...When no one's ever tried to anticipate what a list like that would need to be before?
So. as you might imagine, as a systems kind of guy, this would probably be something to nag at me. At least until I could outline some reasonable starting points. And even if you do want to try and keep the starting point from getting too bogged down in details, you don't need to make a career out of economics to see how complex a thing it is still going to be to break down our mega sphere of transaction interplay; especially when the goal of the effort is to use that outline to describe an approach that doesn't use money, or the commercialized idea of mass production-consumption any more.. You know, the thing that gave us this mutating legacy if the first place?
Which is no more than to say that I'm still chewing over various ideas, hoping to provide cover for as many of the (unfortunately still far too few) questions I am able to think of.
For instance, say you start with the assumption that you have a system where initial production, and consumption streams, would be split between two parts.
1. The automated production of standardized, low level modules; as in specific circuits, chips, motors, pumps; or more basic items like nuts, bolts, lumber, standard steel forms (I-beams, channel, tubing, box beams, etc); or raw food items, that the citizens would add on as a part of their assembly of any end use items; to then be consumed, or retained as property.
1-1. A lot of this would be subsumed automatically by the needs of City State specific infrastructure.
2. Anything else not expressly produced by community production facilities, save for the most basic raw items an individual might require for his or her own forming, and adding on, as mentioned in #1 above.
So this means that certain elements must be assumed. Flexible, local smelting, and reforging abilities across at least steel, copper, aluminum, and glass. Facilities to reclaim, and store, all forms of useable items from structure, and building site reclamation. Co-located machining, and follow on forming facilities. Fabrication plants for chips, motors, pumps, paper, tools, standardized cleaning items, solvents, lubricants, etc. Localized power production, both in medium sized, centralized stations, as well as decentralized solar collection, wind harvesting, and fuel cells (this part is why I have spent a lot of time coming up with my design variation of the Yen Tornado Wind Turbine. An approach I still believe would, through consortiums of City States, be able to produce immense amounts of liquid hydrogen, bringing in both power, and useable water). Localized truck farming of whatever sort, for both produce, chickens, pigs, and dairy cows (at the very least). Waste management facilities. And Health Care facilities.
All of these things would have to be set up for each community. From already having experience on how they work, one ought to be able to deduce reasonable estimates of the human labor required to keep each of these sorts of facilities both supplied, and maintained. But to be as precise as possible you'd also have to have some idea of what actual demand might be, and that, without doubt, is where the rubber really meets the road in getting all of the stakeholders involved, and intimately familiar with, the concept of trade offs. Because the bottom line always has to be we can have what we're all willing to support the basis for.
As I said, to say figuring out what kinds of things might want to be constructed, and then deduce from that a full mix of material, and items to support that potential demand, will be no trivial task. Which is exactly why we really do need to try and do this as a current government lead, development project; a nation mobilized no less solemnly, or purposefully, than when we mobilized for war against Fascism in Europe, and the expansionist desires of an extreme, militaristic empire in the Pacific.
Some research effort is going to need to be done to better understand several things that would be connected to the alternative I have outlined. One is an open ended reassessment of how a community, of whatever number of people (let's just assume 100k as a nice round number), might best be structured to blend what the geography, climate, and cultural history, has already been shown to provide, with new techniques to make up for areas of material need, where those pluses aren't there to provide for.
For instance, if the weather isn't California warm, and maybe it rains too much, or too little, what kinds of things can be done in controlled environments, where perhaps automation can also be used; things like the new indoor farming setups comes to mind. Some very clever adaptations of moving racks, careful control of water application, lighting and nutrients, and you get a possible output per total volume of space taken up that starts to look pretty good overall; especially when that production context also removes seasonal considerations altogether.
This kind of research would need to be very inclusive of the specific folks for a specific region, so that focused interviews with as many of the future citizens as possible can be queried as to the kinds of things they might want. That being said, it is also important to emphasize that this research provide feedback as to what different options would cost them in terms of the community's total workload. The very workload that each and every one of them is going to agree to help support.
The point here would be to develop not only a general outline of what could be provided with materials at hand, a further list of materials that would need to be traded for, and then a more comprehensive list of total supply streams, given the kinds of desires expressed, and the corresponding willingness to support it all. Then you could get to the breakdown of how the community might best utilize those raw materials. What kinds of automation, to mix, with human effort, to till land, smelt steel, machine parts, or fab silicon components. With the advances made in artificial meat in the last few years there might be additional alternatives to large scale livestock maintenance, though, given the history and culture of a particular region, some things might continue to be produced so as to have bargaining items for things not produced locally.
Maybe, if we can come to understand, with some detail, the underlying attributes of a geographic area we could put the particulars into a basic simulation game. Something that might be a cross between Civilization V, and Factorio, but specifically oriented to show how the interdependent elements would likely develop if one used a particular set of possible design choices. With an approach like that, not only do you bring the people already intimate with such games, into the realm of real, alternative community thinking, you bring the people of the region into how integrated thinking in development, can be such a useful tool in getting to a system design that is put, as close as it can possibly be, to that sweet spot where, in the consensus opinion, the best bet for positive results, with the minimum of effort required, can be achieved.
Perhaps the bottom line here is that we need this research, and planning, as a way of not only knowing what might be best approaches, but of creating, collectively, that page we all need to be on if a project has any hope of success. Which is nothing than to say forming that common vision of what it is that we hope to achieve. And in this, for Americans, one cannot over emphasise the importance. I say this because, despite how we are of so many minds. over so many things, there are ideals that formed us all that are part of our DNA now. I'm not going to list them because the list itself isn't always the same, but across all lists are shared a high percentage of ideals. And based on that I feel that I can still claim that Americans, with a shared vision, are a force of nature. And I will take that belief to my grave no matter what else happens.
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