Open Future NZ  

When you build or buy an asset you are making a judgment about the future. If the future is closed there are no assets worth the price.

  printPrint One Page   

Build Your Asset Base by John S Veitch

What are our real assets?

In a general way they are:
An organized "clean" environment
Organized people
Organized money
Organized ideas
Organized real objects
 
More specifically we might think about community developed assets like this:
Capable and adaptable non-government institutions
Developed community infrastructure and utilities
An accessible and growing Local File useful common
An adaptable education system
Local File A democratic system of government that promotes many alternatives.
A strong public health system
 
For developing personal and family assets think about these:
Ownership and control of ones personal assets
Your garden, your home, the street you live in.
One's own education, training, networks and experience
One's own ideas, motivation, health, energy and desire to be a useful person.
Your membership of formal and informal groups. Join some clubs or groups.
Development of your leadership potential.

That's just a sample list of things you might try work on. Building your asset base is creating a foundation for future activity. In the USA in recent years politicians have talked about building an "ownership society". That's a really good idea, and the list above gives you a good indication what it really means. In a depression while you may personally be constrained in many ways, you may still find ways to develop some of your asset bases.

Your Personal Asset Base
If your income is cut, one alternative is to make greater use of the Local File useful common. You might try to work with others to substitute Local File community production for income. You could also think of your home as an economic unit. What essential goods and services can you Local File produce for yourself, now that you are spending less time employed in the market? To what extent can you build the asset bases of your household, and to what extent can you make that foundation productive?

In the same way if you need to build a business income, first you need to develop a foundation on which the business can rest. That foundation consists of skills or products that other people need, premises, and essential equipment. In my experience the hardest task is to clearly define what your product is. Too many new businesses try to be everything and to appeal to everyone. That always fails. Find one or two real customers. Serve them well, and grow slowly in the beginning. There will come a time when you can look for a bigger market, but build the base first.

If you decide to invest in business development, while that may look like a risk, in a depressed market, the funds you spend will buy more impact for the cost. I'm expecting the depression to last for several years, so while new business expansion is possible, consider it as preparation for a return to normal business. Conserve your resources and keep your home base lean.

When people lose their source of income, or lose a home, or become overburdened with debt, access to the Local File useful common is a way to keep the future partly open.

Please feel free to comment on this essay.(0) Comments