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Why are Global Villages important? - The Concept of Global Villages

Global Villages (in plural!) is the name for the vision of a new human habitat - offering virtually all of the services and amenities of cities while still preserving the rural quality of life and care for healing and human dimension.

It is important to understand that in this vision villages need NOT become new cities, in fact their most precious wealth is that they are distinct from cities. In villages we can often find an intact eco-system, an aesthetic landscape, and a healthy environment. At least in some cultures, villages are probably the closest approximation of harmony between nature and humans. We want to work with these environments and bootstrap them without destroying their character. This is at the very core of the GIVE (Globally Integrated Village Environment) project. But we need to face the reality that young people are still moving in masses from villages to cities (where they often are trapped), and we have to meet this challenge. Global Villages make it easy and attractive to go back to the village.

Villages have a somehow bad connotation today. They are often synonymous with the feeling of backwardedness, ignorance, and mental stuffyness. They are often identified with agriclture as exclusive occupation. Villages are rarely the originators of new ideas or a centers of innovation, in contrast, they often resist the establishment of new patterns and procedures. In the last centuries up to today, persisting migration from rural areas occurred because villages could not secure an income for their inhabitants. It seems that only the cities could offer to the human being the freedom to lead a life according to one's demands and visions.

With the advent of modern telecommunication all these assessments do no longer hold true - there is at least a fundamental option for change.

Now it is possible to distribute information to nearly every corner of the world. Telephone, computer networks, and satellites enable us to embrace a new form of mobility. Suddenly, not humans have to move from one place to an other to perform different activities but the services themselves are offered globally. No longer must people drive every day to their office to work but they can do lots of different works from their kitchen desk or their home office.

Even in the remotest areas, everybody has a theoretical chance to find a relation with supporting and nourishing networks, getting even close to the centers of business and commerce - if broadband infrastructure exists. There were some attempts in the eighties and nineties to establish telecottages and similar institutions, and some of them are still doing quite well.

However, at the same moment new problems has appeared . The globalization of business triggers competition of an unseen scale. Thus, "rivaling with everybody everywhere" automatically implies that only the best succeed and the rest fails. And cities are much better suited for this economic competition. This competition is requiring absurd amounts of energy while delivering lesser and lesser benefits. What once was a promising opportunity, to export goods and take part in global exchange, has nowadays become a nightmarish constraint which devoures the attention and the resources of nations. Global capital has become increasingly demanding on infrastructure, qualification and costs of production, so the financial resources for "unproductive" activities like health care, social work and services, culture, but also and mainly the protection and maintainance of our cultural landscapes and historical heritage are in jeopardy.

The seemingly different events of 2005 in New Orleans and Paris have demonstrated the rottenness and degree of neglectivenmess of the social and infrastructural fabric in those societies which are even the winner countries of globalisation. The effects of the unsustainable global patterns of production- consumption triggered by the competition-growth-speed imperative even threat the planetary climate system and still produce an enormous overpopulations of "paupers" in the less favored areas of our cities. A double crisis meets the ignorance of politicians who have no choice but ignore and belittle the results of what they are enacting.

Consequently, the less lucky have only one chance to survive, if they learn to use local resources to * actively disjoin * their workplace from global competition and rather build up local cycles of efficient mutual cooperation in a self-organized way. What strengthens them is the fact that there is not only a vast movement of likeminded on the horizon, but also completely new tools like the internet and decentralized automation so knowledge can be shared and put into action and effect. One could say the associated work and intelligence of humans has no need for the command of capital any more. But there is also no need for the command of a state instead: spontaneous self-organisation with serious and professional consequences has proved succesful in the domain of Free Software and Knowledge organisation, aka Linux and Wikipedia, so why should these Free Modes not work in other domains of human activities?

Global Villages are at the centerpoint of this sustainable alternative to subduing all life to competitiveness, as they allows people in a location with available natural resopurces to make a living out of technologically supported sustainable cycles of matter and energy - and become more autonomous and independent. "Global Villages" are opposed to "globalized villages"!!

If they succeed in building up these cycles, if at the same time every actor in the village builds on the strengths of global informational cooperation, they might end up providing similar services and comforts like large cities with less stress.

In our analysis, the possible decentralization of information offers a vital chance to solve a lot of problems linked to the high concentration of people in todays urban areas. On a smaller scale it is easier to cope with pollution, energy supply, the use of resources, and social interaction. The same is true for unemployment and alienation.

However, this will change our way of living severely. As it is true on one side that these changes offer the chance for a more independent life, however, it also requires the inhabitants of villages to carry more self-responsibility.

In a more decentralized system, a relatively small number of specialized providers of large scale functions - perhaps multinational companies, in some instances states or international organizations - might provide and sustain the basic infrastructure, like transportation ways, communication lines, and basic services. The local actors in villages, on the other side, will be more responsible for the structure of their lives and their immediate organization, including social issues.

For some people, this concept bears the danger that global villages could be inherently undemocratic or that some of them might develop into ghettoes. Also, inside a village a two class society could develop between the information - and therefore pecuniary - rich inhabitants and those who provide food and local services. While these fears are justified, the dangers that such developments could take place are small because of the specific relationship between "global" and "local" inhabitants. If relationships do not work, the village will not work. People are mobile and not stuck in villages.

In the new social structure of global villages different social groups and people with different abilities and desires must therefore thrive to live in intentional symbiosis. While one group provides an income through telework and global services, others secure supply and satisfy local needs - and they are themselves connected to sources of global cooperation that allow them to perform better. In the context of a village, both groups should see and understand their immediate interdependence and mutual advantage. That is the base of our success!


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