Saturday, June 25, 2011

Simulating A School

I was back to my "school for diplomats in the high desert" topic again, in a recent meeting at the chairman's (some of the chairs were recently re-glued by Patrick). Could we apply Henry George principles?

Henry George, an economist, proposed to keep government from being too greedy, by freeing people to add value to land through their own efforts, without having to pay tribute on the value added except in a most general way, relating to the appreciating value of the underlying shared infrastructure and ecosystem context. "Improvements" wouldn't be penalized as a land tax is more about neighborhood value. It's a way of "raising all boats" by boosting land values while allowing more of the rewards of innovation to flow back to the innovators.

Economists are always interested in "bootstrapping" because development is a result of cybernetic feedback that spirals one way or the other, or has both convergent (concentrating) and divergent (dissipating) tendencies. A few domes in the desert, or near a stream bed, perhaps in an airspace zoned for air taxi service, do not by themselves constitute a school. However, with a few product placements and signers on, sponsor decals, co-venturer insignia, one does have a basis for appreciating land values.

We already know some of the purposes of such a school, based on the Countdown to Zero literature, Gasland, and other classics. Environmental monitoring, through the use of sensors, is in the public interest, as is the geographic display of the collected data. It's not just a convenience, but a government responsibility to the people, the lack of which global data only goes towards delegitimizing those claiming to inherit high office. If a citizen cannot dial up current data about Bull Run, the Portland metro area watershed, then do we really have a government? The data collection centers will have a public service mission that's clear and obvious enough to attract the kind of volunteers we would most like to get: idealistic and self motivated. "Idealistic" does not mean "pie in the sky" so much as willing to project a personal narrative against the backdrop of "the greater good".

Beyond eco-monitoring and "away team" forays, the students are learning how to be mannerly in an ever-shifting global economy, one which brings ethnicities together in new ways.

Those tracking these blogs know that we've created our Blue House as an urban based prototype of one of these schools, adopting a Free School model and providing economic support to self motivated individuals. The "time capsule" houses much of the syllabus. The back office is where sponsors put their mark. Whether outreach to the movie industry succeeds sooner rather than later remains an open question. Japanese anime companies have been courted. Portland is on the map, diplomacy-wise. Our track record has been established.