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January 25, 2014

Needed: A Science, Economics and Lifestyle of SMALL-- It's Time to Face Reality-- Too BIG is Too Dangerous--

By Rob Kall

Too big is not just about too big to fail banks. Nature abhors just about anything that is too big. Giganitism is an abnormality that, in humans and most life forms, leads to pathology or death. The same is true about things humans create-- companies, government, political and economic systems, megastores, megachurches, the 85 billionaires. who own as much as half of the seven billion planetary inhabitants.

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From http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Hummer_H2_.jpg: Big Hummer

"The really helpful things will not be done from the center; they cannot be done by big organizations; they can be done by the people themselves."

E.F. Schumacher SMALL IS BEAUTIFUL

(note: I failed to mention that I've recently read EF Schumacher's must read 1972 book, Small Is Beautiful.  That has helped influence my thinking on small and big.)

Too big is not just about too big to fail banks. Nature abhors just about anything that is too big. Giganitism is an abnormality that, in humans and most life forms, leads to pathology or death. The same is true about things humans create-- companies, government, political and economic systems, megastores, megachurches, the 85 billionaires. who own as much as half of the seven billion planetary inhabitants.

Whether discussing corporations, governments, trade policies or just about anything else, people will argue that we need big, that big implies or offers or produces a good number of things. 

BIG Ideas and connotations

absolutely the only way to go, 

that it is destiny, 

inevitable, 

that it is required for scaleability/mass production

that it is better, 

that it is a sign of success, 

the greatest source of power

stronger

cooler

The truth is, we don't know that these claims are true. We have not tried to accomplish what big things do in a small  or smaller way. It is urgent to humanity and to the life on this planet that we start trying to develop ways to build things traditionally built by massive companies by  using small companies working together. 

We need to develop new kinds of government that are decentralized and local, so government does not get too big and too out of control. 

Why do we need to get small? Why is big a problem? 

Big is top-down and all that means. 

Big intensifies and potentiates psychopathic tendencies and behaviors 

Big is selfish and feels self-entitled

Big parasitizes the commons taking far more than its share or what it pays or compensates for

Big is highly destructive to the environment and is a major cause of the massive species die-off the earth is currently experiencing

Big economizes by engaging in monoculture and analogous diversity diminishing behaviors and policies

Big buys power and influence, disrupting democracy and justice

Big homogenizes culture, and destroys local community and culture. Think globalization and global trade pacts. 

Big, as a top down operation accumulates corruption and influence buying like predator fish accumulate mercury. 

Big cuts jobs

Big and its centralization produces disconnection from nature and humanity-- intentional disconnection-- Big media, big  education

Big is bullying

Big is treated as though it is immortal

Big avoids accountability and regulation

Bigness is more masculine. 

God is big

There are more. Please them in the comments

Bigness has evolved as a central dimension of civilization. But I challenge whether it is a necessary or even optimal element. Perhaps, the next step after big is small, a fractal pulse that raises freedom, democracy, connection and humanity to the next level. 

I've written, in my article, Treating Extreme Wealth As a Disease,  about how wealth and the desire for money can be psychologically pathological related to addiction, narcissism, depression or psychopathy.   It may be that the need and desire for bigness is sometimes a pathologically neurotic or psychotic behavior.

We see some consumer manifestations of bigness-need that  have unnecessary risks.

-consumerism-- always needing more and bigger

-gas-hog cars-- think Hummer and massive SUVs

-breast augmentation

-use of steroids by weightlifters to get bigger

-big mega-mansions

-big, as in expensive, simply because it's expensive-- think fashion, cars, 

Please help list more in the comments. 

So, what do we do about too much big? Trying to take big head-on is not a good idea. Big has power and it is most power when it defines the territory and the terms. The solution is to start living small, going local. Live the small life-- developing community, becoming a consumer of local resources purchased from local small businesses. Practicing a SMALL lifestyle can be like adopting a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle--( also a good idea.) You don't have to do it all at once. You can start out by cutting back on big-- your connection to big, your purchases from big, your utilization of big, just as people who are working on becoming vegetarian or vegan cut back on eating meat or animal products. 

Buying less big, more small: 

-support local co-ops and CSAs (community supported agriculture)

-avoid big box stores and centrally, corporate owned franchises (Sometimes there's only a choice between locally owned franchise and nationally owned franchise, with no locally owned stores. Pick the locally owned franchise in that case.)

-make a practice of discovering small, locally owned businesses. Get to know the owners. Let them know what you are doing. 

-if you go to big stores, like supermarkets, limit your purchases to healthy, necessary items. Identify aisles you just don't need to go through at all-- and be proud of yourself for fighting the system every time you pass them by. 

-if you are buying on-line, find smaller companies to buy from. Avoid the big monsters worth billions. 

-expect to pay a little more for items you get from small businesses. Consider the small difference in cost to be an investment in a better future. 

-some areas have organizations that provide certificates for genuine small, local businesses to display. Look for them, or if there is no such organization in your area, create one. 

-think used and reconditioned-- cars, furniture, sporting goods. Some products just stand up better in spite of intentional obsolescence. 

-Please mention more ways in the comments. 

Change the Channel 

The media play a huge roll in maintaining BIG-- business, consumerism, and belief in BIG and the system that supports it. 

- identify the worst shows and let advertisers know you won't buy from them, and why. 

-don't watch shows

-create your own content and channels

-Stop watching TV altogether (I'm still working on that.)

-seek out local entertainment-- theater groups, performers, clubs, music venues.

-join book clubs, writers groups, discussion groups

-stay away from the biggest internet websites/channels

Undermining

Keith Farnish has written a book about Undermining. The idea is to engage in acts that disrupt, sabotage and undermine the system of Industrial civilization. I think it should be called corporate civilization-- which didn't hardly exist 250 or 300 years ago. Undermining can be risky, can even get you arrested, so it is absolutely not for everyone. Some examples:

-Use a marker pen to change the message on signs and posters

-block entrances to malls and big box stores. 

-move books in bookstores-- like take a Glenn Beck book and put it in the horror fiction section. 

-borrow money from banks and credit cards then give it to advocacy and activism groups-- and don't pay it back (Farnish reports a Spaniard did this with over $400,000.)

His whole book is available free for download, or can be purchased. That's a bottom-up, undermining approach. 

Change the System At the Edges

Direct assaults on BIG are very difficult, at best. So, start by advocating for funding for research aimed at developing SMALL business approaches and solutions to problems that are usually only attacked by big business. This is a big topic that deserves its own article. But briefly, the goal is to look at all the touted advantages of big business and then identify small ways to do them as well or better, for the same or lower cost. Part of the research will be to include local benefits and costs that are not usually included in the BIG business solution equation. Identifying ways that are more profitable-- for the business and/or for the local community-- can lead to BIG companies embracing SMALL approaches, and can lead to legislation that supports SMALL ways. 

Start Eroding the Benefits of Big; Begin reducing the advantages  and attractions of big. 

-Cap tax breaks at a certain spending level. 

-Add taxes after a certain level, for individuals and companies. That's what the USA had under Eisenhower-- a 92% tax rate on the highest portions of the highest income brackets. 

-drastically raise dynasty taxes-- on inheritances over $20 million per person. No more billion dollar inheritances for Walmartian Waltons.

-Make it a lot less attractive for BIG companies to acquire smaller businesses. For example, require that the number of local employees be kept  for five years. 

-what are your ideas?

Long-Term BIG Goals for Ending big

-end war. There are better, smarter ways to accomplish what war is supposed to do, which is almost always a lie anyway. 

-eliminate billionaires

-make it too expensive for BIG corporations to operate-- motivate them to break up, into smaller operations, so it's win-win for all, including investors. 

-Make it BETTER for investors if big companies break up. 

-Cancel and eliminate existing global trade deals. Replace them with smart, "membrane economics" trade deals aimed at protecting community and supporting small business, instead of a handful of transnational corporations. 

-Eliminate corporate welfare that costs tens of billions

-shut down the biggest government operations and rebuild them with small principles in mind-- accountability and auditability being high on the list. These include military and intelligence.

-End corporate personhood.

-Establish and enforce corporate death penalty

-Decommission and eliminate all nuclear weapons AND power plants. They are bad news. Don't do business with any company that  has anything to do with them, any country that builds new ones. Put sanctions on them. Create a timeline for countries to get rid of their nukes and nuclear power plants. 

-Develop energy and transportation systems that don't depend on BIG. Replace the current BIG energy and transportation systems with small, locally oriented systems. 

-Massively change the banking and finance system. 

-Make derivatives illegal, which will take them out of the system. 

-Establish public banks for states, cities, counties, municipalities

-Create oversight models, principles and agencies for tracking, regulating and preventing BIG.

Taking on BIG is a big project. There are millions of ways to address it or get involved. This is not my first writing on this, but it's my most comprehensive.  i'm hoping there will be a lot of suggestions for additions to the lists, and disputation and argument on my take. This is an emerging, evolving concept. I'd also love to hear examples of how you are personally and your community is taking on BIG.

I see this as a first draft of a chapter I am writing for my book, which is about the bottom up revolution, which involves connection and transitioning from BIG to SMALL, from centralized to decentralized, from hierarchical to horizontal and grassroots, from control/domination to cooperative interdependence. I'll be posting drafts of other chapters as an attempt to use a diversity of bottom-up approaches to creating the book. 



Submitters Bio:

Rob Kall is editor-in-chief, publisher and site architect of OpEdNews.com, President of Futurehealth, Inc, and an inventor. He hosts the Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio Show, aired in the Metro Philly area on AM 1360, WNJC. Over 200 podcasts are archived for downloading here, or can be accessed from iTunes. Rob is also published regularly on the Huffingtonpost.com

Rob Kall Wikipedia Page

Rob is, with Opednews.com the first media winner of the Pillar Award for supporting Whistleblowers and the first amendment.

See more Rob Kall articles here and, older ones, here. To learn more about Rob and OpEdNews.com, check out A Voice For Truth - ROB KALL | OM Times Magazine and this article. For Rob's work in non-political realms mostly before 2000, see his C.V..  and here's an article on the Storycon Summit Meeting he founded and organized for eight years. Press coverage in the Wall Street Journal: Party's Left Pushes for a Seat at the Table

Here is a one hour radio interview where Rob was a guest- on Envision This, and here is the transcript. 

To watch Rob having a lively conversation with John Conyers, then Chair of the House Judiciary committee, click hereWatch Rob speaking on Bottom up economics at the Occupy G8 Economic Summit, here.

Follow Rob on Twitter & Facebook. His quotes are here

My articles express my personal opinion, not the opinion of this website.

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