Revisiting Catherine Austin Fitts’ “Solari”

Facebook Twitter Reddit Email

Introducing The Venerable Ms. Fitts

One of the people whose post-9/11 work I most admire is Catherine Austin Fitts. Vocationally she’s an investment banker which, in a lot of peoples’ minds, should automatically make her positively evyle; however, her approach to money and finance is very different from the vampire squid with which we all contend.

I got to meet her at the 2006 Local Solutions conference, and at one point while chatting informally about various ways local communities could finance their own needs without the help of the vampire squid, she exclaimed with a big smile, “I love money!”

Up until that point I would have been horrified at such a blatant declaration of greed. I mean, if nothing else it’s just in really poor taste. But for whatever reason it clicked in my head differently at that moment and I saw that there was not anything like standard bankster greed in her statement. For Fitts, money was not something to hoard out of fear. For her, money was a creative medium. Not a destructive or extractive one. It was a tool to be used for creating beauty and social justice, for healing the Earth, for bringing corruption to heel, for building a door out of our crumbling economic edifice and into the real world of fresh air and living souls. She spoke with the vocabulary of banksters but the words had a different meaning. Fitts was an artist and her medium was money: infinitely useful, infinitely malleable, limited only by our own failure of imagination.

Like all wage-slave types, money for me had always been bondage. And indeed that is how our monetary system is set up, a system of slavery whereby only a few ever gain freedom and everyone else is doomed to flush their lives down the time-card toilet with only two weeks per year to enjoy life, plus another 10 years at the end before death. But after my brief conversation with Fitts I began looking at money and finance differently. Money is indeed useful and malleable; it can be made to behave on any scale, and no special lobbying or social movements or legislation is required. It is the master’s tool that can dismantle the master’s house.

One of the most important things I gleaned from Fitts’ work, though I don’t believe she ever addressed this directly, is that the illusory nature of money is both its great weakness — of which most of us are aware at this point, I’m sure — and its great strength. It is a shape-shifter that can be formed into anything, and can appear or disappear in an instant. It has no shape of its own and it has no allegiances. Indeed, money is so slippery that even under a monetary regime designed for slavery and death it can be turned into life in the hands of an adept practitioner.

Money As Magick

I choose the phrase “adept practitioner” quite deliberately. Money doesn’t really exist — even if it is in the form of gold or other concrete object, its value as money exists only in one’s mind. Money is, ultimately, intention. Harnessing and directing the power of intention is the definition of magick.

While Fitts herself probably wouldn’t like that analogy, I’m going to use it here because I suspect anyone reading this will have dabbled more in magick than in finance.

Like any magick, the key to using money is in learning how to direct intent. In magick, this is done by first identifying your intent; next, gather various objects and/or substances that correspond to your intent; and finally, assemble these into a ritual that sharply focuses your intent and gets it out of your head and into the universe. The ritual process creates a morphic resonance within your morphic field that brings about synchronicities in line with your intent. There are two basic types of intent: sending stuff away from you (yang), and pulling stuff toward you (yin).

The monetary system functions like a morphic field; what you do with your money is akin to a ritual, and the consequences of your financial decisions are like synchronicities within the morphic field. Money obeys the basic intent types: you can send it away from you (yang), or pull it towards you (yin).

For the sake of comparison, let’s say there’s something in your life you want to send away from you… a nosy neighbor perhaps. So what you want to do is a mild banishing spell (you don’t want to kill anybody). For your ritual you collect a black candle and some sage oil, both of which correspond to banishing intent. For the ritual itself you rub the sage oil downward on the candle to symbolize “away from me,” light it, and while it’s burning visualize your neighbor ignoring you. When the candle burns out you collect up the wax scraps, wrap them in a blue cloth to symbolize “peace,” and place these in your freezer to symbolize “chill out.”

Now let’s say you have some money stream coming in that you want to banish. Because money is intent already out in the universe, you do not have to go to the trouble of putting it there; you can work with it directly. Your banishing ritual will involve shutting down whatever is the source of that money. On the flip side, if you want to pull money toward you, your ritual will involve opening up a channel through which it can flow.

In magick, it is crucially important to be very clear about your intent, because if you identify it wrong you’re going to get results you don’t want. In the nosy neighbor example, what you want to banish is not the neighbor but her unwarranted attention; if you get it wrong, you may end up banishing her from her house through fire or foreclosure or whatever. The same is true with money, and I think this is where people start getting tripped up — certainly this is something I have trouble with. Since money is already intention out in the universe & within your morphic field, its results are immediate — resonance need not be established, it is established already. And that means there is no behind-the-scenes, mysterious, invisible process working to manifest your intention; this part you have to do yourself. You may never know what circumstances motivate your nosy neighbor to leave you alone, but if you want to open a channel through which money can flow to you, you have to map out that process from beginning to end and spend the money accordingly on each individual step in order to make that step manifest.

Now all of that might seem like a silly detour, but I’m laying all this out to try to get Fitts’ solari idea into a context that might be more easily understandable than finance-speak.

Money As Magick Applied

Right now our monetary system is set up so that money flows from the less-wealthy masses into the coffers of corporations and billionaires. It does this through various codifications of the principle like attracts like. The most obvious example of this is usury, otherwise known as interest. If you have money, usury causes it to attract more money. If you do not have money, usury depletes whatever money does happen to come your way.

Another example would be that of the P/E ratio, or price-to-earnings ratio. On the stock market, the price of a company’s stock is determined (in part) by dividing the company’s earnings by the total number of its existing shares — and then multiplying — multiplying! — that number again and again. That multiple is the ratio. The multiple is determined by stock traders in the process of buying and selling the company’s stock: if they think the company is awesome they will drive up the price of the stock, and therefore its multiple, by trying to outbid each other to buy those shares. Higher earnings makes people want to buy, thereby increasing the multiple and the value of the company; lower earnings makes people want to sell, thereby driving down the multiple and the value of the company. Like attracts like.

The most pernicious example would be simply this: the rich get richer, the poor get poorer. Like attracts like.

Fitts’ genius is in her ability to align positive intention with money’s properties of immediacy and like-attracts-like. Like any adept practitioner, she isn’t constrained by notions of fixed space, fixed time, fixed matter; or as in the case with money, notions of fixed value or fixed availability. Her basic idea, as I understand it, boils down to this: money’s like-attracts-like positive feedback loop can be attached to anything, so let’s attach it to the good and the just. Once that attachment is made the upward spiral will take care of itself.

And this is the point where she lost everyone. Because figuring out how to do that attaching requires entrepreneurship — dirty, filthy capitalism. Overcoming the capitalism heebie-jeebies and actually learning to become an adept money practitioner is too much for most self-respecting people of moral principles, but it’s across that chasm that the fun really begins.

For example: in any given community, there are going to be a bunch of people earning .5% on their CD savings accounts, and a bunch of other people paying 20.5% on their credit cards. The bank has the like-attracts-like thing set up in its own favor, ripping off its customers at a 20% spread. Getting the feedback loop working in the peoples’ favor is, in this instance, really obvious: the people with savings lend their money to the people with credit card debt at 10% interest. Bang zoom, problem solved. The savers are earning back an un-fucking-believable rate on their investment, the debtors are paying off their debts at half the standard usury rate and twice as fast as before, and everybody’s extricated from the bank’s feedback loop.

The peoples’ feedback loop fires up when their neighbors find out what’s going on and want to get in on the action. Now more people are extricated from the bank, more savers are earning higher interest and more debtors are getting out of debt faster. Then maybe someone else duplicates the idea somewhere else; then it happens again somewhere else, then somewhere else still. The bank’s feedback loop is shriveling and the peoples’ feedback loop is blossoming. Like attracts like.

Here’s a somewhat bigger example. Say there are a half-dozen independent businesses on Main Street that are struggling in the bad economy. Normally these businesses would go to the bank and establish lines of credit at 15% interest in order to pad the slow times so that they can meet their monthly bills, payrolls and such. Those businesses don’t have the ability to issue stock to raise money like big publicly-traded companies do. What they could do, though, is band together to form a special kind of umbrella business called a Limited Liability Company (LLC) and sell “memberships” — which, for all intents and purposes, function just like stock shares with dividends and the like, but can’t be traded. Now suddenly everyone who’s bought memberships in the LLC has a vested interest in making sure those Main Street businesses do well. The LLC members shop at the stores and encourage others to do the same, because they’ll get bigger dividends, and now suddenly Main Street is prospering again like it hasn’t in years. Then soon enough other businesses want in on the LLC because that’s a fucking awesome setup. Then eventually someone duplicates the idea on some other Main Street; then another and another; and thus the Main Street feedback loop fires up too.

(Aside: the LLC is a really interesting kind of business organization. It’s like a hybrid public-private company with all the advantages of both and none of the disadvantages of either. It can be organized just about however you want. See Chris Cook’s article on the UK’s version of the LLC, called an LLP, and some ingenius ways it has been used for sustainable development. Chris Cook was main architect of the Iranian oil bourse and another of my filthy-capitalist collapse heroes.)

Solari

But Fitts’ crowning achievement, in my opinion, was her blueprint for the solari, a for-profit community financial corporation.

In order to really get how a solari would work, it’s important to understand one thing: information is worth money, and information about money is worth more than money. When Facebook went public, it was valued at something like $100 billion — and that is definitely not because of the money it makes on advertising. It’s because Facebook owns what is arguably the largest database on individual people in the world. That kind of detailed knowledge is phenomenally powerful.

A solari works on the same principle, only its database is filled not with ducky-face photos and cyberbullying, but with detailed information about money flows within its given community. The information is collected from public records, voluntary surveys, various public entities’ budgets and the like. Crucially, it would also include all the black- and gray-market information it could track down. Like Facebook, the solari’s database would grow over time, revealing an ever more detailed picture of the community’s wealth.

Based on this information the solari then identifies areas in the community where cash flow can be optimized in the community’s favor. So for example, say the city hires a big national firm to handle garbage collection; meanwhile, a bunch of people in need of jobs are sitting around fretting about how they’re going to pay rent. The solari would negotiate with the city for its community to opt out of the garbage collection contract, and would rechannel those funds toward hiring some of the unemployed locals instead. So now, the community has saved money and decreased its unemployment rate and, potentially, provided some health insurance for people who otherwise wouldn’t have any. The solari has optimized the community’s cash flow and everybody wins.

And of course, these types of actions go into the database, increasing the database’s value. It is not in the solari’s interest to do things that hurt the community, because a database full of financial failure is worth just about jack shit. The solari’s database is valuable only to the extent that it is successful at contributing to improving the community — in whatever way, shape or form that may take. Thus the solari profits not by extracting wealth from its community, but rather by increasing wealth in the community. This is precisely the opposite of how the economy currently functions.

Once per quarter, the solari publishes a report on the financial health of the community and the projects it is working on. Feedback from people on the ground would be crucial — these folks are the solari’s eyes and ears on the street, and if they are not benefitting, the value of the database is compromised.

The solari raises money for its various projects by selling stock against the value of its database, just like Facebook does. There are two stock tiers: tier A stocks can only be sold to people who live in the community, are very limited in number, they confer voting rights, but do not pay dividends. There is no direct financial gain with A-stocks; any gain to A-stock holders is indirect, by improving the community. Tier B stocks can be purchased by anyone, do pay dividends, but do not confer voting rights. Financial gain is direct in the form of the dividend checks, but because they confer no voting rights, there isn’t any way for B-stock holders to manipulate the solari’s projects for their own advantage over the community.

With this tiered stock system, the solari is able to pull in money from potentially all over the globe to build up the community, while the community itself spends that money wherever it determines some improvement project will benefit the community as a whole. The money can be used for quite literally anything: to bolster failing schools, to clean up an abandoned lot and plant a public orchard, to invest in cottage industry and mom-and-pop businesses, maybe build a local solar-powered electrical grid, set up a low-cost health care clinic, fix up or tear down blighted properties. Anything that improves the community also increases the value of the database, making further B-stock sales more attractive, and bringing in more money.

Because the solari is a standard, run-of-the-mill financial corporation, there’s no reason its stocks can’t trade on a secondary market. In this scenario, the whole community is able to benefit from the P/E ratio madness described above. So, say the earnings of the community as a whole is $10 million, and the secondary market determines the stock to be worth 10 times earnings. Now suddenly the solari — and by extension, the community — is worth $100 million. $100 million! Just like that! A valuation like that makes all kinds of outside investment in the community very attractive indeed, thereby bringing in even more outside money.

In this way, the solari completely reverses the financial drain in a community. Instead of money flowing out of the community and into the coffers of supranational corporations, money flows in, causing more money to flow in, and then more and more. The like-attracts-like positive feedback loop is attached to the community as a whole and everybody benefits.

Solari And Preparations

It is plainly obvious to me that in terms of collapse preparations, a solari is almost infinitely more useful than a Transition initiative. Anything at all that can be done at the community level to slow the descent — that is, to extricate the community from the sinking globalization ship — will contribute to the feedback loop. How about a neighborhood-based solar-electric grid that is not tied to the main grid? How about buying a half-circle of vacant property around the perimeter of the community to establish a public permaculture space? How about a distributed gray- and black-water bioprocessing system that is not tied to the public sewage system? How about a jubilee in which the solari flat-out pays off the consumer debt of its community members?

Even more important is the ability to adapt, and quickly, to whatever black swan event might strike. The solari makes enormous sums of money available at any given time, providing the opportunity for immediate adaptation when required.

None of these things are even remotely possible under the Transition banner. They’re just too expensive, and even if the money were available, would require so much “consensus” on every little detail that nothing would ever get done.

You know, it makes me angry and very sad to survey the level of opportunity lost since Fitts first began circulating her solari ideas. That was long before the economic crash and so much could have been done to cushion the blow. All that was lost, was lost because people did not want to relinquish their notion that money is evil and bad, and they didn’t want to corrupt themselves by even learning about it, much less putting it to use. Solari is the ultimate relocalization; when relocalization got usurped by Transition is right about the time Fitts withdrew behind her paywall. I wonder now if she didn’t simply see the writing on the wall. Transition is just not flexible enough in its ideology to accommodate something so blatantly capitalist as a community financial corporation; there really isn’t any room there to discuss such things, let alone take action on them. The anti-capitalist bent of those with the collapse megaphones has succeeded in cutting off preparations’ nose to spite its face.

Conclusion

Solari represents not just a buffer against collapse, but a complete reconfiguration of how money works. It cannot stop climate change or peak oil; however, what it can do is fund a real and meaningful transition — small “t” — to a way of life that is adapted to the new realities and can thrive more-or-less happily within these. Should the idea catch on at a large scale — unlikely, but not out of the realm of possibility — it could form the basis of a fully adapted, and adaptable, economy. Resilience would become a moot point, because it would simply be built right in.

Maybe it’s not too late for Fitts’ solari ideas to take root. Maybe enough people understand now that “collapse” means financial collapse first and foremost. But given what I have seen, I’m not holding my breath. Old habits of mind are too hard to break.

17 Responses

  1. Ugo Bardi says:

    Hello, Paula. Your posts are always brilliant!

    I took the liberty of reproducing this one, with a comment from me, on “cassandra’s legacy”

    http://cassandralegacy.blogspot.it/2013/02/money-and-collapse.html

    Thanks!

    Ugo

  2. vera says:

    Paula, using another language instead of the financial jargon that freezes most people’s brain (on purpose) is totally inspired!
    What an amazing post.

    I have a question: if you have people with CDs and people with high credit card interest in a community, how do those with the CDs get to feel safe lending to the others? Banks have recourse when people paying 20% interest default. If I were to lend to my neighbors, I have no such recourse. So that is my first puzzle.

    The other puzzle is… well, the current system is really a form of money mafia. They have it sown up, and are not going to be welcoming to any community banking scheme that reverses the flow of money to them. Did Mrs. Fitts consider that part? It may be that stealth will be required.

    When I found her site, she spoke of going to some place in the west (Montana?) where she was hoping to get a solari going. It somehow all fell apart and she gave up. I was not able to find any details.

  3. Shawn Aune says:

    I’m with Vera. I have doubts that enough trust could be built within a community to pull off financing of that type.

    If a Transition initiative is expensive and out of reach for most people, creating a Solari seems to be even more out of reach.

    I’m not of the management class (middle class) but I do have a shot at owning a home with a yard which is probably enough to participate in a few Transition type activities.

    Achieving that goal sounds much more likely than the thought of building a community finance company.

  4. Aaron says:

    I agree that trust amongst humans is an issue here but I think it’s just a problem that needs solving – not an insurmountable wall. Here’s an idea off the top of my head; we have charitable trusts down here in NZ that hold investments and give the profits away as donations (I understand they exist in many countries) – if one of them were to operate as the ‘community purse’ for such a scheme I’m pretty sure that everyone would have complete faith in them and they would have sufficient means catch up with anyone trying to rip them off.

    For an alternative example, look at all the different types of community banking around the world, – I have a vague memory of one being set up by a school in Germany even, obviously sufficient trust available for most of them.

    And perhaps thats the way to do it, start off as an adjunct to something already existing that has similar goals… I’m sure there’s a million ways to make it work so long as we don’t succumb to helplessness first

    • vera says:

      Absolutely. Did not mean to suggest helplessness at all — I am practical minded and want to know how it would work in the nitty-gritty. :-)

  5. Paula says:

    Dr. Bardi, thanks so much! :)

    Everyone, tell you what — please feel free to post questions/comments here or send them to me directly. What I’ll do is gather these together into a separate post and address them as best I can in my non-expert way. That way Google will be able to index the information and make it easier to find for whoever decides to research this stuff. (Comments are set not to index to keep down on spammers.)

    Quick comment about trust — back when Catherine was promoting her work more publicly she used to refer to this trust issue as “building financial intimacy.” Trust is possibly THE greatest form of wealth a community could develop for itself, especially in a world where the rule of law has been all but abandoned. Coming together in partnership to support each other financially builds this “financial intimacy” and is part of the like-attracts-like positive feedback loop. I’ll see if I can track down a good link where she covers this.

    • vera says:

      Awesome. Will look forward.

      Here is another question:
      “The solari raises money for its various projects by selling stock against the value of its database”

      What does it mean? Does facebook sell its info, and would a solari sell the data gathered?

  6. Laurent says:

    Thank you for sharing this ideas.
    2 things are comingto my mind :

    a) the “private money” is always reluctant to link a potential profit to “public” decisions, espacially if they have no right to vote.

    b) this type of “solari” exist in France. They are called ” Societe d’economie mixte” . Some of them work well and have contributed to rebuilding communities after wars or crises. But most of them don’t work well because private investors have run away from “public managers” who are not honest or not efficiant…

    Laurent (i’m french, sorry for my spelling)

  7. vera says:

    Ok Paula, I reread it, and the only other thing that jumps at me is… could Mrs. Fitts give an example how this would work in practice? I am having a hard time picturing it in my mind.

    An imaginary small town, and how it works for them, would be just the thing.

    Thank you for putting energy into this. Somehow, it seems to me intuitively… doable and hopeful.

    • Paula says:

      Aha, found it! [PDF alert!]

      That link is to the Solari Stock Corporation Design Book. It covers pretty much everything, including how the solari makes money and an example of how a solari works in a (fictitious?) neighborhood called “Oak Hollow.”

      Also, here’s Catherine’s entire catalog of articles. The article that bitch-slapped me personally is this one. Once I really understood how the economy works to rob the poor on behalf of the rich, the whole “solari economics” concept fell into place.

  8. Phil Harris says:

    Hi Paula
    Glad to be reading you again.
    I discovered you were back via Prof Ugo Bardi’s Cassandra blog.

    Solari has some nice stuff but reading Catherine’s article (via your link) I felt she still did not get “The American Empire”. This 2007 article explains in dry academic detail why it has been a very bad thing for most resource-rich countries to be ‘developed’ by more ‘advanced’ countries who need that resource. The pre-eminent driver has been USA – the results usually war, typically civil war. http://iis-db.stanford.edu/pubs/21537/No_80_Terry_Karl_-_Effects_of_Oil_Development.pdf

    Given the hard limit to resource extraction that advanced countries are bumping against, ‘we’ need to incentivise ourselves a bit differently. Looking after ourselves locally and in community is a good idea, but Catherine’s ideas of ‘prosperous growth’ seem very ‘yesterday’. The Archdruid has a continuing good take on this over at his blog. The notion of ‘Progress’ looks different from his angle.

    best wishes
    Its been a bumpy road since the Garden of Eden. Contemplating history before that event could tell us more about the hard work it is to stay human, ‘potential’ and all, I guess?

    Phil

  9. Paula says:

    Hi Phil, good to see you again :)

    I looked at the links I have up for Catherine’s work and I couldn’t find the literal phrase “prosperous growth” anywhere. In which article did you find it?

    Some of her work does date back to the mid- or even early-90s so it will seem dated I’m sure. But she is absolutely aware of peak oil, climate change, etc., and in fact I originally found her via peak oil research back in 2001. She’s always maintained that what we will see is a “slow burn” as opposed to a “hard crash” — long before Greer popularized the idea — and her “solari” concept is specifically meant to address the financial aspects of that. Which in my estimation is THE critical issue at hand: here in the West, we will all experience the effects of resource depletion in financial terms. Resource depletion means we cannot afford them anymore.

    Moreover, the “tapeworm” economy is designed to extract financial wealth from communities just as surely as it extracts raw materials from developing countries. Halting or even reversing the local-level financial mining operation is precisely the same self-preservation action as when developing countries halt corporate resource extraction in their own communities.

    I have a really, really difficult time with Greer. I read his work for many years and ultimately concluded that there’s no “there” there. His vision boils down to a revolving wheel of growth-decline, growth-decline, forever, with no contextual narrative. He is also actively hostile toward anyone interested in discovering how we started up this merry-go-round and how we might stop it once and for all, even going so far as to censor his comments of people attempting to honestly examine such questions. It’s beyond me why people think his work is so great. I find its emptiness ontologically horrifying.

  10. Mackey says:

    Hi Paula,

    I’ve been following CAF’s blog for a couple of years, and I never realized that she had such an interesting, practical idea for community finance. Seems like she needs to make it a little more plain to see.

    Thanks for this very clear and concise post. My head is now full of possibilities…

  11. vera says:

    Is this sorta related to the solari concept?

    https://joinmosaic.com/browse-investments

  12. Phil Harris says:

    Paula
    Thanks for the long & considered reply.
    I apologise for the tone of my first comment. It was unintended, but could sound a touch, err …. I will leave it at that. :(
    An overall decline in petro (‘normal’) prosperity was what I had in mind, and I was thinking of Catherine’s 1998 examples of a turn-round in prosperity:
    Quotes:
    “ … Sarah and Susan Banks …
    “Now its three years later and Oak Hollow is bustling.
    “The increased traffic on Oak Street attracted other new businesses a new hardware store, a gas station, and an auto parts store
    “The empty factory building will now accommodate a data processing franchise that will employ 50 Oak Hollow residents and which already has major contracts with the City Hospital and the Community College. On the drawing board is a business incubator and training center owned by OHC that will provide affordable space for business start-ups.
    The data processing company, incubator and commercial real estate acquisitions were all financed by a venture capital fund … ”

    But I take your points. She was writing in 1999
    You were reading Greer for longer and a lot earlier than me. Your remarks are now giving me pause for serious thought. I won’t attempt too much just now. Though I am British I seem to share some old hopes with Greer: Schumacher economics; getting a grip on limits to growth; ‘70s alternative technologies; and a feeling of loss when Reagan/Thatcher took us somewhere else. By 1984 I smelt a dead end. It seemed incontrovertible that only a small fraction of the world could become ‘Americans’. I more or less gave up on ‘the development narrative’ and our ‘advanced country’ assumptions not long after getting my head into climate science in the mid-1980s and grasping the fate implicit in rising CO2 levels. I could not see governments or business globally getting round that one. Life was very personal anyway by then.

    Regarding ‘vampire squid’ and all that: it is 50 years ago that I had a sudden insight that renting ‘wealth’ at 5% or whatever interest rate only worked so long as the by then 300 year industrial growth kept growing. I got a grasp of exponential growth about the same time. The ‘70’ rule: 2% growth means doubling every 35 years and 10% growth means double in 7 years.

    So leaving Greer to one side, I value your essays and insights and especially the one about early Hebrew narratives and the fall from grace. Every time one of us is born we must recapitulate whatever has come through from the past, in order to find ourselves in the USA or wherever we have landed. The notion of heaven can sometimes seem that close. We are the same stuff as all our ancestors going back perhaps 100,000 – 200,000 years into the prelapsarian past; not always carefree times back then but rewarding in other respects I guess. And it meant a lot of skill and knowledge and getting on with one another. There could not have been too much room for error.

    The paradox that strikes me just now is that USA using18M barrels of oil a day, per capita twice that of an EU inhabitant, and a total fossil fuel use for each person 50 times that the of the average Bangladeshi, seems such a hard struggle at the personal level. It all sounds very constrained and limited for so many; even the vaunted ‘security’ of modern life, and needing so much vicarious entertainment? Much the same could be said over here. A lot of people seem not to have a lot to show for it. Maybe Catherine does offer an alternative?

    best
    Phil

    • Paula says:

      Phil, goodness thank you for such a long & thoughtful reply! I didn’t realize you were in the UK, for some reason my head was registering that you were Canadian. I also didn’t know that your experiences include the stuff that happened in the 70s… I was just a child then, but from what I understand there was all kinds of great stuff going on that got completely derailed when Thatcher/Reagan opened the flood gates to deregulation and globalization. History will not be kind to those two.

      I guess my take in general is that, as I mentioned in a previous post, in the post-9/11 days of raising peak oil & collapse consciousness, there was a cacophony of ideas and a great deal of hope for a peaceful, grassroots powerdown at the community level. Appropriate technologies, steady-state & ecological economics, etc., were all very much on the table and part of a wider vision for how that could be accomplished.

      But amid all this, Fitts was the only one addressing finance. No one at all is talking about this anymore and it is to the whole movement’s great detriment. It was clear to me then, as it is now, that just as an investment of fossil fuels is necessary for the adoption of a peaceful, low-energy economy, so too is an investment of petrocurrency. And that requires first having patrocurrencies to invest. To my thinking, solari investment patterns offer the most efficient and just way I’ve seen to finance transition (small “t”). Clearly, continuing our suicidal path is not an option. But by the same token, sudden withdrawal from petrocurrency addiction is equally deadly, especially here in the US where the idea of geographic communities pulling together in economic hardship is highly unlikely. Fitts’ solari offers a buffer for getting communities off the sinking globalization ship without committing suicide in the process.

      So ultimately, in my opinion, solari is the finance leg of the table. It can’t and won’t stand on its own as conditions deteriorate. But without some sort of attention to financial issues, neither will any of the other legs of the table. But if we can get them working together, we really might be able to pay for our transition to a low-energy, and IMO healthier and more spiritually fulfilling, mode of being.

  13. Nigel says:

    Hi Paula,

    Great article which as come somewhat as a revelation to me (at the same time as I was studying the Shadow work of the Psyche by Carl Jung and others). I am looking for ways in which better community can be developed in the face of what seems to be coming. Your article (along with Catherine’s work) has inspired me.

    Thank you.

Leave a Reply