An open space for global conversation
Please use this discussion to offer your suggestions for Core Conversations to be hosted here on the Cafe website and on our Cafe Calls. We suggest you consider framing a topic in terms of a "powerful question." This monograph by Eric Vogt, David Isaacs and Juanita Brown, courtesy of The World Cafe, provides some excellent guidelines.
NOTE!!! This discussion is intended to be about the range of topics we might want to focus on ONLY.
It is NOT intended to be the place where we actually HAVE those discussions. If something that is proposed here grabs you, by all means start a thread about it in Member-Initiated Discussions. Or, if it's a really big and juicy subject, perhaps you might even want to start a group to discuss it--each group has its own forum, as well as "pages" that can be created and edited together.
Thanks for helping us keep our discussions organized. And thanks for all the great energy and ideas that you have been posting here so far!
I totally agree that the only way through this is a localized grass roots movement where we rebuild from the ground up. I envision each neighborhood as an ecovillage dealing with the holistic issues of sustainability (social, economic, and environmental). Linked together locally, regionally, and nationally, we could creat a government of "we the people".
My biggest fear is government concessions that reduce the pressure, only to reinforce globalization with the same people in charge.
Nobody is pulling any wool over our eyes anymore. And the plutocrats know it.
Hi, Richard: I also believe that a legislative response to the need for economic change is an impossibility. Our government is bought and paid for: 'Government by the Corporation, of the Corporation and for the Corporation.'
The only way out of this mess is to have a ground up, grass roots reboot of the economy using a different system that is socially just, non-capitalistic, and worker owned.
The use of local scrip is a start. Forming small scale local cooperatives is the next step. Cross-linking coops and other alternative economies will allow us to boot up a full scale new economy.
Of course, corporations will use their paid for Congress to declare an alternative economy illegal when it begins to threaten corporate profits. (Case in point, look into how the legal description of 'organic food' got watered down to include a lot of factory farmed foods when the purchase of real organic food hit a tipping point) Not sure how to end run corporate influence on government, yet... but I'm working on it....
I disagree with the worker-owned part, if you mean necessarily so--if some businesses want that, fine, but there's no reason other arrangements can't be made. (I've been in a work situation where people wanted to set up something like that. I just wanted a job that I knew was temporary, not a commitment like that, so it was just a huge hassle for me--and moreover, it was clearly just an attempt on the part of the organizers to make themselves feel important.) As long as agreements are voluntary, I won't kick about them, even if I disapprove or find them unwise.
There are some attempts now being made to establish competing currencies--not without risk, as the case of Bernard Von Nauthaus (whom Google) demonstrates.
Corporations are created by government, so the influence is hardly one-way--something very few people in this movement seem to understand. The task ahead is to show that government solutions are always backed with the threat of force, and that that must be rejected every time.
ESOP's (Employee Stock Option Plans) are an important and empowering phenomenon shifting the confrontational labor/magement approach that has characterized the workers rights and labor movements for the past decades. It doesn't limit mobility at all but it does encourage a long term commitent to the company and it is certainly preferable to acquistion by large multi national corporations ( eg of Maine's Poland Spring Water by the Nestle Corp.)
Cianbro here is NewEngland went ESOP/employee ownership when family heirs apparent weren't there to take over. Under employee ownership workers determine management hiring and company policy. I am not closely assocated with or informed about Cianbro but it appears that they and other major employers choosing this option have done well ecnomically, diversified in wise ways, and remained a local company.
I think this idea is an important part of what "sustainable capitalism" a "sustainable america" a sustainable any country where the 1% have completely frozen out the 99%..
I guess it would depend upon what you mean by force, when you say that government forced solutions should be rejected every time. For example, let's say a coal company wants to dump toxic chemicals in a stream that runs through a community. There actions would undoubtedly hurt other people. I would suggest that it is then the role and responsibility of governments (based upon the participation of all interested people and stakeholders) to come up with fair rules to protect all of us. And that the coal company be restricted in taking actions that would likely hurt the people and community. In this case, restrictions which are enforced, would be appropriate and probably required. This I would suggest is a legitimate role for government when responsibly and appropriately carried out.
And yes, I would agree, we should not be demonizing either business nor government (they both have their problems and legitimate roles and contributions) and it does cut both ways re influence and impact.
Rob, here's the linnk for the New Economy thread:
See ya there.
Sorry this was a mistake.
Most established and well run worker coops have a place for non-owners. The purpose is to shift (or share) power from the money of investors to the people who do the work. Yes, it does need to be voluntary.
In response to your comments and my suggestion that creating an economic system that reflects our hopes and dreams will likely require legislative action, I am not much interested in systems imposed by top down means. I am interested in developing participatory processes to determine and create the kind of world we want to live in. And legislation that we could put forward should be developed through such processes. I am also interested in how we can incorporate the thoughts and beliefs put forward by more libertarian folks such as you in any such legislation - though this might take a lot of discussion and creative thinking - as we seem to have rather different basic orientations, though in some ways perhaps similar.
For example, I hate traffic signals and wish that we could all just learn how to go with the flow and be respectful of when it is some one else's turn more so. I particularly hate them at night when almost no one is on the road and you have to wait anyway to go. Similarly, I hate being told that I can't walk on the lawn in a park when it is the nicest place to walk, though I can also see many places where there are paths where too many folks have walked and have thus killed the grass.
So this question of public intrusion vs social rights and protecting and improving everyone's rights is something that we do have to grapple with. In any case my main point is to suggest that we need to work together to ensure that our government and legislation become much more participatory in nature and that we can all make the decisions together about how our world will be.
What would the development of environmentally sustainable, local economies, on a shoestring, look like?
Hell if I know. The beauty of a free market is, you get your choice of so many ideas that you'd never have thought of yourself.