The Responsibilities of Business Owners in the Questions of Human Extinction

By T Mackenzie, on Poupart.Farm

The original version of this article has been  accepted at and we’re really honoured and excited. The version française is available here on our blog, with our apologies for any errors.

“We have as a culture accepted that experts in social questions, in government or out, can be trusted to act in our best interests, and that against every piece of historical fact or evidence. They act in their own self-interest, that of the very small, very rich minority in charge of governments. That interest is in keeping the status quo, this situation that is going to kill us. Far from outsourcing our critical thinking to a narrow caste, “educated” in the extraordinarily selfish and shortsighted views of a hero-myth in which they and only they can save us, we must instead be giving the tools and information to make those decisions to absolutely everyone, and promoting cooperation towards useful ends, and that as urgently as humanly possible.”

Recycling at Home

This machine, affordable at 500 USD and about the size of a breadbox, recycles household plastic into filament to use in desktop 3d printers. We want to do the same with our machine, using construction waste that we transform as much as possible on site.  In part this is to limit transport costs – vital to setting up sustainable methods – but it also eliminates storage, and most importantly reuses materials currently meant for landfill.

In English:

Mud Hutte 2.0

As an industry, what we’re trying to do is build houses out of mud. Generally concrete is chosen, sometimes clay or plastics, people are trying a lot things. These folks in China, the Winsun Company, have worked on a new concrete formula that is meant to cure very quickly without becoming brittle.

En français cette vidéo:

In English, this Youtube video:

Simple Living is an Engine for Social Change

A very excellent book on social movement organization, the « Anarchist’s Cookbook» for non-violence by the co-founders of Food Not Bombs, which is offered as a pdf but which people would definitely benefit by purchasing, has a small section on simple living, or “simplicité volontaire”. I felt that the authors, though really well versed in other ways, had perhaps not quite got the whole picture about simple living, and certainly not in a massive social movement like we’re experiencing in Quebec. So I wrote to them, and they were really gracious and have published the letter on their blog and publishing site, See Sharp Press.

You can find the English version here on the See Sharp Press blog.

Here is a preview:

“Simple living is a process of making conscious choices about day to day life that are more ecological (2: Sciencedaily), more economical (3: Mother Earth News), and healthier (4: Johns Hopkins). It is also adopted specifically by many people (5: Researchgate) as a way to reduce reliance on and destabilize consumerist / capitalist systems (6: Sagepub Journals). It’s called “simple”, because it happens that many healthy and affordable things are simpler than their mass-produced counterparts. Like vinegar for cleaning, or growing your own tomatoes instead of trucking them across continents.” I’ve translated it to French with their permission, which you can find on our blog. 

Discussion: Automation and Quality of Life in Quebec

Can we automate residential construction? Yes. Should we?

Our houses will save people lots of money, well over 150,000$ on an average home over 25 years. Our industry is not the only one facing major changes. Depending on the estimate, in the next 20 years automation is likely to modify or eliminate 15% (EN) to 45% (FR) of gainful human employment in Quebec. We need to put something in place to ensure that social and economic upheaval be minimized and people kept at a sufficient standard of living.

We’d like to invite you to join us in looking at this question. Philosophy is meant to be conducted by all of us.

Our initial evaluation of the situation is available here: Automation and Residential Construction in Quebec.

Further points of discussion:

1. Verify and annotate presumptions
2. Gather data and opinions
3. Define research questions
4. Discussions, conclusions, refinements, and action

1. Verify and annotate presumptions:

Humanity is building a wave of automation that will likely be as disruptive or more disruptive than the technological revolutions that preceded it. Many of us are actively working to create the very machines and processes that will make our own skills obsolete, and render irrelevant entire industries. And automation isn’t only hard on the soul of the individual, or on communities. Systemically, our economies have relied on individual labor to provide individual quality of life, with greater or lesser public participation in supporting economically unproductive people. This individualism isn’t true of humans in general, but it has been true of most cultures on earth for a few thousands of years. Climate change has clarified the unsustainable nature of an individualistic economy in a naturally cooperative species as well as in a closed environment, and it is past time to put in place some functional and humane alternatives.

2. Gather data and opinions:

Did the industrial revolution improve the lot of man?

How to prevent automation from permanently marginalizing a large part of society?

Can we leverage automation to improve social outcomes?

Define automate.
Define society.
Define destruction.

Are we better off now than in 1700? (before and after Adam Smith)

Who is we, then? How do we work?

Who is we, now? How do we work?

By what measures do we compare?

Standards of living: work hours per capita, access to nature, unemployment

Physical health: lifespan, strength, intelligence, access to water, food, medical care

Psychological health: happiness, creativity, peace, access to education

Environmental health: personal, local, global

What are the trends? What are the problems? What are the solutions?

What can we do?  Basic revenue.

What can I do?

3. Define research questions:

Is automation ethical?
Is automation sustainable?
If so, how to do it?
If not, how to meet our goals otherwise?

4. Conclusions, refinements, and action

Conclusions: Answers to our questions, well researched and argued, with vigorous and transparent review.

Refinements: A way to continue to refine the answers to these questions, as they will likely change during these volatile times.

Action: Put into place processes to support our staff, their families, and our communities through the expected changes.

Choice, Community and Communication

By C Perry

Intrinsic motivation has a variety of psychological factors. Notably, motivation correlates strongly with how much a person invests themselves in an idea or activity. This interesting TedTalk covers the research and debate on how choice, community, and communication relate to inspire intrinsic motivation and empower people to reach their own goals.


Call for Cooperative Project Proposals

Hear ye! Hear ye!

The Cooperative for Research in Entrepreneurship and Apprenticeships (CREA) of the Lower Laurentians invites you to imagine the project that you would put in place, if you had the support of friends and experts. We’re starting that cooperative by collecting project proposals, and organizing the exchanges that will make it all work.

Mission Statement

Together, to inspire the development of entrepreneurial, micro-entrepreneurial, and apprenticeship programs by sharing resources and knowledge in a cooperative. In premises such as workshops, studios, a kitchen, and gardens, and via services such as day care of dependents, accounting, computers, and holistic care.

We expect to start providing services in June and to open premises over the course of the summer. In the next few weeks, we’re going to apply for start-up financing under the aegis of the Québec government’s 2015-2020 Action Plan to Develop a Social Economy. To support that application, we invite you to answer three questions:

1 –I am…

2 –I want to offer CREA members as well as the general public this (service, product, activity)…

3 –The CREA will make it possible for me to go ahead with my (service, product, activity), because with the cooperative, I can…

Here are a few examples of projects under consideration:

  • The Print our Home cooperative. 
  • A community vegan kitchen
  • A single parent who wants to start a communal chicken coop, and needs land as well as construction help.
  • A day care and clubs for homeschooling families, with children getting access to the experts and specialists on site.
  • Establishing a studio for yoga, dance, singing, and meditation
  • Local newspaper

So : to your tablets! We’re starting a conversation, there is no obligation or risk, just a good chance to get your project going. We’ll know on or around April 30th if our application for start-up financing suits the government, but we won’t be waiting for them to get started. We’ll have news for you soon about how we intend to go forward.

Sweet dreams 🙂