Help John Grant Edit His New Book “Co-Opportunity” [Part 5]

Help John Grant Edit His New Book “Co-Opportunity” [Part 5]

This is an extract from the draft John Grant’s new book Co-opportunity, contracted for publication with John Wiley & Sons Limited, January 2010. This extract is section 5. - Abundance.

John Grant
  • 21 september 2009

This is an extract from the draft John Grant’s new book Co-opportunity, contracted for publication with John Wiley & Sons Limited, January 2010. This extract is section 5. – Abundance.

This section is all about rethinking productivity. The current definition is maximising return on investment. Something which in its leanest and meanest forms is associated with many of the problems charted in this book. The alternative proposed here is maximising the wellbeing return on resources. A simple example is that small farms while less financially productive for investors are up to 20 times more productive of food. The needs of the future mean that we have to structure things to go with the food, not the hedge funds piling into agricultural land in Africa and south America!

We will take a slightly weaving line through this subject. Really it’s a different mindset that affects much more than the balance sheet. Along the way we take in how leverage and modern finance works (and what’s wrong with this from the point of view of resilience, or maximising human access to the benefits of innovation). We look at what came before Adam Smith – the craft guilds model of organisation, which has intriguing parallels to modern developments such as the open source movement. We look at permaculture design and complementary currencies as two well developed ‘abundant’ alternatives. And then we go through a whole series of abundant design principles, illustrated by case examples.

This is the section of the book that’s actually about designing the co-operative systems which the rest of the book bangs on about. It was hard to know how much detail to go into – and some sections earlier readers found too hard to follow have already been lopped out. That’s also why it’s at the end of the book, although if you are into this stuff (as I am) then some of the most fascinating thinking and developments fall into this section.

As ever feedback is hugely appreciated either in the comments or by email. It’s been really helpful so far, although the amount of rewriting it’s led me to do has already necessitated a week’s extension from Wiley. Speaking of which if you want your comments to affect the finished product, do get them to me before the 30th!

On a topical note also do check out the Brixton Pound (a new currency launched last week in London by Transition Towns) and also my workshop tomorrow at Greengaged (part of London Design Festival) about redesigning banking for the common good. I know not everyone can be there but there will also be a write up of the day on

How This Works

My publisher, Wiley, has been quite broad-minded in allowing me to share the near completed draft in this public way, for free. I’d ask you to please be respectful of that and for instance don’t circulate all or part of the manuscript. Also by Wiley’s request only one section of the book with be available for download at any one time. If you or a colleague has missed an earlier section, you can always email me at

Please do post thoughts, ideas, comments and insights in the comments sections of each part of the book. John will be checking into these, and using them to help me complete the manuscript. I’ll also be giving free signed books to the most helpful commenters and acknowledging all those that are helpful in the acknowledgements section of the final book.

Download part 5 here (PDF).

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