User login

Economics

We’re Jammin’ Round the World: #MapJam Reaches 50 Cities

Shareable Magazine - October 14, 2014 - 05:20

"If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places--and there are so many--where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction. And if we do act, in however small a way, we don't have to wait for some grand utopian future.

Categories: Economics

The Market Crumbles

Chris Martenson - October 13, 2014 - 20:33

~ Is a market crash possible here?

For so many years the stock markets has done just one thing: Go up.  And then up some more; until everyone "knew" that the stock market could never go down again, and that the Fed would ride to the rescue if it ever started to go down.

Well, for better or worse, the Fed is now committed to ending QEternity here in October 2014. A decision they cannot easily undo.

And various markets around the globe are in trouble.

Join the conversation »

Categories: Economics

Gravity Returns - The Market Drops Nearly 5% in 3 Days

Chris Martenson - October 13, 2014 - 16:14

A month ago, in an analysis titled Defying Gravity, I wrote about the unsustainable state of the stock market's high prices.

In it, I noted how the stock market had risen for an aberrantly-long time time without a correction, and that it hadn't even tested its 200-daily moving average price once since the beginning of 2012:

Join the conversation »

Categories: Economics

What Housing Organizers in Buffalo Learned from the ’70s

This article is presented as part of New Economy Week, five days of conversation around building an economy that works for everyone. Today’s theme is “The New Economy Isn’t New.”

Luis Nieves (right) helps Michael Raleigh (left) secure floorboards in Raleigh's front porch. Raleigh is renovating a house on Buffalo's East Side that he purchased from the city for $1 through the Urban Homestead program. Photo by Mark Boyer.

We can learn a lot about what it takes to build a new economy by looking into the hidden histories of localism and cooperative economics in our own cities. And one of the clearest lessons that history offers us is that the most successful organizations of the past few decades managed to develop structures and systems that allowed them to grow while holding true to the core values of participatory democracy and community rootedness that animate them.

Here in Buffalo, the foundations of our current movement were laid in the 1970s, when our co-op movement created new bakeries, restaurants, retail stores, and credit unions. Some of these efforts were connected to anti-corporate organizing—like a broad effort to hold the big gas utility accountable and to develop energy cooperatives.

The movement for community control and cooperative economics in Buffalo blossomed as student organizers who had led resistance movements at SUNY Buffalo in the late ’60s entered their post-collegiate lives, settling in neighborhoods like University Heights and Allentown. The movement also took hold in the city's African-American community on the East Side, where a rooted and radical consciousness was expressed in a range of new community gardens, consumer co-ops, cultural institutions, and community-controlled schools like BUILD and CAUSE.

What we see when we study our own histories are friends and neighbors committed to democratic values, working like mad to live them out and experimenting at every step. As a ’70s baby, I caught the tail end of this generative phase and I can say for sure that one of its greatest achievements was in the realm of higher consciousness, of building a culture apart from consumerism that valued the wonder and discovery of childhood, of art and music and food and everything else that makes us human.

Part of our work at People United for Sustainable Housing (PUSH) is about honoring the elders who instilled this spirit of humanism and openness. Our board chair, Maxine Murphy, is a veteran of the Civil Rights movement who has taught us a lot about the  tradition of self-sufficiency and localism that ran through the Deep South of her childhood. It’s her vision, along with that of our membership, that motivated us to create our Green Development Zone, where we've boosted energy security through renewables and energy efficiency, repaired food systems (in partnership with the Massachusetts Avenue Project), and built a community economy of local entrepreneurs our guiding objectives.

One question to consider when thinking about how to expand our contemporary new economy movement is that of institutionalization. Why did some of the cooperative institutions built in the ’70s—especially food co-ops—get to scale and thrive in subsequent decades, while others faded away?

We can explain of lot of this with market dynamics—food co-ops catered to emerging tastes for healthier food that big corporate food bureaucracies were clueless about. But it also had a lot to do with governance, structure, accountability, and ethos. Movement institutions that depended on inhumane commitments of time and labor or that had dysfunctional management cultures obviously had a hard time moving into the future.

For us at PUSH, the new economy rises out of the natural networks and affinities that are inherent to families and neighborhoods. Those relationships are where we can build a culture of community control and of critical consciousness.

There’s an interplay between that consciousness and the material realities—of having a say over all of the commodities we need to survive: food, housing, energy, health care, and the like. We need to bring all of those things back home, to make them part of our culture and to be producers of our essentials wherever possible.

At PUSH, we call the organization that is at the hub of all this a “community anchor institution,” guided by ideals of radical democracy and rooted in the needs and desires of people at the grass roots. An anchor that produces real wealth and power for the community has to be structured enough to get to scale and compete with the market in sectors like food and energy, while never wavering in its commitment to community-driven planning and a culture of openness.

 

Back to the New Economy Week main page.

Aaron Bartley is the co-founder of People United for Sustainable Housing (PUSH Buffalo), which has won international recognition for its Green Development Zone, a synthesis of community organizing and development.

This post was written for the New Economy Coalition's second annual New Economy Week, an event exploring what it will take to build an economy that works for people, place, and planet. To learn more, visit New Economy Week.

Read this next:

Categories: Economics

With an Economy that Worked for All, Mike Brown Would Still Be Alive

This article is presented as part of New Economy Week, five days of conversation around building an economy that works for everyone. Today’s theme is “The New Economy Isn’t New.”

 

McDonald’s workers on strike in July 2013 in St. Louis, Mo. Photo by Cathy Sherwin / Flickr.

The Southern Grassroots Economies Project, a network of organizations that build cooperative economic institutions in the southeastern United States, just completed its fourth CoopEcon—a training institute for cooperative members. The following is excerpted from the dedication of that gathering:

We dedicate this gathering to Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown, and the many other victims of police and other racist violence; we honor the heroic people of Ferguson, Mo., and the countless ordinary people in communities across the country who know a change must come and are willing to participate in creating that change.

Self-reliance carries with it a level of independence that frightens the powers that be.

We dedicate this gathering to the people of Appalachia who see the tops blown off their mountains and their streams poisoned. They watch as their children get cancer at high rates. Their beautiful homeland is sacrificed to the greed of the coal companies, then abandoned when there is little profit left to extract. We honor those who organize and resist this devastation.

We dedicate this gathering to the neighborhoods that grocery stores, seeking higher profits, left years ago, making it difficult to find fresh fruits or meats or vegetables. We honor those who have decided to do something about it and, with technical and financial help, build the stores they need.

CoopEcon honors these individuals and communities by helping them to make a change. CoopEcon is about changing the world, at first one neighborhood, one grocery store, one mountaintop at a time—but soon, all at once.

None of us can know what will happen in the next few years. We can’t predict when millions of people will be drawn into action by some event—a catastrophe, perhaps—some situation that cannot be ignored. We can't gaze into a crystal ball and foretell the future. But we can prepare for it.

We do this by working to build a sustainable economy that meets peoples’ needs, while learning and teaching the skills and building the organizations that will scale up to improve the lives of many more people in the future. Our full humanity is expressed only when we have the capacity and the opportunity to be productive, to do for ourselves, meeting our needs in our communities.

For many of us, that means working in the South.

The South is our home. It is often neglected, misunderstood, misrepresented, and underestimated. We know its history and its potential. We know that those who see us as a source for their unquenchable thirst for profit have no need for many of us. They do not want us to be capable of doing for ourselves. As it was the case of the black landowners who were a foundation of the Civil Rights struggle, self-reliance carries with it a level of independence and confidence that frightens the powers that be. Meanwhile, it gives us great courage. This is the South that we want.

The world in which Michael Brown would still be alive is a world we have yet to create.

We live in a world of contradictions and disparity. There are islands of great wealth and privilege in an ocean of poverty and despair. The concentration of power and wealth among the wealthy few leads to ecological, social, and economic devastation for the many. There are some of us, like Mike Brown, that the wealthy and powerful have no place for. They just want us “off the street, on the sidewalk”—if there is a sidewalk.

And if we are defiant, if we refuse to move out of the way, if we refuse to become invisible, if we refuse to stop being inconvenient, if we assert our humanity instead, demanding to be noticed, refusing to comply, then we might be summarily executed—like Mike Brown, left lying in the street as a sign to others that we must obey.

But many young people still refuse. These young people who refuse to do as they are told are our only hope. Those who passively seek to comply with all authority are accepting their own dehumanization and becoming agents of the dominant power.

The world in which Michael Brown would still be alive is a world we have yet to create. It is a world in which people are valued, not as a means to an end, but as ends in themselves.

 

Back to the New Economy Week main page.

Ed Whitfield wrote this article for New Economy Week, a collaboration between the New Economy Coalition and YES! Magazine. Ed is the co-managing director of the Fund for Democratic Communities.

This post was written for the New Economy Coalition's second annual New Economy Week, an event exploring what it will take to build an economy that works for people, place, and planet. To learn more, visit New Economy Week.

Read this next:

Categories: Economics

Day 1 of New Economy Week: The New Economy Isn’t New

This article was produced in partnership with the New Economy Coalition as part of the 2014 New Economy Week. Each day this week, YES! will publish articles responding to different topic prompts. Click here for more info.

A vigil for Mike Brown in Ferguson, Mo. Photo by Sarah Ji / Flickr.

Prompt 1: The new economy isn't new.

Let’s get this out of the way at the start: There’s nothing really new in the “new economy.” Ideas like cooperative economics, ecological justice, horizontal democracy, and the commons are ideas with a rich history—especially in the places most deeply affected by pollution, poverty, and racism. Those who have suffered the most at the hands of an unfair economy are the most experienced at imagining and building alternative futures. How can we honor that as we build a broad-based social movement to transform our economy?

Our feature articles provide some insight:

For more perspectives, visit the New Economy Coalition.

Want more? Here's a sampling of articles we’ve published at YES! related to this topic:

 

Back to the New Economy Week main page.

This project is a collaboration between the New Economy Coalition and YES! Magazine, a national, nonprofit media organization that fuses powerful ideas with practical actions.

Categories: Economics

How to Make Transit Hubs Safer for Everyone Using Intersection Repair

Shareable Magazine - October 13, 2014 - 09:56

By Mike Lydon of The Street Plans Collaborative. Photo credit: gregraisman

Transit Hubs are busy intersections where train lines, bus lines, cars, taxis, pedestrians, and bicycles often meet. Here’s how to make sure those who depend on transit the most (the very young, the very old, and families on tight budgets) can get across intersections safely.

STEP 1. Watch the People Flow.

Categories: Economics

Drying Food 101

Chris Martenson - October 13, 2014 - 09:37

The basics of putting excess fruits and vegetables away in storage through dehydration and making fruit leathers. 

http://www.groworganic.com/organic-gardening/articles/drying-food-101

Join the conversation »

Categories: Economics

Public Roads, Private Maps

Shareable Magazine - October 13, 2014 - 09:05

This story was originally published at re:form, a new design publication on Medium. Illustrations by Susie Cagle.

The first time I rode my bike from my new house in Oakland, I felt hopeful.

I sped down the smooth hill, clad in new bike gloves and helmet, official city bike map in my front pants pocket.

By the time I arrived downtown, less than three miles away, I’d dodged five very close-cutting cars, a half-dozen errant pedestrians, and more potholes than I could count.

Categories: Economics

Daily Digest 10/13 - Oil Bear Market Tests OPEC Unity, Treating Ebola Safely

Chris Martenson - October 13, 2014 - 07:47
  • W.H.O. Chief Calls Ebola Outbreak a ‘Crisis for International Peace’
  • Can You Treat Ebola- And Stay Safe?
  • Holder Of Secrets
  • I let Yondr lock my smartphone in a sock so I could “live in the moment”
  • Russia Spending $6 Billion Not Enough to Stop Ruble Rout on Oil
  • Oil Bear Market Tests OPEC Unity as Venezuela Seeks Meeting
  • The 10 Biggest Energy Company Bankruptcies
  • Once a Symbol of Power, Farming Now an Economic Drag in China

Join the conversation »

Categories: Economics

Sharing Week Connects Dutch Sharers through National Event

Shareable Magazine - October 13, 2014 - 06:47

Sharing Week is in full-swing in the Netherlands. Running until October 15th, with events throughout the country, primarily at Seats2meet coworking locations, it’s an opportunity to celebrate sharing, discuss challenges and opportunities, and envision sharing’s bright future. This is the second Sharing Week, which comes hot on the heels of the first one held in June.

Categories: Economics

Richard Gould: Learning From Ancient Human Cultures

Chris Martenson - October 12, 2014 - 09:17

Richard Gould is a Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at Brown University (where I was his student) and one of the foremost experts on hunter-gatherer societies. In the 1960s, he and his wife spent years living with the aborigines in Australia's Western Desert, observing first-hand their way of life. Through study of these people and many others around the world, his work focused on understanding how human culture and behavior adapts to environmental stress, risk and uncertainty.

We've invited him to this week's podcast to discuss what insights ancient cultures may be able to offer in terms of "natural human behavior" that may fit well within our specie's blueprint.

Join the conversation »

Categories: Economics

Daily Digest 10/12 - First Ebola Case Contracted In Dallas, A Roundabout Way to a Higher Credit Score

Chris Martenson - October 12, 2014 - 07:44
  • You Know It’s a Tough Market When Bernanke Can’t Refinance
  • Officials Admit a ‘Defeat’ by Ebola in Sierra Leone
  • Dallas Hospital Worker Diagnosed With Ebola, First to Catch Deadly Virus in U.S.
  • In Lending Circles, a Roundabout Way to a Higher Credit Score
  • No Smoke, No Mirrors: The Dutch Pension Plan
  • When The Snows Fail
  • Fish unable to rapidly adapt to ocean acidification
  • 35 Hurt as Strong Typhoon Batters Japan

Join the conversation »

Categories: Economics

Daily Digest 10/11 - Unsustainable Trends About To Collide, Will The Real Inflation Rate Please Stand Up?

Chris Martenson - October 11, 2014 - 09:33
  • Ready or not: Three unsustainable trends are about to collide
  • The Market Cycle’s Slippery Slope
  • 10 New Insights into Sleep: Discover What The Latest Psych Research Has Taught Us
  • Will The Real Inflation Rate Please Stand Up?
  • Cold fusion reactor verified by third-party researchers, seems to have 1 million times the energy density of gasoline
  • Here's why shale oil stocks are tanking
  • The Amish Farmers Reinventing Organic Agriculture
  • U.S. Edges Closer To Energy Independence

Join the conversation »

Categories: Economics

Understanding Asset Bubbles - Crash Course Chapter 17

Chris Martenson - October 10, 2014 - 16:21

Through the long sweep of history, the bursting of asset bubbles has nearly always been traumatic.  Social, political and economic upheavals have a bad habit of following asset bubbles, while wealth destruction is a guaranteed feature.

Join the conversation »

Categories: Economics

Want to Build an Economy that Works for Everybody? Next Week, We’re All About It

Photo by Lemonhead / Flickr.

For more than a decade, we at YES! Magazine have written regularly about something we call the “new economy.” Readers will recognize the worker-owned cooperatives, local food initiatives, and alternative ways of measuring wealth that have been hallmarks of our reporting on this topic. But if someone cornered you in the bulk foods aisle and demanded to know what, exactly, the new economy is, what would you tell them?

New Economy Week will have plenty going on offline as well.

The answer, it turns out, is up for debate. Even among the thinkers and organizers most invested in the term “new economy”—Gar Alperovitz and Chuck Collins come to mind—vigorous debates and conversations are going on all the time about what it is, where it should focus, and how to make it spread.

To focus that discussion, the New Economy Coalition, a nonprofit organization that supports more than 100 member groups, has set next week aside as the second annual “New Economy Week.”

Monday through Friday, the days will be packed with online panels, local events, and writings. The coalition has picked five juicy questions about new economy issues and sent them to its members to see what they think. We’ll be curating their responses each day from Monday to Friday. You can find links to all five days here (we'll be updating the page with articles and links daily).

And New Economy Week will have plenty going on offline as well. The activities range from multi-day conferences such as “Who Owns Vermont?”—which will explore alternative ownership models in that state—to more intimate gatherings like happy hours celebrating October—our “national cooperative month”—in San Francisco and Philadelphia.

Meanwhile, several hundred inventors, entrepreneurs, activists, and organizers will gather in Detroit for the “New Work New Culture” conference to discuss topics like the financing of community-owned projects, the way cooperatives are portrayed in the media, and the role of local food production.

“We’re hoping that people will become inspired and empowered,” said Mike Sandmel, the New Economy Coalition’s manager of coalition engagement, “not just to oppose our unjust and unsustainable economy, but to take part in building something better.”

Mary Hansen wrote this article for YES! Magazine, a national, nonprofit media organization that fuses powerful ideas with practical actions. Mary has a hard time staying in one place but is also known to write, edit, and be a die-hard Steelers fan. She is an online reporting intern at YES!

Read more:

Categories: Economics

New Economy Week: Topics of Conversation

From cooperatives to public banks and everything in between, new economy solutions have been a hallmark of YES! coverage. But, what is the new economy exactly? The answer is up for debate, and, as a part of New Economy Week, we will be diving right into the middle of it.

Our friends at the New Economy Coalitions sent five pivotal questions about new economy issues to their members, and we at YES! will be posting the conversations from Monday to Friday, from October 13-17.

Day 1: The new economy isn’t new

Let’s get this out of the way at the start: There’s nothing really new in the “new economy.” Ideas like cooperative economics, ecological justice, horizontal democracy, and the commons are ideas with a rich history—especially in the places most deeply affected by pollution, poverty, and racism. Those who have suffered the most at the hands of an unfair economy are the most experienced at imagining and building alternative futures. How can we honor that as we build a broad-based social movement to transform our economy?

 

Day 2: Expanding how we think about what’s possible

In the late 1970s, U.K. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher often repeated the phrase “There is no alternative”—meaning that deregulated capitalism was the only possible way of doing things. It’s an idea that still carries a lot of weight today, stifling the popular imagination. The good news is that it’s just not true: there are many alternatives. Local groups and social movements have been building alternatives to capitalism for centuries. How can we change the mainstream narrative about what’s possible?

 

Day 3: Building a movement that can win

Let’s be real. Those who have benefited from the concentration of wealth and power aren’t going to give up their power willingly. Fresh ideas for an alternative economy aren’t going anywhere without a social movement powerful enough to deliver real change despite opposition. The good news is that this movement is emerging. Our ideas and projects are resonating with people and even beginning to beat back industries that funnel wealth into the hands of a powerful few. But we can’t be content working at the margins. How do we build the kind of power we need to transform the economy?

 

Day 4: Combating climate change without leaving anyone behind

Powerful interests divide communities by presenting a false choice between good jobs and a healthy environment. But the new economy rejects the idea that there isn’t enough to go around. The climate science is clear: we have to move quickly to a renewable energy economy. But we have to also move in the right direction by making sure that those people who have been employed and exploited by polluting industries are not left behind. How do we transition to an economy powered by renewable energy without leaving behind these workers, their families, and everyone who depends on them?

 

Day 5: The new economy is close to home

Our current economy is undermining our aspirations for a democratic society and it seems unlikely that national governments are going to turn it around any time soon. But there are many examples of bold action emerging from local and regional contexts. From Richmond, Calif., to Jackson, Miss., people are organizing to build local power and are seeing major victories that could point the way to a new economy. How do we support and encourage work on the local level?

This project is a collaboration between the New Economy Coalition and YES! Magazine, a national, nonprofit media organization that fuses powerful ideas with practical actions.

Read more:

Categories: Economics

Water for Survival

Chris Martenson - October 10, 2014 - 07:57

A brief summary of how to get water and ensure that it is safe to drink during an emergency situation or survival event.

http://zombease.com/water-finding-collecting-and-treating-for-survival/

Join the conversation »

Categories: Economics

Daily Digest 10/10 - Energy Stocks Take A Plunge, The Cosmic History Of Earth's Water

Chris Martenson - October 10, 2014 - 06:19
  • Wall St. Closes Sharply Lower, With Energy Stocks Leading the Plunge
  • Sluggish Global Outlook Ripples in Markets
  • Chinese Authorities Make Arrests in Attempt to Prevent Pro-Democracy Campaigns on Mainland
  • Jim Grant: Gold is the anti-debt monetary asset
  • With Ebola’s Arrival at Nebraska Center, It’s No Longer a Drill
  • Wal-Mart cuts health benefits for 30,000 part-timers
  • Tiny Gasoline Drips Can Create Big Problems
  • The Cosmic History Of Earth's Water

Join the conversation »

Categories: Economics

5 Urban Gardening Secrets To Grow Food In Any City

Chris Martenson - October 9, 2014 - 16:41

If you are limited on space due to living in densely populated urban and city environments, here are 5 ways to help you along your path to food production and increased resilience.

http://www.thegoodsurvivalist.com/5-urban-gardening-secrets-to-grow-food-in-any-city1721/

Join the conversation »

Categories: Economics