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Meet Chris Rankin, Shareable's New Development Manager

Shareable Magazine - June 26, 2017 - 13:37

We're delighted to announce that Chris Rankin has joined Shareable as a development manager. Rankin will be focusing on the financial growth of the organization, in collaboration with our staff and stakeholders. We're grateful to have him on the team. Please read the note below written by Rankin, to learn about his past work and path to Shareable:

Categories: Economics

Daily Digest 6/26 - What Went Wrong In UK Election, Is An Oil Comeback On The Cards?

Chris Martenson - June 26, 2017 - 04:40
  • British General Election: What Went Wrong?
  • Does US have right to data on overseas servers? We’re about to find out
  • Trump wants 'heart' as Republicans seek to deliver Senate healthcare bill
  • Arab Neighbors Demand Qatar Shutter Al-Jazeera and Cut Ties With Iran to End Diplomatic Row 
  • Regulators move to pull the plug on Mississippi coal plant
  • Expert Commentary: Is An Oil Comeback On The Cards?
  • Europe Doesn’t Need American Climate Scientists. It Needs American Climate Data

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Categories: Economics

Joseph Tainter: The Collapse Of Complex Societies

Chris Martenson - June 25, 2017 - 20:20

By popular demand, we welcome Joseph Tainter, USU professor and author of The Collapse Of Complex Societies (free book download here).

Dr. Tainter sees many of the same unsustainable risks the audience focuses on -- an overleveraged economy, declining net energy per capita, and depleting key resources. 

He argues that the sustainability or collapse of a society follows from the success or failure of its problem-solving institutions. His work shows that societies collapse when their investments in social complexity and their energy subsidies reach a point of diminishing marginal returns. That is what we are going to be talking about today, especially in regards to where our culture is today, the risks it faces, and whether or not we might already be past the tipping point towards collapse but just don’t know it yet.

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Categories: Economics

Daily Digest 6/24 - The Coming Bloodbath In Retail, Why Grenfell Tower Burned

Chris Martenson - June 24, 2017 - 07:04
  • GOP Push for 20-Year Tax Cut Grows as Ryan Seeks Permanent Fix
  • Analyzing Ether: A Bitcoin Investor's Skeptical Take
  • All Roads Lead to the Bubble-City Danger Zone
  • A Street Fight Among Grocers to Deliver Your Milk, Eggs, Bananas
  • We're Going To See A Bloodbath In Retail
  • Why Grenfell Tower Burned: Regulators Put Cost Before Safety
  • Driverless cars: Kangaroos throwing off animal detection software
  • What’s Causing The Massive Increase In Earthquakes In Middle America? It’s Not Fracking

Join the conversation »

Categories: Economics

The Value Drivers Of Cryptocurrency

Chris Martenson - June 23, 2017 - 18:27
Executive Summary
  • The critical value of scarcity
  • Understanding the utility of the blockchain
  • Will (can?) governments ban cryptocurrencies?
  • A coming geometric explosion in the price of cryptocurrency?

If you have not yet read Part 1: Understanding The Cryptocurrency Boom available free to all readers, please click here to read it first.

In Part 1, we surveyed the exciting but confusing speculative boom phase of cryptocurrencies. Here in Part 2, we will contextualize this mad swirl by running it through two filters: scarcity and utility.

What’s Scarce? Scarcity Creates Value

Regardless of one’s economic ideology or system, scarcity creates value and abundance destroys value.  When we say supply and demand, we’re really talking about scarcity and abundance and the rise or fall of demand for the commodity, good or service.

In classical economic theory, scarcity is met with substitution: ground beef too expensive due to relative scarcity? Buy ground turkey instead.

But this model has weaknesses.  There aren’t always substitutes, or the substitutes are more expensive or problematic than what is now scarce. 

As a general rule, profits flow to any scarcity of goods and services with high utility value.  We value what’s scarce and useful, and place little value on what’s abundant and of limited utility.

Currency has three basic functions: a store of value (it will retain its purchasing power over time), means of exchange (we can use it to trade goods and services, pay debts, etc.) and as an accounting mechanism to track assets, debts, income, expenses and exchanges/trades.

We assume all currency has this function, but only currency that is easily divisible and easily tradable enables easy accounting.  If a notched stick is a unit of currency, and one stick buys a pig, what do I use for purchases smaller than a pig?

In today’s world, a currency must be....

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Categories: Economics

Understanding The Cryptocurrency Boom

Chris Martenson - June 23, 2017 - 18:26

Today, there are hundreds of cryptocurrencies, and a speculative boom has pushed bitcoin from around $600 a year ago to $2600 and Ethereum, another leading cryptocurrency, from around $10 last year to $370.

Where are cryptocurrencies in the evolution from new technology to speculative boom to maturation? Judging by valuation leaps from $10 to $370, the technology is clearly in the speculative boom phase.

In trying to predict which forms of cryptocurrencies will dominate the mature marketplace of the future, we know that markets will sort the wheat from the chaff by a winnowing the entries down to those that solve real business problems (i.e. address scarcities) in ways that are cheap and robust and that cannot be solved by other technologies.

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Categories: Economics

Daily Digest 6/23 - Good News Friday: Tiny Kindnesses, How VT Cleaned Up Its Waters

Chris Martenson - June 23, 2017 - 08:13
  • Food, Energy, And The Evolution Of The Human Species
  • Bikers escort bullied 10-year-old boy to school
  • Mayor Kasim Reed Raises Minimum Wage to $15 per Hour for City Workers (Atlanta)
  • Out of High School, Into Real Life
  • Researchers optimize a powered exoskeleton to cut energy used in walking
  • Everything Changes: Tiny Kindnesses
  • Australian farmer's weed-destroying invention draws world interest
  • How Vermont tackled farm pollution and cleaned up its waters
  • Go Fly A Kite

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Categories: Economics

Uber's Missteps Should be a Cautionary Tale to the Tech Industry

Shareable Magazine - June 22, 2017 - 15:20

Op-Ed: This week, news broke that Uber's investors demanded and got CEO Travis Kalanick's resignation. The company has been embroiled in controversy from the get-go, and Kalanick should have been let go much sooner.

Categories: Economics

Daily Digest 6/22 - Senate Unveils ACA Repeal Bill, Our Fear Of Nukes

Chris Martenson - June 22, 2017 - 08:22
  • Senate Leaders Unveil Bill to Repeal the Affordable Care Act
  • I moved my kids out of America. It was the best parenting decision I've ever made.
  • Fewer People Think Continued GDP Growth Necessary or Possible -- Survey Results Released
  • Amazon Just ‘Jumped the Shark’
  • Two-And-a-Half Minutes to Midnight: Our Fear of Nukes and How We Got Here
  • Tesla Deals A Blow To Competitors As Its Stock Price Soars
  • In Flint Water Crisis, Could Involuntary Manslaughter Charges Actually Lead to Prison Time?
  • Heat can kill and we’re turning up the thermostat

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Categories: Economics

Podcast: How Placemaker Helps Communities Support Local Businesses

Shareable Magazine - June 22, 2017 - 05:15

This week in Building Local Power, we're discussing independent businesses and the communities that support them. Host Christopher Mitchell and ILSR co-director and Community-Scaled Economies initiative director Stacy Mitchell interview Katrina Scotto di Carlo from Portland, Oregon.

Categories: Economics

Off The Cuff: The Approaching Minsky Moment

Chris Martenson - June 21, 2017 - 18:00

In this week's Off The Cuff podcast, Chris and Mish Shedlock discuss:

  • A Study In Failure Of The State
    • Chris shares his on-the-ground observations from So. America
  • It Can Happen Here
    • Mish shares his on-the-ground observations from Illinois
  • Virtually All The Macroeconomic Data Is Miserable
    • Yet the Fed & the markets are acting like everything's great
  • The Approaching Minsky Moment
    • It's a matter of if, not when

This week's Off The Cuff discussion is an interesting one. Both Chris and Mish have front-row seats to two failing governments -- Chris in Argentina, and Mish in Illinois. It feels to them like they are getting a preview of the economic pain soon to come to the rest of the world.

Both are *very* concerned that citizens and investors across the globe are being duped by the (lack of) signals and messages today's ""markets"" are providing. Looking at the steady drumbeat of bad & worsening macroeconomic data, as well as the immense gap between fundamentals and asset prices, Chris and Mish are as confident as they have ever been that a massive painful reset is nigh. But too many of our leaders, and too much of the public, remain complacent/ignorant (willfully or not) regarding this risk. 

Their conclusion? The world is woefully unprepared for the Minsky moment headed its way.

Click to listen to a sample of this Off the Cuff Podcast or Enroll today to access the full audio and other premium content today.

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Categories: Economics

Danish Energy Cooperative Lets Consumers Collectively Build Wind Turbines

Shareable Magazine - June 21, 2017 - 16:54

The establishment of a carbon-neutral energy system requires massive investments in infrastructure such as wind turbines. Because distributed energy systems do not fit the business models of the old energy utilities, they continue to invest far too little in this sector. Meanwhile, many individual electric power consumers are interested in investing in renewable power infrastructure, but these investments are too large and require a level of expertise too advanced for individual households to be able to support them. How can consumers take matters into their own hands?

Categories: Economics

How Residents of Hamburg Reclaimed the Power Grid

Shareable Magazine - June 21, 2017 - 12:00

From 2000 to 2014, the energy infrastructure of the city of Hamburg was mainly in the hands of private energy monopolies such as Vattenfall and E.On that controlled most of Germany's electric power infrastructure. These companies had a strong interest in utilizing their coal and nuclear power plants as long as possible, thereby obstructing a shift to renewable energy. Moreover, they were reluctant to provide equal access to small power providers and invest in a smart grid that allows more effective management of variable, distributed power inputs.

Categories: Economics

Daily Digest 6/21 - Chicago Police Pension Will Be Broke In 2021, PR Foreclosures Surge

Chris Martenson - June 21, 2017 - 07:37
  • Quad City Illinois lawmakers head to Springfield to pass budget before deadline
  • Medica intends to stay in Iowa's health-insurance market, at 43% higher price
  • Health insurers request 22 percent premium increases in Washington for 2018
  • Rauner, schools play blame game as CPS takes out costly $275M loan (Chicago)
  • Australia's central bank frets on financial stability as household debt mounts
  • Pension Crisis Won't Be Reversed by High Returns, Moody's Says
  • Illinois Medicaid talks to blow past judge's deadline
  • Projection: Chicago's police pension fund will be broke in 2021
  • Illinois’ unpaid bill backlog grows to more than $15B
  • Puerto Rico families fight, flee a surge in foreclosures

Join the conversation »

Categories: Economics

Podcast: Late Environmental Economist Robin Murray's Views on Creating a New Economy

Shareable Magazine - June 20, 2017 - 16:43

In this episode, we spoke with the late Robin Murray, a prolific sustainability and environmental economist, an advocate for a living economy, and a key player in the birth of the fair trade movement. Murray was named by The Guardian as one of the fifty people who could save the planet. He worked to establish the London Climate Change Agency with the Deputy Mayor of London, and alternated between working on innovative economic programs in local, regional, and national governments and in academia.

Categories: Economics

Top 10 Ways to Beat the Heat

Chris Martenson - June 20, 2017 - 13:54

Here are 10 considerations and ways to help stay cool this summer and survive record high temperatures and oppressive heatwaves.

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Categories: Economics

Timeline: History of Rural Electricity Cooperatives in the US

Shareable Magazine - June 20, 2017 - 10:11

Most farms in the U.S. today have power, and many get their current from small, consumer-owned rural electric cooperatives. But in the 1930s, only 10 percent of these farms were connected to the electricity grid. During the New Deal era, a system of electricity cooperatives was established, and through the sharing of resources, the nation's rural communities were electrified. Within a few decades, roughly 90 percent of farms in the U.S. were connected to the electricity grid. The same grid exists today, but it is badly in need of an upgrade. 

Categories: Economics

Daily Digest 6/20 - “Consciousness is everywhere,” How Russia Targets the U.S. Military

Chris Martenson - June 20, 2017 - 04:06
  • Leading neuroscientists and Buddhists agree: “Consciousness is everywhere”
  • How Russia Targets the U.S. Military
  • He Voted to Impeach Clinton. This Looks Bigger.
  • The Thinking Person's Retirement Choice
  • 10 no-brainer ways to cut healthcare costs without hurting quality
  • 3 ways Clean Energy will make Big Oil extinct in 12 to 32 Years — without subsidies
  • Oil Markets Unmoved By Brewing Conflict In The Middle East
  • It’s Too Hot for Some Planes to Fly in Phoenix

Join the conversation »

Categories: Economics

Community Power Offers Fukushima a Brighter, Cleaner Future

Shareable Magazine - June 19, 2017 - 13:27

In 2011, the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami ravaged the Fukushima prefecture, in the Tohoku region of Japan's main island of Honshu.

Categories: Economics

Cool Block Shows How Neighborhoods Can Create Climate Resilience

Shareable Magazine - June 19, 2017 - 12:10

In her 30 years of working in the sustainability sector, Sandra Slater has learned quite a bit about human behavior, including the idea that just giving people information doesn't inspire a change in behavior. 

"If you just go in and say, 'Let's lower your carbon footprint,' it's a nonstarter," Slater says. "You have to go in with other motivators." She says people are looking for social connection, meaning, purpose, safety, and efficacy.

Categories: Economics