Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Markets in Everything - Pretend to be a farmer edition

Pay £30 and join an online community telling a British farm how to run its affairs:
What sorts of decisions can subscribers expect? And how many?

Decisions will range from relatively simple ones such as what crops to plant and which rare breed animals to stock, to thornier, more controversial issues, such as which cow to slaughter, whether to spray wheat crops with an organic molluscicide to kill the slugs, whether to tail dock sheep, and when to start the harvest.

As the farm is already a going concern, and is run in accordance with the National Trust’s commitment to sustainable methods of farming (Wimpole has undergone conversion to organic), then the community of new Farmers will be given the information and parameters to make their decisions from. Some things will be immovable, but as many decisions as possible will be open to discussion and vote.

The year will be structured around a key decision each month, but there may well be dozens of decisions to be made throughout the year – just like a regular farm manager. These shorter timeframe decisions will be introduced a few months into the project, once we’ve got an idea of how things are going and where people’s interests lie.
The deliberative democracy folks could have some fun with the data that would here be generated. The farm managers craft the referendum questions, which ought to constrain outcomes.

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