I wrote this for a facebook group a friend started titled “How will i get a cappuccino in your political utopia?” wherein people of different utopian ideaologies or worldviews try to explicitly state how they imagine life after they get what they want. The whole endeavor came about from a hilarious thread in an anarcho-communist group wherein somone just asked the group what they would do after waking up on an average Wednesday morning after ‘the revolution’ had prevailed.
Sweat begins to dot your forehead, whether from frustration or discomfort isnt clear. This isn’t working as you’d hoped. The prosthetic third arm you’d received in the mail, more of a jointed and multi-digited vice that anchors against you, was not actually helping you build this Enzo Mari chair. Since Enzo Mari designs are explicitly Enzo Maris BECAUSE of the supposed ease of building, things being more difficult than ever suggested the ‘arm’ wasn’t the miracle prosthesis that was claimed. Just got in the way more often than helped, and felt awkward strapped against your side and shoulder. After unstrapping it and enjoying its loud thump to the ground, you stare unfocused across the village shop. Time for a break, and a cappuccino sounded as good as any a means of taking your mind off the time you’d wasted this morning. People might be in the common building, and you could vent all about it to them.
You wash you hands and take off your apron before heading outside.
On the walk from the workshop back to the main communal house you pass by Zuej, a gaggle of kids surrounding him as he walks away from the communal house.
“Do we have any coffee beans in the common pantry?”, you ask.
“Oh shit, no. Chris used the last of them this morning when she made everyone coffee. Didn’t you get some?”
“No, i stayed at Sabishii village last night. Friend’s birthday party. I didn’t get here till around 11 am today.”
“Shit, dude. Sorry. I can grab some next time the Caravan rolls through, which should be this weekend. We have plenty of credits in our assoc.”
“No worries. Where are you going?”, you ask.
“Me and this creche group are going to go birding and find mushrooms in the woods to pad our supply. They don’t have much experience foraging yet.”
You begin to say bye when one of the kids starts to drag Zuej along. He makes a hasty and lazy point over his head with two hands to non-verbally say goodbye as he scolds a kid for being impatient.
When you actually get to the main house and check the pantry you see that sure enough, the bean container is empty.
Fine, you think. You leave the common area and head down the hall to your attached apartment. You open your personal pantry and to your relief you see a sack of your favorite beans in the back. You grab the whole sack and head back to the main kitchen where the best cappuccino machine is.
While steaming the milk (which the fridge has in great quantities due to Sabishii having a number of dairy cows) Jacob walks in from his rooms, just waking up.
Through a yawn he asks the question you dread, “Are you making coffee?”
“Uh, yeah. A cappuccino.” you reply.
“Could you make me one too?”
“Uhh, this is my personal supply actually. Everybody used the rest of the stuff out here this morning.”
“Oh. Well, shit, man. I have a stash in my rooms. I can just repay you from that. It’s the Temporada from the Amaya collab.”
You think for a moment and say, “Yeah, i can do that.”
Once done making the drinks you sit down with Jacob in the depressed center of the circular room where most of the couches and tables are.
“You know”, you say, “If you clean the machine and put the dishes in the washer you can keep your beans. I’ll make it to the weekend when the Caravan shows up again.”
Jacob blinks through groggy eyes. “Yeah, deal.”
You both sit and enjoy your siesta/his morning as you discuss the day and the music he was making late last night. Village-mates come and go through the next hour, and your cappuccino tastes great.
– POLITICAL UTOPIA : A world were over 50% of the population lives in techno villages networked by large internets and meshnets and over 50% of material goods are manufactured or semi-modified locally by micro-capital/machinery. Individuals and consenting communities would live under contractual non-territorial governmental/defense agreements that often have no relation to geography, allowing the average client to move most places on earth while maintaining their coverage. Copy-right will be weak at best, the wiki/open-source plans/info on how to manufacture and create most basic items will generally be openly accessible online for local manufacture and tinkering. Work for wages will be rare, and living will often by semi-communal.
– How you can get a cappuccino in this wonderland:
As i understand it quality coffee will only grow in a few places on earth. While information/blue-prints/communication will be near post-scarce, material and geographic scarcity will remain. Villages, cities, and individuals near prime coffee growing areas may not have local access to certain crucial metals, or rubber, or graze-land for cattle, or whatever, and so global exchange/trade will be common, especially given the lack of national borders to impede human economic relations.
Trade networks, often facilitated by permanently mobile caravans of techno-vardos and airships will deliver locally scarce goods (like coffee beans) to those willing to participate in large credit networks/work-exchange programs and/or those who have crypto-currency to give in exchange for products.
The creation of the machinery needed to produce a cappuccino shouldn’t be difficult to come by as open-source designs for this should be available on the net, and automated manufacture should generally be the norm.
Important to note is that states won’t exist to subsidize certain kinds of infrastructure that once lowered much of the costs of global capitalist trade (the resources for these subsidies came off the backs of captive/unwilling state clientele). While this should mean that local autonomy and global movement should largely cause most poverty to disappear, certain things that are ‘luxuries’ may become more scarce so that cappuccinos will be less common the further you get from prime growing locations. It may be possible to locally offset this with green houses and personal interest in coffee-growing that reflects the local region. Perhaps cheap machinery will allow you to mimic in certain ways ideal growing conditions so that sporadic villages around will have coffee enthusiasts who grow green-house coffee far from it’s normal habitat.
In other words, the artificial scarcity that exists now should diminish severely, and natural scarcity might become more noticeable, but much less of a bother.
I think you’ll likely be able to get cappuccino, but the trouble might be more like getting high-quality barbecue today than getting a normal cappuccino.
this was written while listening to Bonobo’s album ‘Black Sands’ and drinking black coffee. The beans were ground in my apartment and purchased from starbucks in a sealed bag weeks/ months ago.
All of this is not a coherent set of thoughts, and im sure plenty of it falls apart with any serious scrutiny. But the heart wants what it wants, and i’m willing to be stupid.