Words are sometimes tough to communicate with. As I try to describe this future with distributed ownership of clean water and power production, it can sound like people should be cutoff from everyone else because, who can we trust?
To some extent this idea has evolved from the world of large castle walls and hording so that others can’t have an affect. I came from that world and, it’s a lonely place. Connection and voluntary trust are essential human needs.
I put the “voluntary” bit in there because at some point stuff becomes too overwhelming and we no longer think that there are choices. I don’t want basic cultural needs and demands, like water and power, to end up like that. It’s what I’m afraid of.
As a structural engineer, I realize the depth of knowledge required for mastery in one particular area. In no way do I think that one individual is going to hold all the tools needed to pull off such distributed ownership. Trust me, you don’t want me designing the power circuitry to your house.
Somewhere, at the discretion of the individual, there is a threshold of trust and connection. Sure, at the depths of life we might all be connected, but in this human dimension, with power and water, there’s a limit to the amount of people we can know in a lifetime.
An analogy of this threshold is with the family. One is generally willing to give food to the family, and even some friends of family, for free, but probably not a second cousin’s acquaintance from church. Again, depending on the individual.
So, if someone is fortunate enough to build a house that generates surplus clean water and power, they could decide to give away the excess, since it’s there choice. It could also be sold. Of course any combination of gift and commerce are possibilities also. But the point is, it’s not just about supplying to yourself, unless you want it to be. That’s the thing about distributed ownership, one might decide not to give any gifts and another could choose to make everything a gift.
The solution is dynamic enough to fulfill the dreams of anyone who dares to care. It’s about providing choices and empowering others to make their own choices too. It’s about being self-sufficient and helping others, at the same time.
So no, self-sustaining does not mean antisocial, unless you want it to.