A mutually sustainable relationship
At Christopherus, we are (somewhat playfully) tossing around the phrase ‘Community Supported Homeschooling’. The ‘products’ of the cultural/spiritual realm (see more on Steiner’s vision of economic life below) cannot be priced – how can one put a price on art-work or on teaching children? We can see how absurd this is when we think about how pieces of art can demand ridiculous prices simply because of a name attached to them. We can see how schools such as Waldorf schools struggle terribly on the pendulum that swings between parents being charged enormous fees and teachers making a decent living on the one hand, or fees being low and teachers not being able to make ends meet. Neither works, neither is sustainable.
One experimental economic step for Christopherus has been to institute a 3-tiered pricing system for everything we do which we charge for such as syllabuses, audio downloads, conferences and so on. This is working very well (summer 2020) and a good number of our friends and supporters are choosing to pay either the ‘break even’ or ‘supporting’ prices. This gives us a real boost–we feel confident that our work is appreciated and valued and can then look toward the future.
Offering a ‘low income’ price is also helpful to our customers abroad who face exorbitant shipping fees. And we have gotten feedback from customers with limited means who appreciate the option to pay a lower price. Because others are helping us carry this by paying the higher fees, we can continue to offer this option.
In addition to all of this, with the horrific economic consequences of the global lockdown, we wish to be able to offer subsidized consulting and Christopherus materials to people. Though our low income price does not meet our needs, we fully realize that it is still too expensive for many folks. So we invite friends to consider donating BELOW to help their fellow homeschoolers. We will put all donations received into a pot (as it were) and then be able to offer even lower prices to those in need.
We want to be a sustainable business – we pay living wages to our staff. We use a local printer instead of getting things printed cheaply abroad, where the workers are often underpaid. We have happily broken our ties with Amazon and will never use Uber (neither pay their workers living wages and they are both involved with unwholesome forms of technology such as drones). We would like to become more green and use completely recycled shipping materials which are expensive. But sustainability is expensive – at least in the short term, and at least in one way of looking at things. In an alienated, exploited, toxic society, I think we need to re-frame the phrase ‘cheaper is better’ and see that ultimately, cheap is what contributes in part to the inequities and pollution of our world.
And, we want to be able to help those who are seriously struggling as they meet the topsy-turvey changes of the last months (summer 2020) and the uncertainties of the future. Being able to afford the support they need to confidently homeschool is something we would like to offer folks.
Will you help us in that task?
Donations to help fellow homeschoolers
All donations, no matter how large or how small, will now be put into a pool to draw from when folks approach us who cannot afford our curriculum materials or our consulting work. Click here to support fellow homeschoolers. Thank you!
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Re-selling Christopherus materials:
As many of you know, Christopherus almost went under last summer due to lost income because of people swapping, re-selling or sharing our materials (you can read more about that here.) We know that some of you need to re-sell or swap, or that you buy our materials and share with a friend. Please consider making a donation when you do this to help us deal with our loss of income and as a way of supporting our on-going service to homeschoolers. Thank you!
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One of the least recognized aspects of Rudolf Steiner’s work is his work on economics. As Europe hurtled toward the catastrophe later known as World War I, Steiner worked feverishly to convince people that economics based on greed, imperialism, manipulation of the market and exploitation of workers was wrong and would lead to conflict after conflict.
Steiner’s vision was neither of so-called free market capitalism nor of manipulated capitalism. Nor was it a version of state regulated socialism. Rather, he advocated a ‘threefold vision of economic life: 1) the purely economic realm where the quality of brotherliness should hold sway; 2) the legal rights realm where equality characterizes its workings; and the 3) cultural/spiritual life, where the arts and education and so on can be found and which must be allowed to work in freedom.
One project that has arisen from Steiner’s work is the model of Community Supported Agriculture. Here people are asked to buy ‘shares’ or enroll in some sort of support membership of a particular farm This money is calculated by the farmer to support him/her through the year ahead, to allow him to have capital so he can buy seed and equipment he needs and to not be completely reliant on the ups and downs of the market and weather, factors which can play havoc on a farmer’s ability to run a farm as a sustainable organism.
As the harvest comes in, the members receive a share of the bounty – and, critically, they also share in the crop failures, over-abundance and other realities of the farm. Thus they are a part of the life of the place that provides – at least a part – of their food. This is an important step toward overcoming the alienation inherent in modern economic life.
Please click here for an in-depth article about Steiner’s economic work and impulses inspired by it. https://www.rudolfsteinerweb.com/Rudolf_Steiner_and_Economics.php
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It might seem a bit odd having a picture of a table with food on it to illustrate a blog article about community but really, when you think about it, few things create a sense of warmth and fellowship better than the sharing of a meal. Click here to read the full article.