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You Did This! The Birth of the Sharing Cities Network

Shareable Magazine - July 22, 2014 - 08:07

Shareable has been telling stories from the frontlines of the sharing movement since 2009. Stories of tool lending libraries, timebanks, community clothing swaps, and visions of a worldwide sharing economy. Over time, the visions have turned into realities, the seedlings into sprouting truths. It’s undeniable: the sharing movement is growing every day.

Categories: Economics

Humans Making Bad Choices Is Why I Garden

Chris Martenson - July 21, 2014 - 17:35

As long as you're curious and read somewhat widely, if you're one of those readers who digs a bit further now and then, it's pretty much impossible to avoid the conclusion that humans are living unsustainably.

We're using up energy sources that took approximately 350 million years to accrete in a single 350-year-long orgy of consumption.

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Categories: Economics

12 Uses for Mason Jars

Chris Martenson - July 21, 2014 - 14:53

Some great ideas for using mason jars in not so conventional ways.  I especially like the idea of using it for bathroom organization containers. 

http://www.motherearthliving.com/healthy-home/home-organization/uses-for-mason-jars-zmhz14jazpit.aspx#axzz388iX1KOO

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Categories: Economics

Daily Digest 7/21 - Shake-Up on Opium Island, ND's Oil Boom Is Unsustainable

Chris Martenson - July 21, 2014 - 09:24
  • Don't Blame Malaysia Airlines
  • A Tough Corporate Job Asks One Question: Can You Hack It?
  • Chemists develop novel catalyst with two functions
  • The Biggest Energy Trading Disaster In History
  • Chemists develop technology to produce clean-burning hydrogen fuel
  • North Dakota’s Oil Bonanza Is Unsustainable
  • Why the modern bathroom is a wasteful, unhealthy design
  • Shake-Up on Opium Island

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Categories: Economics

How a New Dutch Library Smashed Attendance Records

Shareable Magazine - July 21, 2014 - 06:38

Facing declining visitors and uncertainty about what to do about it, library administrators in the new town of Almere in the Netherlands did something extraordinary. They redesigned their libraries based on the changing needs and desires of library users and, in 2010, opened the Nieuwe Bibliotheek (New Library), a thriving community hub that looks more like a bookstore than a library.

Categories: Economics

Daily Digest 7/20 - Flint MI Bankruptcy Imminent, Soda Bottles Become Low-Cost Lights

Chris Martenson - July 20, 2014 - 08:07
  • First Detroit, Now Flint Warns Bankruptcy "Train Is Headed For The Cliff"
  • Flint manager warns of bankruptcy over retiree costs
  • In a Subprime Bubble for Used Cars, Borrowers Pay Sky-High Rates
  • Former Soda Bottles Become Low-Cost Solar Lights
  • Giant Global “Chimney” Could Alter Climate Change
  • Latest State of the Climate: Yup, Still Getting Hotter
  • Return On Investment
  • Frack Quietly, Please: Sage Grouse Is Nesting

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Categories: Economics

Daily Digest 7/19 - Facts Needed on Malaysian Plane Shoot-Down, White House Opens Door To Atlantic Oil Exploration

Chris Martenson - July 19, 2014 - 08:03
  • With Grief on Top of Grief, Malaysians Are Tested on Flight 370’s Lessons
  • The Netherlands, a Nation in Mourning but Mindful of Ties to Russia 
  • Facts Needed on Malaysian Plane Shoot-Down
  • Gold Daily and Silver Weekly Charts - Sleepwalking To a Wipeout
  • Part-Time Schedules, Full-Time Headaches
  • Faulty red light cameras produced thousands of bogus traffic tickets
  • White House Opens Door to Exploring Atlantic for Oil
  • Obama opens East Coast to oil search, sonic cannons

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Categories: Economics

<a href="/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fmatslats

Community Currency Magazine - July 19, 2014 - 03:33

Grass roots software provider Community Forge goes from 0-100 in six years | Matslats -...
matslats.net
Swiss nonprofit Community Forge was founded in the aftermath of the 2008 banking implosion. The first mission statement was about giving communities the tools they needed, most especially the monetary tools, to become more independent and resilient. Tim Anderson, from the LETS in Geneva, had teamed…
Categories: Economics

Grass roots software provider Community Forge goes from 0-100 in six years

Matslats - July 19, 2014 - 02:49

Swiss nonprofit Community Forge was founded in the aftermath of the 2008 banking implosion. The first mission statement was about giving communities the tools they needed, most especially the monetary tools, to become more independent and resilient. Tim Anderson, from the LETS in Geneva, had teamed up with Matthew Slater, a software developer to build a community web portal and accounting tool suitable for LETS.

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Categories: Blogs

Growth vs. Prosperity: Crash Course Chapter 5

Chris Martenson - July 18, 2014 - 17:52

Chapter 5 of the Crash Course is now publicly available and ready for watching below.

It challenges the conventional thinking that "economic growth" is the same thing as "prosperity". It isn't. And increasingly, we're being forced to trade one off for the other. As global surplus resources dwindle, we need to ask ourselves: Which of these do we value more?

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Categories: Economics

Raising Pigs

Chris Martenson - July 18, 2014 - 13:04

I’m sure you saw the title of this article and immediately thought, “I already live with a few.”

However, whether you’re a self-reliant homesteader or just want to cut away from your food budget, raising pigs (of the porcine variety) is a great way to become more self-reliant and sufficient. If you raise your own meat in any scenario, you will have more control over how it is raised and fed, and you can make sure that it is essentially raised organically (whether or not you apply for organic certification). Raising your own meat is less expensive than purchasing meat that is not factory-farmed.

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Categories: Economics

Why Target Stopped Asking Job Applicants If They've Been Convicted of a Crime

Kissy Mason and her son call on Target to change its hiring practices at the company's corporate headquarters in May 2012. Photo courtesy of TakeAction Minnesota.

Kissy Mason understands the importance of second chances. As she grew up in Minneapolis in the '80s and '90s, she watched her family members move in and out of prison and saw the discrimination they faced as a result.

“People in my family were being locked up, and then they were locked out of a right to live, a right to employment,” she said.

Unemployment is a huge barrier to the success of ex-offenders outside prison walls.

Mason decided early on that she wouldn't follow in their footsteps and end up in the prison system. After moving around Minnesota, she returned to Minneapolis to earn her associate's degree in criminal justice. But in 2006, a domestic argument got out of control and led to a conviction. Mason was offered probation—but her record was no longer clean.

Because of a background check that brought up the incident, she no longer qualified for low-income, or Section 8, housing and struggled to find employment. “At that time,” she said, “I had three children, and I was trying to provide for them.”

“Sometimes people bar you from jobs forever because of one incident, and I don’t think that’s fair,” Mason said. “People should be given another chance. It shouldn’t be one time and you’re out.”

Creating a fairer job market

Mason’s story is not unique. Nearly 70 percent of those released from prison in the United States will be arrested again within three years of release. Unemployment is a huge barrier to their success outside prison walls.

“Many return to their communities with no more skills and resources than when they were arrested and incarcerated,” says Victoria Law, author of Resistance Behind Bars: The Struggles of Incarcerated Women. “For many, during their incarceration technology has changed so much that the skills that they do have might be obsolete.”

But Mason didn’t accept the situation as it was. Instead, she became involved with a campaign to reduce the employment discrimination faced by former offenders through policies that prevent employers from asking about an applicant’s criminal record, at least in the early phases of the process.

It’s an idea that’s catching on: Legislation of this type has been passed in one form or another in more than 60 counties, cities, and states, according to the National Employment Law Project—and that number is growing.

These policies are known by the phrase “ban the box,” coined in 2003 by All of Us or None, an organization founded by formerly incarcerated people who faced barriers to employment. The “box” refers to the little square on job applications that potential employees are asked to check if they’ve ever been convicted of a felony.

“Ban the box” policies aim to remove this question from job applications.

Law sees “ban the box” policies as a necessary step in improving the outlook for ex-offenders. “For initial employment applications to include a box asking about felony convictions is yet another hurdle for a person to surmount to be able to survive post-prison,” she said.

In most cases, “ban the box” policies do not stop potential employers from conducting criminal background checks, but instead delay the process until an employer has had the opportunity to get to know the employee's qualifications first, usually through at least one face-to-face interview.

Infographic courtesy of the National Employment Law Project.

An uphill battle won

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton signed a statewide “Ban the Box” bill into law on Jan. 1, 2014. That day was a triumph for TakeAction Minnesota, the network of unions and progressive groups who led the movement to develop and pass the legislation.

“Giving them a chance to reintegrate into communities and support families is going to be part and parcel of reducing incarceration rates.”

TakeAction members knew they faced an uphill battle. Minnesota’s majority-Republican legislature wasn’t a natural ally of legislation that benefited former prisoners, and the state had one of the largest gaps in employment rates between whites and other races in the country. The group decided to split its attention between pushing for new legislation and pressuring corporations to adopt fairer hiring standards on their own.

As a major employer based in Minnesota, Target was the obvious choice. TakeAction members began calling on Target executives to adopt fairer hiring practices back in 2012 and held rallies at the company’s headquarters, but failed to receive the response they hoped for.

The group had better luck after it partnered with 150 formerly incarcerated people who had applied for seasonal positions at Target in 2012. Not surprisingly, none of them were hired—but the rejections were tangible proof of the discrimination that former offenders faced as they applied to jobs.

With the help of TakeAction Minnesota, 10 of the rejected applicants would later file complaints with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Kandace Montgomery, an organizer with TakeAction, credits the mounting pressure on Target and the subsequent attention from the press as key factors in the passage of Minnesota's "ban the box" law.

The high volume of job applicants with records also served as the opening for a conversation between activists and executives at Target, who in October 2013 agreed to “ban the box” in all Target stores nationwide.

Not just about jobs

Making it easier for formerly incarcerated people to find work isn’t the only expected benefit of “ban the box” legislation. Supporters also believe that these policies will help bring down the United States’ incarceration rate—which is the highest in the world—and make neighborhoods safer as well.

”Giving them a chance to reintegrate into communities and support families is going to be part and parcel of reducing incarceration rates,” said Madeline Neighly, a staff attorney for the National Employment Law Project. As she puts it, it’s about being “smart on crime” instead of “tough on crime.”

“We’re creating safer communities not through locking up community members but by giving them opportunities and second chances,” she said, adding that positive press about the policies is leading to a broader conversation on what it means to have a criminal record.

It’s an impressive achievement for supporters of “ban the box” legislation. Yet back in Minnesota, Mason points out that these polices alone won’t eliminate the barriers faced by formerly incarcerated people.

Ex-offenders still deal with driver’s licensing restrictions, prejudice after the job interview has been completed, and, in some states, limited voting rights. Furthermore, the background checking process needs to be reviewed—Kissy says her own conviction was pulled up even after it had been expunged.

There’s still a long way to go, Mason says, but “ban the box” is a good first step.

Nur Lalji wrote this article for YES! Magazine, a national, nonprofit media project that fuses powerful ideas with practical actions. Nur is a contributor to YES! based in the Seattle area. Follow her on Twitter at @nuralizal.

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Categories: Economics

Off the Cuff: The Fed Is Very, Very Scared

Chris Martenson - July 18, 2014 - 11:16
  • The Fed's Nightmare
    • Bedlam will ensure if/when the market loses confidence
  • Age of Anomalies
    • Fed-induced market distortions are shaking that confidence
  • Pump & Pray
    • Does the Fed have any better game plan?
  • Central Planning Fault Lines
    • Rifts among allies are increasing the risks

Join the conversation »

Categories: Economics

California Passes Bill to Legalize Complementary Currencies

Shareable Magazine - July 18, 2014 - 10:34

Top image credit: epSos.de.  Authored by Chris Tittle

Categories: Economics

8 Unexpected Uses for a Mountain House Pouch

Chris Martenson - July 18, 2014 - 08:19

A few interesting ideas on how to reuse / re-purpose a mylar food pouch for survival and efficient use of waste packaging.

http://beprepared.com/blog/16441/8-unexpected-uses-for-a-mountain-house-pouch/

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Categories: Economics

Daily Digest 7/18 - Greece Seen Needing Third Bailout, How A Supermarket Prevented Food Waste

Chris Martenson - July 18, 2014 - 07:19
  • FedEx Faces U.S. Criminal Charges Over Online Pharmacies
  • Why the Myers-Briggs test is totally meaningless
  • James Turk & John Rubino: How to prepare for the breaking of the monetary system
  • The Human Price of Neocon Havoc
  • New York state proposes sweeping Bitcoin regulations—and they’re strict
  • Funding War: U.S. Companies Disclose Conflict Mineral Use
  • Greece Seen Needing Third Bailout as Bonds Insufficient
  • This Supermarket Came Up With A Brilliant Way To Keep Food From Going To Waste

Join the conversation »

Categories: Economics

These Young People Are Pioneering Appalachia's Post-Coal Economy

Joe Solomon is a campaigner with Energy Action Coalition.

Highlander Center staff and Appalachian Transition Fellows don helmets in preparation for a trip into a mine at the Coal Mine Museum in Benham, Ky. Photo by Catherine Moore.

In the Hunger Games novels, heroine Katniss Everdeen comes from a coal mining region known as District 12. Her people are poor and looked down upon, but they’re also resourceful and know how to work together. In the end, it’s those skills that allow Katniss and her friend Peeta to win the games against better-trained rivals from the wealthy capital.

You could say Appalachia needs an army of real-life Katnisses—and, luckily, it’s found them.

The books are fiction, but many readers believe District 12 is set in a futuristic version of Appalachia’s real-life coal country. And, these days, the real Appalachia needs all the resourcefulness and cooperation it can get.

The coal industry, which in many counties has dominated the economy for more than a century, is not providing the jobs it used to. Coal reserves are dwindling, mechanization has made it easier to pay fewer workers to extract more coal, and there’s new competition from cheap natural gas. In Boone County, W. Va, for example, about 40 percent of coal jobs have disappeared since the end of 2011, according to research firm SNL Financial. And the same trend is going on across the region.


Breaking the Grip of the Fossil Fuel Economy: If It Can Happen in Appalachia, It Can Happen Anywhere

You could say Appalachia needs an army of real-life Katnisses—and, luckily, it’s found them. The Highlander Center, a a training center for social movements with deep roots in the South, just launched its "Appalachian Transition Fellowship"—a program to mentor and support 14 young Appalachians as they work on economic development projects throughout the region. Their goal is to accelerate the creation of a diverse economy by working on projects that create jobs and livelihoods in the wake of coal's decline.

Through this fellowship, Highlander’s fellows will spend a full year working on economic transition projects in Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, Ohio, and North Carolina.

I recently had a chance to meet the Appalachian Transition Fellows as they took a kick-off tour through the region. We talked about how they got interested in economic transition and what their fellowships will look like. Here’s what a few of them had to say.

Photo by Catherine Moore / Flickr.

Name: Willa Johnson
Age: 28
Hometown: McRoberts, Kentucky

In the 6th grade, Willa was shopping for school supplies with her mom when an artificial pond broke down near her house. It had been full of waste water left over from processing coal, and it sent a four-foot polluted wave down her mountain hollow. Everything but Willa’s double-wide mobile home was wiped away, including her family’s pool and much of their yard.

She wants to work on the growth and evolution of Appalachia—not on fighting King Coal.

By the time she was 16 years old, the mold was so bad that her family had to move. They couldn’t sell the house, either. It was uninhabitable.

By her early twenties, Willa thought she could help by fighting the coal companies that had caused disasters like the one she remembered from her childhood.

So she became a community organizer, but the work didn’t go as expected. Willa’s father was a coal truck driver. So was her brother. They didn’t like what she was doing, and they weren’t shy about saying so.

Once, when Willa was doing voter outreach at a festival, a neighbor said Willa was a disappointment to her father—and that he had told her so. Another time, at a family barbecue, an in-law accused Willa of “taking away jobs.” Willa responded that her work was about protecting water and community. Then Willa’s own brother ripped into Willa’s stance against coal.

After that incident, Willa and her brother didn’t speak for a year and a half.

She burned out, left town, and had nothing to do with organizing for the next two years. Now she wants back in, but she wants to work on the growth and evolution of Appalachia—not on fighting King Coal.

Willa’s fellowship will be in North Carolina, where she will help local textile mill operators connect to a growing marketplace that wants more environmentally friendly and fair trade fabrics.

 

Photo by Catherine Moore / Flickr.

Name: Joshua Outsey
Age: 28
Hometown: Birmingham, Alabama

Joshua tells me about growing up young and black in Birmingham. If you wanted to “build power”— to grow a strong enough network to protect your friends and family—the most direct path was to join a gang. Josh took a step down this path, but got a wake-up call at age 18, when a gang orientation took a turn for the worse and shots were fired.

Joshua moved to Knoxville and started hanging out with a group called Tribe One, an after-school program designed to give young black men a refuge from gang activities. It was there that he met his mentor, Stan Johnson, who taught him about other ways to build power. By coming up with a plan to organize a community, for example, a person could achieve a more lasting form of power.

At age 22, Joshua joined up with Johnson to co-found a group called Socially Equal Energy Efficient Development, or SEEED, a group that makes green jobs available to low-income people in Knoxville, Tenn. Josh helped organize neighborhood clean up days, "empowerment hour" workshops, and a door-to-door listening project to build support for home insulations.

"I started my own gang," Josh tells me.

Joshua is starting a year-long fellowship with Kentuckians for the Commonwealth. He'll be working with the city of Benham, Ky., to insulate homes and make home heating more affordable.

 

Photo by Catherine Moore / Flickr.

Name: Kendall Bilbrey
Age: 22
Hometown: Wytheville, Virginia

Kendall's parents grew up in a company-owned Virginia mill town called Fries, and money was always a problem. They pushed hard work, a good education, and getting out of the mountains. Kendall obliged, went to Washington, D.C., and attended George Mason University—finishing in two and a half years.

"People line up for internships with Smithsonian programs, but they weren't lining up for Appalachia.”

Summer of junior year, a friend invited Kendall to attend a summer retreat organized by the STAY Project. Founded in 2008, STAY is a youth-led group designed to build a community of young people from central Appalachia who care about each other and the region. Kendall, who was also coming to terms with being queer at the time, reported feeling more at home with the people at STAY than with the queer community in D.C.

After graduating college, Kendall nabbed a research internship with the Smithsonian’s National Zoo, which involved traveling to China to study red pandas for five months. After returning to Virginia, Kendall took pause to reflect: "People line up for internships with Smithsonian programs, but they weren't lining up for Appalachia.”

Starting in June, Kendall will begin a fellowship with the Alliance for Appalachia, doing research and legwork to inform a potential federal campaign to unlock more resources for economic transition.

 

Photo by Catherine Moore / Flickr.

Name: Joey Aloi
Age: 30
Hometown: Buckhannon, West Virginia

Joey spent his high school years doing flood relief work in McDowell County, W. Va. It’s not that it rains more there than in other counties, he says—it’s just that the rain doesn’t have anything to stick to. The deforested landscape of surface mines sent the water rolling down the hollers, overpowering the creeks and destroying houses.

Joey tells me that after a day of throwing out people's mud-soaked belongings and knocking down walls, he’d wipe out his nose, and his “boogers would be covered in coal dust.” As he grew increasingly aware of the connection between mining and flooding, he wanted to find a different way of thinking about the land and how we use it.

Joey started by studying philosophy at Warren Wilson University, with a concentration in environmental ethics. He then enrolled in the Ph.D. program in philosophy at the University of North Texas in Denton. He says that most of his fellow students are still there, writing their dissertations in the library or teaching undergraduates.

But Joey recently returned to West Virginia, where he will work on his dissertation in the evenings. During the day, he’ll be working with the Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation in Charleston, W. Va., connecting local farmers with the city’s hospitals, which serve more than 2.5 million meals a year.

 

Photo by Catherine Moore / Flickr.

Name: Carol Ann Davey
Age: 26
Hometown: Columbus, Ohio

Carol went to high school in Cheshire, Ohio—a tiny town in the southeastern corner of the state, shadowed by the two huge smokestacks of a coal-fired power plant.

All the kids grew up being told the coal plant was “where they made the clouds.”

As Carol was growing up, the owner of the plant, American Electric Power, was forced in a legal settlement to buy out every house in Cheshire because of sulphurous gas clouds and acid rain that had rendered the place uninhabitable. Over time, the people moved out and the company bulldozed their houses. She remembers riding the bus to school in the morning and seeing the city vanish block by block.

All the kids grew up being told the coal plant was “where they made the clouds.” No one seemed to want to dig any deeper into why this was happening. Carol, though, felt a creeping dread. She went to Kentucky for her undergraduate degree and then to Ireland to get her masters—but is committed to return to the region and give back.

So she’ll return to Athens, Ohio—the closest city to what’s left of Cheshire—for a fellowship with the Appalachian Center for Economic Networks, where she’ll help local businesses develop more sustainable practices.

 

Photo by Catherine Moore / Flickr.

Name: Mae Humiston
Age: 23
Hometown: Fairfield, Virginia

When Mae was in middle school, she suffered from some serious bullying. Mae didn’t want her younger brother to see the same fate, and reasoned that if she “become the most successful person in Rockbridge, Virginia,” the kids wouldn’t mess with him. She set her sights on a high-powered career in international relations, and earned a scholarship to Tufts University.

Mae’s first class on international relations made her miserable. Her work with the school’s student garden, however, was sheer pleasure. From there, she expanded to working with small farms in the Boston and Washington, D.C. metro areas. After college, she got a job with a CSA farm, where she was on the edge of a promotion to crew manager.

Soon she noticed all of her crew's farmers were getting “parsnip burn”: a nasty rash that comes from handling the plants without gloves. Mae tried to get her manager to pay attention, but instead he told her she was “too weak for the job.” The experience led to her current interest in farm workers’ rights.

Mae's fellowship will be with the Community Farm Alliance in Hazard, Ky., where she’ll help farmers get their produce to low-income communities.

 

Photo by Photo by Joe Solomon / Flickr.

Name: Catherine Moore
Age: 32
Hometown: Charleston, West Virginia

Catherine always had affection for her home state of West Virginia. When she was in college in Cambridge, Mass., she says, she hung a huge satellite map of the state on her wall.

“I am struck by the sheer potential for radical self-definition that this moment holds.”

She always assumed she’d return, but maybe in her 40s—someday far off in the future. But it came sooner. While working on her Ph.D. in Richmond, Va., Catherine took a dive into local history. It made the pain of being cut off and disconnected from her own place even sharper, she says.

Catherine is now home, living in the New River Gorge of the southern part of the state, where the roots of her family tree crisscross the land. It’s a tree that includes slave owners and coal barons, and part of the reason Catherine says she needs to be here is her desire to research and come to terms with these stories.

Catherine tells me about how locals mourn what’s been lost in West Virginia: the tens of thousands of coal jobs, the countless once-vibrant towns. But within the loss is an opportunity.

“Most of all, I am struck by the sheer potential for radical self-definition that this moment holds,” she says. It’s “the chance to write our own story, to find our own words for who we are and who we want to become.”

Catherine will spend her fellowship working on the “What’s Next, West Virginia?” project—a year of listening events around the state designed to help residents have a conversation about their vision for a new economic future and to help them act on it together.

Joe Solomon wrote this article for YES! Magazine, a national, nonprofit media organization that fuses powerful ideas with practical actions. Joe is an organizer with the youth-focused environmental justice group Energy Action Coalition, and lives in Charleston, W. Va. Follow him on Twitter at @engagejoe.

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Categories: Economics

Newsletter – July, 2014

Beyond Money - July 17, 2014 - 11:43

Contents

  • From Visby to Bisbee
  • Website improvements, slide shows, and videos
  • My upcoming events
  • Ecuador leading the way toward a “Commons Economy”
  • Kalikalos Summer School/Vacation.
  • Bitcoin—the currency and the technology
  • J. W. Smith and the Institute for Cooperative Capitalism Worldwide
  • More lessons in global economics, finance, and internet access

From Visby to Bisbee

Last year around this time I was in Visby, on the island of Gotland in Sweden where I was privileged to be able to attend the annual Almedalen event, an exciting convergence that brings together a wide variety of business people, politicians, academics, grassroots activists and ordinary folks for several days of presentations, discussions, and festivities.

This year I’m in Bisbee, Arizona, a former mining town turned artist’s mecca and tourist destination where I have the use of a comfortable house while my friends who own it summer in New England. Bisbee is located in Cochise county which is in the southeastern corner of Arizona, close to the Mexican border. I’ve gradually been adjusting to small town living and finding it to my liking. At five thousand feet elevation, the climate is pleasant—not too hot, and the summer monsoons have provided abundant rains over the past couple weeks. The ocotillo plants, which most of the time look like clumps of dead sticks splayed out toward the sky, are now covered with lush green leaves and tipped with red blossom tassels. _____________________________________________________

Website improvements, slide shows, and videos

The slower pace of small town Arizona has given me the opportunity to focus much of my energy and attention on consolidating the considerable body of work that I have built up over the past three decades, work that has taken a variety of forms—articles, books, websites, presentations, and interviews. Thanks to modern technologies, much of this work has been recorded and thus can be made readily available to present and future generations. I’ve spent a lot of time going back over my accumulated material—reworking and updating it, finding ways to make it more accessible, and in some cases, publishing it for the first time. I’m proving (to myself at least) that an old dog can learn new tricks, and I’ve been having a fun doing it.

I’ve been using Power Point for several years but up to this point had not tried to learn more than its basic functions, nor had I made much of an effort to learn how to edit audio and video files. With the acquisition of Power Point 2010, which has some powerful new features, plus some new found motivation on my part, I’m now beginning to master it along with audio editing software like WavePad and Audacity (both are free). Together, these tools are enabling me to create videos of reasonably good quality from many of my Power Point presentations that have been recorded over the years. I am posting these for viewing on my Vimeo channel at https://vimeo.com/tomazg/videos.

One of my best presentations, A New Paradigm in Exchange and Finance: The pathway to peace, justice, freedom, and a dignified life for all, was delivered at the Public Banking Institute conference in Philadelphia in 2012. I’ve made a video of that slide show presentation, which you can view at https://vimeo.com/100765695.

I’ve also done some work on my YouTube channel. I’ve sought out and collected materials in which I am featured. You can find these in my YouTube playlist labeled, My presentations and Interviews.

These links are also provided in a new menu button labeled, My Videos and Sites, that I’ve added at the top of the home page on my website http://beyondmoney.net/. That button also brings up links to my other sites.

As you explore my sites, please let me know if you find any broken links, errors, or other problems. You can reach me at thgreco@mindspring.com.

_____________________________________________________

My upcoming events

I’ve been invited by the Sunbelt World Trade Association to give a presentation in Tucson on Monday, August 18. This presentation will describe how local businesses can create local liquidity on the basis of their own production and collaborative credit, thereby reducing their dependence on bank borrowing and protecting the local economy from the ill effects of national and global monetary policies (Details at http://beyondmoney.files.wordpress.com/2014/07/2014-tucson-flyer-063014.pdf). If there is sufficient interest, I may follow that up with a workshop covering the issues that need to be addressed in preparing to launch a complementary community currency for southeastern Arizona.

In October, I’ll be going to the San Francisco Bay area. I will present at Living the New Economy conference in Oakland, October 23-26 (http://www.bayareaneweconomy.org/), being organized by the people at Bay Bucks, a complementary currency and trade exchange for the SF Bay Area. Their banner reads: “We help local businesses cut costs, increase revenue and in the process, build local resilience.”

On October 30 I will present, The Evolution of Money and its Potential to Improve Humanity at the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS). Details can be found here.

_____________________________________________________

Ecuador leading the way toward a “Commons Economy”

In 2013, the government of Ecuador embarked upon a program to rethink the fundamentals of its economy and plan its transition to a free and open knowledge society. Friend and colleague, Michel Bauwens, founder of the P2P Foundation was engaged to lead a ten month process of research and discussion.

David Bollier has provided a good overview of the project and a progress report in his magazine On The Commons.

_____________________________________________________

Kalikalos Summer School/Vacation

If you’re in the market for a European vacation combined with an educational and community-building experience, you must check out Kalikalos Summer School where you can experience “Alternative holistic holidays on Mt Pelion above the sea.” Their three campuses are all in close proximity to one another in one of the most beautiful parts of Greece. This short video will give a good idea of what to expect.

_____________________________________________________

Bitcoin—the currency and the technology

The story of Bitcoin goes way beyond alternative currency. As a “virtual commodity,” Bitcoin represents a step backward toward a more primitive form of currency, but the “block chain” technology that Bitcoin uses has far reaching applicability. An interesting article that speaks to that point appeared in The Telegraph (UK). Titled, The coming digital anarchy, the lead-in to the article reads, “Bitcoin is giving banks a run for their money. Now the same technology threatens to eradicate social networks, stock markets, even national governments. Are we heading towards an anarchic future where centralised power of any kind will dissolve?

An interesting counterpoint to that one is Matthew Slater’s excellent article, What happens after the crypto-revolution?

And the nerds among us would do well to read Marc Andreesen’s New York Times article, Why Bitcoin Matters. Andreesen has invested almost $50 million in Bitcoin-related start-ups. He begins by painting this picture:

“A mysterious new technology emerges, seemingly out of nowhere, but actually the result of two decades of intense research and development by nearly anonymous researchers.

Political idealists project visions of liberation and revolution onto it; establishment elites heap contempt and scorn on it.

On the other hand, technologists – nerds – are transfixed by it. They see within it enormous potential and spend their nights and weekends tinkering with it.”

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J. W. Smith and the Institute for Cooperative Capitalism Worldwide

The Institute for Cooperative Capitalism Worldwide (ICCW) is the latest project of J.W. Smith, a long-time scholar and advocate of economic democracy, who has been writing on “full and equal rights economics” for many decades. I’ve know J.W. for many years and have a high regard for his work. I first became aware of him from reading his book, The Worlds Wasted Wealth. Now in his eighties, J.W. is still going strong and making a difference. His latest book is Periphery of Empire is Free: Empire’s Citizens Soon Will Be Free, which is being offered as an e-book at the bargain price of $5.50, along with books by William Kotke, Alanna Hartzok, and others.

The ICCW seeks to publish e-books by authors who share this full and equal rights philosophy. See their “creative commons” page. For responses and questions you can contact Dr. J.W. Smith at cc@ccus.info or phone 623-875-4624 .

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More lessons in global economics, finance, and internet access

Whenever you need to take a short break from whatever you’re doing, Clarke and Dawe’s video can provide you with some deep insights about the global financial crisis, with a few chuckles thrown in.

And for a few more laughs relating to an important current topic, view John Oliver on net neutrality, and sign the petition to protect internet access at The Daily Kos.

Wishing you a pleasant summer,

Thomas


Categories: Blogs

Tails Offers Complete Anonymity on a Stick

Shareable Magazine - July 17, 2014 - 10:29

Whether you are a journalist, activist, or whistlblower, you might be interested in using Tails for completely private messaging on the web.

Categories: Economics

Daily Digest 7/17 - The "Recovery" In One Chart, Stay Away From Almond Milk

Chris Martenson - July 17, 2014 - 08:35
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Categories: Economics