An open space for global conversation
Greetings to all Occupiers in this cafe.
The "Core Conversation" thread seems to be rife with talk of a different structure and process for what we call our "economy." I am creating this thread with the idea of hauling all that rich conversation over here and re-opening the Core Conversation thread to an exploration of other topics that might one day grow up to be their own threads as well.
Here is where we can critique the old economy if that is your bent, thrash out the meaning and structure of a new economy, the values we hold most dear about energy exchange with our world that truly values the others who share this world, whether it is by legislation or by grass-roots one-brick-at-a-time rebuilding. What needs tweaking? What needs to be discarded.
How do we begin? What are the steps? Where is it happening already?
Here are some resources I am familiar with:
Not sure how to link to a specific post here, Aerin..I think If you go to profile you will see all comments ..also can find it by page? it was added yesterday to the what should be our core conversations...it begins "it snowed on my sland today..."
Disaggregation vs hablamos de la communidad speaks to the fact that the values and beliefs which have driven financializtion of our global economies; which have driven this consoldidation of control and power in health care, food supply,energy resources,water etc. the notion of privatization to which we have surrendered our soverignty and this new insidious idea I see growing that we should uproot and go to where the jobs are..aren't our values, aren't our beliefs..these are not popular notions or even understood amongt the 99%..
So its a two stage two part simultaneous process of understanding what the beliefs and values are now..the ones in control and expressing in a way that is transformational, that is full of empowerment of the 99% what our values and beliefs are..
I am not taking about disaggregating cities or diaaggregating community..quite the opposite..In fact my undergrdauate thesis at the New School was on the concept that for the individual to have a life of thrivability and engagement there has to be a link..community, to the greater world.
You have many other core ideas at your web site that need to be brought here, understood and explored. I am very impressed with your woork..yours and your associates.
Hello Robert ( I' love your last name..River Song)
No question that the heart of sustainable economy , its pre condition, is to maintain the earths oceans, its atmosphere, its fresh water and the systems that generate and purify it, maintain bio diversity, build and maintain health soils..and we can and should extend that into medicine and medical technology..emphasizing cures that utilize and are based on the bodies own natural processes for maintaining helath and wellness.
It is clear that the agenda before us, driving our economy now is completely in the opposite direction. In Maine our new Tea Party Governor, is attempting to dismantle and get around and defuse all the environmental laws and protections put in place in the 80's . The new jobs they are promising here in the U.S.. all come at the price of relaxed environmental protections.
I think it is also clear though that "Occupy Earth" must walk away from old styles and models of how we protect the environment . What I learned in 10 years as Risk Manager for New York City's Department of Environmental Protection is that our envionmental laws were whole heatedly right in what they sought to achieve and completely off the rail in how it sought to bring that about. (Same could actually be said for how we did most of our consumer protection laws and why we have lost so much of what we thought we had secured forever there).
We need to totally rethink how we hold businesses accountable to these values. We need to be much more creative in how we can bring baout the chnages we seek. We can't simply cling to the enviornmental laws and consumer protections already in place.we need new structures new approaches to accomplishing these ends.
We hold businesses accountable by choosing which ones to support. Moving all our bank deposits to credit unions would do more to "reform" the banking industry than anything we can expect from Washington. Relying less on the money economy and more on informal barter, alternative currencies and Local Exchange Trading Systems (LETS) will shift the economic center from Wall Street to Main Street.
We need to relearn, as you suggest, how to heal ourselves and each other and stop relying on technological medicine (which, according to a 2003 metastudy is "the leading cause of death and injury in the United States" http://www.wnho.net/deathbymedicine.htm).
We need to return, as you suggest, to community and focus our energy and efforts at that level. That's where the work of paradigm-shifting is happening.
Yes we need to have community banks again..but we also need to de-ifnancialize the banking system, re harness it to the credit needs of local economies ..economies which serve life, serve families, serve the planet. Credit Unions and Community Banks are not enough.
On my island many use trade and barter, and neighbor to neighbor charity and kindness to get by. It's an old way and a beuatiful way. A way we should never forget. But that is not "thriveable".that's getting by, making do.
We the people, we the 99 % own the resources of our nations; we the people, the 99% are the stewards of the planets atmosphere, its oceans and its water, its bio diversity. We the people can't just set up camp in some far corner of the field.
We can't just ignore the plutonomy. It won't collapse just because we set up camps with different values. We have to take up the very hard work of dismantling what is no longer serving life and building something new, something thriveable.
Not just viable. No just sustainable. Thriveable.
And within that thriveable new economy of strong local communities connected to and stewards for a strong thriveable global community there will be plenty of room and support for indiviudal freedoms and all personal choices which also serve life, community and the planet.
We not only don't need the financial industry, we don't need a debt-based monetary system - in fact, we (and the earth) can no longer afford it since it requires continual economic expansion on a finite planet that already has at least 7 times the numbers of humans that the biosphere can support at a modest level.
The global economy is in ruins, and it's collapsing (as it must, since it's based on unsustainable principles) quite nicely on its own. We have no need to dismantle anything - nor to use the "any means necessary" which Derrick Jensen and his acolytes propose.
And, most importantly, we need to re-imagine what it means to "thrive" as living fully with minimal material things and minimal impact on an already over-stressed earth.
Anyone who suggests that 7 (and soon to be 9 or 10) billion humans can live at what we have come to believe is a comfortable material level is deceiving themselves and others. We need, in fact, to relearn that timeworn New England adage: "Use it up, wear it out, make do or do without."
Yes..use it up, use it again, make it last..buy at thrift stores..swap
Except Robert.our run amok financialized unrelgulated capitalist system is not collapsing quite nicely. In fact, it's thriving.
Llook how many milions of homeowners..victims of a corrupt system..and its not over..it is still happening and its getting worse, not better
You are right in your main point that the non sustainability of the system was shown in the collapse and the need for a multi trillion bailout ...But that system is still working beautifully for the 1% still making them tons of money as the income disparity wedge gets ever wider. It's totally sustainable for the 1%. Nothing is stopping or changing it. It's not sustaiable for us..the 99%.
That system still has us in its grips. It hasn't changed. It hasn't stopped operation.
We need to address the system..we need to be aggreesive in trying to definancialize the system asap or many millions more innocent bystanders will pay the price of that non sustainability.
Since 2008 the incomes of the 1% have gone up 275%..real incomes for the 1% have gone down and will continue to go down.
It's not going to curl up and die quietly in some cave..it's continuing to pillage our economies, pillage our resources and make huge profits. We the 99% are the only ones collapsing.
"Moving all our bank deposits to credit unions would do more to 'reform' the banking industry than anything we can expect from Washington."
This seemed to deserve to be more visible, while we're working on prioritization and strategy.
Except, David, it won't. The whole problem is we actually need those big banks too..not in your local communities ( where they have no interest in being) but fueling and providing liquidity for the larger economy.
The problem is they have grown away from any connection at all to the economy ( financialization); they are making huge profits on things that have nothing to do withfinancing economic development..it has been a jobless expansion of GDP for more than a decade...it is 12 years since they cared a whit about oor needed our piddly little checking accounts..If we took out every penny, they wouldn't blink.
That is reality.
That is truth.
We need to do both. We need to aline our choice of where to bank with our values. And yes all retails consumers should have their funds with small local banks that serve the local community ( not credit unions though..they are not fully empowered to serve the business needs of our local communities)
And we absolutely must have the reforms sought by Dodd Frank..it is law and the bankers are just refusing to implement it. We need those changes..and more..we need to fully de financialize the banking industry..fully reconnect it to jobs and economic growth.
Dodd-Frank is a mile wide and an inch deep. Doesn't come close to doing what we need done.
And while you seem to be so sure we need the big banks for......something, consider that it is the very "liquidity" they (ahem, the Fed) "supply" that has brought us to this debt trap we are in.
Dodd -Frank was right on target before the big bank lobbyists, Ben Bernanke and Tim Geithner reduced it to rubble.
You are quite right that the too big to fail banks are not at all interested in "we the 99%" and do nothing for us or for our local communities. I was on the NYS Banking Board 1986-1997, appointed by Governor Cuomo a principled man committed to "we the 99%"
It was during this period that what are now these too big to fail banks grew by gobbling up many many many smaller regional baks ( like Fleet Boston and Nat West) .At the beginning of that decade they were keen to have consumer deposits to finance big business global strategies..this was before derivatives and the financialization of the economy which totally separated banks from the busness of fueling the economy through credit to small businesses.
By Dis aggregation..I mean taking these banks apart stripping out all the consumer deposits to create a totally independent federally chartered "Peoples Bank" ..or several competing "Peoples Banks". It could be a cyber bank or it could assume all of the assets in communities..the branches, the atms.or better yet it could be required that all depositors of People's banks have free access to atms and be able to make deposits at any branch of any federally chartered bank.
Banks are indispensable to a "thrivable" economy. Banks are essential. They are key to growing business and jobs in the local economy in our communities. Credit Unions are not authorized to serve business needs If people want jobs in their communities they shouldnt be putting their money in credit unions.
The Occupy movement will marginalize itself if it pursues or comes to stand for these ideas about barter and trade or money free economies as the principal economy. A thriveable economy will include alternate life styles, alternate economies..but our new thriveable economy must include a banking system hooked into the global economy and linking our local economies to the global economy.
One small example..with credit support from our regional bank Camden National a local lobster dealer as leaped right over being at the bottom of the trade chain to being at the top. It is gearing up to fulfill a signed contract with china that will yield a higher return to the local community where the boat price of the finest lobster in the world, Stonington Lobster, is now less than $2.50/lb.These kind of connections from the community level to the global is what we need for a thriveable economy and it takes support from banks to do that.
But we need a national netwrok of community and regional banks like our Camden Natonal to do that. We can create that by breaking down these big banks to re create community banks.
Lindsay, you are overlooking a few important things, and making an argument for the status quo at the same time.
First, I said we don't need big banks. I didn't say we don't need small banks.
Second, the Occupy movement doesn't need to stand for any of the things you claim will marginalize it. These things were/are already happening anyway, thank you.
Third, it is the "global economy" that has brought the planet to the edge of catastrophic climate change with its extremely long supply lines and reliance on fossil fuel. And, btw, it is also the end-stage credit economy--playing with other people's money and the creation of assets that do not exist except as accounting entries-- that has brought us to the edge of global financial collapse. And if we tip over the edge into that abyss, money will mean nothing. So standing for a barter economy isn't far of the mark anyway.
So I'm afraid your story of the lobster dealer in Maine sounds like a story of the status quo.
not at all I am a life long advocate..not for a moment not once ever have I defended or try to maintain the status quo.
the story of Greenhead lobster has everything we have been talking about here at Occupy Cafe.
banks that serve life and the local economy
jobs created in the local economy
an enterprise that gives a fairer value to our lobsters (does it seem fair to you that a lobsterman gets only $2.50/lb at the dock?)
a perservation of community and tradition
That's the kind of staus quo I'm all for. I wish we could get to where stories like this are the status quo.
But there can't and won't be more stories like this..there won't be enough stories like this unless we start becoming active engaged citizens and unless we work to defnancialize and disaggregate our banking system .
How many communities still have access to banks like our Camden National Bank who stay open late on Fridays so the lobster boats can get in and the guys can get their deposits in the bank from there share of their boats take.?
I am not sure what your reactive comment on the marginalization of the Occupy Movement is pointing to. I don't see this vision of barter and trade and moneyless societies connecting up at this moment in time with anything that is going to help us out of this crisis right now. It is not serving any solutions that we can look to right now, in this moment, where we are.