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Daily Digest 4/24 - The Wisdom Of Going Solar

Chris Martenson - 3 hours 45 min ago
  • Everything You Need to Know to Rebuild Civilization from Scratch
  • Silver Up & S&P Down
  • Doug Casey: The biggest risk in the world today
  • Obama's Last Shot
  • Global solar dominance in sight as science trumps fossil fuels
  • The inevitable wisdom of going solar
  • Carrots in the car park. Radishes on the roundabout. The deliciously eccentric story of the town growing ALL its own veg
  • West Virginia's Toxic Spill Water Will Be Pumped Into Wells Beneath Ohio

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Categories: Economics

Container Vegetable Gardening

Chris Martenson - April 23, 2014 - 14:40

Learn some of the ins and outs of growing plants and food in containers / pots and how you can still produce a lot of food in pretty small spaces.

Note: Did you know that growing your own ginger is pretty easy to do in a pot and makes a great house plant?

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Categories: Economics

If Facebook was a bank would you trust it?

Community Currency Magazine - April 23, 2014 - 08:26
If Facebook was a bank would you trust it?

Facebook is turning into Facebank – and could be the biggest financial institution in the world...
Facebook's own global map of its users The big question asked by smug business journos about Facebook has always been "How is it going to make enough m
Categories: Economics

Ann Arbor Sharing Summit Catalyzes Local Sharing Movement

Shareable Magazine - April 23, 2014 - 08:00

If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be part of your revolution. It's a sentiment famously expressed by activist Emma Goldman, but Goldman was not alone in her idea of a worthy revolution. Shareable’s #SharingSpring initiative, just one aspect of the worldwide movement toward sharing societies, is proving to involve a fair amount of dancing.

Categories: Economics

Daily Digest 4/23 - Austerity Endangers Spain's Roads, Russia Pressures Ukraine On Gas

Chris Martenson - April 23, 2014 - 07:33
  • Puerto Rico considers legalizing marijuana and prostitution to jumpstart economy
  • Idaho payday loan interest rates highest in nation at 582%
  • New report warns that millions of pensioners face living on less than minimum wage (UK)
  • Greece austerity caused over 550 male suicides, study finds
  • Hundreds of thousands of Greeks apply for 'social dividends'
  • Mayors push for Illinois pension cuts this year
  • Comptroller: Illinois has $7 billion in unpaid bills
  • Brazil Economists See More Inflation, Less Economic Growth This Year
  • Austerity endangers Spain's road users
  • Fed's low-interest-rate policies cost savers $758 billion, study says
  • Finance Ministry says state debt set to reach 52.7 percent of GDP this year
  • Russia Pressures Ukraine on Gas as Biden Pledges Support

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Categories: Economics

In Rural Kansas, an Experiment Makes Hitchhiking Safe Again

This article originally appeared at

Photo by Shutterstock.

“We’re not stuck in a traffic jam. We are the traffic jam.”

What I love best about the sharing economy is how it squeezes good value out of the unused bits of our society that would otherwise go to waste. And nowhere do you have so much waste as in our transportation system. A personal car uses less than 1 percent of its energy to move a passenger, and 80 percent of our passenger capacity is driving around empty.

That’s hundreds of millions of empty seats in this country! Meanwhile, 45 percent of the country has no access to transit. What a perfect opportunity to share!

Of course, plenty of smart people are already employing new Smartphone apps to put those empty seats to work. For example, I could use the Lyft or Uber apps to call up a citizen taxi, or download the Carma app to share my morning commute. That is, I could do these things if I lived in a big city like San Francisco or Austin. Unfortunately, I live in rural Northeast Kansas where we have neither transit, nor the critical mass of people needed for those apps to work well.

Hitchhiking is an easy, cheap, and flexible way to get around—in many countries it's a primary mode of transit.

We denizens of the countryside have historically accepted a big trade-off. Peaceable enjoyment and low housing costs come at the price of a tremendous amount of driving. And when the car is our only option, we are incredibly vulnerable to fluctuations in the price and disruptions in the supply of gas. I spent two years grumbling about all the driving, but feeling helpless to do anything about it.

Then I heard a radio podcast about hitchhiking and how it’s not nearly as dangerous as the media have led us to believe. The point was made that hitchhiking is such an easy, cheap, and flexible way to get around—in many countries it's a primary mode of transit. So the show argued, we should give it another chance. For some reason, this idea grabbed me so fiercely that I thought about little else until I had designed a way to do just that—mainstream hitchhiking and make it safe, easy, reliable, and fun. What I came up with was a nonprofit organization that I called Lawrence OnBoard.

Here’s how it works: participants can sign up as riders or drivers or both. Drivers can sign up for free. They get a window cling with their member number. Riders pay a membership fee and we provide them with a background check, a photo ID and a folding dry erase board branded with the club logo. The rider can write his destination on the board, stand by a safe roadside, hold up the board and wait for a passing car to stop. The rider can then text in the driver’s member number (or license plate number if the driver is not a member) to Lawrence OnBoard.

That makes a record of the ride which is important as a safety backup, as a way to leave feedback and it enters the driver in a drawing for a prize. The prize is a fun incentive for the driver that doesn’t require an awkward cash transaction and doesn’t turn the driver into an unlicensed taxi service. Lawrence OnBoard will provide training, a map of good locations, and a marketing campaign.

With the power of the sharing economy, we now have the chance to build a brand new model for public transportation.

That’s the plan, and in 2013, I conducted field tests to see if it could work. Twenty-three volunteers went out on 121 test rides in and around the Lawrence area and the results were pretty astonishing. Even with random strangers picking up, 95 percent of the volunteers got a ride in less than half an hour, and our average wait time was less than seven minutes! In some prime locations, we could reliably get a ride in less than two minutes. When I saw these results, I know we were onto something.

I personally used my dry erase board to commute to town for most of the summer and I found that it was safe, easy, and reliable and saved a lot of gas. But even better, I met more of my neighbors, learned what was happening in the neighborhood and even made a couple of business deals. Building community like this is the big strength of the sharing economy and it’s something we are sadly missing when we all drive alone.

Of course, this ridesharing concept does have its limitations. One shouldn’t do it at night, it’s not good for transporting small children, and riders need to be over 18 and use good judgment. We still need to conduct another season of research to back up the preliminary findings and continue to test and map good locations to ride from. We’re also raising funds through grants and some crowdfunding to launch a pilot, hopefully before the end of the year. You can help our efforts by making a donation at RocketHub.

Americans are eager for better transportation solutions. The carless college students in Lawrence, environmentally conscious families who want to pare down to one car, and populations who can’t drive are especially interested in this project, since it focuses on short, local trips.

When I presented the research findings to the Transportation Research Board I got an enthusiastic response from transportation professionals all across the country. Lawrence OnBoard has been featured on podcasts, public radio stations, blogs, and the news. Most recently, we were named a finalist in the TEDxFulbright Social Innovation Challenge and got to pitch the idea on a TED stage!

We are so fortunate to live in this modern age. With the tools and technology currently at our disposal and the power of the sharing economy, we now have the chance to build a brand-new model for public transportation. Imagine a network of neighbors driving neighbors. This network is nimble and can fill in the gaps between trains, buses, and bikes. It’s cheap and efficient because it makes better use of the cars already on the road. And it’s a transportation system that’s built on our best resource: our human kindness.

Check out on our progress at

See you on the road!

Jennifer O'Brien wrote this article for, where it originally appeared. Jennifer is CEO of the nonprofit Lawrence OnBoard, and the owner of CASA Kids Studio in Lawrence, Kansas.

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Categories: Economics

When Every Country Wants to Sell, Who Buys?

Chris Martenson - April 22, 2014 - 10:14

Understandably for the US, which sustained a consumption supercycle for several decades, the post-financial crisis period has kicked off a new trend: Americans want to consume less, and make more.

Americans want to own less stuff, use less energy, and produce their own goods. In short, Americans want to sell

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Categories: Economics

Why Demand Will Become Even More Scarce

Chris Martenson - April 22, 2014 - 10:14
Executive Summary
  • Anemic employment & wages growth depresses the odds of near-term interest rate hikes
  • Why energy costs increases are experiencing a lull, keeping inflation lower than many expected
  • The demographic arguments for deflation
  • Why the US is becoming more vulnerable to a repricing of natural gas -- vs oil -- in the coming decade

If you have not yet read Part I: When Every Country Wants to Sell, Who Buys?, available free to all readers, please click here to read it first.

The most recent US jobs report was once again a disappointment, despite the headline number of 192,000 jobs created. Over the past two years, the economy has reliably created about 150,000 jobs per month. This has been just enough to keep up with population growth, but alas, not enough to put the long-term unemployed back to work. The concerning data in the report came in the details of the jobs created: as usual--and this has been a trend for several years now--mostly in the lower wage sectors. A few wrap-up tweets from Dan Alpert of Westwood Capital summed up the facts rather nicely:

#BLS OK, here's the result: 49.21% of all jobs created in March were in the low wage sectors - reverting to situation we saw last year (1/2)

— Dan Alpert (@DanielAlpert) April 4, 2014

#BLS ...and, in March, hourly wages FELL...down one penny overall and down 2 cents for production and non-supervisory workers. NOT GOOD.

— Dan Alpert (@DanielAlpert) April 4, 2014

Other notable observations from recent trends in US jobs reports include the fact that job creation in 2013 was no higher than in 2012. Not exactly an encouraging trend for those who would be looking for inflation risk, or strong growth in 2014.

But perhaps worst of all has been the number of workers leaving the workforce. Part of this can be explained, of course, by demographic retirements. It's no secret that the US has an aging population, and there's a bulge of retiring workers that will admittedly create some gaps in the labor market over the next decade. But the large numbers of workers exiting the workforce is also explained by discouraged workers, and that unemployment benefits for many have started running out.

What many in the public do not understand, is that workers taking unemployment checks are counted as active seekers of employment. They are added to the composition of the workforce, and when they continue to take unemployment checks but do not find work, they serve to keep the unemployment rate elevated. But when unemployment benefits expire, and workers leave the workforce, the unemployment rate may...

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Categories: Economics

3 Platforms to Start Your Own Sharing Service

Shareable Magazine - April 22, 2014 - 07:59

Robust participation in a sharing economy requires connection—to share, people must be able to interact with one another to identify resources and ways to move goods and services.

Categories: Economics

Peers, the SHARE Conference, and the State of the Sharing Economy

Shareable Magazine - April 22, 2014 - 07:53

In 2013, Peers hit the sharing scene and immediately got to work organizing people around the world. Through the coordination of grassroots projects including local clothing swaps and mealshares to awareness-raising and activism to address regulations that impede ridesharing, short-term rentals and more, Peers has positioned itself as a leader of the sharing movement.

Categories: Economics

Infographic: Timeline of Corporations in the Collaborative Economy

Shareable Magazine - April 22, 2014 - 07:40

Top image credit: jcolman. Article cross-posted from Web Strategist.

Categories: Economics

In Each Other We Trust: Coining Alternatives to Capitalism

Shareable Magazine - April 22, 2014 - 07:37

Top image credit: JD Hancock / Foter / CC BY 2.0. Article cross-posted from ROAR Magazine.

Beyond God and state, it’s money that rules. Can we still imagine alternatives? And what role will recent innovations like Bitcoin play in the struggle?

Categories: Economics

Tiny House Documentary Goes Deep into the Movement [Video]

Shareable Magazine - April 22, 2014 - 07:37

Tiny houses are definitely trending. Stimulated by the recession and increasing housing costs, as well as a desire to simplify and downsize, tiny houses are popping up in cities, rural areas, harbors, apartment complexes and more. More than just cute, simple dwellings, tiny houses are tools to help people transform their lives.

Categories: Economics

Daily Digest 4/22 - Microbes Will Feed The World, Are Stores Making Bank Off Food Stamps?

Chris Martenson - April 22, 2014 - 05:46
  • Willem Middelkoop and Terence van der Hout: Turnaround Stories Revolve Around Proven Management
  • Are Stores Making Bank Off Food Stamps?
  • Silver Miners Have Been Exploited For Generations By The Pilgrims Society
  • Gold Price In Ukraine 75% Higher In 2014
  • Digging for answers: The “strong smell” of fraud from one Bitcoin miner maker
  • The EIA is Seriously Exaggerating Shale Gas Production in its Drilling Productivity Report
  • Conservative heavyweights have solar industry in their sights
  • Microbes Will Feed the World, or Why Real Farmers Grow Soil, Not Crops

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Categories: Economics

How to Deal with Extremely Root Bound Plants

Chris Martenson - April 21, 2014 - 15:24

For healthier and more productive indoor and patio plants, make sure to periodically check the root growth of container plants to make sure they are not root bound.  And if they are, use the information in the following article to learn how to deal with the problem.

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Categories: Economics

Garden Bed and Walkway Design

Chris Martenson - April 21, 2014 - 11:36

Like most gardeners, my fruit and vegetable gardens were setup in nice neat rows, just like you see on an industrial style farm. Granted I was using many different varieties of plants mixed together, nonetheless the beds and walkways were simply straight and boring. So if not nice neat farm rows, what options are there?

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Categories: Economics

Daily Digest 4/21 - New Violence Reported in Eastern Ukraine, CA's Thirsting Farmland

Chris Martenson - April 21, 2014 - 07:23
  • 50 Years Into the War on Poverty, Hardship Hits Back
  • 15 Years After Columbine, How "Never Again" Became "Oh Well" 
  • New Violence Reported in Eastern Ukraine
  • Hong Kong, Some Bankers Back an ‘Occupy’ Movement
  • Peter schiff debates progressive who says wealth should be confiscated
  • Major media publisher admits it is “afraid of Google”
  • California's Thirsting Farmland 
  • These Are Some of the Oldest Living Things on Earth

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Categories: Economics

How to Make a Hoop House

Chris Martenson - April 21, 2014 - 07:10

Whether you are protecting your spring plants from chaotic temperatures / storms or extending your growing season into fall and winter, learning how to build this simple hoop house over your raised beds can help your plants grow better and improve your overall success.

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Categories: Economics

How Git Redefined Open Source Software Development

Shareable Magazine - April 21, 2014 - 06:07

Images and article cross-posted from Written by Matt Attaway.

Categories: Economics

Design for Sharing — We Are What We Share

Shareable Magazine - April 21, 2014 - 06:05

Images and excerpt from the Sustainist Design Guide: How Sharing, Localism, Connectedness, and Proportionality are Creating a New Agenda for Social Design, by Michiel Schwarz and Diana Krabbendam with The Beach Network. Design: Robin Uleman.

Categories: Economics