The soft landing is a transition to a way of life that provides for the basic needs of community members during and after economic collapse. It is a planned transition that avoids suffering, conflict, and chaos by returning to low-tech living and mutual aid within local communities or regions. Some communities are already in the process of making this transition. A good book to read about this is The Transition Handbook: From Oil Dependency to Local Resilience, by Rob Hopkins.
Two essential parts of the soft landing
LETS (local exchange trade system) and co-operatives (flat organizations, worker-owned) create transparency that dispels the shadows in which psychopaths operate. Both trade exchange systems and co-ops are open: open-book, everyone and everything is visible, everyone is responsible to the whole, everyone is equal (if different). Local communities that embrace both concepts can survive economic disaster.
Co-ops / flat organizations
- Hierarchical organizations empower psychopaths and gives them privacy and secrecy. Their activities are hidden from the levels of management below. In a flat organization, everyone’s activities are visible to all, making secrecy impossible. For this reason, co-operatives are an excellent form of organization and Mondragon is prime example.
- Since its beginning in 1939, Mondragon has grown to be one of the largest industrial producers in Spain—among the top ten—with tens of thousands of co-op members and tens of billions of dollars in revenue. Mondragon co-ops produce refrigerators, washing machines, ovens, dishwashers, boilers, furniture, exercise equipment, tools, all kinds of machinery, assembly line equipment, vehicles and vehicle components, materials for construction, and even complete buildings.
- People who work in Mondragon co-ops are not employees working for top execs, but co-op members and co-owners who work together in self-managed teams. They manage the co-ops by discussion and vote.
- Co-op members direct the entire enterprise. Mondragon has several levels of management, but wage ratios between executives and factory workers are decided by democratic vote—and the disparity in pay is much narrower than that of corporations. Members hold an annual general assembly meeting in which they choose and hire their directors. They can also fire their directors.
- Co-op members make the decisions about what to produce, how and where to produce it, and what to do with the profits. They direct part of their profits into research and the development of new technology and competitive new products.
- If the economy declines, members of struggling co-ops are loaned or transferred to other co-ops that are doing better. Layoffs are rare.
- Mondragon has demonstrated that it is possible to have a sophisticated, democratically-run organization capable of producing the material goods for a modern society.
- For more information, please see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mondragon_Corporation
LETS, an alternative form of money
- A new kind of money that could rescue the local economy is LETS. LETS stands for local exchange trading system (also local employment and trading system). LETS is a local, democratic, not-for-profit community organization which records members’ transactions in LETS credits. LETS uses no physical currency, no coins, paper money or tokens of any kind. The currency, LETS credits, is data rather than a commodity or a debt to a central bank. With a smart tactical approach, LETS credits could reduce or eliminate our dependence on banks to supply money.
- Users of the LETS can begin trading as soon as they become members. LETS gives unlimited interest-free credit, generated at the point of sale. This facilitates trading with other members and fuels demand. The concepts of borrowing, lending, and interest are meaningless in LETS.
- There are 745 community exchange systems similar to LETS operating in 72 countries, including the U.S., as of 8 April 2015. For more information, please see the following references (all retrieved 8 April 2015):
- An FAQ on the LETS system, http://www.gdrc.org/icm/lets-faq.html.
- Community Exchange System, https://www.community-exchange.org/.
- LETS Forum (UK), LETS: An introduction, http://www.letsf.org.uk/about-lets/lets-an-introduction/.
- Wikipedia: Local Exchange Trading System, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Local_exchange_trading_system
- Conscious Evolution website, about economic biomimicry, http://www.consciousevolution.ch
The reason that these two changes are so critical is that organizational structure and the monetary system are the chief ways that psychopaths are empowered. These two changes will also liberate the latent genius and creativity in all of us.
We have to empower ourselves now. We begin to empower ourselves the moment we shake off our mental imprisonment and ask ourselves, what kind of society do we want? We harness the power of imagination when we envision that society. And when the vision is embraced by the community, there emerges a powerful momentum and an extraordinary ability to move toward it despite the obstacles.
Why should we expect an economic collapse?
Here are the top reasons:
Debt—money is created by central banks and injected into economies by means of debt. The economy is in a state of debt bondage, one in which the debt grows steadily, and later, exponentially. This kind of monetary system is not sustainable. In its later stages, it leads to the collapse of demand, which in turn leads to the collapse of the entire economy.
Peak everything—this term is similar to peak oil, which refers to the peak of oil production followed by its decline, with consequent devastating effects on modern civilization. Peak everything refers to the peak and decline of production of many resources that are crucial to the economy. Among them: oil, natural gas and coal extraction, yearly grain harvests, climate stability, economic growth, fresh water, and minerals and ores, such as copper and platinum. For more information, please see the book, Peak Everything: Waking Up to the Century of Declines, by Richard Heinberg.