Saturday, June 13, 2015

Saturday Morning Musings - the importance of the small

The changing patterns of Australian life always interest me.

Down in Canberra, the Canberra Time's Amelia Mills reports on local use of crowd funding techniques to help fund start up businesses. I have been watching the growth of crowd funding for a number of years now. It's a useful technique in that it provides an alternative flexible funding mechanism. However, I have often mused on just how you make it work. Intuitively, just putting it out there and hoping that the world (or at least that tiny slice you need) would come seemed highly fraught.

Amelia's piece makes the point that successful crowd funding is actually hard work. Yes, I know that there are cases of apparent instant success, but you generally find that these are play to an already established base. Otherwise, you have to work at getting to those who might contribute.

This one comes from the Meanwhile in Australia Facebook page. I had to laugh. Mind you, Roos are no laughing matter on country roads. They are actually a reasonably common cause of accidents.

Returning to Canberra, Lucy Bladen reports on commercial revitalisation at the University of Canberra where new shops and facilities are revitalising parts of the campus. In an apparently unrelated story, Joseph Hinchliffe in the Sydney Morning Herald reports on the opening of a barber shop in Moree by Lloyd Munro jnr. Munro is a very well known Moree Aboriginal name.

The link between the two stories lies in community revitalisation, actions that will improve the fabric of life in particular areas. It's a long time since I have been on the University of Canberra campus, so I can't present a current picture, but the University appears to be following a clever strategy. Mr Munro's case is more an example of individual endeavour.

Today, we live in a mega world. Everything has to be big. It shapes Australia's cities while ignoring Australia's country. The cranes that dot particular areas of Sydney are big. The redevelopment projects are big. In many cases you need to be big just to meet compliance and regulatory costs.

In all this, it's important to recognise the importance of the small, the individual, for this is where character and texture comes from. Even in very large developments, the final success or failure comes from the new residents, from those who open cafes or shops. .

There is a meme here that I would like to extend. For the moment, crowd funding is important because it offers a new vehicle for the small.


Anonymous said...

Interesting story:


Jim Belshaw said...

That's a fascinating piece, kvd.It's a really good example of the way in which blind opposition can bring just the results that you fear. It is also, as you surmised smack within my areas of interest. It's given me, really reignited, another idea for a unifying theme in the things that I do and write about it.

Winton Bates said...

Crowd funding could involve the "hard word" as well as hard work. Perhaps just a typo :)

Anonymous said...

Re- kvd's web reference: "If you look at the list of top products, it's basically a list of stimulants, nicotine and caffeine. Strip away all the trimmings, and this is what our greatest retail success stories are: our greatest purveyors of junk food, tobacco and alcohol, a mirror to the nation they serve" - Yes, absolutely a mirror to the nation they serve. So if Coles and Woolworths weren't doing it, the petty bourgeois hucksters would be emulating this role (or trying to). The latter have been beneficiaries of an enormous array of incentives, tax breaks, grants and so forth and still can't make it. J K Galbraith was right in his verdict about supermarkets and consumers as beneficiaries of countervailing power in his American Capitalism (1952). Pharmacy is one of the last vestiges of the small trader and what a consumer rip off this is!


Jim Belshaw said...

Thanks, Winton. Correction made. From what I have seen, both are in fact required.

If you don't mind me saying so, DG, that's an unexpected and unexpectedly jaundiced take. The issue here was the way the protests favoured the external over the local, not a result that the protesters wanted. The local family had the land and cash to do it. They just didn't have the time or resources to outlast the protest. They could well have sold out in the end anyway.

Looking at your broader point, you seem to be mixing a number of things together that I'm not sure have a lot to do with what's happening on the ground.