The market is a strange creature. It is the place we shop and sell yet also it is an invisible, indefinable and undifferentiated beast. It is everywhere and no where. It seems to control everything and yet nothing. The market exists when we purchase a loaf of bread but at what point in the transaction? Is the market the store we shop in? Is the market the exchange of money for bread or is the market in all of this and more? What is the market?

If I asked you for a thousand dollars you would wish to know how you were going to get it back. It would not be enough that I had a job or were a rich person. You would need to believe there was some obligation on my part to pay you back. If we were friends or family that might be enough. You would feel the personal relationship would induce me to pay you. But if this was lacking or if you believed familial ties were insufficient you would request a more legally binding guarantee. But we purchase a car for tens of thousands of dollars and have no idea where this money is going or what it will be used for.

We are used to thinking of a transaction as a one off deal. I give you some money and you give me a product or a service and that is the end of that - no further obligation exists. Yet, customers expect more. When you purchase something you expect it to perform to your satisfaction. The smart company guarantees customer satisfaction. Some companies have begun to allow their customers to return product (cars) in the event that they lose their jobs. The transaction is more than a direct exchange of money for goods and services. Expectations of value are created.

In earlier times when I purchased goods off Bob I knew Bob. He lived a few doors down and his family owned the farm 6 miles out on the 8th Concession. The market was local. Purchases made put money into the local economy. This same local economy provided me with a job. But now most of the money we spend leaves the local economy and often the money we earn is not made within the local economy. The local economy often does not even exist. Our communities are bedroom communities. They are places where we come to sleep.

We need to relearn the art of creating expectations. It is not enough that we get a new boat for our money. The warranty that comes with it is no longer enough. We need to ensure that the money for the new boat is helping the place where we live. We have an obligation to the community because ultimately we are the community. This is what the programs here are all about. Increasing our expectations and learning to live wanting more. We have the right to know where our money is going and what it is doing. Expectations is the tool that is able to control and ultimately tame the market.

 

Links to alternative communities:  http://www.nvisible.com/Links/CommunLinks.html

A place where you can register your community: http://communityconnexion.com/

A site linking Intentional Communities: http://www.ic.org/

 

 

 

 

 


The Market