If a University Can Be a Business, Can a Business Be a School?

Added bonus-my manifesto on worker-in-residence zoning!

Plate decoration and photo by author

I have worked in my family business, Andersen Design, since before entering Kindergarten. the age at which Maine State Inc wants to start training the workforce for its new industrial corporation, The Maine Space Corporation.

Andersen Design is a design and production enterprise that has been teaching STEAM skills on the job since 1952. As a small enterprise, my experience of Maine’s economic development is “Water, water, everywhere and not a drop to drink!”, in no small part because our preferred “economy of scale” is small scale.

In contemporary usage “economy of scale” signifies ”economy of large scale”, as if there is no such thing as “economy of small scale” or “economy of median scale”.

In my last post, I was delighted that someone recognized the value of Andersen Design’s core assets, and wanted to put them back into production, but soon realized that I could not go forward with moving hundreds of original molds to a distant state and putting them in the hands of someone I barely know. I was hopeful that I could steer the conversation toward starting with one product first. That was when the conversation dwindled into silence.

Mind-body Awareness is enhanced through the alchemy of the making of ceramic art

The ceramic plate decorated by the author as a young child expresses the contextualism of the Andersen Design philosophy, which is not only within the internal work process but in the relationship of Andersen Design to the world. The pattern of particles within and without the figure expresses a consciousness of the molecular and energetic nature of the spiritual and material world, an understanding intrinsic to the ceramic-making process.

Of course, at that age I did not intellectualize all of that. The portrait was created at an age when a young person absorbs knowledge of the world through osmosis. This is the age Maine State Inc is targeting to start training the public-school students to work in its space industry, giving itself an advantage over other industries, which through taxation will finance the workforce training for the Maine Space Corporation, granting it an advantage in the labor market over many of the businesses subsidizing it that do not use the public school system as their workforce training facility. (for good reason).

For comparison’s sake, Andersen Design was a tech industry and a research, design and production, wholesale, retail, and marketing company that taught STEAM skills on the job while paying payroll taxes. If my parents had started their business today, their property taxes would be used to pay for the Maine Space Corporation to train students, including their own children, to work in the State’s industry.

Except that, in that case, they probably would never have located their business in Maine.

What does Superintendent Kahler mean when he tells us in this video, that our schools are not set up to handle the demands of twenty-first-century learning? Does he mean the demands of training the students to work in the Maine Space Corporation, or another industry in the States targeted sector?

The state of Maine has been planning the schools as industrial training centers for a long while. §3304. Industry partnerships was enacted in 2013.

§3304. Industry partnerships

1.  Objectives.  The objectives of an industry partnership are to:  ….

C. Facilitate economies of scale by aggregating training and education needs of multiple employers;   [PL 2013, c. 368, Pt. FFFFF, §1 (NEW).] (emphasis by author)

D. Help educational and training institutions align curricula and programs to industry demand, particularly for high-skill occupations; [PL 2013, c. 368, Pt. FFFFF, §1 (NEW).]

and so on and on. Typically, workforce training is a 50-50 split between public and private funding, which is the expectation between public funding and “private and corporate donors” that Mr. Kahler mentions in this video.

Economies of scale are cost advantages that can occur when a company increases their scale of production and becomes more efficient, resulting in a decreased cost-per-unit. This is because the cost of production (including fixed and variable costs) is spread over more units of production. Investopedia

Yes indeed, Maine State Inc. is interested in large businesses, not small businesses like Andersen Design. AND, Maine State Inc is a large business.

For a fleeting moment, at the recycling center, an oriental vase caught my eye. A man next to me said, “That stuff made in China will never go up in value!”. The vase was produced using the economy of large-scale production, which from the perspective of lasting value is short-sighted. I wondered if the man knew that I am an Andersen and that the Andersen products have gone up in value.

Andersen Design implemented “economy of scale” by choosing the slip casting method which made it possible to produce hand-crafted products affordable to the middle class, but it was also a small-scale production by intent. Scale isn’t such a simple matter defined by one qualifier and for that matter, neither is economics.

The point of Andersen Design was not to become larger, it was to create the circumstances where life could be spent engaged in making ceramics. However, the body of work produced over the years became larger. There are several hundred original molds in storage, and also many original body, glaze, and decorating color recipes.

I decided to look up psychological osmosis and I found out that the academic world is already on to i!- called “Psycho Osmosis” The message in the video below expresses an understanding that I describe as listening to your energy, accepting its peaks and valleys and having faith that it is unfolding into its intended and meaningful form. Home or other small-scale environments enhance the ability to listen to internal energy due to fewer distractions and interference.

The delivery in this video is fascinating, sincere, and at times hilarious.

An osmosis process cannot be of similar depth when instituted through an institution as one that emerges from biological, historical, and familial relationships. Maine State Inc. wants the student to innovate for purposes directed by the state, not self-directed. The student of an age when absorbing knowledge through osmosis will understand the ownership relationship perfectly well.

The video emphasizes teaching from the heart. The institution understands the value of employing people sincerely engaged in areas that interface with the public, but the interface layer interacts with the public and with the governing boards that serve the interests of the ownership class, which is not engaged in the process of innovation but is interested in innovation for profit’s sake.

A home is a shared ownership environment held together by human bonds that interact uniquely with the heart of the student.

Today Maine State Inc wants to lay down its stake as the mommy and poppy state that raises the student as an employee in its workforce from the earliest age it can claim. The State of Maine is already wholesaling local community character, on a state-wide basis by mandating concentrated housing zones, or as the INC prefers to call them, “priority zones”, meaning the entire state is dedicated to the expansion of the short-term rentals industry and if there is to be affordable housing, a zone must be established to prioritize that special purpose, carving out a space in the short-term rental landscape where that specific priority can exist, and since it is tied to concentrated density, the correct identifier is “concentrated housing zone”. By making such a restriction the state delimits priorities in its definition of a “priority zone”.

B. “Priority development zone” means a zone in which owned or rented multifamily housing composed of both market rate units and units that meet the definition of “affordable housing” under section 4301, subsection 1 is permitted at a specified density that is greater than the density allowed in other zones within the municipality. HP89 (emphasis by author)

A generally defined priority zone would allow any priority to carve out a space. but “permitted” does not mean “mandated” and that is a starting point for “Innovating” around this delimited law.

In Boothbay, the concentrated housing zone is planned as a tightly packed urban block in the middle of a rural landscape, the corporation and the “association of home owners” will make the rules, acting as the government of the priority zone.

Businesses in a home are not part of the State’s plan and not even a concept within its lexicon so anyone wishing to work from home must learn to innovate and socially organize to bring about municipal ordinances that permit such a lifestyle to exist.

Economies of scale reference large-scale “production”, but as a tip of the hat to the thought police of Fractured Atlas, the politically correct terminology is “makers”. The planners for the 89-million-dollar school talk about the “makers” spaces, the school will support. Making can apply to production or to making prototypes. In the past, “making” meant classes in Shop and Home Ec.

During the recent meeting of the boards, it was reported that the proposed new school plans 600 square feet per student, twice the amount of square footage of other schools in the area, about the size of what is considered comfortable for residential living, but the residential units planned in the concentrated housing zone are being reported at half that size.

Years ago, I used to wonder why the state of Maine used federal economic development grants to buy business equipment to set up tech centers instead of funding on-the-job training in private facilities that already have the equipment. I wondered how much equipment the State would have to purchase to train for many different sorts of jobs that need different sorts of equipment, but the State simplifies the need for diversity in equipment by having a targeted sector that narrowly focuses the economy on a few select types of businesses, following federal priorities, which explains why when I applied for a federal rural economic development grant, I was told that the federal Department of Rural Economic Development “didn’t know if ceramics is a rural business”. It’s not on their targeted sector list. For all of the emphasis on innovation, the bureaucrats and ownership class do not know how to think outside the targeted sector box.

Mudshark Studios. Studios in Oregon is one of the few ceramic production facilities in the USA. Mudshark was started by a man who made molds in his basement. The same federal grant that Maine used to acquire business equipment was used in Oregon to provide the owner of Mudshark with consultant services for a year to help him establish a larger production studio, as he told me.

In industrial culture, “Innovation” is the key motivational word of the century. Economies rise or fall on the ability and willingness of the workers to innovate for the starship.

The only way that the work process is considered as a factor in State economic development policy is when the subject is innovation and how to get workers to be in the state of mind wherein, they will use their innovative abilities in service of the ownership class. Thus, academics working in service of corporate culture, which is a large funder of academia, came up with the concept of “psychological ownership”. a sort of hypnotic mindset wherein the worker believes that they are the owners of the enterprise and of their own intellectual property.

As an aside and by coincidence, as I am writing I receive a request from Humanities and Social Sciences Communications to review yet again the paper on psychological ownership. The last time I reviewed it I accepted the paper for publication with “minor” revisions such as changing the title and downplaying or even eliminating the concept of psychological ownership. Perhaps my message of paper fatigue was heard because this time the request to review it one more time came from the Editor in Chief. The words “psychological ownership” are no longer in the title nor in the abstract which sparked my curiosity and I accepted to review it once more. HSSC is an international academic publishing service so, though unpaid for my services, I get to have a significant influence on matters of import.

It is fair for a corporation to pay a staff to develop a concept with well-understood terms of agreement but the University of Maine treats education as an industry in which any innovation that comes about through the use of the educational facilities belongs, by at least 50% to university, no matter what the paid status of the author. The other 50% is up for grabs, more or less, so the University will always be the largest benefactor of intellectual property rights, and the innovator author may not share in royalties at all.

IV. APPLICABILITY This policy, as amended from time to time, shall be deemed a part of the conditions of employment for every employee of the University, and a part of the conditions of enrollment and attendance at the University by students. It is also the policy of the University that, by participating in a sponsored project and/or by making significant use of University Resources and/or by participating in teaching, research, or service projects, individuals (including non-compensated individuals) accept the principles of ownership of Intellectual Property as stated in this policy, unless an exception is approved in writing by the Intellectual Property Office. ……..

……(note added by author) Rule of thumb- When reading Legislation- read the last part first! Scroll down to the end of the doc to find the part below which includes these instructions: “to be included in the February 2, 2002 policy documents entitled: “Statement of Policy Governing Patents and Copyrights.” It is to be included in Section VII Disposition of Income and is to be inserted as a new third paragraph to that section.”

It is hereby agreed that: For the first $100,000 of cumulative net income the default minimum distribution shall be as follows: 50% to the faculty creator / inventor 50% to the University For cumulative net income in excess of $100,000 the default minimum distribution shall be as follows: 50% to the faculty creator / inventor 50% to the University (emphasis by author)

source the University of Maine Statement of Policy Governing Patents and Copyrights Read full history of How The Morrill Act Gave Birth to Public Ownership of Private Intellectual Property in the USA, HERE!

More than twenty years since that was written the words are not yet inserted into the designated section, instead there is a note at the bottom of the section that says ”Note: See Appendix B – Royalty Distribution Agreement”.

“ 50% to the University: is stated clearly but “50% to the faculty creator/inventor”??? – Just duke it out in the court! Suppose that a non-faculty member played a key role in authorship. What if it was a brilliant under-legal-age student? Why is a distinction made between exactly the same terms for $100,000 and in excess of $100,000? A gaslighting technique?

The person I write about in this story recommended that I get in contact with the Associate Vice President of Strategic Partnerships, Innovation, and Engagement at The University of Maine who was a founding member of the leadership team for Blackstone Accelerates Growth, which transitioned to become Maine Accelerates Growth, an initiative to create a “thriving ecosystem for entrepreneurship and innovation in Maine.”

The name Blackstone clued me in, a giant among private equity firms that is the villain in many a story about corporate owned single-family homes and financialization. If I had followed such advice, would I or the network I am trying to form have unwittingly become entangled in the University of Maine’s Statement of Policy Governing Patents and Copyrights? Since I propose a network governed by policies protecting the intellectual property rights of the originating authors, I don’t think such counsel would serve my objectives.

As for “thriving ecosystems” I think we need to do the calculus on how all of the interrelated percentages of median income interact. The unelected commissioners who wrote the framework for HP1389 decided not to include short-term rentals, which is a major factor in driving up the cost of housing. Shouldn’t that be balanced by factors that bring down the median income, such as low-income housing for the sector 60% and under of the median income? This sector is where the greatest housing shortage is and yet the policies being enacted are putting those with the lowest income at a disadvantage by conflating the 60% and below category into the 80% and below category. Without available housing for the lowest income sector, the median income is calibrated to increase, thereby increasing the rents that can be extracted for subsidized “affordable” housing.

There is barely a line between some educational institutions and the for-profit industry except that the industry must pay its workforce, whereas the educational systems just pay the faculty who can mine the innovative talents of the students who are the equivalent of free employees.

The faculties royalties are the equivalency of CEO pay in the private sector which has risen exponentially and out of proportion to the pay of the workforce. The University receives public funding but the facilities are not available for public use where anyone can develop a project without sacrificing their intellectual property rights. Such facilities could be made available in a worker-in-residence zone.

3.  Workforce.  Facilitating the creation of a highly skilled workforce and attracting and retaining young workers in a new space economy. The corporation shall work closely with the University of Maine System, the Maine Community College System, career and technical education centers and regions and satellite programs, elementary and secondary schools and other organizations in the State to ensure education, training and recruitment programs are in place for the primary purpose of ensuring the availability of a highly skilled workforce to support the State’s new space economy;

[PL 2021, c. 631, §1 (NEW).] Source special act of legislation chartering the Maine Space Corporation.

My detractors who are reading this post will shout “Conspiracy theory!” When I make connections between one thing and another, as if developers never plan entire communities, as if innovation could occur in minds that dutifully make no connections. They want innovation from an obedient workforce whose minds do not stray from the doctrine they are fed. Does such a mindset innovate?

Conspiracy- what does it mean” It posits the existence of a group of conspirators. Does the reader think it possible that on this peninsula where multiple and massive transformations are underway funded by unidentified sources, planned by organizations with unidentified board members and associated with minimal identified names but always one of them is Paul Coulombe, could be connected in a singular plan to replace the existing culture and populous with one of their own design that only the wealthy can afford?

Both the concentrated housing zone and the spacious new school are being planned and funded by unknown benefactors but Paul Coulombe, owner of the country club, openly associates his name with both as he is investing in workforce boarding houses and “self-service hotels” for the area. Paul Coulombe is the perfect private partner of Maine State Inc which has legalized pay-to-play in Title 30-A, §5654: Conditional gifts, an operating style with which Mr. Coulombe is very much acquainted.

  • §5654: Conditional gifts allow private donors to negotiate conditions with local officials which then goes directly to the state Legislature without a vote by the inhabitants of the municipality even though the inhabitants must honor the conditions in perpetuity and even to continually fund the conditions.
  • The boards repealed and replaced our school charter with one that says our school charter is “aligned with state law”. This was done without going through a public referendum despite the Home Rule Amendment of the Maine Constitution states that it is the inhabitants of the municipality that hold the authority to amend a charter.
  • The concentrated housing zone is only possible because of HP1489– LD 2003. This act transfers local authority over housing density and community character from the municipality to the state and mandates “priority zones” in every municipality.
  • To put it all into perspective, in 1976, a newly formed advisory board to the Governor made up of the leaders of large industry established a goal to eliminate municipal referendums on public bonds, which seven years earlier had been added to the Maine Constitution as Section 2 of the Home Rule Amendment. The Report- Governor’s Task Force for Economic Redevelopment, Recommended Legislation for an Economic Development Program -110th Congress, used this precise language:

    2: eliminate the requirement for a local referendum on municipal bond issues.[Governor’s Task Force for Economic Redevelopment-1976

    This goal constitutes a conspiracy to overthrow the Maine constitutional government by interfering with a government process, the equivalency of that is being litigated at the federal level today.

  • Conclusion: The plan being advanced for the fundamental transformation of the Boothbay Peninsula by a private funding cabal and their public partners, replaces local control of our communities with state control of our communities.


A freedom movement is evolving from within the workforce that calls for breaking the bonds of the grid and creating their own opportunities. They want independence from corporate culture and they are organizing. and crafting new messages that reinforce the courage it takes to be a small independent entrepreneur not living by the security of a regular paycheck, and teaching special skill sets for “living on the edge”.

Such a time and such a movement call for putting businesses in a home back on the map, productive home businesses, distinct from short-term rentals, and including productive businesses in a home in public dialogue about affordable housing and economic development. The inclusion would reshape old paradigms, After all, human productivity is the real wealth creator and that resides in the working classes.

Recapping the current plan for the peninsula as advanced by its public-private leadership,

The State and its private partners plan Maine as a state-wide short-term rental campus with corporate-owned and governed concentrated housing zones to house the workforce, scattered workforce boarding houses, subsidized home ownership for those whose income is 100-120% of the median income, not necessarily including ownership of the land that the home occupies, and high school, elementary, and kindergarten schools used for industrial training for the corporate state’s targeted sectors.

Beyond the plans of the centrally managed state, few other visions are given a voice in the public dialogue.

The Priority Zone Paradigm

As long as HP 1489 goes unchallenged, there must be a ”priority zone” carved out for any conceivable purpose other than short term rentals.

As the state has set things up, large parcels of land must be developed as priority zones that will allow those of ordinary means a foothold in Maine, otherwise they would not be able to afford to live in a State that is a dedicated Airbnb campus. Those for whom money is no object can establish whatever they want in the short-term rental campus as long as the Airbnb barons don’t get into an uproar about it, or even if they do! More fun ahead, duking it out in court over who gets to rule the world!

I am proposing a priority zone for a worker-in-residence based on artists-in-residence zoning but extending to all kinds of small businesses. While the state does not prohibit overcrowding, it also does not mandate it. A priority zone, by general definition, means that a particular use is prioritized, and so conceivably it could be developed as a spacious working-class community with traditional New England values including plots that allow land around buildings and buildings that are designed to incorporate various types of workshops and studios for makers and other types of small entrepreneurs. This would require a developer specializing in this type of development rather than a concentrated housing zone, or a clever workaround, yet to be “innovated”, to the state’s prohibition against regulating density and including that in the state definition of a priority zone.

Then there is the fact that the state is discriminating against the free enterprise sector if it disallows a “priority zone” that accommodates that sector and also the remote workers who at least need office space in their homes. The state is already discriminating against the free enterprise sector by requiring an association with a non-profit organization to be included on the State’s commission for a Ten-Year plan for Maine.

But who said that only one entity can make such a plan? There can be other plans. Decentralized planning is the philosophical meaning of the Home Rule Amendment of the Maine Constitution. We need more plans from diverse sources.

A new kind of Opportunity Zone!

Makers often need the services of other makers so a workers-in-resident zoning can be an energizing priority zone. A community that encourages collaboration becomes an on-the-job learning environment. “worker-in-residence zoning would be a new type of industrial park composed of living spaces with working spaces.

The network of independent studios would not belong to anyone but could be an association. The association could develop template terms of agreement that protect the intellectual property of creators that can be individually adapted as needed. The templates can be available for creators to use, and certified by the association so that creators would have access to legal protection of intellectual property rights without incurring a large expense. The association could also establish ethical standards for relationships and issue certificates of approval that an entity meets those standards or demerits for violations. This system would be the governing system of the workers in residence priority zone, one that is based on protecting the independent authors intellectual property rights, versus the University of Maine system, which doesn’t include the individual innovators in its intellectual property rights ownership policy.

If Boothbay has to be the home of a concentrated housing zone-, can Boothbay also make room for a worker-in-residence zone?

Andersen Design as an Anchor Industry

Andersen Design has unparcelled productivity assets. With foundational funding, infinitely smaller than 89 million dollars, Andersen Design can be an anchor in the workers-in-residence priority zone.

Foundational funding includes

  • Retaining personal legal counsel and legal talent to design the framework for the network, which is somewhat like designing an online platform, except it is in the real world.
  • Payroll funding to attract core leadership needed in the Andersen Design team. Positions are artistic director, master mold maker, glaze master, and marketing and fundraising support.
  • Funding for material needs- such as facility spaces

Even without all of that in place, it is possible to start producing a single item by an independent studio, or several studios (its always good to have backup) with simple provisional terms of the agreement until the larger concept can be worked out. This requires locating existing slip-casting studios interested in contract work or contracting with Mudshark to make the bisque ware, and locating separate studios to decorate. Andersen Design has a long history of producing quantity orders of a single item for catalogs, department stores, and organizational fundraisers. Large orders would make it worth the while for producers.

My concept is to re-establish Andersen Design production through a B-to-B network of independent slip-casting and decorating studios that are in charge of their own affairs. That includes Andersen Design, which would contract with other studios to perform specific jobs, such as slip casting. This requires terms of agreement that protect the intellectual property rights of authors and creators. If Andersen Design provides molds to an independent contractor to produce some of our products, that contractor cannot then use the molds to produce products that it sells independently of Andersen Design.

There should be a central mold-making facility where all the original molds are stored. Original molds are only used to make master molds and master molds are only used to make production molds. The several hundred original molds that Andersen Design created over seven decades could potentially be held in a trust.

There should also be a central creative glaze-making facility since Andersen glazes and bodies were made from original recipes and raw materials. Rather than distributing the original recipes to decorating studios, the glazes and decorating colors would be created or made in the glazing center and distributed to making studios. Both the mold-making center and the glazing center would have a production that can also be used as a training center.

And there should be a gallery showroom space that could be combined with office-marketing space including a photography-video-making space that could also be contracted out to other businesses on occasion.

Andersen Design was created by love for the process. It was the whole point of the enterprise. To create a circumstance where life could be spent designing and making ceramics. The work process was the whole point!

Mackenzie Andersen is a sponsored artist with The Performance Zone Inc (dba The Field), a not-for-profit, tax-exempt, 501(c)(3) organization serving the performing arts community. Contributions to The Field earmarked for Mackenzie Andersen are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law. For more information about The Field, or for our national charities registration, contact: The Field, 75 Maiden Lane, Suite 906 New York, NY 10038, phone: 212-691-6969. A copy of our latest financial report may be obtained from The Field or from the Office of Attorney General, Charities Bureau, 120 Broadway, New York, NY 10271.
Donate HERE

Mackenzie Andersen is a sponsored artist with The Performance Zone Inc (dba The Field), a not-for-profit, tax-exempt, 501(c)(3) organization serving the performing arts community. Contributions to The Field earmarked for Mackenzie Andersen are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law. For more information about The Field, or for our national charities registration, contact: The Field, 75 Maiden Lane, Suite 906 New York, NY 10038, phone: 212-691-6969. A copy of our latest financial report may be obtained from The Field or from the Office of Attorney General, Charities Bureau, 120 Broadway, New York, NY 10271.

About Susan Mackenzie Andersen

I was blessed with being raised in this amazing business in a home that uses ceramic slip-cast production as an art form. My mission is to set this business up so that others can enjoy the same lifestyle while benefitting from what Andersen Design created. Follow me on my substack blog, Mackenzie Andersen's The Individual vs The Empire! I write about the public-private-non-profit-profit wealth concentration and redistribution industrial complex - and then I dream a better world.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *