An open space for global conversation
We are delighted to feature Occupy Cafe member Paul Bernstein as a special guest conversation starter on 11/14. Paul has made some wonderful contributions to our dialogue already, and we're very excited and honored to feature him on this call.
Please use this discussion to share anything that struck you about Paul's talk and/or the conversations it inspired. Everyone's voice matters: please share yours!
Some background info on Paul:
Paul Bernstein, Ph.D. is a scientist, writer, and occasional social activist who received his social & natural science degrees from Stanford & Michigan universities, while also studying in Britain and Central Europe. He participated in the civil rights and Vietnam antiwar movements in the 1960s, in Federal election campaigns and in workplace-democracy projects in the 1970s, and in urban anti-pollution actions in the 1980s and 1990s. He has worked within large hi-tech corporations as well as having managed his own small business in residential rehabilitation.
Paul has written political and cultural analysis for the Boston Globe, Progressive magazine, National Public Radio, and European periodicals. More recently he has combined his scientific training with spiritual issues to compile a Manual on Transcendent Experiences at the invitation of colleagues in France. Paul identifies the spiritual resources that have influenced him the most to be the Findhorn Community, est, Quakerism, Polynesian ‘Huna’, Buddhism and Taoism.
He has taught at the University of California, Boston College, and the New School for Democratic Management.
Thank you Paul for your ideas and suggestions - I resonanated a lot with this notion that many people are addicted to money as a form of measuring self-value and worthiness, and that this is an area to work in esp with those at top power positions. I do want to say, however that I don't believe that we can "fix" the current economic system with merely sustituting them with better alternatives - whenever money is involved in the equation, you will always have a money/power/control grab. I think a better alternative is to replace our monetary system with a resource based economy where we leverage technology and existing resources to provide materials goods and services for all of earth's inhabitants. See the Venus Project to learn more details: http://www.thevenusproject.com
I am so excited to hear people talk about my heroes - people I have been reading since the fall of 2008 - David Korten (see his book "Agenda for a New Economy", Robert Jensen "Citizens of the Empire: The Struggle to Claim Our Humanity" and Eliza Gilkyson (listen to her CD "Beautiful World" for starts). Thanks to all who shared resources! I am definitely looking up "Prosperity without Growth: Economics for a Finite Planet by Tim Jackson.
Another great person to follow is Vicki Robin, coauthor of Your Money or Your Life.
Creating an Alternative Economy & Monetary System
1 Billion People participating in Cooperatives: 2012 Intl Year of Cooperatives
Local and National Strategies for Sustainability & Rio +20 Earth Summit Conference
We could create a new alternative monetary system that initially sits alongside our current system. There is a wonderful proposal for doing this making use of Gradidos and VitaMoney. It is a global scheme with thousands of people already registered to support the transition. You can see how the VitaMoney system could be structured and works by going to: http://gradido.net/en/Academy. This scheme is designed and set up so as to be able to return our economic and money systems to the people and to fund the transition to a sustainable economy and society.
The International Co-operative Alliance (ICA) is an independent, non-governmental association which unites, represents and serves co-operatives worldwide. Founded in 1895, ICA has 258 member organisations from 96 countries active in all sectors of the economy. Together these co-operatives represent nearly one billion individuals worldwide.
Save the Date: Next General Assembly, 14-18 November 2011 in Cancun (Mexico)
The ICA official launch of the International Year of Co-operatives is being held during the General Assembly 14-18 November 2011 in Cancun, Mexico. The theme of the event is "Co-operative Enterprises Build a Better World". For more details download your invitation and visit our dedicated conference website at www.ica2011.coop
The Rio+20 Earth Summit Conference will be held in June 2012 in Rio de Janeiro. One of the two principle themes is transitioning to a Green Economy; the other focuses on the Institutional Framework for Sustainable Development. Both offer opportunities for shifting to a sustainable economy that serves the well-being of all peoples and the planet. All countries and communities are supposed to develop local and national strategies for sustainability and local and national action plans for sustainable consumption and production. So there are opportunities here for all of us that are interested to use these processes to do these things.
National Strategies for Sustainable Development: Challenges, Approaches and Innovations in Strategic and Co-ordinated Action, A 19-Country Study
10 Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production
The insecurity of managers who are not owners is illuminated in The Peculiar Institution here filtered through Thomas Sowell (economist/author) and me (blogger), and the Wikipedia article regarding the book.
Here are the resources I promised during my talk that I would post for you:
1. The study showing that several major companies have succeeded by being fair to ALL five stakeholder groups (their employees, customers, investors, suppliers, and surrounding community/society) instead of giving priority always to just stockholders is called Firms of Endearment. Its authors are Rajendra Sisodia, David Wolfe & Jagdish Sheth. (Don’t be put off by its capitalism terminology; the authors simply didn't want to scare away the current businesspeople they're hoping to educate.)
2. A study that focuses on successful participatory-democracy within companies is called Workplace Democratization: Its Internal Dynamics by Paul Bernstein. Though the title is academic, the language inside is mostly easy to read. You can find it in a local library by entering your Zip Code into the World Catalogue “Enter your location:” field in the middle (NOT the top) of its webpage at http://www.worldcat.org/title/workplace-democratization-its-interna... . Used copies of the book are also available at several online booksellers, listed at http://www.bookfinder.com/search/?ac=sl&st=sl&ref=bf_s2_a1_... .
3. The recent proposal for a more humane banking and money system in America, written by David Korten and other expert economists, is called How to Liberate America from Wall Street Rule -- at http://www.yesmagazine.org/blogs/david-korten/liberate-america .
4. A parallel proposal for reforming government policies to humanize our national economy is by economist Dean Baker and subtitled “Making Markets Progressive” – at www.deanbaker.net/images/stories/documents/End-of-Loser-Liberalism.pdf .
5. Data showing that simply lowering taxes does not automatically lead to increased business investment nor improved average family income are given in All Together Now: Common Sense for a Fair Economy by Jared Bernstein.
6. A history of Quakers applying ‘soul-based’ values in the creation and management of their businesses is by James Walvin, called “Quakers, Business and Morality” at http://www.gresham.ac.uk/lectures-and-events/quakers-business-and-m... .
7. The innovative “hybrid” form of profit and non-profit business created by Victoria Hale is described at http://the-scientist.com/2011/01/01/the-profits-of-nonprofit/ .
8. One potential channel through which the Occupy movement might identify churches ready to apply spiritual values for reforming our economy is the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility – at www.iccr.org .
Paul, you mentioned a book or a reference today on the call with Charles. Do you remember what it was? I'm interested. thanks.
Hi Gary -- Call me at 617-889-4971 with more detail about in which context I was speaking, and I'll be better able to know which book/reference you meant.