An open space for global conversation
I think there could be two strands to this:
1) Local pragmatic ideas
2) Global economic systems
This group may focus on the local schemes and the Positive Alternatives group can look at the Global.
Both could examine what the faith and belief perspective is on this.
Number one is the only one that feels worthwhile to me. I believe the foundation of global anything-of-consequence is abundant, affordable ancient sunlight (fossil fuels), and I do not have faith in that foundation. Even if it holds for twice the time projected by the most cautious analysts, it is wise to (be able to) rely on what is reliable. Plus, people on the ground will together conclude one day that fouling their surroundings and sacrificing lives of some and health of many both to obtain the fuels and by using the fuels is intolerable. Global will be recognized by all to be synonymous with entitlement, narrowly defined and selectively allowed, as it has been.
When we go local or perhaps bioregional, we can mimic ecosystems, all of which are place-based and gravity- and solar-powered, using both present income and that which beings paid forward (legacies; soils, most importantly). When our systems better mimic ecosystems, we will rely on complementarity more than conformity, compliance, cooperation and even collaboration. We will arrange our economies as forums for all voices (read productive, full expressions of whole people, not just articulated demands and opinions). Because people are multidimensional and everything rises and falls, all out of sync, complexity will not be lacking. These forums will be necessarily (naturally) dynamic manifestations of who/what is present and contributing. In time, appropriate traditions of being-in-place will return to serve.
Voice in the limited sense simply cannot go as far.
Dave, I think economy=community, as others have said, but differs in that economy is the activity while community is the actor. In this sense, any group of people might share or create a marketplace and so be a community creating an economy, and speaking with their wallets. If we think of this as "mimicking ecosystems", then the life of the system is money (or whatever is traded). So if we want local communities/economies then perhaps we need local money.
Your conclusion is something The E. F. Schumacher Society (now New Economics Institute) also identified and promotes as at least transitional. Some 2.7 million Berkshares circulating in western Massachusetts are its poster child.
When its currency must be exchanged for dollars in order to purchase goods produced in other regions, the Berkshires region has a chance to identify its highest priorities for economic development.
As for "any group of people might share or create a marketplace and so be a community creating an economy, and speaking with their wallets," the formation and maintenance of any group has an energy basis. Therefore, options today are more numerous than I expect them to become. Relying on what's reliable recommends most highly those people who can be touched and addressed face-to-face fairly regularly, and whose traditions of being-in-place are relevant.
They have all their plans online, and they are very busy with a very limited staff, so if you ask them then they will refer you there. If you are interested in learning more about what they are doing, I recommend that you search their New Economics site.
You deleted some replies here. In one of them you wondered if you grasped what I meant by "the formation and maintenance of any group has an energy basis." The statement of your understanding is not here to quote, but as I recall, you did not understand what I meant.
By energy basis I refer to the ability to do work (classic definition) upon which an entity of any scale relies. Thus, on a planet depleted of easy and safe to exploit fossil fuels not "any group of people might share or create a marketplace and so be a community creating an economy, and speaking with their wallets."
More and more, markets will be comprised of productive peers in places, once again speaking with their work.
I'll try to get to that site sometime. Please try to imagine the amount and sources of investment required to bring about net-zero communities everywhere. I believe the former is way out of reach and the latter too hard to find. That doesn't mean some nice demonstrations are impossible, but why demonstrate a dead end?
Traditional solar communities are the default condition of human beings. With the arrival of fossil fuels, humanity lost its mooring and then its bearings. This is a situation where simply retrieving is superior to innovating our way down, around and back.
David, I've imagined this with collaborators around the world. As a professional energy manager, and having focused on this many years, I think I have a pretty good view of the task. In fact, it is the cheapest way to go, and with an accompanying strategy for community empowerment imo it can support the needs of the human population while preserving habitat and species indefinitely. I don't believe that retreating to the 19th Century can accomplish that, although one bicycle per person - a 19th Century technology - might take us some ways further down the sustainably path. Please get back to me if you get to that site, and then I would be pleased to discuss it in detail.
"I think I have a pretty good view of the task. In fact, it is the cheapest way to go."
Sounds like you do and yes it is. Sometimes, even the cheapest way costs way too much.
Time will tell, I guess.
Yes, that's true. Cheap energy is what is allowing us to eat the world alive, and while community energy empowerment might change that, there is also the law of unintended consequences.
I offer as a local pragmatic idea Reconomy at http://reconomy.net, which is a model that establishes a money-energy value loop to develop community-controlled local energy resources. I'm finding the utility of this approach is quickly grasped in developing regions, but not so much in developed communities. The difference seems to be that "developed communities" are living easy by exploiting resources from less developed communities and so have little general interest in changing that gravy train to develop their own.
This experience has led me to focus on recruiting the help of those whom get it rather than on changing minds. Or, in other words, I don't find much benefit in talking about the reasoning behind this in western developed communities. People are moved by self-interest, enlightened or otherwise, and enlightened self-interest is lacking where self-interest is lavishly fed; so spending my energy on raising the consciousness of the affluent isn't profitable, not to say that reaching out to those whom are already tuned in is always a waste of time.
I wish you had used this statement to start a new discussion or to broaden the one you started, Kevin. It is a proper response to Dave's leading comment and not a response to my
These forums will be necessarily (naturally) dynamic manifestations of who/what is present and contributing. In time, appropriate traditions of being-in-place will return to serve.
Voice in the limited sense simply cannot go as far.
David, I think of this as a pragmatic, local strategy.