Saturday, 20 January 2018

ONE SMALL TOWN Canada Reaches More People

UBUNTU's One Small Town plan, and Contributionism, is starting to interest media more and more. Here is an article by Elliot Ferguson, Kingston Whig-Standard - Ontario, Canada.
Thursday, January 18, 2018
PLEVNA — The mayor of North Frontenac is urging the township to take a controversial path to economic development.

Mayor Ron Higgins is proposing that the township’s residents adopt the philosophy of contributionism, where people would be expected to donate three hours a week to community projects in exchange for goods and services from those ventures.
In a presentation to Frontenac County council on Wednesday morning, Higgins said he sees contributionism as a way to create needed economic development, grow the township’s residential and business tax bases, and attract a younger demographic.
“This idea has piqued a lot of interest, but there is no proof of it working yet,” Higgins said.
“This is the very first time anything like this has been done anywhere in the world. The concept has been around for 12 years and I spent six months analyzing this and, to me, it is just a no-brainer to do.”
Higgins said promoting economic development is part of his job as mayor and he was prompted to look into the One Small Town North Frontenac idea because he was disappointed by the results of the township’s economic development task force.
“Whenever you mention this program, there is a lot of skepticism. You are probably skeptical yourselves right now,” he said to county council. “I know our council was, and I was, when I first started this.”
Higgins’ skepticism has been replaced with confidence of success.
In the past, Higgins has been critical of what he said was a lack of economic development efforts in the township by Frontenac County. He went as far as questioning the need for a county manager of economic development.
The head of the economic development task force, Coun. John Inglis, said the proposal would get the same support that any other economic development proposal would receive.
“I have some problems with the contributionism model,” Inglis said. “Having said that, I do think it is wonderful that people from outside, who are younger, are expressing interest in starting businesses in North Frontenac.
“If this has merit, it will proceed.”
If successful, Higgins said, the economic growth would become a revenue source for the township.
In addition to providing the residents with goods and services, the contributionism theory calls for the economic development projects to produce three times what the residents need, with the excess being sold. The revenue would be split between the participants, the development of new products and the investors. The volunteered labour would allow the businesses to underprice competitors.
“My expectation is that within 10 years we will be in a position with this organization to be able to provide funding for infrastructure and other projects within the township of North Frontenac, which means we will be able to reduce municipal taxation,” Higgins said.
But Higgins admitted the need to go slowly and build a solid business case.
The One Small Town movement was developed about 12 years ago by Michael Tellinger, a South African author, scientist, explorer and founder of that county’s Ubuntu Liberation Movement.
Higgins was quick to distance his township’s efforts from any of the politics connected to contributionism.
That is probably wise.
Tellinger has promoted contributionism, with the economic advantage of the free, volunteer labour, as a way to bring down and replace the world banking system and capitalism itself.
The One Small Town manifesto calls for a “revolution of consciousness.”
“The socioeconomic structure of our country and our world has failed us dramatically. The freedoms that our forefathers strived for is in danger of being lost forever,” the manifesto states. “It has fallen on the shoulders of the common people to unite and create a new way, a new system and a beautiful life for ourselves and our children.”
Higgins said planning for two projects — an apiary and a wellness centre — has already started, and the One Small Town North Frontenac efforts are to be administered by a group called Contribute and Thrive North Frontenac.
Higgins said another business in the township is building “Earthships,” passive solar houses made from recycled and natural materials. Higgins said the company plans to build a community of between 80 and 120 homes and could attract younger people to the municipality.
elferguson@postmedia.com