Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Exports, the Life-Blood of a Community

From my point of view, there are two major things that an isolated city needs to maintain its population. One is a source of water. The other is an exportable resource. As I understand it, almost all other needs can be provided for with at least a little creativity. The water is not too difficult to understand, but I’d like to take a moment to discuss the necessity for an exportable resource and what characteristics that exportable resource would have to work for Open Arms, Utah.

A human’s life, in fact, any living animal’s life is a process of consumption. We consume food, we consume fuel, we consume clothes, and shelter, and transportation, and almost anything else that comes between our hands or into our lives. Almost every item we consume comes to us with a cost; we have to spend money to obtain that item.

In isolated communities, it is rare that the consumed items come from within the community; typically most of them are imported. This includes building materials, automobiles, bananas, bed sheets, toothbrushes, medicine, shoes, and microwaves. Every time someone pays money to buy something that is imported into that community, the money leaves the community. In the case of a Ford truck, that money might go to Kentucky, where Ford has several large assembly plants. The money, in large part, would end up in the pockets of the people that build trucks so they can export them all over the country.

Wherever the money goes, it leaves the community. In order for people within the community to continue to have money to spend, they either must work outside the community and bring the money back to the community, or they must sell things to people outside the community. In an isolated community (like Open Arms will probably be), it would be difficult for people to make the long commute to other places to work. In addition, it is typically much more difficult for convicted sex offenders to find work at all. The only option left is to find something to sell outside the community—something to export.

Pakistan exports its programming skills by seeking contracts for Pakistanis to write computer programs for American companies. Pakistan also exports its capacity to speak English. American companies can save money by locating call centers within the borders of Pakistan that answer calls from customers in America. These are both examples of high-tech exports.

To support the recovery of the residents of Open Arms from sexual addiction, the city needs a low-tech export. High tech almost always incorporates requirements for communication, and as mentioned in an earlier post, communication is a major pathway for sexual addicts to gain sexually provocative material that enables and exacerbates their addiction.

What are some examples of low-tech exports? Mined coal and other earthbound minerals, somewhat. Textiles, in part. Lime (used to make cement). Food and agricultural products, sometimes. Leather and fur. Art and most other custom or hand worked goods, usually. Lumber. Gravel. Oil and tar. Glass. Fertilizer, sod, mulch. Earthenware. Animals. If anyone sends me other low-tech imports, I’ll add them to the list. These low-tech exports often require little to no access to communication channels that would give employees in high-risk circumstances the temptation to indulge in sexual gratification.

To be really cost effective, though, the raw materials for the export should come from within or near the community. Otherwise the citizens just have to send precious money out of the community to buy raw materials.

There are a few other points to consider for this export.

The market for the export should not be seasonal. Sod experiences heavy demand during the warm months, but when the weather turns cold there is little work to do, leaving employees without an income (unless the company get unusually creative).

There should be enough demand for the export to provide work for all people within the community who need it. I don’t know what the demand for residency within this city will be, but the potential market is huge. Providing employment for 100 family units among 2000 is not nearly enough.

The purpose of the company set up to sell this export will not be to maximize shareholder returns, but to provide sufficiently compensated employment for as many people as possible while still providing a product or service that is priced competitively in the marketplace. Labor intensive processes are GOOD. Automation is BAD.

Finally, the greater the variety of available exports, the better off the community is. There are quite a few reasons for this, including shifts in market demand, regulation changes, unavoidable seasonality, and more employment opportunities to name a few.

So, I’m in the market for a location in Utah that would provide an ample supply of potable water, and that would provide a healthy, low-tech exportable resource that the community can exploit. If anyone has any ideas, or would like to give me the land at a location they think would work, leave me a note. I’ll be checking responses on a regular basis.

Purple Saffron