[see completed Chapter 1 by clicking Chapter 1 - Why Many of Us Should DROP OUT]
[see completed Chapter 2 by clicking Chapter 2 - Free Public Schools Instead of Private Schools]
[see completed Chapter 3 by clicking on Chapter 3 - A $500 Used Car Is Sufficient; and Parking Is Free and Available]
Discusses how a new car has been a status or success symbol for decades, but at a cost which can no longer be afforded by most persons. Explains the costs of a new vehicle, including purchase on one hand (which reduces one's available savings or capital) and lease or time-purchase on the other hand (which creates substantial interest expenses, as well as late charge probabilities) and the need for more extensive and higher-costing insurance coverage. In comparison, a $500 used car will do when living in one's DROPOUT COMMUNITY. The following savings are applicable to purchasing a used car: Elimination of parking charges incurred to protect car from vandalism or theft; elimination of $20,000 purchase or lease expense; elimination of interest charges on the $20,000 time-purchase or lease; elimination of $15/month late charges for late payment of bank or leasing company charges; reduction of about $100 per month of maintenance costs (and time expenditures) required for new-car ownership; reduction in vehicle cleaning costs (to keep a new car looking newer than it is); elimination of state and city sales tax on $20,000 purchase; elimination of the need to make an appointment to see your car doctor and pay a $50/hour labor rate to the new car dealership; elimination of higher costs for premium gasoline; elimination of the need to make repairs to minor scrapes, dents and failures; and the elimination of various types of anti-theft devices and systems. The total cost of a new car amounts to about $15,000 per year (or $30,000 pre-tax), with an additional $25,000 or so thrown in for loss of time (valued at $100 per hour) (estimated at 5 hours per week for 50 weeks per year). The cost, of course, is reduced performance and reliability of the used car over a new car; the additional repair costs (when a new car probably would be needing no repairs at all); and the reduced prestige which normally goes with used car ownership, except that in the DROPOUT COMMUNITY the local values would probably give a family with the least expensive, oldest working vehicle the most prestige and the least prestige to a custom-defying family which drove around in a new Lincoln or Rolls Royce.
City living is expensive and is becoming more so every day. City life is attractive to too many persons, placing demands on housing which are met with ever-increasing prices and rents, which have skyrocketed beyond the ability of most persons to afford. If the average rent in New York City is $1,500 for a 2-bedroom apartment, and if the average wage in the country is $12 per hour, or $420 per week, you can see that New York City is not the place for an average person to live. $1,500 means $3,000 per month pretax, but $420 per week (times 4.3 weeks per month) is only 1,800 per month, and money is needed for food, clothing, newspapers, medical services, bus and subway (at $15.00 per week or $64.50 per month). Thus, people who fail to earn a minimum of $4,000 a month or so cannot afford to live in New York City, unless they cut their rental expense (by sharing a house or apartment, by living in the street, by having Welfare pay for their apartment, or by having a rent-controlled or rent-stabilized apartment at a sufficiently low monthly rental). Private education, as we have seen, can be another big hit to the pocket book.
Ownership and use of a car in the city is also costly. Assuming $350 per month in lease costs, and $200 per month in garage costs, and $50 per month in parking tickets, and $100 per month in taxi costs to get back and forth to the distant parking lot (to avoid monthly parking costs of $500 or so), the total monthly cost to maintain a car in New York City is about $700, plus insurance of about $200, plus another $100 for gas, oil and repairs, making a total of about $1,000 per month, which has to be doubled (to pre-tax income) unless the vehicle is tax deductible as a business expense. If you lived in the sticks, your total car costs could be kept to $100 or $200 per month, relying on an older car (owned outright with no lease payments), lower-cost repairs, no costs to park, no collision insurance, lower liability insurance rates, and no parking tickets. Education can be obtained from good public schools without the need for private schools. Housing can be purchased at reasonable rates, with a favorable tax consequence to the owner (unlike rental payments in the city which are not tax deductible, and with the accrual of equity in the home ownership for ultimate retirement without payment of rent.
Living in a major city is expensive, but so is working in a major city. A person who works in a city has higher expenses whether he lives in or out of the city. These worker's expenses, which for the most part can be avoided by DROPPING OUT, include: transportation to and from work (often by train, bus, ferry, taxi or car rather than low-cost public bus or subway - sometimes $300 per month or $3,600 per year); restaurant lunches and tips ($100 per week or $5,000 per year); after-work beer or cocktail ($25 per week or $1,250 per year); office collections for your employer's or someone else's favorite charity ($250 per year); office collections for parties and presents ($300 per year); and shoe shining expenses; expensive suits, ties, dresses, shirts, blouses, shoes, coats and other wearing apparel to impress your employer, fellow workers and the customers and clients of your employer (perhaps an additional $3,000 per year). Also, don't forget the added technology expenses to make your life as an employee more productive, but at your own expense (such as a notebook computer, carrying case, floppies, repairs, service contract, additional software) at an estimated annual additional cost of $2,000). When added up, these additional Worker's Expenses can easily cost you $16,000 per year, or $32,000 per year before taxes.
Part of the DROPPING OUT program is to eliminate as many traces as possible to the overcharges of monopolists and others with excessive economic power over you. Banks are becoming fewer in number (due to mergers and failures) with the result that they are in a better position to impose monthly charges on you than would prevail in a more competitive market for banking services. These charges include late fees for late payment of a monthly car or house payment; late charges more and more being imposed by credit card companies (at $15 or $20 per month) for receiving a monthly payment even one day late; late fees charged by the parking lot (the one closest to your home or place of business), and even by professionals and merchants who see the enormous profitability of late fees to banks and credit card companies. Everyone wants to get in on the late-fee act, and it's time to DROP OUT from this type of usurious payment.
DROPOUTS should buy or lease no new vehicles, which eliminates the late fee as to vehicles purchased on a time plan. Also, you should eliminate credit cards as much as possible, starting with the ones which charge you the highest rate of interest and late fees, so that you wind up with perhaps a single card at most which charges no interest and no late fees. Also, refuse to patronize banks, savings and loans, parking lots, merchants and professionals who hit you with late fees, inasmuch as the late fee is no more than an economic scam, imposing additional burdens on already over-burdened consumers, for the additional, excessive profit of the monopolizing business interests. DROPOUT COMMUNITY bulletin boards will enable DROPOUTS to learn who to patronize and who not to patronize. Businesses which charge late fees are probably overcharging (or reducing services) in other areas of their activities as well.
There are many reasons to DROP OUT, and they are not all economic. Many of the savings to be realized from leaving the city have already been discussed. But these savings are not the only advantages. There are many other advantages, such as working fewer hours; eliminating travel time to and from work; having more time to be with our family; more equitably sharing work and family time between husband and wife; having more time to develop your own interests; having more time to learn about and develop business interests; living in an area where you can meet and talk with persons who you can expect to meet and talk with again and again; having some degree of political control over the community in which you live and the type of schools in your community as well as the taxes paid by you and the others in your community.
Instead of having pressure to work more hours for less money (or a lower standard of living), you will experience the feeling of having many free hours to devote in the way in which you (rather than your employer) choose to allocate, to self-development, earning a living, family, friends, community, to name a few aspects of DROPOUT living.
Living in the sticks does not have to be a bad thing, and in fact can be most desirable, for its ability to reduce the need for spending one's time earning money, which time reduces the amount of time available for other pursuits. I believe that the wave of the future for individuals (including myself) and for communities (in the sticks, particularly) is the development of various types of intellectual property. Don't be fooled by that term, it covers a lot of territory. For example, it would cover the compilation and protection (by trademark and copyright, perhaps even know-how and patent) of a list of persons who are interested in contributing money or services to create intellectual property centers around the United States. It also covers patents, trademarks, copyrights, protectable ideas, design patents, know-how, character licensing, movies, screenplays, treatments, movie ideas, books, manuscripts, book ideas, magazines, newspapers, data bases, applications software, graphics, other software, cartoons, designs, fabric designs, packaging designs, logos, and so on, the things which are running the world today.
You don't have to work in a city to develop, own or market intellectual property, and if you have more time on your hands because of a lower personal overhead, you can use your new home away from the city as your laboratory, study, library, office or workplace to develop anything you want. A few years ago I visited various libraries in New Jersey and tried to sell the librarians on setting up intellectual property centers for the community, which would provide a meeting place for residents and others to learn about the conception, development, protection and marketing of different types of intellectual property, would motivate members of the community to go into this higher-income type of economic activity, for their betterment as well as the community's; and to provide computers, software, assistance, research skills and various databases (including patent, copyright and trademark searches) to help intellectual property developers with their work.
Whether or not a community is developed along the lines discussed below, any community, large or small, but particularly a small community should create within the local library an intellectual property center for its residents. These centers alone could be worth the move from city life to non-city living. Cities are so large, costly and unmanageable that it is unlikely that cities could develop intellectual property centers conveniently located for all (even though there may be some centers miles away). Small towns can have a convenient center where people will get to know each other, join with each other and help and motivate each other. Cities cannot duplicate this part of my idea for intellectual property centers.
This chapter will discuss the life in a typical day of a person living and working in a DROPOUT COMMUNITY, incorporating the various savings and features of DROPOUT life, including working from the home, living where you work, acquiring technical help when living in a non-technical environment, family values, socializing, development and use of the local library or bookstore equivalent, and contrast with the harried life of the high-pressure employment in the city with its excessive hours, lower pay, reduced opportunity and ever-present threat of termination in any event.
Cities run amuck financially because they have monopolized political power into the hands of a few who then run the city and the city's taxing power and bank accounts for their own benefit instead of the benefit of the public. It's easy to see what's wrong with a city, anyone can tell you what's wrong. The roads. The parking tickets. The excessive regulation of business. The housing shortage. Higher prices. Shortage of parking spaces. High taxes.
Government corruption. Traffic jams. Excessive government salaries. Failure of government employees to do their jobs. Inability of small business to make a profit. Excessive licensing requirements. Taxi medallion system. Excessive rents. Too many parades. Road repairs taking 4-6 years. Bridges and tunnels in state of disrepair. Media which extol the candidates rather than explain the problems.
The difficulties are pervasive and unexplained; the cures are not obvious to the rank and file voter who is unable to get good information. The city is too large; the media is relatively silent; the political process is not open; and the political process is monopolized to keep the same type of person in power. Even when an incumbent loses, he is replaced by another of the same type. And city life goes on, with nothing but promises and a deteriorating economy and standard of living for the masses, while the politicians and their backers reap their monopolistic rewards.
Life in a small town, however, is different. You know specifically who the wrongdoers are; you can see whether they are profiting or not; you are in touch with others who know; and you can do something about the problems.
Accordingly, the corruption, to the extent it exists in a small town, is less costly and is more manageable by the voters, including you as a DROPOUT COMMUNITY member. The result is that government services are less costly and taxes are lower. You can life for a lot less in a small town because there is less theft of your money by government. You keep more of what you earn and require less to stay alive. If you think real estate taxes and school costs are too high, you can meet with others in your community and discuss the problem and do something about it, unlike living in the big city where the political power brokers make these decisions, never in your favor, it seems.
Discusses how to select the most suitable DROPOUT COMMUNITY, including: whether others DROPOUTS are living there; what DROPOUT services have already been established (such as the local library serving as the DROPOUT's country club with an intellectual property center orientation); the quality of the public schools (for DROPOUT parents with children of public school age); the availability and quality of low-cost colleges in the area (for DROPOUT parents of college-bound children); the accessibility to your primary city (the one in which you have most need to visit for business or other reasons); the real estate tax rate; property values; the availability of a local library suitable for conversion into a country club for DROPOUTS; availability of local amenities (such as swimming sites, tennis courts, parks, theatres); location of post office (for some businesspersons with heavy post office use); location of main roadways (away from the town for some, and near the town for frequent road travelers); location of nearest major airport; standard of living in the area; availability and cost of local labor to assist in your home or business; types of services available from local residents; location of major shopping areas and business areas; location and quality of nearest hospital and/or medical services; availability and cost of health programs; safety of community (including gangs, drugs, violence); reviewing local newspapers to see what the community says about itself; direction of land values; demographics of the community.
Suggestions on buying a house; contrasting home purchase with renting or leasing. Discussion of what features your house should have to accommodate your DROPOUT lifestyle. Electrical outlets and fuse box is of major importance. Need work space to keep business activities away (and protected) from family living under same roof. Low-cost expansion of house through barn (but watch local zoning requirements, size, number and placement of barn); and any prohibitions against certain types of businesses operating from the home.
Reviewing the economics of renting an apartment, co-op or house versus owning a co-op or house. Owning seems to be the way to go, if you can afford the initial costs. Discussion of ways to raise or meet the initial cost requirement. Advantages of ownership include major tax advantage over renting the same house. Discussion of repairs: do-it-yourself versus hiring others to do the work.
Discussion of how to run a business from one's home, from the location of the business within the home; the sharing and proper use of facilities such as telephone, fax, computer, printer, modem and cellular telephone; the rules relating to discussing your business with friends, visitors and others; how to handle customers or clients and prospective customers or clients. Tax considerations. Costs of setting up the business. Lease versus purchase of equipment. Advertising your business/profession. Letterheads, envelopes, calling cards; using your own computer and printer to create letterheads and envelopes and other stationery. Developing your business plan and business.
Discusses how to fit in and develop yourself and family in the new community especially when your use of the community may differ from the use of most residents. Almost everyone but yourself may be a (i) government employee, (ii) employee working in a city or nearby town, (iii) local trades person or working for a local trades person, or (iv) retired or unemployed person not looking for any opportunity. How to fit into such an environment and make the environment work for you and your family.
Finding and creating the most valuable social contacts for you in the community; developing the local library into an opportunity center for all, at public expense; using the local schools and facilities to maximum advantage. Socializing beyond the perimeter of your DROPOUT COMMUNITY with members of surrounding DROPOUT communities. Establishing and nurturing relationships with other DROPOUTS.
This chapter discusses each of the technologies, and its cost, which DROPOUTS should consider having available to them in their DROPOUT COMMUNITY, including a state of the art (now 200 megahertz Pentium Pro computer, with 3.5 gigs in hard drive space); 56K modem; 17-inch VGA monitor; 32MB of Ram; color printer (bubble or laser); software (including recovery, communications, typesetting, word processing, database, spreadsheet, financial); fax board; standalone fax equipment (sheet feeder); answering machine and answering machine capabilities; cellular telephone service; and internet connection; also, consider setting up an internet website to have 24-hour availability of information about your offered goods and/or services and a place where persons can leave messages for you.
Discussion of how to buy; how much to pay; what is more essential than other items; and where to obtain low-cost training, service and advice when needed.
The chapter will try to help persons along who have no significant technological abilities, which seems to be the main reason that persons do not go out on their own, because they cannot do all the things required today technologically of a small business person. This chapter will hopefully provide some insight to persons who are lost in the recent technological advances, and will remain lost forever unless convinced to join the growing millions of persons who have made the leap.
Does one need to live and work in a city? Many persons are beginning to ask themselves this question, especially after they have been downsized out of a high-paying city job, and are no longer able to afford the cost of living in the city. What can a person do if he lives outside of the city. Can he still work in the city and live elsewhere? Would an apartment in New York City coupled with substantial commuting costs, and additional clothing and other personal expenses, such as dining out eat up the economic advantage of living outside the city?
The truth seems to be, more and more, but for licensing (i.e., government-imposed economic restraints) that a person can live outside of the city and continue to do business within the city, without having to be present in the city. By telephone, fax, federal express (or postal express) modem and internet communications I could easily run a law practice or consulting service from any part of the United States (or even from Spain or France, if I chose), with little adverse impact on my practice. Every once in a while I would have to go to the city in which my lawsuit is being heard, which could be Trenton, Los Angeles, White Plains, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Philadelphia, to name some of the locations of my existing litigation, but this is rare. More and more of my communications with the courts are by telephone; more and more of my depositions of witnesses are by telephone from my own office (or wherever I may be at that time, even on the beach, possibly). I am no longer dependent on my physical presence in New York City. In fact, I have no employees so I don't have to show up to deal with any employees, or to pay them once per week, or to worry about a replacement if they fail to appear. Services can be obtained from specialized persons when needed, at a competitive price, but which is fairly high for the person providing the service. My own services, when they are not on a contingent fee basis, go for about $200 per hour, and I sell such services to people who need them, charging a minimum of 1/10th of an hour for each use of my services (or nothing at all, if 1/10th is too much). Lawyers started this way of billing, but others now do the same, including consultants of many types. We are in an information society and we are selling what we know more than we are selling our physical presence. For this reason, people who cannot continue with their high-paying old type of employment in the city should think of removing themselves to a lower cost of living area, and eliminate all overhead, and sell their services through telecommunications, which should increase their standard of living, once they have eliminated the excessive costs which are generally associated with city living.
Developing a market for one's goods or services from a city location is different than developing a market from a DROPOUT COMMUNITY. The city location is usually a physical location to which customers go, or can find by chance, and make a purchase, but a DROPOUT COMMUNITY is quite different, especially when the business is run from a house away from the business area.
Discussion of compiling lists from a 1997 CD-Rom containing 461,000 yellow-page listings throughout the U.S.; creating direct mailings; creating a fax list (but discussing the 1991 federal law, and local laws, prohibiting fax solicitations without prior permission); use of postal occupant or route mailings (without the name of the postal customer shown on the label); use of flyers and their distribution; use of local newspapers, radio and television; and use of internet and web sites.
How to develop and use a list of prospective customers. Discussion of businesses run from homes or mail-order addresses.
This chapter will put bring together various components of DROPOUT living from the standpoint of improvement of the DROPOUT'S quality of life, from the standpoint of reduced living expenses, increased time to devote to oneself, repeated contact with persons similarly situated (which cities often cannot provide), socializing, community cost of essential equipment, software, personnel and supplies, to make it easier to go into business in a DROPOUT COMMUNITY than in a major city; equity in one's home rather than renting or leasing; reduced expenses of education and affordability of higher education. Assisting in the elimination of the forces which are causing a deterioration of the U.S. economy and the American way of life.
The main reasons for the decline in standard of living for most Americans are political choices, past and present, which have favored large corporations by permitting monopolies to grow and flourish, by providing U.S. financing and tax incentives to export American jobs overseas, to lower-wage (sometimes slave labor) countries, to stifle access to the courts or legislatures for any relief for individuals and small business, and to deprive small businesses and individuals of the capital they need to expand their businesses and create jobs.
This chapter explains how a small town can make changes so that the regulation of business and availability of capital can be skewed in favor of individuals and small business as a community endeavor, with the resulting prosperity for the town and its landowners, businesses, residents and workers.
What the Federal Reserve Board, Banks, Investment Banking firms, Securities and Exchange Commission, U.S. Patent Office, Congress, President and federal courts have been unable to do to create and maintain an even playing field can be changed at this low level of government, where democracy still exists to a large extent and the effect of change can be obtained and perceived quickly. For example, the Community can and should pay for patent applications for residents (which the U.S. Patent Office does in a limited way already for individual U.S. citizen inventors); and should offer seminars where business (information-era) opportunities for individual DROPOUTS are discussed and joint ventures among DROPOUTS encouraged.
The DROPOUT COMMUNITY at a minimum should meet the following requirements, which are explained in later chapters, which requirements would not seem to be particularly burdensome for most towns and villages, especially when the increased economic activity for town residents and businesses is taken into account.
1. Library Improvements (as discussed in Ch. 8).
2. A National Farmers' Alliance sub-treasury or commercial bank to extend credit to local residents, businesses, farmers and other self-employeds, based on the local deposits of money or property, sale of tax anticipation notes, or assignment of accounts receivables, if the community so votes.
3. Government financing for businesses and individuals as a last resort when local banks are unwilling or unable to lend (only after community vote if so required by the community):
A. Industrial revenue bonds to create jobs for the community;
B. Accounts receivable financing for local self-employeds and businesses (similar to sub-treasury idea of the National Farmers' Alliance and Populist Movement).
4. Willingness to establish and manage cooperative food, insurance, barter, repair, financial, or other cooperative enterprises for the residents, businesses, farmers and other self-employeds, if the community so votes.
5. Personal computer for every home in the community through creation of used-computer market and repair business, owned or financed by the community, including an upgrade/substitution policy.
6. $1,000 jump-start business loan (revolving account) at prime rate of interest for every resident age 16 or older, as a replacement for credit card advances, and bank overdraft policies without any inquiry or collateral, which amount could be increased or lowered by vote of the community.
7. Community internet website: (i) community budget, revenues, expenses; (ii) list of suggestions for new businesses needed by the community; (iii) calendar for lectures and other community events given by organizations or individuals; (iv) requests for bids or employment being offered by the community; (v) list of private and public job openings in the community; (vi) communications with and to encourage development of other DROPOUT COMMUNITIES; (vii) publication of the community's budget, income and expenses on regular, timely basis (an open book policy) to facilitate public review and oversight of community's financial affairs; and (viii) to give notice as to all public meetings of governmental officials or agencies in the community, and the agenda therefor.
8. A community development office (with a F/T or P/T employee) to assist in marketing the goods and services of community residents, businesses, farmers and other self-employeds, including sales to persons in foreign countries, and any charges for such services are to be reasonable in amount and deferred if possible until results have been or should have been achieved.
9. A community development office (with a F/T or P/T employee) to assist in collection of accounts receivables (assigned as collateral to the community's local bank or sub-treasury) payable by persons anywhere in the United States, and any charges for such services are to be reasonable in amount and deferred if possible until results have been or should have been achieved.
10. Non-discriminatory policy as to all residents, respecting the civil rights of each resident. 11. Patent agent or patent attorney (F/T or P/T) at community expense to prepare and prosecute patent applications for community residents, if requested, in exchange for a percentage of the patent (such as 25%).
12. A stated community policy for or against mobil homes, and appropriate rules for mobil home parks if approved by the community.
13. A community development office (with a F/T or P/T employee) to communicate with other DROPOUT COMMUNITIES and persons interested in learning about DROPOUT COMMUNITIES, and to promote the community, its residents, businesses, farmers and other self-employeds, including their products and services; and to encourage tourism for persons to visit the town to see for themselves and/or to attend courses, lectures and other events.
14. A community litigation center (with a F/T or P/T employee) to assist in the enforcement of intellectual property and contract rights of residents, businesses, farmers and other self-employeds in the community against governments, corporations or other persons anywhere in the United States, and any charges for such services are to be reasonable in amount and deferred if possible until results have been or should have been achieved.
15. Community does not spend excessive amount of its budget in law enforcement activities (such as parking, speeding and business rules and regulations) designed to and which result in payment of fines, penalties and profits to the community. 16. Community has adopted, and enforces and publicizes, a policy of refusing to deal with corporations or other entities (or their products or services) which entities (i) have transferred jobs from the United States to other countries, (ii) are monopolizing or attempting unlawfully to monopolize any market of goods or services anywhere within the United States, or (iii) directly or indirectly are making use of foreign or domestic labor in violation of community standards set by vote of the community (which standards may include child labor, prison labor, environmental injury, lower than subsistence wages, and unsanitary, unhealthy or unsafe working conditions).
17. Community has a private court system to arbitrate disputes under the rules of law, by consent of the parties, with the community paying the fees of the private judges (or arbitrators), and the decisions being enforceable in a court of law.
18. Licensed to use name Dropout Community or initials D.O.C. as a trademark or servicemark to indicate the town's adherence to these minimum standards, the use of which is intended as a quick way for persons throughout the nation, including the media, to identify the town or village as one dedicated to the economic, educational and social well-being of all of its residents and businesses.
This chapter explains how the community, through its power to tax and to borrow against tax revenues, and to create municipal-backed industrial loans, can provide financing for local businesses to create local jobs and increase local prosperity for all, something which the U.S. government in theory could do except for the obvious impossibility of doing this everywhere at the same time; instead, the U.S. government has relied on the banks and investment bankers, who have made more money moving jobs out of America and financing these activities, which are enabling the rich to get richer and the middle class to suffer a reduced standard of living.
[see completed Chapter 20 by clicking on Chapter 20 - DROPOUT COMMUNITY Bank for Economic Expansion of Community]
This chapter discusses how one or more local banks can be converted into true community banks, or how a new bank can be established, to be a banker for the community rather than a bank in search of profits in foreign lands. Depositors can force the bank to act for the community through removing their deposits from a bank which doesn't act in the community interests. Banks can lend against deposits, under the federal reserve system, so that local profits and savings can and should be used by the community, through the local bank(s), to finance growth of the prosperity of the community. Specific techniques for accomplishing this will be discussed.
The federal securities laws and state blue-sky laws since 1933 have prohibited small businesses from raising capital, while the exemptions from the regulation have enabled large corporations and banks to obtain as much capital as they want with ease and slight or no regulation. The DROPOUT COMMUNITY can change this by specializing in regulatory compliance (and advocating change especially at the state level, which is most onerous now), to enable businesses to raise private capital both publicly and through public offerings. Also, residents and others with savings can be encouraged to pool some of their savings to invest in local enterprises and obtain respectable earnings on their savings at the same time. The DROPOUT COMMUNITY has got to absorb the costs for small business to offset the main difficulties in raising capital. Also, a local stock brokerage firm will be needed to get to know the community and assist in the raising of capital for worthwhile local enterprises.
In the changing of the nature of a specific town, there will be a significant number of valuable business and employment opportunities.
DROPOUT communities will feature DROPOUT stores, because of the demand of their DROPOUT residents. This demand will be for low-cost, non-branded, high-quality goods and services, to enable the income of DROPOUTS to stretch as far and as reasonably as possible. Thus, DROPOUT stores will not carry branded sneakers, for example, at least the heavily advertised brands, and if sneakers at all will carry low-cost unbranded merchandise, probably made in the U.S.A.
Customers will tend to patronize stores which feature products made in the U.S.A., to enable DROPOUTS to vote with their own dollars and refuse to patronize the businesses which have stolen their jobs, opportunities, homes and families. Even if its costs slightly more to buy U.S.A., the added cost will be more than offset by buying non-branded (generic) merchandise, and the psychic value of knowing that the DROP OUT is participating in his/her own payback time to the monopolists.
If this type of purchasing works out, there will be competition among the major corporations to win back their American market and bring back the stolen jobs and opportunities. If not, the major corporations will be trading their prospects for profiting in third world countries for the vast and profitable American market they once had, but are losing because of various factors which we can conveniently (but inaccurately) call globalization.
Although the focus of this book is to encourage persons to DROPOUT to areas outside of the cities to operate businesses from their homes, and to sell their products and services throughout the state, United States, and the world from their DROPOUT homes, the local community should not be overlooked. There is much employment opportunity there as well.
One type of employment opportunity is subsistence employment (such as working for minimum wages at a fast food store, supermarket, theatre or gas station), to enable you to meet your low-cost living expenses during the period of development of your business.
Another type of employment opportunity is to set up a business locally, and sell your goods and/or services to local residents. For example, I envision that one or more medical doctors could set up a fee-for-services medical practice for those in the outlying areas who have no health insurance program covering their medical expenses. A certain degree of specialization is inevitable together with the informal or other networking of these doctors among themselves to improve the quality of medical services for all, and at the same time keep the costs within the price range of the communities served by these doctors.
Employees will be needed by some of the businesses which get started and start growing in these DROPOUT communities, and DROPOUTS will tend to have many of the more specialized services which some of these businesses will need, such as graphics, marketing, legal, accounting, internet, hardware, design, programming and engineering.
The declining economy in part is attributable to a judicial system which is unable to play its role in offsetting the excesses of the legislative and executive branches of government. The interests which dominate these two branches also dominate the judicial branch, which results in decisions more to the liking of the power groups than to the persons who are oppressed by government excesses and failures. City judicial units are more influenced by monopolists and political power groups than judicial units in outlying areas, which traditionally are of less importance because important cases from an economic standpoint are generally not brought in out-of-the-way towns, which don't even have a federal court. There are only about 100 federal district courts in the United States, and each one of them with few exceptions is located in a city. New York has 6 federal courts, located in Manhattan, Brooklyn, White Plains, Albany, Rochester and Hauppauge (Long Island). New Jersey has two, located in Trenton and Newark.
With a sufficient number of persons DROPPING OUT from city life to DROPOUT COMMUNITY life, the types of cases to be brought in the courts located in and near the DROPOUT communities will become substantially more significant, and the influence of the local community over the judiciary and its decisions should have a beneficial and offsetting effect to the judicial decisions rendered in the major cities.
Thus, it can be expected that change will result in the overall system by reason of the migration of DROPOUTS from the cities to the outlying DROPOUT areas, which will have the effect of lessening the control of monopolies and political power groups over the U.S. economy.
The purpose of dropping out is to reduce the cost of living, to enable the drop out's time to be spent in self improvement and family values rather than to try to earn more money to keep up in a declining economy. A community barter system would be useful in keeping costs down, but the problem is one of taxation. The government wants to tax both barter recipients, which is something which needs to be bypassed, lawfully, for any barter system to be considered worthwhile. This chapter discusses how a community barter system installed by the non-profit community (government) might enable barter to work, to enable persons in the community to give to the community and receive according to a near barter system which would permit some exchange of services within the community without having the tax people looking over the barters' shoulders. Bartering in this fashion could enable persons with little income to obtain needed goods and services, but at the same time make a corresponding beneficial contribution to the community, without the 50% tax of government increasing the workload for the barter participants.
DROPPING OUT is an overall program designed to enhance the quality of life and living standards for its adherents. If the program works, as it should, others will be attracted to doing the same thing, with or without reading or hearing about this book, and there will be a resurgence of prosperity for these people and their DROPOUT communities. Other communities will turn into DROPOUT communities, and a grass roots program will have gotten started which will result in major needed changes in the U.S. economy, politics, business, opportunity, education, the judiciary and other areas of major concern for U.S. citizens and residents.
Change any other way is hard to imagine, short of change resulting from riots and violence, forcing the controlling political interests to make some cosmetic (perhaps even meaningful) changes. The grassroots approach is better, and no more than a reversal of whatever has caused the U.S. to get into its present predicament. Micro-economic restraints have caused the problem, essentially, and micro-economic solutions should be all that's needed to undo the problem.
Valuable ideas will get started in DROPOUT communities, and be picked up by other such communities. For example. We can expect that a DROPOUT COMMUNITY will be the first community to set up an equivalent college to give equivalent, low-cost college education (and equivalency certificate) in the locality at low, co-op prices ($1 per hour or less for instruction, using buildings which can't be rented to others), and employers would pay to get first crack at graduates; colleges would teach the new DROPOUT economics. 16 hours of college instruction per week would cost the family $16 (or $32 per week if tuition were as high as $2 per instruction hour). Programs such as this would be picked up by other communities within months, creating the type of competition necessary to cure the nation's educational problems.
Colleges and universities have been training graduates for the large companies at public expense and at monopolistic tuition charges, and the large companies no longer want to employ the graduates. These $1 or $2 per hour college would train persons to become DROPOUTS or to work for DROPOUTS, where there is growth in the economy.
Local businesses could finance equivalency colleges, as a draw to bring in new homeowners (low tax basis with own free college system); homeowners would pay back business with purchasing power
DROPOUT communities will be created on a cooperative basis, with an agreement among landowners (similar to many co-op towns in suburbia) or similar to zoning laws which enable certain restrictions on property use to be imposed, such as in Nantucket (which according to a 10/7/96 New York Times article excluded a chain of 6 supermarkets claiming inadequate water resources in Nantucket). Through landowners' agreement, a DROPOUT COMMUNITY could create barriers to the exploitation of the community members, such as excluding a bank from operating in the area if it charged late fees or excessive interest on credit cards, or excessive monthly service charges, for example.
This chapter explains how the first DROPOUT COMMUNITY can encourage the creation of other such communities, through communication of information and assistance, through such media as libraries, librarians, internet, websites, publicity in main media, free newspaper column in weekly newspapers, marketing of this book to attract new DROPOUTS to a community.
Explains how the forces of globalization could be opposed successfully by the grass roots effect of DROPPING OUT, forcing businesses to choose between the American and the third-world markets, with DROPOUTS patronizing the businesses which strengthen the U.S. economy and refusing to buy the products and services of the businesses which are globalizing their operations at the expense of the U.S. economy and the economics and well-being of U.S. citizens and residents.
By refusing to play the economic game of the monopolists, we should be able to cut down their economic and political power. Globalization and destruction of your economy works because you don't realize you have another choice, which is to refuse to cooperate with your own financial destruction. If enough people vote for their economic security by turning away from monopolists, the movement of globalization will fall from its own weight. By turning to family values instead of the goods and services offered by monopolists, we will recreate the higher standard of living we once enjoyed, reduce the economic and political impact of large corporations, and more sensibly make use of the limited resources of our environment.
The plan, as has been seen in part already, in its fullest sense, is the following:
A. Move to a low-cost area away from the costs and troubles of a major (or other) city;
B. Purchase a housing unit and keep your monthly expenses as low as possible.
C. Rely on local grade and high schools (paid for by tax dollars) rather than private schools;
D. Rely on low-cost public colleges and universities instead of high-cost private colleges and universities;
E. Do not use any student loans, and avoid any schools which, to attend, you would have to take out a student loan to pay the tuition or living expenses.
F. Buy a used car and keep it in good repair using local, low-cost repair services rather than buying a new car on time, paying more for collision and fire/theft insurance, and interest on the loan.
G. Develop a local business rather than work as an employee, because wages are generally lower in the non-city areas and your real advantage might be in selling your services to city-oriented businesses at higher rates per hour than you could earn as an employee locally, but which rates would be lower than city-based businesses could afford to charge.
H. Buy private branded products to avoid promotional costs and contributing to a monopolists monopolistic profits. I. Eliminate credit card borrowing which often carries interest rates of 19%, true annual.
J. Eliminate or reduce all unnecessary monthly expenses, such as storage facilities, vehicle lease payments, charge account purchases.
K. Change your clothing lifestyle by reducing your clothing purchase and maintenance expenses; you don't have to dress up as much when you are no longer working in the city; working out of the home does not entail costly clothing expenses.
L. Create a workable budget for your new economic lifestyle, by taking your current expenses (city lifestyle) and estimating what it would cost for the new lifestyle living outside the city (assuming home ownership, of course).
M. Eating away from home in city living can be expensive. It is not out of line to suggest that $10.00 for lunch each day; $5.00 for breakfast/coffee and snacks; and $25.00 for dinner 3 times a week, and perhaps another $50.00 or more for dinner during the weekend is typical for many middle class persons, which amounts to $200 per week (or $400 in pretax income each week). By living outside the city, and eating at home, the cost can be reduced to perhaps $100 per week (pretax).
N. Movies are a major source of use of discretionary income, which can be cut back by taping of broadcast or cable showings of recent films, and by purchase of videos several months after a film is releases rather than going to the movies when first released theatrically. Also, you should consider having an exchange system in a small community or among neighbors to reduce this expense even further.
O. Medical care should be of concern, which I want to point out. I have found the quality of hospitals in Northern New Jersey, for example, to be far better than local hospitals in New York City, and at various time have chosen to drive 50 miles to New Jersey to obtain hospital services rather than use either of the two hospital located only 2-3 blocks away from my residence in New York City, for reasons which anyone in the area could readily explain (including drugs, AIDS, long lines, foreign interns, and concerns about standards). The hospitals in New Jersey never caused me any worry, except that I would not readily believe they are equipped to deal with highly specialized diseases or complicated surgical procedures. In any event, I do believe that medical care (no matter how it is to be paid for, on a fee basis, insurance plan, or employer benefit program) is much less costly outside the city for reasons which include the lower cost of living, lower rents, free parking, and less governmental bureaucracy, and would tend to have a more dedicated medical staff in closer touch with the needs and conditions of the patients.
P. Another factor to remember about qualify of life is that the quality of life and living standard can be considered higher for non-city living as to the relative freedom children have outside the city to travel in the community on bike, skateboard or walking, without being attended by an adult, with the related freedom of parents in the family to act as more than a chauffeur and guard for children trying to socialize.
Finally, it should be remembered that when living the imploded economic life, you should use your time wisely in deciding how to spend rather than saving your time by spending more money. An example, use a bus ($3.00) or walk ($.0) rather than taking a cab including tip ($20.00). The overall equation of whether an imploded (reduced) economic lifestyle is desirable in comparison to continued high-cost living in the city is something which the reader has to figure out for himself/herself, if you have a choice. But many persons have no real choice and should head for the hills as soon as possible, and as you can see you are not going to get such a bad deal in the process.
This chapter will review some basic principles for DROPPING OUT, provide an agenda of steps for persons to take and a list of important things to be considered by persons considering taking the DROPPING OUT path to increased earnings, a higher standard of living and a higher quality of life.
By leaving the cities we can improve the nation's standard of living and increase out own personal economic well-being. Excessive governmental regulation, monopolies, increased concentration of the economy by mergers and acquisitions permitted by inept or collaborating government regulators can and must be offset by refusal to provide monopolistic profits whenever possible to avoid doing so. Keep these profits in your own pocket, create and grow small businesses, and prosperity for the middle class can return, but where the middle class owns or is employed by millions of competing small businesses rather than by 500 major corporations and bloated government bureaucracies and educational institutions.
Carl E. Person, Author of DROPPING OUT, firstname.lastname@example.org