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Regional/Greater Community
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Motive: Profit or Community - Why not both?

What is the inspiration for this view?

We are told that competition, focused by the "profit motive," induces behavior leading to success and the provision of all good things in the world. The Financial Crisis beginning in 2008 threw that into to question for me. It seemed the "profit motive" had led to predatory behavior which threatened communities and produced tragedies in the commons. Communities, in my experience, were more important than corporations, having existed from the beginning and perpetuated human life itself.

The underlying force in the evolutionary dynamic of communities is a mix of competition, cooperation and collaboration I posit as "community motive." Though the idea was used by Aldo Leopold in 1944, it did not take hold. As a "security for survival" mechanism, its reward is perpetuation, though the lesser and later "profit motive" is what wags the dog in these days.

The outcome of any successful project is a result of cooperation and sharing in many stages and levels. Competition is important, since its tests strengthen competitors. Collaboration with apparent competitors, direct or indirect, is also recognized as important, though if carried too far, can be a negative - collusion.

Being oriented to competition and industry, the logic here is to consider a cooperation and sharing as identified industries that balance "profit motive" within the greater frame of "community motive." To get to such a state of equanimity, some scarcity or other loss may be "the necessity" which leads people to give up power and domination in order that there be survival.

In 1998, launching the Regions Work! Initiative, I sought to understand how my region, Virginia's Northern Shenandoah Valley, came to take cooperative action through the then Lord Fairfax Planning District Commission, a regional political subdivision organised in 1970 in response to incentives from the Commonwealth of Virginia. In seeking to understand the progress, where other multi-jurisdictional organizations in the U.S. had not been able to achieve much, at least in the eyes of the academics, I concluded that a sense of "regional community" had developed relative to the five counties, their towns and the one city. Cooperation was preceded by the fact that citizens and elected officials could feel part of the Northern Shenandoah Valley "regional community of communities." This led to the proposition that "community precedes cooperation." The work of this period 1998 through 2012 is found in the tab Regional/Greater Community.

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Community Motive - Regional/Greater Communities

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