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Forum Post: Models to Transition to Sustainable Systems Future: Empowerment Zones

Posted 10 years ago on May 27, 2013, 11 p.m. EST by gsw (3406) from Woodbridge Township, NJ
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

People keep asking "how can we transition to the better system"

One idea, rather in rough outline form below, the cure for Chris Hedges "Sacrifice Zones" We Establish "Empowerment Zones", within States, or nationally.

People could test out alternative economic systems and forms of participatory democracy, as models from which the larger nation may draw inspiration and wisdom. On scale of a village, walk across the town in 30 minutes or less. smaller scaled, somewhere those of choice could go and gain skills and knowledge, work skills, and practice in participatory democracy and or libertarian socialism, or whatever model they are voluntarily seeking residency.

Skills could be taught and learned could be in many fields: sciences technology, engeniring, medical, dental, construction, infrastructure, agriculture, tourism, and possibly a village specialty or focus skill, such as glass blowing, metalwork, pottery, art, education, health services, alternative energy from water/solar H20 hydrogen.

Within this would include options for unemployed and underemployed to gain skills, and seek personal fulfilment, with lower cost technical mini college focus on certain skills that could be in high demand, but that could refocus, as the workforce and technology evolves, such as uses on renewable energy, construct efficient windmills or cost effective solar.

Possibly it could be geared towards younger generations, as hands-on nationally subsidized educational opportunities. But hopefully marketable products could be produced as a benefit. Even if they are learning sustainable agriculture, horticulture, build low energy systems, sustainable houses possibly "straw or adobe" construction, old is new.


Such a system could absorb many of the underemployed, and provide another safety net, that would not be giveaways, but for the betterment of society.

sounds like a progressive/practical post high school option, or another opportunity for the many who don't find the current school structure to their needs, alternative high school opportunities.

instead of cars, electric enclosed bicycles/tricycles or golf carts, could be constructed, and utilized in these zones, light rail could interlink neighboring opportunity zones.

the goal would be self-supporting, less expensive option to University, for the common person.

also elder care services could be another option, with mini-medical service in which residencies could be gained.


Edit: add to training skills lists robotics, engineering to skills list.

-2. These could be brand new or within urban areas.

-3. http://www.ektaparishad.com/en-us/about/vision.aspx

-4. http://www.irnc.org/Recherches/Items/Economie/Documents/actes_Bhopal_Schwartzentruber.pdf

How to pay for this? Individuals can take student loan and sign up to a Empowerment Zone college, with student loans. They get a small home and skills. When they have learned enough and wish to move on to a new place, their loan can be paid off by next alumni, who acquire the former's stake, dividends, home, and tuition fees.




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[-] 4 points by gsw (3406) from Woodbridge Township, NJ 10 years ago

[-] 2 points by Forward (6) 30 minutes ago

Cart before the horse. You are taking the evolved version(s) and pushing people toward it. This is why none of our approaches have worked thus far. Evolution is a process resulting from pressure to survive. Put pressure on business, and use the pressure as a steering mechanism; industries will evolve on their own. That is the only way to make it's truly sustainable. ↥twinkle ↧stinkle reply permalink

[-] 1 points by gsw (2566) 27 minutes ago

empowerment zones would put pressure, allow people to learn to live without multinational corps ↥twinkle ↧stinkle edit delete permalink

[-] 1 points by Forward (6) 19 minutes ago

empowerment zones would put pressure, allow people to learn to live without multinational corps

So, a few hundred people are going to take on the world's corporations, after getting the government to give you economic reservations as if the new tribe of economic indians?

Or a few hundred people marketing the true economic footprint of businesses within the framework that already exists. A project that appeals to labor groups, anti tax groups, and investors.

Which is more likely to have a chance? ↥twinkle ↧stinkle reply permalink

[-] 1 points by gsw (2566) 1 minute ago

yea your idea is a good one and is more immediate.

But at the same time, if we could spread empowerment Zone ideas for the unemployed in urban zones, underemployed youths, it could be a selling point and hope for real people, and a means to get them connected to ideas of ows, a radical education, and give people practice to see if direct democracy and anarchic socialism could work as viable alternatives

There are like 20 million underemployed, little means to access skills and hope in sacrifice zones, plus all the unconnected who don't bother to vote, could lead to majority and renewed world democracy, even as a model for Middle Eastern Arab Spring countries with high unemployment, and to give them access to progressive practice, if they so choose.

what can I do to help your idea?

at http://occupywallst.org/forum/economic-impact-grading-group/#comment-974749

[-] 0 points by redandbluestripedpill (333) 10 years ago

Good idea, and well applied in your model. Let's work on this.

" Evolution is a process resulting from pressure to survive"

Allow me to add some vital detail.

Evolution is a process resulting from success in the struggle to survive"

With humans, free speech assures the group is informed and understands info vital to survival. Empowerment needs to happen, and, in a big way. However, our gov has been hijacked and plans WAR, then enslavement.

With free speech, we can end the highjacking and begin transition.

With ART5 we can see the end of the abridging of free speech as a part of the preparatory amendment process. Then amend to end the hijacking and the war mongering.

[-] 3 points by Nevada1 (5843) 10 years ago

Excellent------Empowerment Zones. Not Sacrifice Zones.

[-] 2 points by gsw (3406) from Woodbridge Township, NJ 10 years ago

Empowerment Zones could possibly be initiated as a liberal arts and sciences college, with branches being unique Empowerment zones. It would be work,study balance, degree earned over numerous years, so not need to hire many profs, but the enrolled could be taking similar classes, then new professors arrive in other subjects, and previous rotate to other new commencing Empowerment zone branch campus.

we take existing college structure as an institution for modern uses, sustainability

http://m.wikihow.com/Start-a-College to acquire funds to initiate

Part of curriculum would be practical planning, building, construction, engineering, and first group of builders, after first campus Empowerment zone is complete, can move to the next Empowerment Zone to be developed.

[-] 2 points by Nevada1 (5843) 10 years ago

Good Idea. Making college available at a reasonable price, is critical.

[-] 2 points by gsw (3406) from Woodbridge Township, NJ 10 years ago

Yes, and students learn practical skills, a degree, and at same time a small home.

25 years later student loan balance forgiven. Empowerment zone could co-sign or garuntee the loan.

You would need a group to start the empowerment zone university model, and simultaneous recruit students willing to start something new, in a college still working to accreditation.

Maybe their could be ties with existing state universities, for faculties and accreditation.

[-] 0 points by redandbluestripedpill (333) 10 years ago

In reading your link, I realized that sustainability probably will not meet a few building codes, and the teaching methods might not meet state criteria.

There are actually laws that keep us from cooperating and working towards sustainability.

[-] 1 points by gsw (3406) from Woodbridge Township, NJ 10 years ago

align with state campus for professors, be a branch campus, check with codes for compliance.

which laws?

[-] 0 points by redandbluestripedpill (333) 10 years ago

Zoning, credentialed status, building codes, health and safety codes, business llicenses. We cannot organize to cooperate in experimentation because free speech is abridged and have no resource or economy needed to conform.

This is perhaps the problem that the notion of "Empowerment Zones" may solve.

It will require Article V to create such zones, or even create a general environment where the intention to act and produce sustainably gets needed permission and support. Unfortunately we have a forum heavily infiltrated for the purpose of stopping Americans of using their first right, or any law etc that might slow the elites more total aquisition of our lives.

[-] 1 points by gsw (3406) from Woodbridge Township, NJ 10 years ago

Follow established building codes http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Model_building_code

[-] 0 points by redandbluestripedpill (333) 10 years ago

Here we must have fireproof structures or pay $250k for giant roads in steep ground for fire trucks that never show in a forest fire.

Structural engineers cannot or will not develop appropriate skills to cover the structures needed, which if they design, we cannot afford anyway. It's too easy working with building codes.

[-] 1 points by gsw (3406) from Woodbridge Township, NJ 10 years ago

Straw bale construction exhibits R values from R-30 and up to R-45. The bales are typically covered with concrete mortar/stucco or earthen/lime plaster, achieving a high degree of fire resistance.

Two hundred million tons of straw are burned annually in the US. The stability and lack of weathering in straw is not desirable in agriculture but quite desirable in construction.

Straw in straw bale structures has not shown evidence of termite infestations.


[-] 0 points by DKAtoday (33802) from Coon Rapids, MN 10 years ago

HEMP = even better construction material

[-] -1 points by redandbluestripedpill (333) 10 years ago

I like it as a replacement for timber. The USDA needs to let it be grown where people want to grow it as a fiber crop.

To do that we'll need ART5. We can get the FDA and the EPA to do their jobs too.

[-] -1 points by DKAtoday (33802) from Coon Rapids, MN 10 years ago

Colorado and Oregon just legalized - It can be achieved on a state by state basis - a majority telling the fed that they are wrong. Move to Amend is an article V action - one that is defined as to the action required.

[-] 0 points by redandbluestripedpill (333) 10 years ago

We need to see farmers planting mass hemp to acid test this state legalization. Any examples?

Again, a link to movetoamends Article V plan is needed.

[-] -1 points by DKAtoday (33802) from Coon Rapids, MN 10 years ago

Check out the information on Move To Amend's Link. Easy Peasy as to finding out what they are doing where they are doing it and where they are going.

As far as productive use of Hemp? Here ya go:

HempFoods & Hemp Information

[-] 0 points by redandbluestripedpill (333) 10 years ago

Okay, you cannot find a link saying they have state petitions circulating just like I cannot.

That is an Australian hemp web site. I found this, which is a good general reference.


I'm looking for US commercial farmers of hemp talking about crop and market.

Hard to get a clear view of state crops. This looks like they might not be commercially operating yet.


[-] 0 points by redandbluestripedpill (333) 10 years ago

Not approved here.

I'm talking fireproof. We have extreme fires. Ever live where you are ready for evacuation on 2 hours notice?

[-] 1 points by gsw (3406) from Woodbridge Township, NJ 10 years ago

Try adobe http://www.solidearth.co.nz/adobe-brick-technique.php

As with other forms of earth construction, adobe bricks are a fireproof, durable yet biodegradable, non-toxic building material which provide sufficient thermal mass to buildings to ensure excellent thermal performance. Other benefits include low sound transmission levels through walls and a general feeling of solidity and security.

[-] 0 points by DKAtoday (33802) from Coon Rapids, MN 10 years ago

Clean tech has a neat "printable" building structure. I don't know all of the spec's but it sounds like a possibility for affordable housing.

[-] 0 points by redandbluestripedpill (333) 10 years ago

We have to build grouted, engineered concrete walls inside, and use the adobe as a face. It was used a great deal in the past just as your link shows, but has a considerable vulnerability to earthquakes so is not allowed.

Ferrocement is the answer, shielded and insulated. Irregular rounded shapes are the easiest. Engineers run from engineering analysis. I understand that there is $30k software that can do finite element analysis, but the guy that can run it is $150 hour, and he's just experimenting, for quite a while.

[-] 2 points by DKAtoday (33802) from Coon Rapids, MN 10 years ago

LA is a green tech power empowerment zone ( California for that matter ) - LA pledge to be totally coal free by 2025.

[-] 2 points by gsw (3406) from Woodbridge Township, NJ 10 years ago

On Funding, Initiating http://occupywallst.org/forum/the-people-think-they-are-free-but-our-society-is-/#comment-975081

[-] 6 points by agkaiser (1203) from Fredericksburg, TX 3 months ago We owe. Our government owes. Debt is crushing us all. It's a threat to our lifestyles, if not our lives. The system is such that there's no way out. We cannot earn our way out of debt. All the profit goes to the lenders. The interest we pay cuts into the money we need to survive. The banks and über investors have the power of life and death over individuals and the entire Human Race. They are more dangerous than all the tyrants and terrorists since the beginning of civilization. Why do we allow them to dictate the terms of our existence? That's a rhetorical question. Without attempting to understand stupidity, we can try to elucidate the mechanisms of debt slavery and point up the ironies of our docile acceptance and even emotional defense of our financial overlords. We can attempt to broaden the debate. The usual suspects are usually questioned only about what can be done within the constraints of our culture, which is dominated by 'capitalist free market' ideology. They speak often about 'outside the box thinking' but don't seem to know that the box itself must be redesigned from without. A real solution that our leaders don't care to see? We can renounce slavery. Note that Mesopotamian priests and kings of old, like Moses, knew the answer. Regularly or occasionally as needed, all debt was forgiven, all land returned to God [the Earth] and in the case of the Jewish lawgiver at least, all profit on loans, usury, was forbidden. Why don't we declare a Jubilee? All government debt, all mortgages, all credit card and other personal debt is wiped clean and we start over. Instead of all land returned to God, commercial real estate and property can go to our common holdings. Personal property and the land and house where you live will be exempt. You who rent will then own. The threat to our existence by the greedy will be attenuated. If the bankers, über investors, rentiers and capitalists complain, then their personal property may also be confiscated and they may be imprisoned for threatening the existence of the Human Race. Otherwise they may be prosecuted as Tory traitors to the American Revolution for robbing the people of money, power, freedom and democracy. Excerpt from: How Does That Work? https://www.createspace.com/3852916 ↥twinkle ↧stinkle reply permalink

[-] 3 points by gsw (2578) 7 hours ago that could be a good idea for real people we are indoctrinated to pay our debts. We need places people can live healthy lives without debt.... the problem is to get started, it may take money, or material support. If these were set up as schools, low interest student loans, could help get the thing started... Still it would be debt, http://occupywallst.org/forum/models-to-transition-to-sustainable-systems-future/ Loan Forgiveness The maximum repayment period is 25 years. After 25 years, any remaining debt will be discharged (forgiven). Under current law, the amount of debt discharged is treated as taxable income, so you will have to pay income taxes 25 years from now on the amount discharged that year. But the savings can be significant for students who wish to pursue careers in public service. And because you will be paying the tax so long from now, the net present value of the tax you will have to pay is small. http://www.finaid.org/loans/ibr.phtml with loan, maybe backed by the Empowerment Zone community, they would get stake in a community, a small home.

[-] 1 points by Kavatz (464) from Edmonton, AB 10 years ago

Should just do a small scale Venus Project.

That actually can't really happen in a monetary system, unless billions went into making everything abundant and free.

My point is, you have to consider the increasing rate of "automation of labor". Soon just a tiny fraction of skilled laborers will have work to do. We'll have self-erecting structures, and self-constructing mega machines. People will only be needed for things machines can't do, which appears to be very little.

As far as useful skills, I'd recommend keeping training limited to engineering and varied sciences, along with other subjects unlikely to lead to repetitive tasks.

Trades people are still necessary of course, just that we'll need fewer of them as labor gets more automated.

Perhaps as a way to fund the community is high density vertical farming (some amazing technology is already available and in use today). The whole community could own and operate the insanely massive operation.

The operation could be totally democratic, and fund the direction the community decides to take, in regards to education, governance, etc.

[-] 1 points by gsw (3406) from Woodbridge Township, NJ 10 years ago

How do you transition from where we are to there?

People still like to learn, do art, grow stuff, connect with nature and a village structure, where people can have time to have more social interaction, if they choose.

This would be adaptable, with learning and access to technology skill and robotics.

We'll need places for people to hang out as they loose jobs, and economic stability in current system.

Good discussion, Kavatz.

Edit, they could too support conglomerate plan of yours.

[-] 1 points by Kavatz (464) from Edmonton, AB 10 years ago

This is worth a watch, if interested in urban farming and modern city planning. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aTA1rsfKKqY&feature=youtube_gdata_player Very interesting and worth listening to while doing late night dishes.

[-] 1 points by Kavatz (464) from Edmonton, AB 10 years ago

Well I can't see the Venus Project starting up until it's known and accepted by the majority of the world, and I can only see global unity of this magnitude achieved with the 99% Conglomerate, in Phase 3 maturity.

As for this Empowerment Zone implementation, I think most people would like to work with the vertical (and other modern types of) farming Worker Self-Directed Enterprise (WSDE). It would be able to employ many people, with off-the-grid power generation and other seemingly unrelated occupations.

People who aren't working and have free time to fill would spend their time doing whatever, probably learning, training or teaching, raising kids, etc. Like you said, there would be the opportunity for anyone to do the Conglomerate thing, starting new Subsidiaries to keep money local and the local economy strong.

[-] -2 points by Whetherman1968 (-67) 10 years ago

Glass blowing? Pottery? Art? Metalwork? That's the answer? Here is what we need: degrees in mining, materials science, geology, petroleum engineering, physics, nuclear physics, math, electrical engineering,

[-] 1 points by gsw (3406) from Woodbridge Township, NJ 10 years ago

Yes we must value art and humans' needs for learning in all fields. You don't like art, even if you create some for yourself in a weekend workshop.

That's the beauty of this idea, because essentially the zones, sort of practical-planned school-villages would have specialties in many fields, including science, I envision many empowerment zones, flexible and adaptable, cap population in each zone to maybe 10,000 people, but they could be within existing area too.

Detroit looks like a place to start.

PS Mexican villages were established by with specialties focus, so each village would have a core mission, and trade among villages could happen.

His legacy

The skills he implanted among P'urhépecha of the Pátzcuaro region have been passed down to their descendants, who are today considered among the most skilled craftspersons in Mexico. Tata Vasco trained his pupils in a variety of disciplines. His method of specialization by community continues to this day: Paracho produces guitars, Tzintzuntzán pottery, Santa Clara copper products and Nurío woven woolens.


As bishop, he transferred the seat of the bishopric from Tzintzuntzán to Patzcuaro. In Patzcuaro he founded the cathedral and the Seminary of San Nicolas. He worked to gather the Indians in large towns near Lake Pátzcuaro in the center of Tarascan territory, recently ravaged by Beltrán de Guzmán. Using Thomas More's Utopia as a model, here the Indians were to be taught religion, crafts and the fundamentals of self-government. Each town was to become the center of an industry. Each person worked six hours a day and contributed on an equal basis to the common welfare. He gradually realized the necessity of restricting the scope of his plans, which he had hoped to apply throughout the colony, to the smaller area over which he had jurisdiction, partially because his personal funds were not unlimited.

[-] -2 points by Whetherman1968 (-67) 10 years ago

Can you explain how we would measure the value of a glass blower vs the value of a pediatric neurosurgeon?

[-] 2 points by gsw (3406) from Woodbridge Township, NJ 10 years ago

People enjoy glass and it's a luxury http://www.chihuly.com/exhibitions.aspx

People need surgeons , their status speaks for itself.

Surgeon may value glass art, and like to acquire some. Both play a role in life.

The glass blower inspires, and the surgeon has advanced technical skill to save life.

If I was on an island with only 1 person, surgeon would be wiser for personal longevity.

Flexible, low density adaptable schools, for less complex work than medical school, which would still be available. People aren't going to want to be glass blowers if there is no demand, that is how democratic decision process, and ability to leave one Empowerment zone for another, a person could sell his stake to a younger gen, or stay on and instruct aprentice newcomers as is necessitated by society.

Glass is available, surgeon is more rare. Maybe more people would choose to be a surgeon, if cost and access to advanced skills were available.