Intro[edit | edit source]
In order for VIAAC-based distribution to provide a benefit to its members, the difference between the discount of bulk purchasing and the cost of distribution within the community has to be greater than zero. This will be facilitated by the creation of dedicated distribution networks which will increase distribution efficiency and collectivize purchasing of the products a VIAAC's members already use.
The goal of the Community Distribution Network is to supply a pure-cost, profitless network, which accounts for the expenditure of transporting goods, without capitalizing on the inherent need for the transportation by adding profit margins on at each link in the supply chain. If the final cost of distributing the resource is more than the savings generated by purchasing it in bulk, it is either not viable as a resource for the community and an alternative must be found, or it may need to be associated with a product/product group whose savings are ample enough to account for the distribution cost. The latter option is only available if the secondary product/product group has a matching or complimentary distribution network.
Example[edit | edit source]
In a community with 5000 members, 4500 have sugar on their weekly distribution cycle. The 500 members that don’t require sugar, are not on sugar’s distribution network. Since sugar will have a large enough demand to order in bulk, the savings are ample enough to justify distribution. The same is not true for sweeteners, since only 50 people in the community require them, their bulk savings do not justify distribution, and since the people drinking sweetener are not on the sugar distribution network, sugar cannot take up the slack. But coffee or tea, have a network that covers the same area, and since coffee has a strong bulk savings, it can easily account for the sweetener.
In more familiar terms, the "profit" gained from collectivizing the purchase of a high-demand good such as coffee and tea (that is, the difference between the cost of transporting it and the discount from buying in bulk) can be used to "subsidize" the distribution of a low-demand good such as sweetener. Since the demand for sweetener completely coincides with that of coffee and tea (that is, the members demanding sweetener are a subset of the members demanding coffee and tea), it can be added to the coffee and tea route.
Synchronous Distribution[edit | edit source]
One important aspect to consider in this model is that purchases must be made by the VIAAC organization (VO) at once, rather than each at one time. Rather, each places an order at their leisure, which is fulfilled (or may not be fulfilled, if demand is too low) at the end of a distribution cycle. To make up for the loss of convenience of purchasing and getting a product at any time, the orders are delivered, eliminating the need for travel. It is possible to have multiple distribution cycles, defined by the VO according to several criteria.
By defining these distribution cycles, and identifying the consumer groups, communities are able to purchase relevant resources outside the community at bulk prices for technically accurate quantities, allowing for efficient zero-waste distribution. If the community then distributes the resources internally on a zero-profit, pure-cost basis, and the resultant savings are invested in sustainability design and application by community members, at an ever lowering cost of living, the general standard of living throughout the community increases, in turn allowing for improved community service and goods standards and delivery.
How a product is placed into a distribution cycle[edit | edit source]
There are many possible criteria affecting the decision of which distribution cycle to place a product in. Some products, especially durable goods, can be purchased on an annual cycle. Some products are consumable, perishable, essential to daily life, and the composition of demand changes frequently, and will be purchased on a daily or even bidaily cycle. The rate of consumption (as differentiated in Natural Economics from the rate of use, because the latter is non-destructive) is an important criterion for this decision, but it should be considered important only in the pragmatic sense, not an ideal. We would like as much as possible to minimize the number of times a good has to be transported, to minimize overhead and labor.
Obviously at some point, actual transport of goods must take place, and this requires vehicles. Unfortunately, the global energy paradigm reduces the number of options available to a community in need of transportation for their goods. Since this is a practical solution, I will not endeavour to go into alternative transportation options, but rather focus on community buying power to finance a fleet of trucks and trailers along with strategically placed warehouses and distribution centres. Depending on which distribution cycle and network a product/product group is on, it would be either delivered or available for collection at the appropriate times.
Individualism and the Distribution Network[edit | edit source]
Of course, none of this accounts for individual taste and habit. Homogenous societies all wearing the same clothing have long been connected with socialism and communism, and simply do not align with human nature. We are unique individuals, or at the very least believe ourselves to be, and this perception requires that any governing system allow for this individualism while providing stability.
The question seems to be one of freedom of choice, but fortunately that is only a perception. The current consumption paradigm presents the illusion of choice between a limited number of similar alternatives. The market is less a staging ground for highly diverse innovation which we can choose from than it is an ecology of narrowly differentiated products chosen to maximize mass appeal and minimize risk of profit loss. Product designs that are chosen for their use value rather than their exchange value, such as open-source products, contain much more actual and potential diversity, more freedom over their use, and much more realistic pricing. By prioritizing alternatives according to their true value instead of their exchange value, by providing consumers with complete, accurate, and detailed information about the possibilities within a product class, we provide a means for the ‘wisest’ decision making paradigm.
Product quality in a VIAAC[edit | edit source]
Nobody, given the alternative of freely using a superior product, would settle for its knock-off counterpart if that item were vital to their health. A diabetic would rather use insulin from a reputable pharmaceutical company than from a back-alley drug dealer, even if he has to pay more. Thus, we can deduce that the only possible explanation for the plethora of piracy and counterfeit goods is due to monetary limitations. These limitations can be reduced through bulk purchasing or zero-profit distribution or collectivized subsidies, and allow for the reduced production and consumption of unwanted and unuseful resources. This does not mean the complete elimination of competition between products, but rather competition only between equivalent alternatives.
Given a society that provides all the elements required for survival at the absolute minimum cost, and the purchasing power to make the most beneficial consumption choices, we are left with a relatively small, but succinct, array of consumer desires to be fulfilled, and a very large resource base with which to procure or produce these fulfillments. More expensive luxury products, ordinarily out of reach of the typical consumer, can be purchased together with the savings gained from the network. A price reduction might be achieved, but since such purchases would be relative rare, they would not necessarily need a price reduction.
Data model for a Distribution Network[edit | edit source]
A Network is composed of Demands and Routes.
Demands are made by Agents, whose salient properties to the Network are their location and their set of demands, called their orders. A demand is a 3-tuple composed of a quantity of a good demanded by an agent.
Routes are made by delivery services, and their salient properties to the network are their path through or near a set of locations, determined by the demands fulfilled by that route. A route can be associated with a collection of demands for that route, called a lot. The path has a length which a parameter for cost functions.
Goods have costs associated with them, which are functions, but can be reduced to fixed quantities through stationary analysis. The cost functions are bulkDiscount(quantity), which is a stepwise function, and transportCost(Good.mass, distance), which is a continuous function that increases linearly with distance and (approximately) with the square of distance. The bulkDiscount function, in stationary analysis, need only be calculated once per product per lot. The transportCost must be calculated per demand.
A more complex model of the network is possible, but not necessary.