In the short time that the Freedom Plan website has been online, there has been some confusion as to the difference between Ubuntu Contributionism and the Freedom Plan. Here we're going to uncover those differences.
Ubuntu Contributionism has evolved over the years. I first came across it in 2012 (thereabouts) and I volunteered to build the original Ubuntu Planet website. Back then I was 100% behind the direction of Ubuntu and the principles of contributionism. After the website was completed, I handed it over for someone else to manage and I stepped away from Ubuntu Contributionism for a while.
The One Small Town model was in the midst of being born and I began questioning the approach. I noticed 'holes in the bucket' so to speak. Flaws in the approach which I thought would jeopardise the movement because at the very least they can seem contradictory. And it's those flaws and contradictions which I'm going to address today. I'm absolutely passionate about contributionism and I want it to come to fruition as soon as possible. For that to happen, it needs to be able to withstand scrutiny and this was in the forefront of my mind when putting together the Freedom Plan model.
Before we get too deep into this, I want to acknowledge Michael Tellinger's achievements in spreading awareness of contributionism. What I'm discussing today is in no way mean't to 'bash' Michael or the Ubuntu movement. That being said, I must say what I believe and the choice is completely yours as to which direction you choose to go.
Briefly...what is the Freedom Plan model?
The Freedom Plan is a model of contributionism which seeks to implement contributionism without using money and without a governing body. It is based on the principle of self-governance and 6 Community Guidelines which every new member agrees to. These guidelines form a moral code which is universally agreed upon by all members and thus despite our differences, we have these guidelines to fall back on to resolve conflict, make decisions together and generally co-exist within our Freedom Plan communities. There are no "follow or you're out" demands, rather an understanding that this system only works when we choose to live by the Community Guidelines.
So what are the Community Guidelines? I've listed them here so you can get a good understanding of what they are.
No Governing Body
The Freedom Plan model has no governing body. No one is in charge and no one has power or control over anyone else. Community Projects do have leaders, however everyone has the opportunity to start a community project and operate it according to their ideas.
Everyone Is Welcome
As long as you’re willing to contribute a minimum of 5 hours of your time each week towards community projects, you’re welcome to join. Everyone is welcome, regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual preferences or favourite breakfast cereal.
Contribute from a place of compassion. Together we can create an abundance of everything we need, so there is no need for greed. Give from your heart, receive with your heart and treat each other with compassion.
We aim to create more than we need, so that we can assist other towns and cities to adopt a contributionism based lifestyle and thus help free more people. Embrace abundance, think about abundance and act from a place of abundance. Let’s create it together!
Respect For Each Other
Respect the beliefs, opinions and values of others. Stand up for what you believe in. Respect others equally and respect yourself. It’s ok that we have differing opinions and values, so long as these differing opinions and values can exist while maintaining respect for ourselves and one another.
Ensure your actions and decisions are symbiotic with the rest of the community. Look for the best ways of completing a task. Consider the most effective use of your community project hours and how you can add the most benefit to the community in the allocated time.
Now that you have a foundational understanding of what the Freedom Plan model is, let's take a look at the differences between Ubuntu and the Freedom Plan.
Ubuntu Contributionism Uses Money
As society stands today we still need to use money, particularly in our personal lives. This is unavoidable right now as we don't have an established alternative. But if we want to create a different system that does not rely on money, we cannot use the very thing which is the source of the problem. Quote me...
"If you want to create a milkshake without chocolate, you cannot then proceed to use chocolate in your milkshake." ― Daniel Birch
It just doesn't make any sense. I understand the idea of using the "tools of enslavement" against those who enslave us, but it will not work. It's like saying you're going to use a Samurai sword against a Samurai - you will lose. It's their weapon, not yours. They know how to use it better than you do.
The Freedom Plan does not use money.
By avoiding the use of money within our new societies we are actively devaluing money. Money only has value because we understand that others will accept this money in exchange for products and services. If people suddenly stopped accepting money, it would lose its value instantly. From that point onwards it's just paper.
But the most important reason the Freedom Plan doesn't use money is because money leads to power and power leads to corruption. The desire to acquire more money is at the heart of almost all corruption. Another way of thinking about this is that money is an incentive, not just to do good things but also bad things.
For example, let's say we have a financially poor family living in a poor country with limited opportunities.
The mother is raising young children and the father is doing whatever he can to earn money to put food on the table. Both parents are kind hearted people, they love each other and cherish their 3 young children.
They haven't had a good meal in 7 days and their situation is dire. Then a shady character comes along and offers the man a large sum of money, enough to feed his family for a year. All he needs to do is murder another person, or take the fall for a crime he didn't commit or take a job skinning animals alive.
Under normal circumstances he would never do any of this. But faced with letting his family starve or commit any of these heinous acts, he chooses to take up the offer so he may feed his family.
Who could fault him. We'd all do the same to save our family from certain death.
The point here is to illustrate that money is a powerful incentive. In a world where you 'need' money to obtain food, land, shelter, medicine...if things are bad enough, you'll do whatever it takes.
Investors, Profit Sharing & Donations
Ubuntu encourages and in fact seeks the participation of financial investors to contribute funds to community projects with the intent of making a financial return. This is capitalism, plain and simple. It's no different to what we already have. We already have investors which invest in businesses and projects that are "good for the world".
The One Small Town strategy also has a plan for creating a second income stream for those who participate in a community project which is generating profit. It's a profit sharing system which looks almost identical to dividend dispersions within a company that offers shares to its staff. Once again, this is capitalism - it is not contributionism.
In addition, now people will potentially be even more dependant on money having two income streams now. There is more incentive to keep money alive and well because you're invested in it being so. The incentive for participating in community projects should be:
- The desire to build a society which doesn't rely on money
- Access to the resources produced by the network of communities
It should not be the fact that you're going to get a second salary. That sends the wrong message and is counterproductive.
And in terms of donations, who decides how the money donated is spent? Which community project they go to? Whose salaries they pay? The resulting outcome here is you have a governing body, which apart from money is one of the things we want to remedy. Let's explore that in the next section.
Ubuntu Contributionism has a Governing Body
Why do we want a world without money? Freedom of course.
We won't want to be dictated to, told how to live our lives or be restricted to 'approved' options. A monetary system is one measure which inhibits our freedom; the other is governing bodies. The government and other official bodies which have the legally enforceable power to tell us what we can and cannot do.
Now I'm not talking about the freedom to harm others for example, this is not ok and it's common sense. In fact, a quote I adore by the late Dr. Wayne W. Dyer states (and I may be paraphrasing here):
"My right to flail my arms about stops with your right to not have your nose punched in." ― Dr. Wayne W. Dyer
The point is any centralised control structure will always develop into a government of sorts, no matter how primitive it may seem. Even the concept of having elders in the community can very quickly become a governing body if they start having the authority to make decisions for others and over time could easily transition into a government. After-all, how do you think we got to where we are today? The idea of an Ubuntu Head Office with salaried employees that appoints people to community projects and makes decisions for the community - it's fine in our current world, but it does not sound like contributionism to me. It sounds like capitalism.
The Freedom Plan is not a governing body, it is not a centralised control system. The Freedom Plan website is a community project, subject to the same Community Guidelines as all other individuals and community projects.
The key to making this immune to the establishment is to operate outside of the current system, to simply not participate in the way the establishment wants us to. If we (the community) take part in politics, regulations, taxes, official registrations - we can be stopped with the power of the mighty pen. When the movement gets too big, when it becomes a serious threat, a few legislation changes could wipe us out, but only if we participate in these frameworks.
This means the Freedom Plan is not a registered organisation or charity, we don't deal in anything that would make us subject to taxes in any way, we don't depend or count on politics or legislation to make things happen. In fact, in the current society the Freedom Plan exists only as an idea and we should do everything to preserve this sense of "nothing-ness" because it's operating outside the system that will make this movement untouchable, unstoppable. We need to be sensible, be safe but also think outside of the box.
We cannot change society. It is too big, too established. But we can create our own sub-culture within it, separate from it and 'outside' of the establishments bear traps. This is what the Freedom Plan is all about.
Ubuntu Contributionism Requires a lot to Setup
According to the One Small Town strategy, it requires full support from the Mayor/Town Manager or City Council and law enforcement. At the time of writing this article, it also needs a town with a population between 4,000 and 7,000, support of the One Small Town plan from at least 20% of those people and funding and business plans to get community projects up and running.
In contrast, the Freedom Plan can begin with as little as 2 people. Through effective implementation of 'Freedom Plan Markets' and 'Freedom Plan Outreach' the numbers can grow consistently and rapidly. I'm also doing everything I can to provide support and guidance to those who are serious about setting up a Freedom Plan community in their area. If this sounds like you and you've read my book at least twice so you have a thorough understanding of it - send me an email and we'll get a Freedom Plan community setup in your town.
Where do you stand?
Let me just say that I'm totally fine with having a business in our current society. You can support me by becoming a member if you believe in the work I'm doing. Heck, I even support your right to use money even as we move into a contributionism based world. Who am I to say you can't use money or to stop you.
But when creating a 'new' societal structure for a world that doesn't rely on money to thrive, it cannot include the very thing you're wanting to be rid of. It should not be about obliterating money, getting rid of it. It should be about creating a choice. Otherwise you're wanting to impose your will on others and I don't believe that is what people like us want. We just want freedom.
Relying on money to acquire resources has been a monopoly for too long and we all know monopolies are never a good thing for the people. So let's create an alternative for those like ourselves who wish to use it.
If Ubuntu Contributionism resonates with you, go for it. You need to follow what you believe is right. My hope is that we can all get on the same page at some point.
The Freedom Plan website is for those who want to follow the Freedom Plan model of contributionism. It will not work for Ubuntu for all of the reasons we've discussed so far. The Ubuntu movement has a great website of its own which is designed for implementing that model of contributionism. Of course everyone is welcome at TheFreedomPlan.org - however it simply won't work for implementing Ubuntu Contributionism as they function differently. And to avoid confusion, it's best to use the website associated with that specific model of contributionism.
If you want to find out more about the Freedom Plan model, the best thing to do is read my book: "The Freedom Plan - a symbiotic way of life for humanity" which is available on Amazon as a paperback or as a FREE eBook download when you subscribe to this blog (which is also free).
You can also read or listen to the articles on my website here at danielbirch.org for more in depth information.
Wrapping It Up
The Freedom Plan is simply a way of implementing contributionism without using money, without a governing body, making it highly resistant to criticism and a system which can exist independently. The Community Guidelines which are the foundations of the movement are inherently good and I welcome anyone to attempt to disagree with them without sounding like a meanie. 😆
Thank you for taking the time to make it through this lengthy article, I truly appreciate it. And if you want to ask me any questions directly, you can contact me here and I'll be happy to answer them. I'm doing my best to play a very active role in taking these ideas and making them something actionable. I don't want us to just talk about this, I want us to actively make it happen. So if you're motivated to get a community going in your local area, please reach out and I'll do everything I can to help you.