. Very Bread and Puppet inspired. Pretty fun to make. If you get inspired to make some manifesto of your own, would you please share it with me!
ps- if you click on the manifesto, it will open a new screen and you can read it better!