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:
"If people want jobs in their communities they shouldnt be putting their money in credit unions."
I hope the next leap is beyond wanting jobs and corresponding wage/benefits slavery.
There is always work to do, but again and again we tragically fool ourselves about what's worthwhile.
Not sure what that means. David. People shouldnt have to work to have food and housing?
I think the whole relationship between worker and owner has to be re envisioned that everyone who works on anything should have a real stake in it..share failrly in its success have a voice in management and direction..What we have done in the past is founded on a perpetuation of income inequality. That isnt a thriveable economy.
What else are you suggesting..could you say a bit more about what you mean by "fooling ouselves about what is worthwhile?"Are you pointing to what might be another hall mark of a thriveable economy?
In a lot of ways my island has many elements I think you may be pointing to. Everyone here is working at what they love doing..mostly working for themselves..mostly artists and fishermen. Lots of people work extra off season jobs cleaning, gardening, handymen, but most here would consider themselves independent and self employed.
Most though are just barely getting by. It's actualy a miracle how they create out of their own hands and hearts a way to make a living.. Some might look and see poverty..but an islander will tell you thats not how they think of it..everyone lives like that..it's just island life they'll say.
But what's broken in our system has reached here. Has cut deeply here..People have lost their boats, Peple have lost their homes,People have been laid off ( especially in boat building another big industry here all small local independent multi generation boat builders) and not able to find new work.
It;s not what I would call thriveable at the moment but it has been and could be. I hope there will always be a place for communities like this where people work at what they love and take whatever kind of life that delivers to them., living creatively, robustly, generously..That's why I have been spekaing here for adiaggregation of the plutonomy, decentralization, definancialization, for an economy that builds and sustains communities..
"People shouldnt have to work to have food and housing?"
With help of fuels and flowing electrons, people can sit back comfortably in any season, at any hour, and conduct transactions that earn them money for food and housing and much, much more. Are they working?
I was saying that there is always human work for humans whether the big inhumane system pays salaries or wages for it or not.
I am interested in complementary arrangements of people who preserve and protect each other in locales. I am interested in the cheerful, heartfelt and creative contributions whole (= unique) human beings might make when they enjoy such interdependence. We cannot have communities that work for all if we continue to refuse to acknowledge and honor all the differences (not so much of opinion as of perspective and gifts) among us.
I think if someone comes to a community as an infant, there should be food and shelter for that person. After all, there's adequate advance notice! As such persons grow and come into their own, their contributions may be expected to shift the local arrangements, as will, certainly, the changing contributions of those who are in some sort of overcast or twilight years. I cannot imagine food and shelter being kept from these folks, either. This seems to be how Life does it.
that's a really tall order for us critters with our really big brains......But I whole-heartedly agree with you.
to Robert's observation that we must re-Occupy our hearts, return to our sense, and get out of our heads...
That undertaking may be an impossibility for most of us with our really big brains throwing out stumbling blocks 24/7. But I whole-heartedly agree with you. BTW: I greatly respect your writings on your blog. Thank you for pasing them on....
New Economics Institute (includes what was the E. F. Schumacher Society in the USA)
Offers many ready-to-use resources, education and events.
The Zeitgeist Movement and the Venus Project (are they one and the same?) are among the most dangerous deceptions on the planet.
They envision a science-based, technocratic society which does away with the messy notion (of Thomas Jefferson et al) that the common people are wise enough to rule themselves, require all decisions at every level to be made by quantifiable rational arguments, and imagine that there are technological solutions to every human problem which can result in a "high standard of living" for all the burgeoning numbers of people on the planet.
Not only is rule by the technical elite as frightening a prospect as the eminently rational and scientific Nazi movement, but the goal of limitless opportunities on a finite planet ignores or violates the most basic of scientific principles: the laws of thermodynamics (see my article The Thermodynamics of an Intelligent Living Universe http://transitionvermont.ning.com/profiles/blogs/the-thermodynamics...)
And to get the full picture of the consequences of our technologically-driven culture, read the article A New Green History of the World (http://transitionvermont.ning.com/profiles/blogs/a-new-green-histor...).
It is, in fact, the logical and rational hubris of humankind which has brought us, inexorably, to the brink of global catastrophe. Scientific medicine is, according to a 2003 peer-reviewed metastudy "the leading cause of death and injury in the United States" (http://www.wnho.net/deathbymedicine.htm).
Neither science not technology nor those who deem themselves the appropriately rational elite can save us. In fact, they have nearly destroyed us and much of the living planet. This is not new paradigm thinking but a re-packaging of the paradigm which has failed us.
I'm not familiar with the Venus Project. If I can catch my breath from all the rest of what's going on, I'll take a look. But I agree that the the big conversation about a new economy is still gathering force.
Welcome to occupy Cafe and to this discussion n the heart of a sustaianable economy..or as we have come to say an economy with thrivability.
We visited the Venus Project at TED Conversations ...several times. My own views on it aside, I know many very bright young folk all over the globe are very keen on the Venus Project, believe in it and are comitted to it.
Perhaps the things that you personally find there, or think might be there, are germane to this discussion. Could you share with us what it is you feel is most at the heart of a sustainable thrivable economy and what you of these things in the Venus Project and the Zetigeist movement?.
I agree that money is a key driver of our problems. It has gone from being a means for matching up those who wish to provide goods and services with those who want them, to being a "thing in and of itself." And in the process, it is not serving that core matching function. We have tons of people ready to work to provide things and tons of people who need or want those things, but we can't connect them due to the artificial scarcity of money.
One manifestation of this disconnect is the idiocy we call "GDP," which measures some things, but in a way that massively distorts the meaning of what is measured, while completely ignoring whole realms of value and activity (natural services, unpaid labor, the black market, etc.). If you ran a business with this kind of accounting, you would have no clue as to what was actually taking place. Here's more on this, for those who are not familiar with these points: http://www.greenconduct.com/articles/2011/03/09/5-reasons-why-a-gpi...
There is much deep thought on how to replace this "system," which I might add was never "designed" but is more of an organically evolved structure that reflects the desires of those who hold power and wealth.
i have apples i want to sell
a man who sells to whole foods will buy them
i don't want anything the man has to offer in trade
so i take a credit that represents the fair value of my apples
i get a token representing that value that i can use anywhere
because the token has the full faith and credit of recognized issuer behind it I can use it anywhere in the world. ( i didn't get beads or script or something else that may bot be accepted by others I wish to trade with)
i don't need all that money right now and i give it to someone to hold for me so i can disburse it when i need to to make gifts or purchases
a good system..nothing evil or wrong with it.
i can't turn my time dollar credits into anything i can share outside my time dollar..no reciprocity with other time dollars but in essence money, currency is just a universal uniform system for tracking time share credits.
I love the idea that there might one day be a vast time dollar kind of system where volunteer time might create credits ( ie someone who can't get employment but can do useful and valuable things can translate this work into time dollars that are real dollars...a guy willing to drive a neigbor to the doctor is cheaper than the taxi fare allowed by medicare and the guy would be thrilled to have a credit of even half what the taxi fare is)
so its not money per se that's a bad idea..money per se is no different from what is enviosioned in moneyless societies.
and there's not much wrong with the idea of central banks either..provides liquidity to local banks, makes exchanges of goods and services easy and convenient.t's wrong is the particular features of our system.
There is much wrong with our financial system, no question. But the financial system itself didnt cause the huge wealth inequality we now have.
In creating our consitution we did not envision nor provide corrections or defenses against an extrenal tyranny not accountable to "we the people" not accountable to our government.
FDR was able to reign it all back in with the "new deal" when this tyranny nearly sunk our ship and the new deal was a good deal that worked for years. It got a further lift and included new values with the Johnson era reforms creating head start, early child hood education, alternatives to public housing, afforadble housing, civil rights.
But the 1% have been steadily chipping away at the new deal, steadily undoing or avoiding everything that was put in place that served life , protected workers, protected our enviornment.
And when the 1% found the level of profit and the returns on sound loans just too slow and tedious they created derivatives which allowed banks and investors to make profits just by moving massive anounts of other peoples money ( mostly pension funds) around without having a direct stake in the underlying assets..the viability of the business. Our rising GDP all of a sudden wasn't as it always had been, created through job generation..in fact fewer and fewer jobs jobs even as the GDP rose..this is financialization.
We don't need financialization.It harms us. Doesn't serve life. Dosen't help to create thrivable communities or foster a thriveable economy
We can undo financialization
We can overhaul our central banking system.
We can overhaul our regulatory framework.
We can rethink how we want to go about insuring a healthy enviornment, equal opportunity, safe and healthy working conditions, a secure old age, health care...I don't think its just doing legislation as we have always done it or doing regulations as we have always done it.
Our gdp needs to measure an aline perfectly with a thrivable economy.
We don't get that by promoting utopias ( although they can be very useful guideposts or suggest ways of retooling..demosntrate new and better solutions) we get that by starting right now everyone of us in changing our own habits. In living from and walking towards what we say our values are.
We co created the ruins we are standing in.
We and we alone have to rebuild.
Wll you give up bottle water..starting right now?
Will you eat less meat and buy and eat only local and organic?
Will you buy only what you truly need and only what is fair trade and serves life ( iei not reliant on oil as most synthetics are, as plastic is)
Will you forgo that new app, that new computer with the latest technology a night out at that chic new restaurant, that sexy car? That hot concert?
Will you stop using credit to live beyond your means? Pay down your personal debt?
Exchange time spent on travel, eisure and entertaninment for time in your community working at food banks, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, head start programs, public shools?
Become an active, informed, engaged directly participating citizen? What did your legislator propose this week? Is that what you think is good for your community? Did you write to them about? Talk to your neighbors about it?
We are part of the broken system. We helped create it by being asleep at the wheel on our civic duty and agreeing joyfully to live beyond our means and just charge it up.
Opinions will never be a coin of the realm.What counts is what we actually do.
Values are meaningless if we do not live from them and speak from them.
Any democracy requires 100% of its electrorate doing something more than voting.
Kimerly..will read your longer reply on my break later..just wanted to thank you for this post and for an idea that is very much at the geart of what a sustaianable economy is. Perhaps you could lead us in opening a discussion:
"Occupy Technology"..you are exactly right that we have allowed ourselves to become captive to technology and to the debt and consumerism we have chased to have the latest..We have allowed and funded agribusiness to develop and market harmful technologies that have completely broken our agriculture system and threatened food supplies and food secuirty world wide. We have funded and allowed Pharma ( the pharmacetical conglomerates) to suppress new and vital technologies that are more effective and more efficient so they can continue to milk their patents for every drop at the expense of seriously ill people.
You are very right that we have to Occupy Technology and erhaps you are the one to open and moderate this discussion for us.
I am glad to have you tell us what in these movements you feel is valuable and important...your values, ideas and hopes are excayly what this is about. I have looked at venus quite closely and find not all their ideas are valuable, their approach is weak and the good ideas they have are not being well represneted through the Venus Project. These good ieas would be better shared and expressed trough you and others who are attracted to these ideas. You are a better vehicle for holding these core good ideas u to the light..you can sell them better and move them further.