Jeff Vail on the Diagonal Economy and the Rhizome Organisation

Jeff Vail is starting his long-awaited series on the next step for our post-meltdown political economies (see ToC for full project description):

An excerpt on how this change may come about in the core country of the present system.

Jeff Vail:

“The diagonal economy might rise amidst the decline of our current system—the “Legacy System.” Using America as an example (but certainly translatable to other regions and cultures), more and more people will gradually realize that there the “plausible promise” once offered by the American nation-state is no longer plausible. A decent education and the willingness to work 40 hours a week will no longer provide the “Leave it to Beaver” quid pro quo of a comfortable suburban existence and a secure future for one’s children. As a result, our collective willingness to agree to the conditions set by this Legacy System (willing participation in the system in exchange for this once “plausible promise”) will wane. Pioneers—and this is certainly already happening—will reject these conditions in favor of a form of networked civilizational entrepreneurship. While this is initially composed of professionals, independent sales people, internet-businesses, and a few market gardeners, it will gradually transition to take on a decidedly “third world” flavor of local self-sufficiency and import-replacement (leveraging developments in distributed, open-source, and peer-to-peer manufacturing) in the face of growing ecological and resource pressures. People will, to varying degrees, recognize that they cannot rely on the cradle-to-cradle promise of lifetime employment by their nation state. Instead, they will realize that they are all entrepreneurs in at least three—and possibly many more—separate enterprises: one’s personal brand in interaction with the Legacy System (e.g. your conventional job), one’s localized self-sufficiency business (ranging from a back yard tomato plant to suburban homesteads and garage workshops), and one’s community entrepreneurship and network development.

As the constitutional basis of our already illusory Nation-State system erodes further, the focus on

#2 (localized self-sufficiency) and

#3 (community/networking) will gradually spread and increase in importance, though it may take much more than my lifetime to see them rise to general prominence in replacement of the Nation-State system. Ultimately, the conceptual “map” of the American Nation-State will re-open, and those pockets that best develop a Diagonal Economy to fill that gap will enjoy the most success in what will otherwise be a time of substantial—though I think largely subconscious—transition.”