Category Archives: Abundance

Crossing Over: Making the Energy Transition from Fossil Fuels to Renewable Electricity

I have just finished a book entitled Crossing Over: The Energy Transition to Renewable Electricity, published this year 2015 by the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung.

As with my other works, I’m making the file of this book available on this blog so that anyone may download it for free, and share it with others.

Many of the book’s contents are specific to the Philippines, where rooftop solar electricity became cheaper than grid-delivered coal-based electricity sometime in 2013. However, a number of insights are useful to other countries.

In particular, I present in the book a strong argument for net metering. I explain why another approach, usually called net billing, which pays grid-connected solar rooftop owner only the generation charge (roughly one-half of the retail price), is actually double-charging.

Please let me know if you found anything useful in the book.

Roberto Verzola

Author

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Now available: printed and online versions of a book on SRI for Filipino rice farmers

A new 137-page book on the system of rice intensification (SRI) written specifically for the typical Filipino farmer is now available. It is hard-bound, written in Pilipino, and printed on larger-than-usual types (13 pts).

The book Ang Sistema sa Pagpapalago ng Palay can be ordered from SRI Pilipinas (63-939-117-8999; 63-917-811-7747). The book’s P300 price includes shipping. The book will be delivered by courier to any Philippine address or sent for pick up in a courier outlet nearest the given address. A free DVD on SRI is also included.

If you have a friend or relative who plants rice, the book will make a very nice gift.

The full text of the book can also downloaded for free. Its electronic version consists of three PDF files:

SRI is the revolutionary method of growing rice which raises yields and cut costs through simple changes in the way the farmer grows rice. It works with any variety and has been successfully tried in more than 50 countries.

 

 

 

 

 

SRI in SMS: Text lessons on rice production by SRI Pilipinas

Due to insistent requests, I am posting the following series of lessons in Tagalog/Pilipino on the System of Rice Intensification (SRI). We send these lessons 5-18 SMS texts at a time to farmers who request them. Thus we are able to provide lessons to farmers who have no Internet, newspaper or television access.

1. World record sa palay harvest: 448 kaban sa isang ektarya

Balita! Noong Nov 2011 nakuha ng 5 ordinaryong rice farmers sa bansang India ang pinakamatataas na palay harvest kada ektarya sa buong mundo:

Sumant Kumar, 448 kaban (bagong world record sa palay harvest); Krishna Kumar, 440; Nitish Kumar, 392; Ramanand Singh, 384 kaban; at Sanjay Kumar, 380.

Lahat ng 5 ay gumamit ng SYSTEM OF RICE INTENSIFICATION (SRI), na natutuhan lang nila noong 2008. Matapos ang 3 taon, na-break na nila ang world record.

Para makumpirma ang report, inimbistiga ng mga awtoridad sa agrikultura ng India ang mga bukid ng lima. At pinatotohanan nila ang mga nareport na ani.

Ang lumang world record (380 kaban) ay hawak ng bantog na scientist si Yuan Longping, imbentor ng hybrid rice, na 40 taon nagresearch tungkol sa palay.

Ito ang kahulugan ng bagong world record sa palay harvest: Magsasaka, tinalo ang siyentista — ANG SRI AY MADALING MATUTUHAN NG MAGSASAKA

Tatlong taon lng, hindi dekada ang kinailangan ng mga magsasaka para makakuha ng napakatataas na ani — SA SRI, MABILIS ANG RESULTA.

Hindi lang isa kundi 5 magsasaka ang tumalo sa lumang world record–HINDI ITO TSAMBA, TOTOONG EPEKTIBO ANG SRI, MADALING MATUTUHAN AT MABILIS ANG RESULTA

Hinati ni Sumant Kumar ang kanyang bukid sa dalawa: sa isa, karaniwang sistema ang ginamit niya, sa kabila, sistemang SRI ang ginamit nya.

Sa karaniwang sistema, umani sya ng 130 kaban/ektarya. Sa sistemang SRI, umani siya ng 448 kaban/ektarya. Malinaw na mas epektibo ang SRI!

Sa mga susunod pang serye ng txt, ipaliliwanag namin ang SRI, para magamit din nyo ito sa inyong palayan. Libre ito. Walang mababawas sa load nyo.

Ang susunod na serye ay sa ITSURA NG PALAY NA MKPGBIBIGAY NG 22,400 KILONG BUTIL(448 kban) KADA EKTARYA, ang kailangang dami ng uhay at butil kada uhay.

Bago burahin yng mga naunang txt, pkikopya po sa notebook. Pwde n po b itext ang susunod n serye? Pkisend po 1 sa 3 sagot: “TXT PLS”/”HNDI PA”/”AYAW NA”
./sri.world_record.msg/

2. Ang itsura ng palay na pang-world record

Ano ang hitsura ng palay na magbibigay ng world record na 22,400 kilo sa isang ektarya? Ilang uhay dapat sa 1 puno, ilang butil sa 1 uhay?

Sa SRI, 25 cm ang dstansya sa bawat puno, o 4 na puno kada 1 metro, 16 na puno (4 x 4) kada metro kwadrado, at 160,000 puno (16 x 10,000) sa 1 ektarya.

Kung paghahati-hatian ang 22,400 kilo ng butil ng 160,000 puno ng palay (22,400 hinati sa 160,000), kailangang magbigay ang isang puno ng .14 kilo.

Dahil 1 kilo ang karaniwang bigat ng 40,000 butil, ang .14 kilo ay may 5,600 butil (.14 x 40,000). Bawat puno, kng gayon, ay dapat mgbunga ng 5,600 butil.

Ito ang mga kombinasyon ng uhay-kada-puno at butil-kada-uhay na magbibigay ng 5,600 butil: 56 uhay/100 butil; 50 uhay/112 butil; 40 uhay/140 butil;

35 uhay/160 butil; 32 uhay/175 butil; 28 uhay/200 butil; 25 uhay/224 butil; 20 uhay/280 butil; 16 uhay; 350 butil.

Ayon sa mga matagal nang gumagamit ng SRI, madaling makakita sa SRI ng 20, 30 hanggang 40 uhay at 150 hanggang 250 butil.

Ang hamon, para maabot ang world record, ay makuha ito di lamang sa iilang puno, kundi sa bawat isa sa 160,000 puno sa 1 ektarya. Mahirap pero pwde.

Ang susunod na serye ay tngkol sa ANIM NA PRINSIPYO NG SRI. Ang mga prinsipyong ito’y hndi nagbabago, kahit magbago ang lugar o kondisyon ng gamit ng SRI.

Bago burahin yng mga naunang txt, pkikopya po sa notebook. Pwde n po b itext ang susunod n serye? Pkisagot lng po: “TXT PLS”/”HNDI PA”/”AYAW NA”
./sri.phenotype.msg/

3. Anim na prinsipyo ng SRI

PRINSIPYO 1. Mglagay ng maraming kompost/organikong mteryal sa lupa. BAKIT:ibabalik ng kmpost ang mga organismong natural na nagbibigay-sustansya sa lupa.

PRINSIPYO 2. Huwag saktan ang punla. BAKIT: pag nasaktan o nasugatan ang punla, laluna pag nagsimula na itong magsuwi, hndi na sya magsusuwi ng marami.

PRINSIPYO 3. Ilipat ang punla ng maaga. BAKIT: Mas madali itong gumaling mula sa anumang pnsala saka mas mahaba ang panahon nya para magsuwi ng marami.

PRINSIPYO 4. Bigyan ang bawat puno sapat na espasyong solo nila. BAKIT: para makakuha bawat puno ng sapat na sustansiya, tubig, hangin at sinag ng araw.

PRINSIPYO 5. Kailangang makapasok sa lupa ang hangin. BAKIT: dahil kailangan ng mga organismo sa lupa at ng mga ugat ng halaman ang oxygen.

PRINSIPYO 6. Tulungang lumago at lumalim ang ugat ng palay. BAKIT: Kung manipis at mababaw ang ugat, hndi magsusuwi at mamumunga ng marami ang palay.

Dalawa ang epekto ng 6 na prinsipyong ito sa palay: DADAMI ANG SUWI, UHAY AT BUTIL NG PALAY; AT KAKAPAL AT LALALIM ANG MGA UGAT NITO. Importante pareho.

Kahit ilan lang sa 6 na prinsipyo ang masunod, mkakakita na ng magandang epekto sa palay. Mas maraming prnsipyo ang nasusunod, mas maganda ang epekto.

Pnkamaganda kung lahat ng prnsipyo ng SRI ay nasusunod, dahil bawat prnsipyo ay sumusuporta sa iba pa. Madaling sundin lahat, kng maliit muna ang pitak.

Ang 6 na prinsipyo ng SRI ay dapat magsilbing gabay sa iba’t ibang lugar at kondisyon, dahil ang 6 na ito ang esensiya ng SRI bilang isang sistema.

Ang susunod na serye ay ang SARI-SARING PRAKTIKA NG SRI. Ang mga praktikang ito ay maaaring magbago batay sa lugar, kondisyon at diskarte ng magsasaka.

Bago burahin yng mga txt, pkikopya po sa notebook. Itetxt na po b namin ang susunod n serye? Pumili ng 1 sa 3 sagot: “TXT PLS”/”HNDI PA”/”AYAW NA”
./sri.principles.msg/

4. Sari-saring praktika ng SRI

MGSIMULA SA PNKAMALIIT nyong pitak, 50-500 metro kwadrado lng (50-100 lng, kng walang kompost). Alamin muna mga problema sa SRI bago sumubok sa malaki.

1-2 buwan bago mgtanim, humingi/mg-ipon ng DAYAMI & SARI-SARING ORGANIKONG MATERYAL (DAHON,TAENG HAYOP, atbp), ikalat sa bukid, at araruhin para mabulok.

Pwde rng itambak mga bubulukin sa isang imbakan n may bubong at di nauulanan, para mailagay ang kmpost kng saan lng kailangan, hlimbawa, sa kama ng punla.

8-12 araw bago mgtanim, ibabad ang bnhi ng 24-48 oras at isabog sa kama nang MAS MADALANG SA NKAGAWIAN, para mas mdaling mghiwalay ang ugat ng mga punla.

Kng 2 dahon na ang punla (IDAD 8-12 ARAW), ilipat na ang mga ito; ang pglilipatang bukid ay HNDI DAPAT BAHA kundi MAPUTIK LNG, para madali itong markahan.

Ityempo ang pglilipat HABANG HNDI MAULAN. Gumawa ng kalaykay na may layong 25cm ang mga ngipin; mrkahan ang pglilipatang bukid ng mga kwadradong 25×25 cm.

Mgtanim ng ISANG PUNLA SA BAWAT KROSING ng mga kwdrado. Tiyaking ksama sa punla ang bahay-bnhi at putik sa ugat. Tpusin ang pgllipat sa loob ng 20 minuto.

Pgklipat, HWAG AGAD BAHAIN ANG BUKID, para di lumitaw ang kuhol. Gawing manaka-naka (INTERMITTENT) ang IRIGASYON; patuyuin 5-7 araw, bahain 2-3 araw.

MGLINIS MABUTI NG DAMO kada 7-10 araw, gamit ang kamay o rotary weeder. PAG MADAMO, MGLINIS AGAD!. Mglinis dn tuwing baha ang pitak at malambot ang lupa.

Ang weeder ay parang munting pison na itnutulak sa pgitan ng mga puno. May mga ngipin ang 2 o 3 gulong nito, para matumba ang damo at mabungkal ang lupa.

Mganda ang rsulta ng SRI kng 20 suwi (o sobra pa) ang namumunga sa bawat puno; bawat suwi ay may 100 butil (o sobra pa) = mahigit 2,000 butil kada puno.

Pwdeng hndi muna gawin ang hndi pa kayang hakbang (halimbawa ang kontrol sa tubig o rotary weeding). Pero MAS MARAMI SA SRI ANG NASUSUNOD, MAS MAGANDA.

Ang pnakaimportante, SUBUKAN NGAYON DN SA MALIIT NA PITAK (100-500 metro kwadrado), para makita. KUNG IPGPAPALIBAN, WALANG MATUTUTUHAN. SUBUKAN AGAD!

Kung plano nyong subukan ang SRI, itxt po sa amin: Gagawin ko ang SRI sa buwan ng____, sa ____metro kwdradong pitak sa bayan ng______, probnsya ng______.

Pwde po idownload mula sa Internet ang libreng SRI video. I-search lang “World Bank SRI video”. Pwde rn namin ipadala DVD sa inyo, P100 ang bayad.

Sa susunod na serye, iisa-isahin ang mga HAKBANG na gagawin sa SRI, mula land prep hanggang sa pagkontrol ng damo.
./sri.practices.msg/

5. Mga hakbang na gagawin sa SRI

Tapos na po ang mga lessons, kailangang isa-praktika na ito, at magtanim ng palay gamit ang SRI. Maglaan na ng maliit na pitak pantesting (trial plot).

Tama lang ang 50-500 sqm pantesting. (Kung nag-aaral lumangoy, sa mababaw na ilog muna, hndi sa malalim na dagat.) Balikan natin ang mga praktika ng SRI:

LAND PREP: Lagyan ang pitak ng maraming kompost o vermicast. Kasindami, kng maaari, ng inani sa pitak. Hlimbawa, 5 bag ng kompost kung 5 kaban ang inani.

LAND PREP: Pag nasuyod na ang lupa, mag-ispray ng IMO para mamatay ang mga buto ng damo at lumaki nang mabilis ang mga tumubo na. Tapos, suyurin ulit.

PAGPUPUNLA: Gumamit ng punlaan na 50% lupa, 50% kompost. Salain ang binhi sa tubig-alat. Yung mga lumubog lang ang ipunla. Itapon yung lumutang.

PAGPUPUNLA: Maglaan ng 50 gramong binhi kada 100 sqm na pglilipatan. Ipunla nang madalang: 1 metro kwdradong seed bed o seed trays kada 50 gramong binhi.

PAGTATANIM: Ilipat ang punla pag may 2 dahon na (8-12 araw). Kumuha ng punla gamit ang pala/kutsara ng kantero. Kapalan ang lupa para di tamaan mga ugat.

PAGTATANIM: Ihiwalay ang 1 punla (hndi 2 o 3, kundi ISA), kasama pa ang palay, lupa at putik sa ugat, at itanim sa distasyang 25 x 25 cm (10 pulgada).

PAGTATANIM: Ilipat ang punla parang baby na inililipat galing duyan papnta sa kama: hndi sya naistorbo, nagising o nsaktan at walang sugat, pilay o bali.

KADA 7-10 ARAW: Bahain ang lupa (2-3 araw) para mbulok ang damo, patuyuin ng mas mtagal (5-7 araw), para habulin ng mga ugat ang tubig sa ilalim ng lupa.

DI DAPAT MKABUWELO ANG DAMO. Pag tuyo ang lupa, mglalabasan ang damo. Bunutin/bungkalin agad sila, gamit ang kamay o weeder. Pgkatapos, magspray ng IMO.

Ang susunod na serye ay tungkol iba pang BENEPISYO SA MAGSASAKA ng System of Rice Intensification (SRI), bukod sa mataas na ani.
./sri.stepxstep.msg/

6. Mga benepisyo sa magsasaka

Alam na po natin na maitataas ng SRI ang ani sa palay. Noong Nobyembre 2011, ang pnkmataas na ani sa palay sa buong mundo ay naitala ng SRI sa India.

Matipid ang SRI sa binhi. Ang kailangan lng ay 5 kilong binhi kada ektarya, di tulad sa ibang sistemang gumagamit ng 20 kilo, 40, o sobra pa kada ektarya.

Matipid ang SRI sa tubig, Sa karanasan, 40-50% ng tubig ang matitipid, dahil sa SRI, hindi binabaha ng tuluy-tuloy ang bukid kundi pinatutuyo rin.

Matipid ang SRI sa abono dahil sa SRI, ang lupa ay pinatataba gamit ang mga binulok na organikong materyal (kompost), hindi ang komersiyal na abono.

Sa SRI, maaring mas maraming trabaho sa simula. Pero pag kabisado na ang sistema, menos trabaho rin sa SRI, ayon sa matagal ng gumagamit nito.

Ang mga puno ng palay na laking-SRI ay matitibay. Ang mga ugat ay malago at malalim. Kayat mas kaunti ang pnsala sa palay dulot ng bagyo, baha o tagtuyot.

Mas kaunti ang methane na sumisingaw sa bukid na hindi nkababad sa tubig ng tuluy-tuloy (tulad ng itinuturo sa SRI). Ang methane ay isang greenhouse gas.

Dahil mas kaunting methane ang nalilikha kung SRI ang gamit, ang SRI ay mkkatulong maiwasan ang pagbabago sa klima at pag-init ng mundo (global warming).

Ang SRI ay hndi binhi/variety, kundi paraan ng pg-aalaga kayat mas marami kang pgpipiliang binhi: malagkit, mabango, inbred,hybrid,fancy, may kulay, atbp.

Ang susunod na serye ay ang PAGGAWA NG KOMPOST mula sa organikong materyal. Kompost ang ginagamit sa SRI para tumaba nang husto ang lupa.
./sri.benefits.msg/

7. Gumawa ng kompost

GUMAWA NG KOMPOST (binulok na organikong materyal): Ito’y mayaman sa mga organismo sa lupa at mga itlog nila. Sila ang nagbibigay ng sustansya sa halaman.

Mag-ipon ng dayami (huwag sunugin!); haluan ng dahon, kusot, seaweeds (maganda!), tae ng hayop, at iba png organikong materyal. Takpan at hayaang mabulok.

Diligin ng regular. Ilang buwan lng, may kmpost k na. Kng sa bukid msmo bbulukin ang orgnikong materyal, ikalat ito 1 buwan bgo mgpunla, para mbulok muna.

GAANO KARAMI? Timbangin lahat ng inalis sa bukid (hal. 2000 kg palay + 500 kg gulay). Gnito karami dn, kng pwde, ang ilagay na kmpost (sa hal. 2,500 kg).

Sa abonong kemikal, may overdose; sa kmpost, wala. Mas marami, mas mganda. Kng kulang sa kmpost, liitan ang trial. Kng walang kmpost, kahit 50-100sqm lng.

Ang pnakamagandang pataba sa lahat ay ang dumi ng bulate (vermicast). Ito’y mayaman sa mabubuting mikrobyo, NPK, at micronutrients na maganda sa halaman.

Kng bibili dn lng ng abono, vermicast ang bilhin. Mas mbuti, mg-aral ng vermiculture, para mkagawa ng sariling vermicast. Huwag haluan ng abonong kemikal.

Sa susunod na serye, ipaliliwanag namin kung bakit mas maganda ang KOMPOST kaysa ABONONG KEMIKAL, at kung bakit hndi dapat paghaluin ang dalawa.
./sri.kompost.msg/

8. Ang diperensya ng kompost sa abonong kemikal

Ang diperensya ng KOMPOST sa ABONONG KEMIKAL: UNA, ang kompost ay maaring gawin ng magsasaka; ang abonong kemikal ay bibilhin (o uutangin) pa;

IKALAWA, habang tumatagal, tumataba at gumaganda ang lupa sa kompost; umaasim at nasisira ang lupa sa abonong kemikal;

IKATLO, ang mga tanim na pinalaki sa kompost ay puno ng sustansya; ang pinalaki sa kemikal ay kulang na sa sustansiya, may dala pang sakit.

Ang KOMPOST ay tinatawag ding ORGANIC FERTILIZER. Kahit kulang sa kompost, huwag itong haluan ng abonong kemikal. Masasayang ang ating kompost!

Masustansya ang kompost dahil sa dami ng dala nitong mga organismo sa lupa at itlog nila: mga mikrobyo, nitrogen-fixing bacteria, amag, lumot, lebadura,

kutong-lupa, hanip, alupihan, palasingsingan, langgam, anay, bulate, atbp. Pgkain nila ang organikong materyal, lason sa kanila ang abonong kmikal.

Hndi lang NPK at iba pang sustansya at micronutrients ang ibinibigay ng kompost. Ibabalik din nito sa lupa ang mga organismong pinatay ng abonong kemikal.

Masama ang abonong kemikal (purong NPK) sa mga organismong ito, kayat huwag haluan ng abonong kemikal ang kompost.

Pag hinaluan ng kemikal ang kompost, ang mga dala-dala nitong organismo at itlog nila ay malalason at mamamatay. HUWAG HALUAN NG KEMIKAL ANG KOMPOST!

CONGRATULATIONS! Tapos na po ang SRI lessons natin. Ang susunod na serye ay ang KOREAN NATURAL FARMING SYSTEM, mga pndilig sa bukid na mgagawa sa bahay.

Sa susunod n serye, ang una sa KNFS, ituturo kng PAANO MAGPARAMI NG INDIGENOUS MICROORGANISMS (IMO), mga katutubong mkrobyo sa lupa na mganda sa halaman.
./sri.komp_vs_npk.msg/

9. Magparami ng indigenous microorganisms (IMO)

MAGPARAMI NG INDIGENOUS MICROORGANISMS (IMO): Magsaing sa palayok ng 1-kilo bigas. Palamigin. Takpan ang bibig ng palayok ng tela/papel.

Talian ng goma, para hndi pasukin ng insekto. Ipwesto ang palayok sa mga nabubulok na dahon sa lilim ng mga puno o kawayanan (d best sa gubat).

Pagkaraan ng 3 araw, kung marami nang puting amag sa kanin, iuwi ang palayok. Haluan ng 1-kilo pulot o pulang asukal (walang halong tubig).

Takpan ng bagong tela/papel, talian ulit ng goma. Huwag higpitan ang takip, para mkasingaw! Itabi ng 7 araw sa madilim at malamig na lugar para maburo

(fermentation, tulad ng paggawa ng suka) hanggang mgmukhang putik. Ito ang IMO. Para gamitin, magtimpla ng 2 kutsara nito kada litro ng tubig.

I-spray ito sa kompost, para mas mbilis mabulok; sa kulungan ng manok at baboy, para mwala ang amoy ng dumi; foliar fertlizer sa palay at iba png halaman.

Pwde ring pangkntrol sa peste/sakit; ispray sa na-weeder na damo,para mabulok agad ito; sa kuhol, para lumambot ang kanilang shells.

Maraming klase ng IMO, kung papalitan ang kanin ng ibang lahok: kung mga lamang-isda, magiging FAA (fish amino acid), na mayaman sa nitroheno.

Kung mga prutas (puwedeng sobra sa hinog, hwag lng bulok), magiging FFJ (fermented fruit juice), na pmpatamis sa namumunga.

Kung talbos ng kngkong, kamote o alugbati o katawan ng saging na saba, magiging fermented plant juice (FPJ), na nagpapabilis sa paglaki ng mga halaman.

Ang susunod na serye: FISH AMINO ACID (FAA), para sa dagdag na nitroheno.
./sri.imo.msg/

10. Gumawa ng Fish Amino Acid (FAA)

Ang Fish Amino Acid (FAA) ay ginagamit na pamparami ng nitroheno sa lupa. Maaari itong i-spray o idilig sa halaman, sa kompost, at sa lupa.

Mag-ipon ng parte isda (tinik, bituka, hasang at balat) o suso. Timbangin. Ilagay sa banga o timba. Haluan ng kasimbigat na pulot o pulang asukal.

Takpan ang lalagyan at talian. Ilagay sa malamig/madilim na lugar. Hayaang maburo ng 10 araw. Ang makukuhang katas ay ang Fish Amino Acid (FAA).

Para gamitin, ihalo ang 2 kutsara ng FAA sa 1 litrong tubig. I-spray o idilig sa halaman, kompost, at lupa. Magbibigay ito ng nitroheno sa halaman.

Ang susunod na serye ay tungkol sa FERMENTED PLANT JUICE (FPJ), na tumutulong sa photosynthesis at para lumaki nang mas mabilis ang halaman
./sri.faa.msg/

11. Gumawa ng Fermented Plant Juice (FPJ)

Fermented Plant Juice (FPJ): mas mabilis dumami ang IMO, mas mabilis lumaki ang halaman, at nagiging mas berde ang mga dahon (mabuti sa photosynthesis).

Kumuha: 2 kilong talbos ng kamote, kangkong o alugbati, labong, o dumalagang saba. Tadtarin. Haluan ng 1 kilong pulang asukal. Iwan sa palayok ng 1 araw.

Takpan ng malinis na papel at talian. Matapos maburo ng 7 araw, pwde nang gamitin ang FPJ, 2 kutsara ng katas sa 1 litrong tubig, pndilig sa lupa at dahon.

Ang FPJ ay mayaman sa growth hormones mula sa halamang mabilis lumaki. Nakakatulong ito sa mabilis na paglago ng halaman. Nakapagpaparami din ito ng IMO.

Ang susunod na serye ay tungkol sa FERMENTED FRUIT JUICE (FFJ), na ginagamit pampatamis ng mga bunga.
./sri.fpj.msg/

12. Gumawa ng Fermented Fruit Juice (FPJ)

Ang Fermented Fruit Juice (FFJ) ay nagbibigay ng dagdag na potassium sa halaman at ginagamit na pampatamis sa prutas ng mga bungang-kahoy.

Kumuha ng 1 kilong hinog na prutas (puwera balat at buto). Puwede ang mangga, saging, papaya, abokado, o magulang na kalabasa.

Talupan, tadtarin, at ilagay sa banga. Huwag gumamit ng plastik o aluminum. Haluan ng 1 kilong pulot o pulang asukal.

Takpan ng malinis na tela o papel. Talian. Ilagay sa malamig/madilim na lugar. Hayaang maburo ng 7 araw. Ang makukuhang katas ay ang Fermented Fruit Juice.

Magtimpla ng pandilig: ihalo ang 2 kutsarang FFJ sa 1 litrong tubig. Ipandilig sa mga dahon at ugat. Kung malinis ang pagkakagawa, puwede ring inumin.

Ang susunod na serye ay tungkol sa ORIENTAL HERBAL NUTRIENTS (OHN), na ginagamit na pampalusog at pangkontra sa sari-saring sakit.
./sri.ffj.msg/

13. Gumawa ng Oriental Herbal Nutrient (OHN)

OHN: Magtadtad ng 5 kg luya o bawang. Ilagay sa garapon. Lagyan ng beer hanggang sa 1/3 ng garapon. Pagkaraan ng 12 oras, maglagay ng 1 kg pulang asukal.

Hayaang maburo ng 4-5 araw. Punuin ang garapon ng gin hanggang leeg. Tkpan at talian. Mghintay ng 10 araw. Kumuha ng sabaw na kasindami ng nilagay na gin.

Gawin ng 5 beses ang pglalagay ng gin / pgkuha ng sabaw. Sa ika-4 at ika-5 ulit, samahan ang gin ng dnikdik na sili, panyawan (mkabuhay), at

bunga ng neem. para tumapang ang timpla ng OHN. Para magtimpla ng pandilig: ihalo ang 2 kutsara ng OHN sa 1 litrong tubig.

Pwdeng ipandilig ang tinimpla sa lupa at dahon ng halaman, kasama ang IMO, FPJ at FFJ, kada linggo, pag nanghihina ang tanim, o pag mamumulaklak na ito.

Ang susunod na serye ay tungkol sa PAGGAWA NG CALCIUM PHOSPHATE, na ginagamit pampabulaklak, at CALCIUM, na ginagamit naman pampatatag sa bulaklak.
./sri.ohn.msg/

14. Gumawa ng Calcium at Calcium Phosphate

Ang CALCIUM PHOSPHATE ay ginagamit pampabulaklak. Magpakulo sa tubig ng 2 kilong buto ng hayop hanggang sa maalis ang laman at taba. Patuyuin pagkatapos.

Iihaw ang buto hanggang sa mag-kulay uling. Palamigin pagkatapos.

Ilagay sa banga o timba. Lagyan ng 5 galon na sukang natural (galing sa niyog, tubo, saging, sasa, atbp.), hindi synthetic. Takpan at itabi ng 30 araw.

Timpla: ihalo ang 2 kutsarang katas sa 1 litrong tubig. Idilig sa halaman, lupa at kompost.

Kung ang CALCIUM PHOSPHATE ay pampabulaklak, ang CALCIUM naman ay pmpatatag sa mga bulaklak ng halaman. Ganito gumawa ng CALCIUM na png-ispray o pandilig:

Magprito ng 2 kilong balat ng itlog hanggang mangitim. Palamigin. Ilagay sa banga o timba. Dagdagan ng 5 galon na sukang niyog (walang kulay).

Takpan. Itabi ng 20 araw. Timpla: ihalo ang 2 kutsarang katas sa 1 litrong tubig. Idilig o iispray sa halaman, lupa at kompost.

Sa susunod na serye, malalaman kung kailan ginagamit ang IMO, FPJ, OHN, FAA, calcium at calcium phosphate ang iba pang lahok ng NFS.
./sri.calcium.msg/

15. Kailan ginagamit ang iba’t ibang lahok ng NFS

Bawat halaman ay dumadaan sa paglaki (growth stage) at pamumunga (reproductive stage). Sa pagitan ay ang changeover period, pag malapit nang mamumulaklak.

Sa paglaki, magspray kada linggo ng IMO, FPJ, OHN at FAA. Kung mukhang nasobrahan sa nitroheno ang halaman, magspray ng calcium phosphate.

Sa pagitan, magspray kada linggo ng IMO, FPJ, OHN, calcium phosphate at calcium. Kung mabagal ang paglaki, magspray ng FAA.

Sa pagitan, pinakaimportanteng sustansiya ang calcium phosphate (calphos) para sa pamumulaklak at ang calcium para maging prutas ang bulaklak.

Sa pamumunga, magspray kada linggo ng IMO, FPJ, OHN, calphos at calcium. Mgspray din ng FFJ para tumamis ang mga bunga at ng FAA kung mabagal ang paglaki.

Habang gumaganda at tumataba ang lupa, maaaring mas madalang na ang pagspray ng mga ito.

Ang susunod na serye ay tungkol sa LACTIC ACID BACTERIA SERUM (LAS), na ginagamit pangkontra sa mga sakit na galing sa amag at virus.
./sri.nfs_sked.msg/

16. Gumawa ng Lactic Acid Bacteria Serum (LAS)

Ang LACTIC ACID BACTERIA SERUM (LAS) ay ginagamit pangkontra sa sakit na galing sa amag at virus.

Ipunin ang pinaghugasan ng bigas (na puno ng mikrobyo) sa isang timba o banga.

Paabutin sa 7” pulgada ang taas ng pinaghugasang tubig. Itabi ang banga sa malamig/madilim na lugar.

Pagkatapos ng 7 araw, alisin ang lumutang na latak. Itira lang ang tubig.

Ilipat ang tubig sa isa pang lalagyan. Haluan ng gatas, na 10 ulit ang dami kaysa tubig.

Takpan ng malinis na papel. Talian. Pagkatapos ng 7 araw, lulutang ang taba (mula sa gatas) at magkukulay-dilaw ang tubig.

Kunin ang dilaw na tubig. Haluan ito ng kasindaming pulang asukal. Itabi ng 7 araw sa malamig/madilim na lugar. Dito makukuha ang LAS.

Timpla: ihalo ang 2 kutsara ng LAS sa 1 litrong tubig. Pwdeng ipainom sa hayop, iispray sa kulungan para maalis ang amoy, o idilig sa halaman at sa kmpost.

Ang susunod na serye ay tungkol sa CARBONIZED RICE HULL(CRH) o INULING NA IPA, pandagdag ng micronutrients at pampaganda sa istruktura ng lupa.
./sri.las.msg/

17. Gumawa ng Carbonized Rice Hull (CRH) o Inuling na Ipa

Ang CARBONIZED RICE HULL (CRH) o INULING NA IPA ay nagdadagdag ng micronutrients at nagpapaganda sa istruktura ng lupa. Tulad ito ng paggawa ng uling.

Gumawa ng CARBONIZER mula sa karaniwang lata ng gaas o biscuit (18 liters), pwedeng kwadrado (23 x 23 x 34 cm) o bilog. Alisin ang ibabaw (top) ng lata.

Sa ilalim ng lata, gumawa ng bilog na butas, 10 cm ang lapad (diameter). Sa paligid ng lata, gumawa ng maraming mliliit na butas (na hndi kasya ang ipa).

Gawing 2.5 cm ang distansya ng mga butas sa isa’t isa, o 500 butas lahat sa paligit ng lata. Ang mga butas na ito’y dadaanan ng hangin (hindi ng ipa).

Gumupit ng #24 GI sheet na 31.4 cm ang lapad at 2 meters ang haba. Irolyo ito nang pahaba para magkorteng tubo na 10 cm ang lapad at 2 metro ang haba.

Talian ng mga alambre ang tubo ng yero para hindi ito bumuka. Isusuot ang tubong ito sa 10-cm na butas sa lata, para makalabas ang usok ng pag-uuling.

Tiyaking 5-8 cm lang ng tsimineya (mahabang tubo) ang nakasuot sa lata, at mahigpit ang pagkakasuot nito sa butas para hindi ito dumausdos pababa.

Sa patag na sahig na lupa o semento, magsimula ng apoy mula sa tuyong kahoy o bao. Ipatong ang carbonizer sa apoy. Magtambak ng ipa sa ibabaw ng lata.

Tambakan ng ipa ang lata hanggang sa matakpan ito nang husto. Pwedeng magtambak ng hanggang sa 50 sako ng ipa. Ang usok ay dapat lumabas sa tsimineya.

Kung malakas ang hangin, lagyan ng mas maraming ipa ang tinatamaan ng hangin dahil mas mabilis magiging uling ang parteng ito.

Tandaan: dapat mamatay ang apoy, para mainit na baga lang ang matira. Kung apoy at hindi baga ang mananaig sa loob, ang ipa’y magiging abo, hindi uling.

Yung mga ipa sa ilalim ng tambak ang pinakahuling magiging uling. Palahin ang mga ito sa tuwi-tuwina at ilagay sa bandang itaas ng tambak.

Magtakip ng panyo sa ilong at bibig habang gumagawa ng CRH, dahil hindi maganda sa kalusugan kung tuluy-tuloy na lumalanghap ng usok nito.

Kung naging uling na ang 90% ng ipa, alisin na ang carbonizer at nagbabagang kahoy/bao sa gitna. Iwasang sumiklab ang apoy para hindi maging abo ang ipa.

Ayusin ang tambak ng 90% uling at 10% ipa para magkorteng bundok ulit at magluto ang natitirang ipa hanggang maging uling din.

Wisikan ng tubig ang CRH para unti-unting mamatay ang mga baga, bumaba ang temperatura nito, tumigil na ang pagluluto, at hindi maging abo ang uling.

Hintaying bumalik ang temperatura ng tambak sa normal at matuyo ang idinilig na tubig, bago gamitin ang CRH o ilagay ito sa mga sako.

Ang susunod na serye ay tungkol sa paggawa ng BOKASHI, isang klase ng organikong pataba na ginagamit ng maraming magsasaka sa Japan.
./sri.crh.msg/

18. Gumawa ng Bokashi

Gumawa ng BOKASHI, isang magandang klase ng organikong pataba na unang ginamit sa Japan. Ang prosesong ginagamit ay pagbuburo (tulad ng paggawa ng suka).

Materyales para sa paggawa ng 30 sakong BOKASHI (pwede sa 1 ektarya): 12 sako, tuyong dumi ng hayop; 10 sako, inuling na ipa (CRH); 8 sako, matabang lupa;

Karagdagang materyales: 4 sako, darak; 4 kilo, pulang asukal o pulot; 3.5 litro, tuba; .15 litro (16 kutsara), FPJ o FAA; .15 litro (16 kutsara), IMO.

Pumili ng nasisilungang lugar na di binabaha kung umuulan. Maglagay ng bubong at kanal sa paligid, kung kailangan. Mas mabuti kung sementado ang sahig.

Mas mabuti rin kung ang lugar ay malapit sa bahay, para madaling bantayan, at di mapuntahan ng mga hayop. Pgsama-samahin lahat ng materyales. Haluin ito.

Habang hinahalo, diligan ng kaunting tubig na may halong tuba. Kung may tubig na tumulo pag piniga ang halo, sobra na ang tubig. Itigil na ang pagdidilig.

Haluing mabuti. Palahin ang ilalim at ibunton sa tuktok ng tambak, para magkorteng bundok ito. Takpan ng sako. Haluin ang tambak araw-araw.

Sa unang 7 araw, kung hndi matiis ang init ng tambak pag ipinasok ang kamay dito, haluin nang 2 ulit sa isang araw, para mabawasan ang init ng tambak.

Sa ika-7 araw, diligan ang tambak para mabasa ulit ito. Titigil ang proseso ng pgbuburo kng kulang sa tubig. Pero masisira ang bokashi kung sobrang tubig.

Sa ika 8-14 araw, kung di na mainit sa kamay ang tambak, hndi na ito kailangang haluin. Takpan na lang ito habang hinihintay na matapos ang pagbuburo.

Mtapos ang 14 araw, pwde nang gmitin ang bokashi. Haluang muli ng kasindaming lupa, bago gamitin sa bukid. Organikong pataba ito, kayat walang overdose.

Ang susunod na serye ay tungkol sa paggawa ng ORGANIC PESTICIDES para makontrol ang mga peste sa halaman.
./sri.bokashi.msg/

19. Gumawa ng organic pesticides

Ang mga sumusunod na ORGANIC PESTICIDES ay ginagamit ng mga trainers namin. Maaaring ipalit ang ibang sangkap, depende sa makukuhang lokal na materyal.

Ang mga organic spray ay madalas binubuo ng dalawang bahagi: a) ang mga pinagmumulan ng aktibong sangkap, at ang likidong pantunaw sa aktibong sangkap.

Mga karaniwang pnagmumulan ng aktibong sangkap: siling labuyo; tubli; dahon ng tabako, neem, kakawate; katawan ng makabuhay; laman ng nami; bawang; atbp.

Mga karaniwang pantunaw sa aktibong sangkap: OHN, alcohol, langis, mantika, tubig na may sabon, o iba pang likido na makatutunaw sa aktibong sangkap.

ORGANIC FOLIAR PESTICIDE: Mag-ipon sa 1 sako ng 3-4 kilo ng tae ng kambing, at tig-1 kilo ng dahon ng kakawate, dahon ng neem, at katawan ng makabuhay.

Ibabad ang sako ng mga sangkap sa 1 dram ng tubig. Pagkatapos ng 3 araw, pwde nang ispray ang tubig sa dram sa mga parteng apektado ng peste.

ORGANIC SPRAY KONTRA TUNGRO: Magdikdik hanggang maging pino ng 4 na bilog ng bawang at 4 na bilog ng sibuyas habang ihinahalo ang 4 na kutsarang mantika.

Hndi lulutuin ang lahok. Pag pinung-pino na, ihalo sa 16 litrong tubig. Ispray sa parteng apektado ng tungro.

ORGANIC SPRAY KONTRA ATANGYA. Mag-ipon ng dahon ng tabako, bunga ng siling labuyo, at dinikdik na katawan ng makabuhay (isang baging).

Ibabad muna ang ugat ng tubli ng 7 oras sa putik, bago gamitin, para lumambot ito at maglabas ng katas.

Ibabad ang mga pinagsama-samang sangkap ng 24 oras sa 16 litro ng tubig. Ispray ang pinagbabarang tubig sa mga atangya.

Sa mga sakit na dala ng FUNGUS (tulad ng leafblight), pwdeng gamiting pang-ispray ang IMO at ang organic spray kontra tungro.

CONGRATULATIONS! Natapos nyo na ang mga serye ng SRI at KNFS, na tinatawag ding ORGANIC SRI. Isa na lng ang kailangan para mkumpleto ang inyong pag-aaral.

Ang huling parte ng inyong pag-aaral ay ang praktikum: subukan ang SRI sa isang trial plot. Kung ito ang unang subok nyo, mgtesting muna sa 100-500 sqm.

Sa inyong PRAKTIKUM, patuloy po kaming mgbibigay ng payo sa txt. Pwde pong malaman kung anong buwan nyo planong subukan ang SRI?
./sri.org_pest.msg/

20. Praktikum: step by step

Tapos na po ang mga lessons, kailangang isa-praktika na ito, at magtanim ng palay gamit ang SRI. Maglaan na ng maliit na pitak pantesting (trial plot).

Tama lang ang 50-500 sqm pantesting. (Kung nag-aaral lumangoy, sa mababaw na ilog muna, hndi sa malalim na dagat.) Balikan natin ang mga praktika ng SRI:

LAND PREP: Lagyan ang pitak ng maraming kompost o vermicast. Kasindami, kng maaari, ng inani sa pitak. Hlimbawa, 5 bag ng kompost kung 5 kaban ang inani.

LAND PREP: Pag nasuyod na ang lupa, mag-ispray ng IMO para mamatay ang mga buto ng damo at lumaki nang mabilis ang mga tumubo na. Tapos, suyurin ulit.

PAGPUPUNLA: Gumamit ng punlaan na 50% lupa, 50% kompost. Salain ang binhi sa tubig-alat. Yung mga lumubog lang ang ipunla. Itapon yung lumutang.

PAGPUPUNLA: Maglaan ng 50 gramong binhi kada 100 sqm na pglilipatan. Ipunla nang madalang: 1 metro kwdradong seed bed o seed trays kada 50 gramong binhi.

PAGTATANIM: Ilipat ang punla pag may 2 dahon na (8-12 araw). Kumuha ng punla gamit ang pala/kutsara ng kantero. Kapalan ang lupa para di tamaan mga ugat.

PAGTATANIM: Ihiwalay ang 1 punla (hndi 2 o 3, kundi ISA), kasama pa ang palay, lupa at putik sa ugat, at itanim sa distasyang 25 x 25 cm (10 pulgada).

PAGTATANIM: Ilipat ang punla parang baby na inililipat galing duyan papnta sa kama: hndi sya naistorbo, nagising o nsaktan at walang sugat, pilay o bali.

KADA 7-10 ARAW: Bahain ang lupa (2-3 araw) para mbulok ang damo, patuyuin ng mas mtagal (5-7 araw), para habulin ng mga ugat ang tubig sa ilalim ng lupa.

DI DAPAT MKABUWELO ANG DAMO. Pag tuyo ang lupa, mglalabasan ang damo. Bunutin/bungkalin agad sila, gamit ang kamay o weeder. Pgkatapos, magspray ng IMO.

Kung gsto ng patuloy naming payo at teknikal na suporta, itext sa amin ang petsa ng pagpupunla nyo para sa SRI trial. Mgtxt kng may problema. Good luck!
./sri.praktikum.msg/

Philippine SRI map: where are the SRI trainers, farm trials and trainings conducted so far

I have not been very active in posting messages lately because a particular advocacy has kept me really busy.

I coordinate SRI Pilipinas a national network of farmers and organic farming advocates that promote the System of Rice Intensification (SRI). I’ve made a few previous posts about this method, including the Nov. 2011 news that five SRI farmers in India have broken the world record in rice yield previously held by world-famous Prof. Yuan Long-ping, inventor of hybrid rice.

I am posting here two maps — 1) Luzon, and 2) Visayas and Mindanao — showing the areas where we have SRI trainers (who can conduct one-day trainings for free), where we have conducted one-day SRI trainings (almost 130 throughout the country so far), and where farmers have conducted SRI trials, as far as we know.

The maps may not show any place marker at first (teardrop-shaped icons) at first, because loading them takes time, especially over slow connections. Be patient. The man/woman icons stand for locations where we have SRI trainers.

The Luzon SRI map:

https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msa=0&msid=217660476975716136489.0004bfc0fb7925a183aed&ie=UTF8&t=m&ll=14.186057,121.52486&spn=8.393733,5.322091&output=embed
View SRI Pilipinas (Luzon) Trainers, Trials and Trainings in a larger map

 

The Visayas/Mindanao SRI map:

https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msa=0&msid=217660476975716136489.0004c186951922be416d5&ie=UTF8&t=m&ll=9.283828,122.552533&spn=6.462083,7.511902&output=embed
View SRI Pilipinas (Visayas & Mindanao) Trainers, Trials and Trainings in a larger map

Eventually we hope to have at least one SRI trainer in every rice-producing province.

 

 

CopySouth group takes up philosophy professor’s case

The CopySouth Research Group (CSRG), an international network of activists and academics studying the impact on the global South of copyrights and related issues, has taken up the case of the philosophy professor whose Web site was shut down for posting Spanish translations of works by Jacques Derrida, the founder of “deconstruction”. Here is the CSRG statement:

Argentinean professor charged criminally for promoting access to knowledge

By the CopySouth Research Group

A philosophy professor in Argentina, Horacio Potel, is facing criminal charges for maintaining a website devoted to translations of works by French philosopher Jacques Derrida. His alleged crime: copyright infringement. Here is Professor Potel’s sad story.

“I was fascinated at the unlimited possibilities offered by the internet for knowledge exchange”, explains Horacio Potel, a Professor of Philosophy at the Universidad Nacional de Lanús in Buenos Aires. In 1999, he set up a personal website to collect essays and other works of some well-known philosophers, starting with the German Friedrich Nietzsche and Martin Heidegger. Potel’s websites – Nietzsche in Spanish, Heidegger in Spanish and Derrida in Spanish – eventually developed into growing online libraries of freely downloadable philosophical texts. Nietzsche in Spanish alone has already received more than four million visitors.

One of Potel’s best known websites, www.jacquesderrida.com.ar focused on his favourite French philosopher, Algerian-born Jacques Derrida (1930-2004), who was the founder of “deconstruction”. On this website Potel posted many of the philosopher’s works, translated into Spanish, as well as discussion forums, research results, biographies, images and the usual pieces of information typical of this type of online resource. “I wanted to share my love for philosophy with other people. The idea was disseminating the texts and giving them some sort of arrangement” declares Potel.

To Potel, what he was doing was what professors have done for centuries: helping students to get access to knowledge. “It is not possible to find the same comprehensive collection of works that was available at Derrida’s and Heidegger’s websites either in libraries or in bookstores in Argentina”, says Potel. In fact, only two bookstores in Argentina’s largest city, Buenos Aires, carry some books by Derrida and many of his works are seldom available to readers. Potel spent decades visiting libraries and bookstores to collect the material he posted on his online library. “Many of those texts are already out of print”, he says. Books that are out of print cannot be purchased, but they are often still protected by copyright laws.

Furthermore, Potel finds the prices charged by foreign publishers, such as the Mexican companies Porrua and Cal y Arena, “prohibitive” by Argentinean standards. He gives as an example the price of a recently published booklet of a conference given by Derrida. Printed in large typeface, the booklet has about eighty pages, although the text would certainly fit in twelve. It was being sold for 162 Argentinean pesos, around 42 US dollars at current exchange rates. Even at that steep price copies were very hard to find within two weeks after they arrived in Argentina. Potel relates how he had to walk around Buenos Aires for an entire afternoon in order to find a single copy of the booklet.

But the price of foreign books is not the only concern in this case. For Derrida’s works to be accessible to the Spanish-speaking world they have to be translated. While the Spanish versions of the texts available on the website were not done by him, Potel made corrections to a few of them, since some of Derrida’s Spanish language books have been quite poorly translated. To make the texts easier to understand for readers, Potel also linked each translation to the original text, as well as to other works cited by Derrida.

Eventually, Potel’s popular website caught the attention of a publisher. A criminal case against Potel was initiated on December 31, 2008 after a complaint was lodged by a French company, the publishing house Les Éditions de Minuit. They have published only one of Derrida’s books and it was in French. Minuit’s complaint was passed on to the French Embassy in Argentina and it became the basis of the Argentina Book Chamber‘s legal action against Potel.

The Argentina Book Chamber boasts of its doubtful precedents of having been responsible for a police raid at the Faculty of Arts and Letters of the University of Buenos Aires and for having managed to condemn some professors for encouraging the students to photocopy books and articles. “The view of the police entering the Puán building is remembered with astonishment by many members of the academic community” says a report. The next possible effects of the legal action against Potel are the wiretapping of his phone line, the interception of his email accounts and an incursion into his house to “determine the actual place where the illegal act occurred”.

Potel has already removed all the content from his website, a decision which he regards as a tragedy. “These websites are my best work. They are the result of many hours of work and have been entirely funded by me”, he says. Those who access www.jacquesderrida.com.ar today find a warning: “This website has been taken down due to a legal action initiated by the Argentina Book Chamber”. Potel insists that he “never intended to make a profit” out of Derrida’s works. Yet he faces a possible criminal sentence of one month up to six years in prison for violation of Argentina’s intellectual property laws, according to a February 28, 2009 story by the online version of Argentina’s largest newspaper, Clarín.

If Derrida was alive, he would probably be thanking Potel for bringing translations of his texts to millions of Spanish-speaking readers, who otherwise would never have had the opportunity to read the works of the French philosopher. Here’s what the founder of deconstruction said about freedom within the university:

“And yet I maintain that the idea of this space of the academic type has to be symbolically protected by a kind of absolute immunity, as if its interior were inviolable; I believe (this is like a profession of faith which I address to you and submit to your judgment) that this is an idea that we must reaffirm, declare, and profess endlessly. […] This freedom of immunity of the university and par excellence of its Humanities is something to which we must lay claim, while committing ourselves to it with all our might. Not only in a verbal and declaratory fashion, but in work, in act and in what we make happen with events.” (Jacques Derrida, “The University Without Condition” in Without Alibi, ed. & trans. by Peggy Kamuf, Stanford University Press, 2002, p. 210)

Those who profess to “protect” Derrida’s “intellectual property rights” are now persecuting a professor who is simply following the French philosopher’s teachings and popularising them in the Spanish-speaking world.

The CopySouth Research Group calls on the Argentina Book Chamber and the government of Argentina to drop these criminal charges immediately and to respect and protect professor Potel’s academic freedom in providing popular access to philosophical works. In any conflict between intellectual property and the right to education and to access knowledge, we choose education and we urge those who share the same concerns to spread the word widely and rapidly.

You can send letters to Les Éditions de Minuit (7 Rue Bernard Palissy, 75006 Paris 06, France, email: contact@leseditionsdeminuit.fr), the Argentina Book Chamber (Av. Belgrano 1580, Piso 4, C1093AAQ Buenos Aires, Argentina, email: cal@editores.org.ar) and the Argentina Federal Council of Education (Pizzurno 935, P.B. of. 5, C1020ACA Buenos Aires, Argentina, email: cfce@me.gov.ar).

30 March 2009

The CopySouth Research Group

contact@copysouth.org

The CopySouth Research Group (CSRG) was established in 2005. The CSRG is composed of researchers and activists in more than 15 countries and conducts research on a range of copyright and related issues in the global South. Copies of the 210-page CopySouth Dossier are available as a free download (in English and Spanish) on its website (www.copysouth.org).

_________________

Note: This report is based on information collected from Horacio Potel and from several other sources, including the article on the online version of the Argentinean newspaper Clarín, a blog post by Patricio Lorente translated by Carolina Botero and a Wikipedia entry on Horacio Potel.

Less wants mean more abundance

Working Paper

Less wants mean more abundance

by Roberto Verzola, rverzola@gn.apc.org

If we make the realistic assumption that people can be satiated, saturated or satisficed when meeting their needs and wants, we can show that wants have a finite bound and are not “infinite”, as many economists tend to assume.1

If wants are finite and their satisficing levels can be determined, then it becomes possible to compute the ratio between consumer demand for a good and its satisficing level for a person. We can call this ratio the state of relative abundance of a good for a particular person. By aggregating demand and satisficing levels for groups of people and entire societies, assuming that all consumers have a satisficing level for some goods, we can determine the state of relative abundance for these goods in a particular society. Since consumer demand is price-dependent, the state of abundance is also price-dependent and would show the same downward-sloping trend as the demand curve.

In fact, due to a number of factors, some societies show much lower aggregate levels of wants compared to other societies. This decreases the denominator of the demand-to-satisficing-level ratio, and suggesting a higher relative abundance level for these societies. Less wants mean more abundance. These “want-reducing” demand-side factors include:

A culture of cooperation

Cooperation among consumers raises the possibility of further improving the aggregate level abundance, given the same supply and individual demands. With common pooling of resources and cooperative consumption, a group of consumers can enjoy through sharing more goods or services and get nearer their satisficing levels, thereby improving their aggregate level of abundance. A car, for instance, may meet the daily commuting needs of one or up to five persons. Compared to books in someone’s shelf, books in a community library – or videos and CDs for that matter, can be enjoyed by many more people. A huge body of literature can be found around common pool resources and the best ways to manage them.2 Perfect cooperation, which leads to more abundance, is as important an economic concept as perfect competition. A properly-managed free commons, like a freely accessible public library of books, CDs and DVDs, can help create more abundance as much as an unregulated free market often leads to artificial scarcities.

Simple living

Beyond the pooling of resources, cultural mechanisms can also bring satisfaction levels and demand down. In some societies, this can be a major factor in improving the level of abundance. Extolling simple living, highlighting voluntary simplicity, focusing on the spiritual aspects of life, or idealizing asceticism are various ways by which some societies have deemphasized material accumulation and enhanced their level of abundance from the demand side. As Gandhi put it when describing his own experiments in voluntary simplicity, “the real seat of taste was not the tongue but the mind.”3

Focusing on needs

Among the entire range of human needs and wants, it can be argued that not all of these should be treated on equal footing. Obviously, grey areas can exist. However, most will surely agree that those necessities which enable each person to simply survive and live his/her natural life span and each society to reproduce itself should be on top of any hierarchy of needs and wants. These include clean air, potable water, healthy food, protection from the elements and disease, and similar goods and services. If a society focuses on such goods and services its efforts to build abundance, the range of needs and wants that need to be satisficed is narrowed down even further.4

The economics of altruism

There have been societies where one’s worth is measured not in terms of how much one has accumulated, but in terms of how much one has given away. Many still admire this ideal and try to practise it occasionally or even regularly.5 Practised widely, altruism can help cut down the highs and fill in the lows in the income distribution. Filling in the lows, in particular, can reduce society’s failure rate, with direct impact on those who most need it. The continuing and even increasing role of charitable foundations, non-profit organizations and similar institutions reflects the persistence of altruism as a factor in poverty reduction efforts.

Economics of fairness

It is not only a sense of altruism or charity that should impel a society to ensure its members’ minimum basic needs, as these needs are called today in development circles. It is also a matter of fairness, justice and equity. We know that something is terribly wrong in the dominant economics of a society like the U.S. when, despite appropriating for itself much of the world’s resources and leading in the development of new technologies, 11% of the country’s adults and 17% of its children still suffer from occasional involuntary hunger.6 It is also from the U.S. where we get an example of a promising approach. The State of Alaska’s Permanent Fund is one example of an effort to guarantee a minimum income for every citizen.7 Many parallel efforts have been launched to develop the concept of a basic income guarantee (BIG).8

We have shown that abundance is a matter not only of supply but also of demand. Where societies are more cooperative rather than competitive, where a simple life of material sufficiency and intellectual/spiritual richness is instead sought after, where those who enjoy abundance are passionate about sharing it, and where the means for meeting the most basic human needs receive the most attention as a matter of right, then the members of these societies can enjoy much greater abundance.

1Verzola, Roberto. 2009. “Finite Wants Make Relative Abundance Possible”. https://rverzola.wordpress.com/2009/01/21/finite-demand-makes-relative-abundance-possible/

2See, for instance, Elinor Ostrom, Thomas Dietz, Nives Dolšak, Paul Stern, Susan Stonich and Elke Weber (eds.). 2002. The Drama of the Commons. National Academy Press, Washington, DC. See also Elinor Ostrom. 1990. Governing the Commons: The Evolution of Institutions for Collective Action. Cambridge University, Cambridge.

3Gandhi, M. K. 1927. An Autobiography (The Story of My Experiments with Truth). Navajivan Publishing House, Ahmedabad. p. 52.

4 See Frank Rotering. 2008. Needs and Limits: A New Economics for Sustainable Well-Being (2nd ed.). http://members.shaw.ca/needsandlimits/pdf_files/needs_and_limits-2nd_edition.pdf

5The term “gift economy” may not be appropriate to describe this, since gifts are often seen as signalling mechanisms with various other motivations aside from altruism.

6Food Research and Action Center, “Hunger in the U.S.”, http://www.frac.org/html/hunger_in_the_us/hunger_index.html

7Alaska Department of Revenue Permanent Fund Dividend Division. “FAQs”. https://www.pfd.state.ak.us/faqs/index.aspx. See also Alanna Hartzok. 2002. “The Alaska Permanent Fund: A Model of Resource Rents for Public Investment and Citizen Dividends”. Earth Rights Institute. http://www.earthrights.net/docs/alaska.html

8The U.S. Basic Income Guarantee Network. “What is the basic income guarantee?” http://www.usbig.net/whatisbig.html

Finite wants make relative abundance possible

Working paper

Finite Wants Make Relative Abundance Possible

by Roberto Verzola, rverzola@gn.apc.org

[Note: the old title of this working paper was “Finite demand makes relative abundance possible”.]

It is almost by definition that economists predominantly focus on scarcity, when they define economics as the study of “the most efficient ways to allocate scarce resources to meet unlimited human wants”. If, indeed, people had infinite wants, then not even all the resources of this finite world will be enough for a single person.

It can be argued, however, that consumer wants are not infinite. There exist physical, physiological, neurological, psychological and cultural limits – both actual and potential – to consumption which can keep individual as well as collective needs and wants within finite bounds.

If these needs and wants are finite, then satisfying them becomes a real possibility, and relative abundance is within reach.

The following three concepts will help show that needs and wants can remain within finite bounds:

Satiation. Economists define satiation as the consumption level which the consumer most prefers. The closer the consumer is to this level, writes economist Hal Varian, “the better off he is in terms of his own preferences”.1 This satiation level for a bundle of goods is also called the bliss point. Beyond it, the consumer prefers to have less of the goods. Many economists still cling to the hedonist principle that “more is always preferred to less.” But some acknowledge, at least in theory, that a satiation level exists for some, if not most, goods. Varian, in particular, says that most goods have a satiation point and that “you can have too much of nearly anything,” which contradicts the “infinite wants” assertion in most definitions of economics.

Saturation. While satiation may apply more to the psychological attitude of a consumer not wanting more, saturation is more about the physiological or physical incapacity of a person to consume more. Beyond the saturation point, one’s body either will become incapable or will involuntarily reject additional servings of food and drinks. One can only wear so many clothes, or shoes. One can listen to only so many CDs or watch only so many videos. There are only twenty-four hours a day after all.

To reach the brain, a sense stimulus takes around 10-20 milliseconds. To respond in a conscious way, neuro-scientists have found out, the brain takes longer – around 500 milliseconds (half a second).2 This suggests that our brain can only enjoy at most two distinct events every second or about 170,000 every twenty-four hours. For a world with some six billion people, that adds up to an upper limit of one quad (i.e., quadrillion) consumption events per day. That is a huge number, it is true, but finite nevertheless. Most of us will probably exceed our saturation levels long before that point.

The argument for saturation is further strengthened by the findings of experimental psychologists that people – and animals too – get less pleasure from any stimulation, the more often it happens. Not only does the pleasure diminish, but the stimulation soon becomes undesirable.3 So, the finite time to consciously respond to sensory stimulation sets a limit to the variety of stimulation one can respond to, and a single type of stimulation will also soon become undesirable, also setting a limit on the desirable amount for that type. Economist Tibor Scitovsky has further argued that not all sources of stimulation can be exchanged in the market and therefore add to economic demand.4 All these support the argument for a finite bound to consumer needs and wants.

However, the concept of saturation as distinct from satiation is hardly mentioned in consumer theory and most economists still cling to the “infinite wants” idea.

Satisficing. Even before we reach our satiation or saturation levels, we may already reach our “satisficed” level, in which the quantity we have of a particular good or bundle of goods already suffices to satisfy, and beyond which we would only weakly prefer more.5 In contrast to satiation, which results in a strictly lower preference beyond the bliss point or satiation level, points beyond the satisficing level are either equally preferred or only so slightly or weakly preferred that it does not make a difference. The idea that consumers satisfice rather than optimize when fitting their wants to their budget was first raised by psychologist Herbert Simon, who subsequently won the Economics Nobel Prize in 1978.6

Any of these “sat” concepts – certainly all of them, together – are enough to argue that individual and likewise needs and wants have finite bounds.

This justifies the following assertion: some consumers have a satisficing level for some goods.7 As the price of a good goes down, consumers will then be able to afford enough to reach their satisficing levels. We will leave to future research the debate whether the weak assertion of “some consumers” and “some goods” can, in some contexts or periods, be changed to a stronger assertion of “some consumers for all goods”, “all consumers for some goods”, or even “all consumers for all goods”.8

The above assertion leads directly to a formal definition of abundance: when a person can afford enough quantity of a good or bundle of goods to reach his/her satisficed level, then the person enjoys a state of abundance for that good/bundle of goods. The concept is not new. Gandhi must have been referring to abundance when he said “the Earth has enough for everyone’s need”. This definition also allows a good’s state of abundance with respect to one person to be quantified: it is the ratio of that person’s affordable quantity (economists call this demand, which varies according to price) to his/her satisficing level, which is the point where any further reduction in price does not anymore increase that person’s demanded quantity. For instance, if a person’s satisficing level is five pairs of shoes, but s/he can only afford two pairs (i.e., she is only willing to buy two pairs at current prices), then s/he enjoys a state of abundance of 40% (two out of five) with respect to shoes. This makes it simple to relate abundance to its inverse, scarcity: the person needs three pairs more to reach the five-pair satisficed level. Thus s/he faces a scarcity level of 60%.

For a group of consumers, the level of abundance can be determined by aggregating the quantities each individual can afford (the demand), divided by the aggregate of their individual satisfaction levels. This makes it possible, in theory, to determine the relative level of abundance (and scarcity) of a good for an entire society.

Economics usually assumes that business firms maximize their profits by producing until their marginal cost (the cost of the next additional unit) equals their marginal revenue (unit price of the good). If, in addition to this behavioral assumption, we also assume diminishing returns or decreasing returns to scale, this will eventually result in increasing marginal costs. When the increasing marginal costs reach the good’s market price, economic theory says the point of maximum profit has been reached. Thus business firms will, in theory, reach their satiation point when they reach their maximum profits.

This also means, however, that profitable firms employing technologies with constant or increasing returns to scale will face constant or decreasing marginal costs. They will therefore have no profit maximum and likewise no satiation level. These firms will conform to the theoretical hedonist idea that “more is always preferred to less.” They will try to keep increasing their scale of operations, as they go after higher and higher profits – making them an engine of globalization.

It is the profit-motive, it seems, that keeps us away from abundance, not “infinite” human wants.

1 Hal Varian. 1996. Intermediate Economics: A Modern Approach (4th ed.). W. W. Norton & Co., New York. p. 43-44.

2 Robert Matthews. 2007. 25 Big Ideas: The Science That’s Changing Our World. Oneworld Publications, Oxford.

3Tibor Scitovsky. 1976. The Joyless Economy: An Inquiry Into Human Satisfaction and Consumer Dissatisfaction. Oxford University Press, London. p. 35-40.

4Tibor Scitovsky. See above, p. 81-83.

5 Economists often represent the quantity of good desired relative to another good (or other goods) using indifference curves, which include on the same curve equally preferred ratios of one good over another. Through the same graphical tool, “satisficed” levels may then be described using thick indifference curves. Such thick curves mean that small increases in quantity of a consumer’s bundle of goods do not increase a consumer’s preference for that bundle, suggesting that they have reached their satisficed level. Standard indifference curve analysis can then be used to determine the economic implications when consumers reach this level. One implication, for instance, is that the demand curve turns concave as the satisficing level is approached. This upsets the First Fundamental Theorem of Welfare Economics, which assumes strictly convex indifference curves and non-satiation. This is the theorem which asserts that a free market leads to an efficient allocation of resources.

6 See Herbert Simon. Feb. 1955. “A Behavioral Model of Rational Choice” in The Quarterly Journal of Economics (Vol. 69 No. 1). p. 99-118

7 “Satisficing” seems to have no noun form. Instead of “satisfaction” — which many economists use to mean “reaching the highest level desired” rather than “meeting a level that suffices” — this paper uses “satisficing level” if the level has not been reached yet, and “satisficed level” if it has been reached.

8The satisficing principle is widely used in logical/mathematical proofs and, by extension, in all physical, natural and social sciences that use such proofs in their fields. Consider the following assertions: (1) A, B and C imply X; 2) D and E imply X, and 3) F implies X. As soon as the truth of (1) is proven, the sufficient conditions for X will have been satisfied, a very common exercise in many fields. Subsequent work may show that (2) and (3) are also true, with (3) possibly established as the optimal sufficient condition for X. But (1), (2) and (3) are all equally sufficient to satisfy the conditions for X. Anyone who has ever established, used or accepted such proofs is using the satisficing principle.

Restrictive copyright practices

I referred in an earlier post to increasingly restrictive copyright practices. These practices are like a tightening noose around the neck of everyone in search of knowledge.

Here’s one example:

Most online academic journals have been charging academics, researchers and students to download individual articles ever since new technologies made this possible. This is an extension of the older practice of charging for individual copies of articles on academic journals. Of course, once one had a copy of the article, whether in print or in digital format, the copy could then be shared with colleagues, passed around, photocopied and so on, in the usual way we all share things with each other. This is how knowledge gets disseminated after all, so that other may build on old knowledge and the search for new knowledge may continue.

In the Dec. 6-10 CopySouth meeting, one presentor rued a new and much more restrictive practice by some online journals: when you download and pay for a copy of an article, the digital file has an expiration date, after which the file erases itself! The logical extension of this highly restrictive practice is pay-per-view, which is now standard practice in the video industry. In addition, users are prohibited from disabling this automatic self-destruct mechanism and are threatened with a lawsuit, should they try to do so.

Similar highly restrictive practices are now finding their way into university and school libraries, especially where librarians have come under the spell of the ideology of knowledge monopolists. Fortunately, most librarians still recognize that their work is about disseminating, rather than restricting the dissemination of knowledge. They therefore balk at prohibiting, or even warning library users against, the photocopying of library materials.

This combination of technical and legal padlocking of information, so that information rentiers like journal publishers may strengthen their monopolistic hold on knowledge, is also the subject of my article Undermining Abundance.

Mechanism like these prevent ordinary people like us from taking full advantage of the promise of abundance made possible by digital technologies.

The golden touch and the miracle of the loaves

[This piece will appear as a chapter in the book From Intellectual Property Rights to Access to Knowledge by Gaelle Krikorian and Amy Kapczynski (eds.) to be published by Zone Books in 2009.]

Dionysus … decided to reward Midas for his hospitality and granted him one wish. Midas wished that everything he touched be turned to gold. Dionysus warned him about the dangers of such a wish, but Midas was too distracted with the prospect of being surrounded by gold to listen. Dionysus gave him the gift. Initially, King Midas was thrilled with his new gift and turned everything he could to gold, including his beloved roses. His attitude changed, however, when he was unable to eat or drink since his food and wine were also changed to unappetizing gold. He even accidentally killed his daughter when he touched her, and this truly made him realize the depth of his mistake. (Anna Baldwin, Midas, http://www.pantheon.org/articles/m/midas.html)

The best and the worst scenarios in access to knowledge can be seen today in two opposite trends: 1) in the genetic field, islands of proprietary genetic material are growing amidst a sea of free/open access biodiversity; and 2) in the information field, islands of free/open access initiatives are growing amidst a sea of proprietary resources.

The privatization of genes

In agriculture and genomics, a race to patent and thereby privately own genes continues to rage unabated. According to a 2005 study, one-fifth of the human genome already been patented. (Stefan Lovgren, “One-Fifth of Human Genes Have Been Patented”, National Geographic News, October 13, 2005. See http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/pf/22064243.html) Patents are exclusionary devices and are therefore a form of private monopoly, in effect turning genes into private property. Genes are a natural monopoly. As the director of Duke University’s Center for Genome Ethics, Law and Policy Dr. Robert Cook-Deegan says, “You can find dozens of ways to heat a room besides the Franklin stove, but there’s only one gene to make human growth hormone.”(Lovgren, see above)

The privatization of genes is, of course, a prelude to commodification. Commodified goods (or bads, for that matter, such as carbon credits representing a right to pollute) then become subject to market mechanisms and forces. If there is carbon trading, can DNA trading be far behind? If we can have commodity futures, why can’t we have derivatives like carbon futures or DNA futures?

Commodification is an all-consuming trend in economics. Commodification respects none and targets all: land, culture, knowledge, information, human beings, water, air, atmosphere, nature, life, genes, relationships – truly anything and everything. Driven by corporate profit-seeking and gain maximization, commodification knows no end, no limits.

Like King Midas, today’s corporations and other gain maximizers turn everything they touch into commodities and, subsequently, into money. Wherever they look, whatever they look at, they see a dollar sign. If we followed their lead or allowed them to continue, our entire world, and everything in it as well as outside it, would sooner or later be for sale or for rent. Then we would end up like the cynic who “knows the price of everything and the value of nothing”.

The free/open source trend

There is, fortunately, an opposite trend.

Ideas about information freedom and sharing have percolated for sometime. They are called by different names, representing subtle differences in attitudes, perspectives and approaches towards access to information and knowledge. The earliest were ideas about public domain and the commons. But – as everything turned digital, accelerating the commodification of information – these early ideas were, apparently, insufficiently developed to deal with the rapidly changing nature of information. For instance, if software were simply released to the public domain, commercial interests were better positioned to take full advantage and incorporate it into their products. Also, object code (in contrast to source code) in the public domain remained largely inaccessible for modification. Thus, while many utilities and simple programs were distributed as public domain or “freeware”, no major software projects were. New approaches were also tried which relied on a license based on existing intellectual property concepts. These included the “shareware” license, the GNU Public License, the BSD License and their variations. Out of the latter two emerged truly huge software projects such as the Linux kernel, the GNU systems and utilities package, the BSD operating system, software application suites such as OpenOffice, and similar software.

The idea of free/open sharing caught on and extended to other fields. The Creative Commons license extended this idea to other literary and artistic works. The Wikipedia represented another huge effort to accumulate and share human knowledge in a completely non-proprietary way.

This new social movement might be called the free/open source information movement . It is now being embraced in other fields and promises to become the guiding principle for access to knowledge. In the academic community, free/open online journals are now emerging in the spirit of this movement, challenging the entrenched publishers of printed academic journals.

This movement may, in the future, merge with other “free” and “open” movements. In the educational field, a “free” schools movement – “free as in freedom” – has been simmering for some time, following the pioneering works of educators Maria Montessori in Italy, A.S. Neill of Summerhill fame in England, and John Holt in the U.S. Among the ideas that contributed to the intellectual ferment and the eventual peaceful uprising of the East Europeans was the “open” society concept given impetus by George Soros. The free exchange and sharing of seeds is a freedom that farmers will defend with their lives. If a convergence happens, a truly historic shift in mindset can occur, promising a freer and more open world.

We have to divide bread to share it, but sharing knowledge multiplies it. Because knowledge is literally food for the mind, the movement to ensure free/open access to information and knowledge will turn into reality the parable in this Biblical story:

In those days when there again was a great crowd without anything to eat, he summoned the disciples and said, “My heart is moved with pity for the crowd, because they have been with me now for three days and have nothing to eat. If I send them away hungry to their homes, they will collapse on the way, and some of them have come a great distance.” His disciples answered him, “Where can anyone get enough bread to satisfy them here in this deserted place?” Still he asked them, “How many loaves do you have?” “Seven,” they replied. He ordered the crowd to sit down on the ground. Then, taking the seven loaves he gave thanks, broke them, and gave them to his disciples to distribute, and they distributed them to the crowd. They also had a few fish. He said the blessing over them and ordered them distributed also. They ate and were satisfied. They picked up the fragments left over – seven baskets. There were about four thousand people. (New Testament, Mark 8:1-9; see also 6:34-44)

Join the commodification race and we will all acquire the golden touch. Adopt the free/open sharing perspective and the knowledge of some can miraculously feed all. The golden touch or the miracle of the loaves? Whichever road we take will determine whether we will enter a neo-feudal period ruled by information and genetic rentiers as they increasingly privatize human knowledge and genetic material, or a new flowering of human culture thanks to free exchange of ideas, information and knowledge.

On the global financial crisis: system reliability should take precedence over efficiency

[I am posting this old piece because of its direct relevance to the 2008 global financial crisis. It was first distributed in 2001 and subsequently included as Chapter 23 in my book Towards a Political Economy of Information.] The gist of this piece is the proposal to make reliability as important a criterion for decision-making as efficiency. The piece provides the theoretical basis of such policies as economic protectionism, import/export control, capital flow regulation and other State regulatory tools.]

In an earlier letter to the Human Ecology Review[2], I proposed reliability as an alternative criterion for socio-economic decision-making instead of efficiency. This paper pursues that idea further.

Definitions

Efficiency is a measure of how well transformation of matter or energy occurs. To be efficient means to get the most from the least. The higher the efficiency, the better the transformation is occurring. Efficiency is usually computed from the ratio of useful output to input. To be accurate, the computation must take into account all inputs to a process; otherwise, the computed efficiency may exceed 100%. This will imply that the transformation process itself is creating new matter or energy, which contradicts fundamental laws of physics.

Since energy transformation always produces waste heat, the energy efficiency of any process is always less than 100%. If some of the material outputs are not usable (e.g., wastes), then the sum of the useful material outputs will be less than the sum of the material inputs too, and the material efficiency of the process will likewise be less than 100%.

Economists often express the inputs and outputs of a process in monetary terms, because their interest is in processes where the monetary outputs exceed the monetary inputs. Furthermore, economists often compute the difference instead of ratio between outputs and inputs, because their interest is in absolute monetary amounts instead of ratios. In such cases where the focus is on absolute amounts, this paper uses the term “gain” instead of “efficiency.” An example of gain is the producer’s profit, which is revenues minus costs. Another example is the total utility to the consumer of a set of goods minus the total price of these goods.

Because both are measures of output relative to input, gain is closely related to efficiency and is used whenever absolute magnitudes are more important than relative magnitudes.

Among business firms, gain is really of more interest than efficiency, the best firms being those who manage to squeeze the last marginal bit of gain (i.e., profit) from their business operations.

Among natural persons, the output of interest is not necessarily matter, energy, or money but a vaguer concept like welfare, utility, or happiness, which makes measuring efficiency or maximizing it harder.

Like firms, economies today also tend to maximize gain (i.e., efficiency and inputs), not only efficiency. To maximize gain, one can increase the inputs to a process, or the efficiency by which the inputs are transformed into outputs, or both. Expanding one’s global reach is one way of increasing inputs. The economies-of-scale argument (higher efficiency through larger scale of operations) also supports a global strategy. Thus, gain-maximization strategies directly lead to globalization.

Because economies include all firms and natural persons, macro-efficiency is very difficult in practice to maximize or even simply to measure. To cope with this problem, economists have settled on a curious rule for improving the efficiency of economies step by step: improve somebody’s welfare without reducing anybody else’s, and keep doing this until nobody’s welfare can be further improved without reducing somebody else’s. This is the economist’s Pareto efficiency, which is obviously lower than full theoretical efficiency, but is itself a theoretical construct that is hardly ever seen – not even approximated – in reality.

Efficiency and economic theory

Despite these theoretical problems, efficiency is probably the most common criterion for economic decision-making in modern society. Nearly all modern economic policies cite efficiency as their ultimate goal, even if measuring it can be quite difficult.

Efficiency is the rationale for the idea of competition in a free market. It is also the reason cited for dismantling the welfare policies of the State and the welfare state itself. It is cited as the reason for privatization programs. Advocates for the international division of labor and economies of scale cite efficiency as their goal. Globalization, which extends the economies-of-scale idea to its utmost, also invokes efficiency as reason.

When policy-makers select between alternative options, efficiency is often at the top of the list of criteria for selection.

Critiques of efficiency

The efficiency criterion has been criticized from at least three vantage points: 1) from efficiency advocates themselves; 2) from the social justice viewpoint; and 3) from the ecological viewpoint.

The first critique comes from within the advocates of efficiency itself. This critique retains efficiency as its main criterion for policy formulation, but points out flaws in the way efficiency is computed and efficiency estimates distorted, usually due to the incomplete accounting of inputs and outputs. Incomplete accounting occurs by ignoring non-market transactions or by externalizing costs.

An example of non-market transactions is subsistence production, where a considerable portion of the output is for direct consumption. Unless such production is accounted for, a subsistence economy may appear an inefficient, low-output economy. In fact, production for consumption is quite efficient because it saves marketing, storage and distribution costs. An important subset of production for direct consumption is household work, the non-accounting of which is a major critique of women’s movements against current economic systems.

Still another example of incomplete accounting occurs in U.S. agriculture, which prides itself in its increasing “efficiency,” with less than 10% of its population producing food for twice its population size. Yet, the energetic efficiency of U.S. agriculture has actually gone down over the decades: at the start of this century, it required less than one calorie input to produce a calorie of food; today, it needs more than 10 calories to produce the same amount.

Costs are externalized by passing them on to politically-weak social sectors, to the environment, or to future generations. This can lead to false impressions of high efficiency and mask gross inefficiencies within the system.

All such incomplete accounting distort efficiency comparisons.

The social justice critique

The social justice critique of the efficiency criterion suggests as a higher criterion the concept of equity. According to this critique, efficiency does not ensure equitable sharing of the output and often results in a reduction in equity (i.e., increasing gap between rich and poor).

This critique often presents efficiency as a problem of production (how to allocate input resources to maximize output), and equity as a problem of distribution (how to allocate the output to minimize the gap between rich and poor). Thus, from the vantage point of many equity critics of efficiency, maximizing efficiency and ensuring equitability are parallel objectives which may or may not conflict.

The ecological sustainability critique

The third critique of efficiency comes from the vantage point of ecology. According to this critique, efficiency only looks at a linear process that transforms input A into output B. This critique points out the problem of a linear process: the continuous transformation of input A into output B will gradually use up A and accumulate B. How will A be replaced? Where will B go? The more efficient such a linear process becomes, the faster A is used up, the faster B accumulates in the ecosystem. In a real world, a linear process is eventually an unsustainable process.

Just as the social justice critique insists that the output B must be equitably distributed, the ecological sustainability critique insists that the linear process must be turned into a cyclical one, so that the final output of the process eventually goes back to become fresh input into another – or even the same – process. This is what Barry Commoner called “closing the circle.”

A new critique of the efficiency criterion

This paper proposes a fourth critique of the efficiency criterion, from the vantage point of engineering and systems design. Such vantage point is becoming increasingly useful, since economic systems today are as much a product of social engineering and conscious design as they are a product of unplanned evolutionary development. This new critique also complements the social justice and ecological sustainability critiques of efficiency.

In engineering and systems design, another criterion for design optimization is often deemed more important than efficiency. This is the criterion of reliability.

While efficiency and reliability are related, they are not the same. Efficiency is a measure of how well a system transforms its inputs into useful output. It is usually expressed in terms of the ratio of useful output to input. Reliability is a measure of how long a system performs without failing. It is usually expressed in terms of a mean time between failures (MTBF). It may also be expressed in terms of the probability of non-failure.

Classifying, managing abundance

I have been doing a lot of thinking and research about abundance nowadays. This concept unifies within a single theoretical framework certain ideas about information technology, information economy, natural resources, agriculture and the environment. That’s quite a span.

So far, I’ve finished three pieces about it. The first, “Challenging media: poverty amidst abundance“, was published January 2008 on the WACC journal on development. The second, “Undermining Abundance“, which is strictly speaking, still a draft until the reviewers issue a final acceptance, will be hopefully published as a chapter in the forthcoming book From Intellectual Property Rights to Access to Knowledge. The third, “Studying Abundance“, is also a draft which I just submitted for review. This last piece extends the previous one by looking more deeply into the classification of abundance as well as mechanisms for managing abundance.

I’m excited about the new insights being generated by this direction of research. I think the results will have a lot of impact in practical work.

Consider the implications, for instance, if the poor managed to change their mindset and started to grasp the significance of the abundance around them, which they can tap if they wanted to. That is a very empowering notion! Instead of being paralyzed by the existing mindset of powerlessness, they can be energized by the realization that they can do something about it. Now.

What is it that they can do now?

Let’s start with the urban poor. Most of Metro Manila’s urban poor are immigrants from rural areas. Often, they are from peasant families who have abandoned their farm (usually leased from a landowner). More often, they left families behind who are still on the land. The jobless in the city are probably better off going back to the farm.

One key to abundance is land. Specifically, soil and water. With a few hundred square meters, you can grow enough vegetables to lead a healthy life. You need a few thousand more square meters, to fully support the food needs of a whole family. I am not ready to assert at this time that a hectare would suffice. Maybe more, but most probably less.

The mindset is the major obstacle that prevents people from going back to the land to live off the soil. They think they must eat meat every day, rice three times a day, white polished rice at that. They consider their life miserable if they can’t even buy such simple joys of life as a cool refreshing drink of cola and some biscuits or potato chips on the side. They consider a diet of unpolished rice or root crops an embarrassing mark of poverty and wouldn’t be caught by neighbors having a meal of sweet potatoes or cassava.

So, they sell to the market for giveaway prices their sweet potatoes, cassava, coconuts, and other extremely nutritious foods, so they can buy themselves and their children softdrinks, potato chips and a taste of life “out of poverty”.

The rural poor are actually in a better position to get out of poverty than the urban poor, because the former still has access to productive land, even if it has to be leased from the landowner. In truth, landowners need farmers to work for them, because they wouldn’t do the work themselves. And even if they wanted to, they couldn’t. The area they own is just too big for them to work on alone.

As long as a family has access to land, and has the mindset that gives it the vision to see the potential abundance the land can give and the knowhow to realize this potential abundance, they need not go hungry and they can live a life of sufficiency. A change in mindset is the key.

Obviously, I need to prove these assertions. I need to show, at the very least, that I myself can live off the land.

My wife and I had been looking for a piece of land to practice these ideas. We were ready to relocate to her remote upland village in Tagkauayan, Quezon. But the peace and order situation in the area has become untenable, make impossible living experiments such as what we intend to undertake. So, we are still searching.

In the meantime, I continue to explore the implications of the concept of abundance.

Political economy of abundance

I have been studying in the past few months the subject of abundance.

My interest in this subject grew out of my interest in information, information technology and information economics. I think most of us who have not yet realized it ourselves can easily believe the claim that information goods have become easily accessible and abundant, especially to those who have Internet access. Abundance in the information economy comes from the diminishing cost of reproducing information, making it easy for anyone to share information with others. If you consider the vast and incredible collections of materials on the Internet, from Google to Wikipedia, from the websites to the blogs, from the various file, audio and video exchange sites to YouTube, I think you’d agree that one term which describes all these accurately is abundance.

After my semi-retirement from software, hardware and Internet work, I did volunteer work on environmental and agriculture issues. I worked with farmers groups. After nearly ten years of doing so, I realized that a unifying thread connects my experiences in the information sector, in nature and in agriculture. What is it? You guessed it, abundance.

Like the information sector, nature also teems with abundance. The reason is simple, every species is genetically programmed to reproduce its own kind. The reproductive urge built into every living organism is the source of abundance in nature and, by extension, in agriculture.

I have also been studying economics these past few months. One fundamental assumption in economics is scarcity. Economists define their jobs as the study of efficient options in the context of scarcity. This focus on scarcity has created a blind spot among economists. Many have missed, taken for granted, ignored or rejected abundance as an interesting field for study.

That’s the study I’m currently doing.

If you are interested in this subject, please download my paper Undermining Abundance, which will appear as a chapter in a book that will be released in the next few months by Zone Books, entitled Intellectual Property Rights and Access to Knowledge.

I’m working on another paper now, entitled “Studying Abundance”, which I will also release soon.

Poverty amidst abundance

This piece, entitled “Challenging Media: Poverty Amidst Abundance“, appeared in the January 2008 issue of Media Development, a monthly publication of the World Association for Christian Communication (WACC). Check this site for a list of the articles in that issue. Since the site did not post the full articles themselves, I thought I will make my article available for download here.

The question I raised in this piece was a challenge to media. But, in fact, it should be a challenge to all of us: why should poverty persist amidst such abundance?

Is it because economists are generally blind to abundance? (Remember that the definition of economics has always been premised on scarcity.)

In a longer piece that will appear later this year as a chapter in a book on “access to knowledge”, I will be going more deeply into the phenomenon of abundance, which is a feature of most ecosystems as well as of the information economy.