If you were to design a series of small group conversations as a learning journey guiding participants toward a co-created vision of a thrivable economic system, what questions... (see below for more)

If you were to design a series of small group conversations as a learning journey guiding participants toward a shared, co-created vision of a transformed, thrivable economic system, what questions would you have them explore along the journey?  

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Thank you for that, Lindsay.  More will get my brief contributions because you filled them out.

I only "harvested" what you had already planted and nurtured. and brought to ripeness.

who owns a nation's natural resources, it's water, its mineral, its oil and gas, its rivers, lakes and forests?

Are these sovereign resources ( belonging to the nation as a whole and all its people?  Local resources ( belonging to the peple in the county, state or town where they are located) private resources (belonging to the owner of the land)?

If an oil field, for example, is wholly contained in a particular county, should that county be able to block drilling?  get a share of the license fee? How much local control should a local community have on acess to the natural resources in its boundaries? How much of the economiic benfit of that resource should redound to that local area?   How much of the cost and risk of extraction should be shared by the public?. What should our relationship be to the companies that have the technology and know how to extract ? Can we be joint ventre partners..units of government with owners of technology?

Is there a better public/private partnetship approach to the management of the earth's natural resources?

 A tiny Maine, town, Shapleigh Maine, (poulation under 2,000) successfully blocked the Nestle Company, owner of Poland Spring Water, ( a huge multi national conglomerate involved in the privatization of water through bottled water )from drilling in their town claiming the water was theisr and only they could decide the rights to it and manage the uses of it.(the story is very interesting ..happy to provide links if you can't track it down.) .  That town decided it didn't; want to profit from its water, it wanted to preserve it for future generations .

Is Shapleigh's model workable in application to other natural resource  use and extraction issues?

Some states and nations have created Soverign Wealth Funds with oil and gas profits  Are sovereign wealth funds a way to residtribute a larger share of a nation's wealth in natural respurces back to it's people?  I'm thinking on a flat per capita basis.


America is vastly wealthy in natural resources.

I believe that one of the topics that we need to encourage is openness about debt. In my world people will not talk about how much they owe on a car, on their house, their credit cards, 2nd mortgages, how much money they make - silence about these realities only supports the predatory practices of unscrupulous lenders, banks, mortgage companies, etc. Silence also keeps people in the dark about and unable to learn from each other. The stories coming out now about how people took out loans for homes that they could not afford are very important. I remember when my broker told me that I could get much more money and buy a much nicer house - I knew this was crazy talk and told them all no thanks. Unfortunately most people didn't understand this - and they weren't getting information from folks around them.

We need to be open and honest about debt. If I have 7500.00 on my credit card and go out and buy a 1400.00 tv - somebody in my life needs to talk to me about that, maybe even do an intervention.

Yesterday an old friend who is retired called and in our conversation he let me know that he was looking at buying a mercedes used for 9k. I asked him why - he's got a great car that he loves. I asked him about his values. His last comment to me on the topic was - you only live once. That conversation went very well and I think that it got him thinking. Before he hung up, he said he probably won't buy the car but just wants to look.

Tell me if you think that this sounds crazy. I've been thinking and talking quietly about it for some time. I would like to be more outspoken. Thanks



First, welcome to Occupy Café..nice to meet you and thanks
so much for your post, naming and holding up something we all need to face.

So much truth and wisdom there, especially in your
suggestion that we all “own” our part in this. ..our part in feeding the tape

The debt we all accumulated to finance our consumption
(feeding the tapeworm of the plutonomy) does have to be acknowledged and
owned..we are responsible, each of us, for our part in buying things we couldn’t
afford through debt.  We don’t have to announce it publicly.  No mea culpas are

But we do have stop..

Completely, absolutely

Right now.

We have to stop “feeding the tape worm”

How do we do that? 

We  have stop adding to existing  personal debt.

..anything we put on a credit card or home equity loan we
pay off 100% when the bill comes.

.. also pay 125% to 15o% of the minimum due

.. seek debt transfers that allow us to pay off existing debt on more favorable terms

..we must go strictly and without exception to a “reduce debt stop playing hungry consumer diet”.

All except students who encumbered huge debt in good faith doing exactly what they understood society was asking of them, what we were asking of them. 


 To them we all owe our energy and commitment to changing that. 

We can’t just lay that off to the avarice and greed of banks.  To the misdeeds of our elected officials.

They need us to solve that problem.  We must be there for them in 100% solidarity.

Thanks again, Jasper.


Yes, thanks, Jasper.  It's a very important point.  Our addiction to debt - and denial of it - is not only monetary.  We're in denial about the debt we're incurring in the Earth's natural systems.  It's all related.  So do speak up.  I've heard your message - it's one I needed to hear. Thanks again.

Yes,excellent point Michelle.  Debt is not only monetary.

When we abrogate stewardsip for the Earth ( I like that you capitalize"Earth"..I will heneceforth do the same) or for one another, we incurr a moral debt.  A debt we can't just walk away from.  One we have to start paying down.

Also your point is important in recognizing that we don't have a clean slate ..that there is much that has to get undone, much that has to get repaired as we envision a thriveable economy.  

Thanks Michelle.

I would love to see suburban neighbours contact the 10 or 12 adjacent or near adjacent households, come together firstly just to get to know each other (with guidelines conducive to growing respect and trust) and to then talk about how they could share resources with the intent to explore pulling all the fences down to create shared open space that could contain such things as a shared veggie patch, shared tool shed, shared playground, even shared garage down the track.

It could be done without expense or risk, until such time as the decision is made to tear down the fences. The "How To" guide could be a viral freebie. An interim step could be an agreement to put gates in the fences, and to have some back yards shared (e.g. veggie patch) even within the old fences.

I love this, Terrence.  I live in a row house, and our backyards are all connected, but divided by fences. You've painted an inspiring image. 

As I originally posed this question, I had in mind designing a website that would support people anywhere in gathering for a series of conversations.  But lately it seems to make sense to prototype the concept in my own neighborhood.

So this past weekend, I suggested to my husband that we invite a few neighboring families over for a meaningful conversation that might turn into a series of them.  He was reluctant to commit to a series and suggested that we start with just a basic friendly conversation with one family.  So that's what we did, and it felt like an appropriate small first step.  This might be something good to keep in mind as we begin to suggest things for other people: start by getting to know your neighbors' names!  

As I think about the image you've painted of neighbors without fences, it also makes me think that I'd love to have stories and photos of other people doing something like that - especially if it's people I can relate to.  This would be inspiring and encouraging. Another thing to keep in mind.

N Street Cohousing in Davis California is a great model for tearing down fences and building community. Here is some information with a photo of their yard and a very inspiring article:

N Street Cohousing

A Village that Loves Lucy

I love Lucy and celebrate the N Streeters..a living expression of what community can be, what neighborhood can be. .

Here is another great example of possibilities. This group in Cincinnati has identified an urban 90 home neighborhood as their ecovillage. Last time I checked, about 10% of the houses are owned by members. They haven't torn down the fences but they are on their way. Check out what they have done - what if every neighborhood organized 10% of their neighbors?

Enright Ridge Urban Ecovillage


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