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Coffee Communities

This post is connected to the following post: Capitalism Disrupted.

Coffee Capitalism?

"Hey, our guy David, he's back from his sales trip. We're going to meet at Starbuck"

"Okay, I'll be heading over. I hope he got something good."

"Yeah, we need something ever since GE decided to leave our town. After promising us good jobs and all of the work we did...man, those..."

I cut him off: "Yeah, no use crying over it. I'll see you over there."

Anytown, New York is just like any little town in upper state New York, or even like those towns in the Rust Belt. With jobs draining out of towns due to automation, people are worried about what they are going to do, how they are going to survive. We went through the Trump years and yeah, companies came back, but the jobs were fully automated. Now eight years later, the rich are richer and the everyday folks are angrier. So somebody in our town came up with an idea of making our community act like a mini-corporation, where the community takes stock of our various skills and put them to work. Some people may work on communications, some may work on sales, while others actually

make the products that we think can sell. Others with a more business oriented skills will work on the financials to make sure we don't get into trouble. Since our community has experience in working with metals, we decided to try making beautiful functional things out of metal, such as tables or chairs. We're not totally sure how far we can push this but we are exploring options to start. David is our sales guy and he and his team have been travelling, selling our town and what it can do, using the artistic brochures to convince potential buyers.

A few towns are using this approach to see if it works. It will beat relying on corporations for jobs. We need to own this ourselves.

The above was not meant to be a lead in to a story; I am no storyteller. But it is to introduce an idea that we may need to approach capitalism or markets differently. This is just one idea out of many we may need to dream up. This version is one where small towns that have no major factories may have to act like corporations themselves. Maybe a majority of the folks have specific skills that can be sold by those who can sell or market. Whole towns may have to get together and figure out what that is.

But, it can't be just making anything. It has to be making with a distinction, probably artistic or cultural, that makes people want to buy. We are not going to be able to out-mass produce those machines. The machines are going to do it better than us humans. We will have to do it in ways that makes us human. Machines may eventually become "creative" but hopefully, they won't ever be able to do in a human way. As an example of what might be possible, consider that there has been an uprise in interest in handcrafted things, in the physically beautiful but functional things that are not mass produced. We've had mass produced things for so long now that the beautiful handcrafted things are now more interesting. So maybe that is the direction. It seems more human.

Or, instead of making, it could be creating experiences that draws in our human nature. It could be musical, or acting, or virtual reality, or something not yet invented.

Everybody will probably have to know math, logic and coding (and other intellect of that nature), but they won't be the source of jobs because machines can do math and coding much better than humans. No, we will need to know those things in order to understand what is going on, but they won't be the source of income. Instead, we will have to depend on something else, the humanness part of ourselves. Maybe even the creative part of ourselves that creates the beauty and the culture.

This scenario requires communities to dig into themselves to see how they can draw in others to what they have to offer. They will need to have various other skills besides the main selling item: marketing, social media, selling, communicating, business management, and IT related. In other words, everything that makes a corporation run.


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