Triumph of the Commons: a Himalayan LO LO29801

From: AM de Lange (
Date: 01/10/03

Replying to LO29743 --

Dear Organlearners,

Don Dwiggins <> writes:

>Take a look at
>There are probably dozens -- hundreds? thousands? -- of
>small communities and other organizations around the world
>in the process of transforming themselves, partly by
>being/becoming LOs (I'd expect that they're mostly tacit, in At's
>terms). Anyone know of some others worth mentioning? Are
>there common themes/patterns/guiding ideas that run through
>these? If so, how do they relate to Senge's 5 disciplines, or At's

Greetings dear Dwig,

Thank you for this information. As the report begins: "A silent but
significant revolution has taken place. It is a major breakthrough for the
women of Bawani village. A new variety known as 'Guinea' grass has
suddenly provided them with greater food security and reduced the daily
drudgery of walking 10 to 15 kM for collecting fodder and fuel wood."

I suspect that the Bawani village has become a "tacit LO". I wish i could
visit it to make sure.

I have seen similar community transformations here in South Africa, but
they cannot be counted in the hundreds. I usually travel to semi-arid
regions and deserts. Thus the problem of communities in these dry regions
is the opposite of the Bawani village -- a lack of enough rainfall. But it
is surpising how much can be done to conserve the little water derived
from rainfall. For example, a 10cm layer of pebbels around a perrenial
plant can prevent the evaporation of water from the ground by as much as
90%. Plastic sheeting (the quality which shops use for packing is good
enough) about 5cm underneath the soil around an anual plant can do the

What is remarkable and probably vital to the successful transformation of
the Bawani village is the active role played by its leaders. They were in
front doing the right things, thus setting examples for the rest to
follow. In this case it was the school master Masterji and his wife. They
knew what to do and did it. Someone who does not know what to do or does
not what is known cannot become a leader.

I know of a community which for close to a hundred years derived their
income from planting date palms. But that community is now slowly dying.
The young people, having had better education and a higher living standard
than other communities in that region, became lured by the promises of an
even higher income in the cities. So they went away, never to come back,
but also never to become rich where they went!

No new date palms get planted and the oldest ones are dying out. Few
willing hands pick the ripe dates because the pay is too little. The
reason? What they get for their dates is about 5% for what i have to pay
in local shops for dates. Global commerce made it possible to exploit one
date producing community against another. I think that a community has to
become as far as possible a self organising system. It is here where the
7Es become vital to know what should be done and what should be avoided.
Deriving all income from dates alone is a serious impairing of otherness.


Yes, hmmm....

With care and best wishes,


At de Lange <> Snailmail: A M de Lange Gold Fields Computer Centre Faculty of Science - University of Pretoria Pretoria 0001 - Rep of South Africa

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