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6 Ways to Dehydrate Foods

Chris Martenson - March 28, 2014 - 16:43

6 great ways to start dehydrating the produce from the garden this coming summer.

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Categories: Economics

Want to Fight the Corporate Takeover? Start with a Pint at the Pub

Dad and toddler toast in a pub. Photo by Flickr /futurestreet.



This article was written by David Bollier for, where it originally appeared.

Why should investors always have the upper hand in "development" plans when the resource at stake is a beloved building or public space? Why should the divine right of capital necessarily prevail?

The Community Pubs Minister extols "the importance of the local pub as part of our economic, social and cultural past.

How refreshing to learn that England has created a special legal process for preventing market enclosures of community pubs. There is even a Community Pubs Minister, whose duty it is to recognize the value of pubs to communities and to help safeguard their futures. So far, some 100 pubs have been formally listed as "assets of community value."

I know, I know—what would Margaret Thatcher say? "Damned government interventions in the free market!" Fortunately, that kind of market fundamentalism has abated for a bit, enough that the Community Pubs Minister—Brandon Lewis, a Conservative Party member of Parliament!—now extols "the importance of the local pub as part of our economic, social and cultural past, present and future."

He adds: "We have known for hundreds of years just how valuable our locals [local pubs] are. Not just as a place to grab a pint but also to the economies and communities they serve and that is why we are doing everything we can to support and safeguard community pubs from closure."

The topic was recently featured in The New York Times, which noted that 7,000 pubs have closed since the 2008 financial crisis, "leaving some small communities confronting the unthinkable: life without a 'local,' as pubs are known." For example, residents of the village of Hampstead are distraught that a group of outside investors has bought the 300-year-old Old White Bear pub, which they plan to convert into a six-bedroom luxury house.

Some 2,000 Hampstead residents have signed a petition to have the Old White Bear declared an asset of community value. Said one resident: "You rip the heart out of that, and we're either all going to wander the streets like zombies or stay indoors and not see each other ever again."

If a community has registered its pub as an "asset of community value" and it is then offered for sale, the community has the right to "pause" the sale of the endangered pub, shop, library or football ground, in order to prepare a formal bid to buy it. The government has even prepared a guide to Understanding the Community Right to Bid, and it offers an advice service for studying the feasibility of a community purchase.

I suspect that even with this government support, it's still quite difficult for communities to actually buy and maintain endangered pubs. But how terrific that there is such a legal right to assert long-term community interests.

Of course, the precedent invites expansion: If the government can shower tax breaks and subsidies on investors, why not give significant financial support to commoners trying to buy "assets of community value"? Why should commerce get all the subsidies?

And if localism is truly valued, why not fortify local communities to protect themselves against absentee investors who care little about the long-term well-being of the community or local ecosystems?

Why not show the same respect to commoners in India or Kenya or Indonesia whose equivalent of the local pub is under siege by multinational investors? Native peoples who are deprived of their "assets of community value" are just as likely to "wander the street like zombies" if those assets are suddenly bought, fenced off or destroyed.

Still, let us be grateful for this legal and political precedent. It's something to build upon: full recognition and support for owning the things that really matter to a local community.

This article is excerpted from, featuring news and perspective on the commons from David Bollier. He is author of the new book Think Like A Commoner: A Short Introduction to the Life of the Commons (New Society Publishers), an engaging and illuminating look at the the promise of the commons as a way out of many current problems. The founding editor of, Bollier now works on a variety of commons projects with international and domestic partners.

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Categories: Economics

New Book Debunks Myth that the Private Sector Drives Innovation

Shareable Magazine - March 28, 2014 - 10:56

There’s a prevailing narrative about innovation in America today, one so familiar that it is rarely questioned.

It goes something like this:

Innovation happens in the private sector. The public sector is a sort of encumbrance that is necessary for serving the public good and fixing market failures, but by and large it’s a drag on the economy and a hamper on innovation. 

Categories: Economics

Daily Digest 3/28 - Clean Coal Is the Future, ACA Signups Show Disparity

Chris Martenson - March 28, 2014 - 07:45
  • Obama Says ‘Deeply Held Grievance’ Led Putin to Seek Crimea
  • Deadline Near, Health Signups Show Disparity
  • Potential Crackdown on Russia Risks Also Punishing Western Oil Companies
  • Renewables Aren’t Enough. Clean Coal Is the Future
  • Chinese Pigs Eating Soybeans Cut U.S. Supply to 1965 Low
  • A U.S.-Saudi Move to Lower Oil Prices?
  • Borrowed Time on Disappearing Land
  • New Mexico Is Reaping a Bounty in Pecans as Other States Struggle

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Categories: Economics

Airbnb Declares Portland a “Shared City”

Shareable Magazine - March 28, 2014 - 05:43

Top image credit: Michael Wiley / Foter / CC BY-SA.

You may have read this week that Airbnb, as part of its attempt to be a good neighbor during its corporate expansion to Portland, Oregon, has declared Portland its first “Shared City.” And all I can say to CEO Brian Chesky is: Welcome to the party!

Categories: Economics

Off the Cuff: Preparing To Ride Camels

Chris Martenson - March 27, 2014 - 17:44

In this week's Off the Cuff podcast, Chris and Charles discuss:

  • Preparing To Ride Camels
    • What less net energy looks like for future generations
  • Energetic Insanity
    • We're going to make more bad choices before we make good ones
  • Communicating Hard Truths
    • What works and what doesn't
  • Community As The Master Asset
    • Your best bet if you could only pick one

"My grandfather rode a camel, my father rode a camel, I drive a Mercedes, my son drives a Land Rover, his son will drive a Land Rover, but his son will ride a camel."

~ Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum

The above quote comes from a former Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates who was also the Emir of Dubai and is credited with making that that small settlement into a regional commerce hub. Sheikh Rashid realized even back in the 1970's, that the region's massive oil supplies would last only a few generations.

In this week's Off the Cuff, Chris and Charles discuss the implications of...

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Categories: Economics

Daily Digest 3/27 - A Week Of Oil Spills, Will Inflation Make A Comeback In 2014?

Chris Martenson - March 27, 2014 - 08:20
  • Tymoshenko Says She Will Run for President of Ukraine
  • U.S. Reports Modestly Better Economic Growth
  • The Government Inflation Scam
  • Will Inflation Make A Comeback In 2014 When The Consensus Worries About Deflation
  • The Fourteen Year Recession
  • Dollar Value Could Suffer Instant Change: David Morgan
  • A Week of Oil Spills 
  • The Energy Intensity Of Food 

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Categories: Economics

Weather Is 1,557% More Harmful Than Helpful To Corporate Profits

Chris Martenson - March 26, 2014 - 17:55

It's just another day in the spin factory so let's have some fun with it.

Lately 'bad weather' was cited as the reason that Walmart and FedEx earnings were disappointing.  If it isn't 'one-time' charges that happen every quarter being removed from reported results, it's the weather being blamed for somehow hurting operations.

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Categories: Economics

Deep Sharing: How the Commons Amplifies the Sharing Economy

Shareable Magazine - March 26, 2014 - 11:48

This article is a selection from On the Commons' new e-book, Sharing Revolution: The essential economics of the commons, which highlights how the commons amplifies the burgeoning economic revolution now widely known as the sharing economy. Click here to download your free copy.

Categories: Economics

Intensive Gardening

Chris Martenson - March 26, 2014 - 10:25
Categories: Economics

Daily Digest 3/26 - Venezuela Downgraded To 'B', Bank Of Cyprus Starts Restructuring Plans

Chris Martenson - March 26, 2014 - 08:04
  • ECB's Weidmann says quantitative easing not out of the question
  • Doctors Say They Can't Care for Injured in Venezuela
  • Cincinnati Attorney To Sue Over Traffic Cameras In Dayton
  • Americans Can’t Retire When Bill Gross Sees Repression
  • Pricier beef 'here to stay' as food costs seen higher: USDA
  • Payday loans trap 80 percent of borrowers in ongoing cycle of debt
  • Debt Is Piling Up Faster for Most Graduate Students—but Not MBAs
  • China’s Gold Imports From Hong Kong Increase on Import Quotas
  • Bank of Cyprus kicks off review of restructuring plans
  • Spain proposes 2.3 billion euro rescue of failed motorways
  • Fitch Downgrades Venezuela to 'B'; Outlook Negative
  • Ukraine in talks with IMF for $15-20 billion loan package - finance minister

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Categories: Economics

How To Make A Vault From PVC

Chris Martenson - March 25, 2014 - 12:01

A simple tutorial on how to make a storage vault for securing preps and items of value in a PVC vault in the backyard or on your property.

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Categories: Economics

Somerville Skillshare: A Free, Locally Crowdsourced Education Model

Shareable Magazine - March 25, 2014 - 10:35

A skillshare is the quintessential Sharing Economy creation. It’s a simple concept: people gather in a large space like a school or community center and teach each other classes on topics they’re passionate about, like salsa dancing, stock investing, and bike maintenance. Classes occur simultaneously in multiple spaces throughout the day, and no topic is out of bounds. It’s local, educational, and free.

Categories: Economics

Daily Digest 3/25 - Nervous Energy, Who Needs A Boss?

Chris Martenson - March 25, 2014 - 10:06
  • Who Needs A Boss?
  • What It Feels Like To Be In Ukraine Now
  • The 60th Anniversary of Nothing Special
  • Nervous Energy
  • 7 million premature deaths annually linked to air pollution
  • Eyes on Afghanistan as Next Lithium Motherload
  • Climate Report Predicts Dire Threats for People, Including Food, Water Shortages
  • Seeking Living in Mudslide Path, Rescuers Fear They’ll Find Only Dead

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Categories: Economics

Nonprofit SAME Café Thrives with Pay-What-You-Can Model

Shareable Magazine - March 25, 2014 - 09:18

Top image: Brady Birk. Photo credit: El Pomar.

Categories: Economics

Cracking the Crowdfunding Code

Shareable Magazine - March 25, 2014 - 09:15

Top image: Rocio Lara.

Categories: Economics

Peak Cheap Oil Rears Its Head

Chris Martenson - March 24, 2014 - 17:31

This is a critical update on the Peak Cheap Oil front. 

Yes, I am talking about that tired old concept that was allegedly slain by American drilling ingenuity. It's back in the news... if you know where to look.

I remain steadfastly interested in the oil outlook because everything, and I do mean everything, in our exponential monetary and associated economic system is hinged upon there being more cheap oil next year than last.

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Categories: Economics

Supermodel Lily Cole Launches Gift Economy Platform

Shareable Magazine - March 24, 2014 - 15:34

Top image: Lily Cole presents Impossible at Let's Collaborate.

When a supermodel enters the sharing economy, it certainly raises a few eyebrows. Therefore, when Lily Cole came to New York to launch her gift economy platform, Impossible, Let’s Collaborate! was curious to explore the purpose behind the platform and what role it would play in the sharing economy.

Categories: Economics

How to Order and Choose Chicken Breeds

Chris Martenson - March 24, 2014 - 14:38

If you are planning to start a flock of chickens or add to an existing flock, it is a good idea to do this earlier rather than later, as many hatcheries will sell out of certain breeds by spring time. If you are planning to order day old chicks, there are a few things that you should know about before placing that first order.

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Categories: Economics