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Shareable Magazine - August 24, 2015 - 07:31

by Tolani Moibi, Community Manager at Compare and Share

Categories: Economics

Coworking Visionaries Weigh In on the Future of the Movement

Shareable Magazine - August 24, 2015 - 06:50

Ten years ago this month, coworking was born in San Francisco when Brad Neuberg set up some card tables and invited people to work alongside him. There are now over 3,000 coworking spaces worldwide.

Categories: Economics

Own a Home in Just Four Years? This Co-Op Program Keeps Workers in the Neighborhood

Nearly half of Evergreen’s worker-owners have purchased homes through the program.
Categories: Economics

Newsletter — Summer 2015

Beyond Money - August 24, 2015 - 00:09

Upcoming Ireland Events and My Remaining Tour Itinerary
My Activities in Greece, an abbreviated sketch
The Greek Crisis
Sardex

The summer has gone pretty much according to the plan I laid out in my Spring Newsletter, with of course the inevitable addition of things that have popped up spontaneously. I’m sorry I’ve been too busy to report about all of it, even though I’m sure many of my readers would want to know. My main reason for writing now is to highlight the agenda for the remainder of my summer tour in case some of you happen to be in the neighborhood of Ireland, Scotland or England. I hadn’t really planned to visit Italy but here I am—in Rome after visits to Tuscany and Sardinia (more on that below). I’m now in Ireland for the final events of my summer tour.

Here’s what I’ll be doing.
_________________________________________________
Ireland Events and My Remaining Tour Itinerary
25 to 27 August 2015. I’ll be at Cloughjordan Ecovillage to participate in the P2P Summer School program on The Art of Commoning. Then on Friday, 28 August, I will give a lecture at Trinity College, Dublin, followed by a panel discussion. And on Saturday, 29 August, I will conduct a workshop at the same venue. Here are the details.
Friday August 28th 19:00 – 21:00
Talk: The Liberation of Money and Credit
Where: CONNECT (Formerly CTVR) Dunlop Oriel House, 34 Westland Row, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin.
On the evening of Friday August 28th, Thomas Greco will give a presentation on The Liberation of Money and Credit, outlining the fundamental importance of reclaiming the credit commons and showing how communities and businesses can reduce their dependence on bank borrowing and conventional, political forms of money. After the talk Thomas will join a panel with Michel Bauwens and Kevin Flanagan of the P2P Foundation, Dr Rachel O’Dwyer of Trinity College Dublin and Graham Barnes of Feasta for a Q&A session.

Saturday August 29th 10:00 – 16:00
Workshop: The Exchange Revolution: Taking Complementary Currencies and Moneyless Trading to a New Level
Where: CONNECT (Formerly CTVR) Dunlop Oriel House, 34 Westland Row, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin.
On Saturday, Thomas will run a workshop for currency activists, practitioners, researchers, and social entrepreneurs on The Exchange Revolution: Taking complementary currencies and moneyless trading to a new level, also at the CONNECT venue in Dublin. Anyone with a specific interest in developing and extending the impact of community currencies, mutual credit, and other complementary exchange mechanisms is invited to attend.
Both events are sponsored and hosted by CONNECT (formerly CTVR – http://www.ctvr.ie/), at their Dublin city centre venue and supported by Feasta, the Foundation for the Economics of Sustainability (http://www.feasta.org) and P2P Foundation Ireland.
Both Dublin events are free but people are asked to register at:
http://www.eventbrite.com/e/beyond-money-events-with-thomas-greco-tickets-18131016358
Tuesday, 1 September, at Queens College, Belfast
Evening Lecture, Communities, Currencies and the Commons: Democratising money creation & enterprise after the Euro-Greek crisis, with Thomas Greco at Queens College, (Senate Room) at 7.30pm (registration at 7.15pm) hosted by the School of Law partnered by Positive MoneyNI. The talk will be followed by panel discussion.
Coordinator – William Methven, methvenwilliam@gmail.com

From Belfast, I will travel to Edinburgh, Scotland for a few days of exploring, then to London. I’m scheduled to fly back to San Francisco on September 9.
_________________________________________________
My Activities in Greece, an abbreviated sketch
Altogether, I spent a little more than three weeks at the Kalikalos Holistic Summer School during the months of June and July. Kalikalos is located on the Mt. Pelion peninsula where the views are spectacular, the mountain villages delightful, and the nearby beaches inviting, all of which provides a good balance of work, play and living in community with people from diverse places. In this ever-changing community of students, workshop leaders, volunteers, facilitators-in-residence, and staff, everyone pitches in to prepare meals, clean up, and share their special gifts. The daily program routine leaves plenty of time for recreation and many people choose to go down the mountain to the beach in the afternoons (about a 20 minute ride) or to hike the ancient donkey trails that connect the villages. Healthy living is a fundamental aspect of the Kalikalos experience with plenty of opportunity for yoga, meditation, tai chi and whatever other modes of centering people care to share. Meals are vegetarian and based mainly on fresh whole foods and traditional Greek ingredients—local olives. olive oil, feta cheese, locally baked bread, tomatoes, cucumbers, and vegetables from Kalikalos’ own gardens.
During my first week there I gave two presentations and conducted sessions in which we played two of my simulation games, Money Monopoly and Free Exchange. Then in July during the workshop on Solidarity Economy, I participated in most of the sessions and gave two presentations on the money problem and exchange altenatives.

While my work on exchange alternatives in Greece has been mostly with private groups and activists, I have developed proposals for creating domestic and community liquidity at all levels ranging from the bottom upward to include grassroots initiatives, business associations, municipal governments, and even the national government. I will be publishing specific details about these proposals in the near future. I am also continuing to work with colleagues in Volos on laying out the framework for a nationwide network of localized credit clearing exchanges.
During the last weekend in July I conducted a two day workshop in Athens for a sizable group of participants interested, or active in programs to create complementary liquidity. In the first session our discussions were based on my slide show on the Greek situation, and in the second, my presentation on the issues that need to be addressed in Taking Moneyless Exchange to Scale. That slide show is posted on my website at https://beyondmoney.files.wordpress.com/2015/07/workshop-athens.ppsx.

On Wednesday, July 29, I was interviewed on Porto Kali internet radio in Athens (in English with Greek translation). You can listen to it at http://wp.me/a43RA-Ge. _________________________________________________
The Greek Crisis
The Greek debt crisis has been all over the news lately so most everyone is aware of it, but most people are not aware of the underlying causes or what is being done to the Greek nation by the financial and political powers-that-be. Several of my recent posts at http://beyondmoney.net have dealt with that topic. In addition, there have been some very good recent articles that clearly explain it. These three are especially enlightening:
GREECE’D: We Voted ‘No’ to slavery, but ‘Yes’ to our chains, by investigative reporter Greg Palast.
The Rest of the Story About Greece: EU’s economic demands seek to derail small business and local communities, paving the way for multinational corporate giants.

• Ellen Brown’s fine article “Guerrilla Warfare Against a Hegemonic Power”: The Challenge and Promise of Greece

And if you want to understand the larger agenda of which the Greek situation is indicative, be sure to listen to Ellen Brown’s interview with Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, Greece-y Mess – 07.08.15, at http://itsourmoney.podbean.com/e/greece-y-mess-070815/
_________________________________________________
Sardex
Last week I had occasion to visit the Italian island of Sardinia and spend a few hours meeting with the founders and managers of a commercial trade exchange called Sardex.
I’ve known about Sardex since almost its beginning five years ago and have corresponded over the past few years with Giuseppe Littera, one of its founders, but this was the first opportunity I’ve had to get an inside look at their operation. I came away with a better understanding of how they operate and the impression that the Sardex structures, procedures, and protocols come closer to optimal than any other trade exchange I’ve seen. It appears to be a developing model that can be both scalable and replicable.
You can read my brief but more complete report here, and. you can get a pretty good picture of the distinctive features of Sardex by viewing Giuseppe Littera’s presentation (in English) that was made at a conference in Volos, Greece, in 2014. You can find it on YouTube at, https://youtu.be/rvaL2A8juz0.
_________________________________________________
All best wishes for a playful and enjoyable summer,
Tom


Categories: Blogs

Marc Faber: The Global Economy Is Entering An Epic Slump

Chris Martenson - August 23, 2015 - 15:32

Famed investor and author of the Gloom, Doom, Boom Report, Marc Faber, returns to the podcast this week to discuss the slowdown in the global economy, signs of which he claims are multiplying fast all around the world.

He predicts the next year is going to be an especially bruising one for investors, and recommends a combination of diversification and defense for those with financial capital to protect.

Join the conversation »

Categories: Economics

Daily Digest 8/23 - Everything That Went Wrong in Stocks, Wildfire Season Gets Worse

Chris Martenson - August 23, 2015 - 09:12
  • The Dow Correction And Everything Else That Went Wrong in Stocks
  • Introducing The Gigantic And Dangerous Wall Street Loophole You’ve Never Heard Of
  • As suspect in French train attack is interrogated, questions mount on Europe’s security
  • Greek bailout: Alexis Tsipras steps down to trigger new elections
  • Explosion Rips Through Chemical Plant in Eastern China
  • From Russia to Iran, the consequences of the global oil bust
  • The West's Wildfire Season Gets Worse

Join the conversation »

Categories: Economics

Daily Digest 8/22 - Whale Deaths Prompt Task Force, Another Day Younger and Deeper in Debt

Chris Martenson - August 22, 2015 - 08:43
  • Fading Economy and Graft Crackdown Rattle China’s Leaders
  • Analysis Of Recent IMF Report On SDR Adjustments (FREEPOM)
  • Another Day Younger and Deeper in Debt 
  • Americans Are Ready to Say Goodbye to Uncle Sam
  • Wind Energy Is Having a Railroad Moment
  • Supply, Demand Equilibrium Further Away Than Ever Before
  • US crude oil prices hit lowest since 2009, eliminating thousands of jobs
  • 30 whale deaths prompt NOAA task force

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Categories: Economics

Making Sense Of The Sudden Market Plunge

Chris Martenson - August 21, 2015 - 19:13

The global deflationary wave we have been tracking since last fall is picking up steam.  This is the natural and unavoidable aftereffect of a global liquidity bubble brought to you courtesy of the world’s main central banks.  What goes up must come down -- and that's especially true for the world's many poorly-constructed financial bubbles, built out of nothing more than gauzy narratives and inflated with hopium.

What this means is that the traditional summer lull in financial markets has turned August into an unusually active and interesting month. August, it appears, is the new October.

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Categories: Economics

Prepare Now!

Chris Martenson - August 21, 2015 - 19:09
Executive Summary
  • The 8 defensive actions I've taken in the past 6 weeks
  • The 2 lists you should have prepared in case things unravel from here
  • How to hedge against a market correction
  • In terms of preparations, it's much better to be a month or two early than a day late

If you have not yet read Part 1: Making Sense Of The Sudden Market Plunge available free to all readers, please click here to read it first.

Nothing forces us to know
What we do not want to know
Except pain.

~  Aeschylus

My personal standard of issuing an Alert is that I have to come across a piece of information that causes me to personally take some sort of action.  While I don’t have any particular piece of news – rather I have the assortment of data points listed in Part 1 of this report plus some that did not make it in – I am finding myself increasing my personal preparations. 

I am being extra cautious these days, weary of sending out yet another report to ‘be cautious, and prepared’ only to have the “”markets”” rocket back up  a few days later for no reason and on no news.

Further, I take no joy in...

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Categories: Economics

Why We Did an Issue on Debt

Good debts? We know it sounds crazy. But there’s a quiet revolution brewing in how we move money around, and we want our readers to know about it.
Categories: Economics

Daily Digest 8/21 - Good News Friday: The Ketamine Cure, Marine Mammals Thriving In Thames

Chris Martenson - August 21, 2015 - 09:14
  • UK embassy in Tehran to reopen after thaw in British-Iranian relations
  • People Are Awesome 2015
  • Ghosts of Truancy Laws Past
  • The Ketamine Cure
  • Bernie Sanders Draws Big Crowds to His ‘Political Revolution’
  • Elon Musk’s hyperloop is actually getting kind of serious
  • Goodwill goes upscale with new boutiques
  • Marine mammals thriving in Thames

Join the conversation »

Categories: Economics

I Learned More by Leading a Student-Debt Strike Than I Did at College

After graduating from Everest College with a bad education and no job prospects in sight, I refused to pay my student loans. Now I’m helping lead the first student-debt strike in America.
Categories: Economics

How Placemaking with "Bottle Bricks" Changes Lives

Shareable Magazine - August 20, 2015 - 07:59

Volunteers working on Earthbench. Photo credit: POEM.

Categories: Economics

Join Chris, Adam & Robb Wolf Speaking in Sebastopol, CA on Sep 2

Chris Martenson - August 20, 2015 - 07:51

Come join Chris, Adam and nutrition & fitness expert Robb Wolf for the night of September 2, at the Grange Hall in Sebastopol, California (6000 Sebastopol Ave, Sebastopol, CA 95472)

We'll be talking about how to build true wealth, with a special focus on one of its most valuable forms: a healthy & capable body.

Join the conversation »

Categories: Economics

Daily Digest 8/20 - Going Off-Grid In Comfort, Did China Kick-Start A New Gold Bull Market?

Chris Martenson - August 20, 2015 - 06:49
  • Greece pays ECB on maturing government bond- govt source
  • Warren Buffett’s favourite valuation measure signals stock markets are overvalued 
  • Military May Be Engaged in Illegal Psychological Operations and Propaganda Against U.S. Citizens
  • Beginning of a Breakdown in International Trade-Hugo Salinas Price
  • A New Ally in the Battle for Being Sovereign
  • Did China Kick-Start A New Bull Market In Gold?
  • Silver - More Evidence of a Price Bottom
  • The Boundaries and Future of Solution Space
  • Going off-grid without sacrificing comfort
  • Fukushima fishing cooperative allowed Tepco to discharge the contaminated groundwater to the sea
  • If You Spill Water On This Book, That's A Good Thing
  • EPA Cracking Down On U.S. Methane Waste

Join the conversation »

Categories: Economics

“Don’t Owe. Won’t Pay.” Everything You’ve Been Told About Debt Is Wrong

With the nation’s household debt burden at $11.85 trillion, even the most modest challenges to its legitimacy have revolutionary implications.
Categories: Economics

“Don’t Owe. Won’t Pay.” Everything You’ve Been Told About Debt Is Wrong

With $11.85 trillion in household debt, even the most modest challenges to debt legitimacy have revolutionary implications.
Categories: Economics

Sardex, an emerging model for credit clearing exchanges?

Beyond Money - August 20, 2015 - 02:18

Last week I had occasion to visit the Italian island of Sardinia and spend a few hours meeting with the founders and managers of a commercial trade exchange called Sardex. Here below is an abbreviated report of what I learned. The pdf version of the report can be found here.

Sardex, a brief report
by Thomas H. Greco, Jr. August 15, 2015
I recently spent a few days on the Italian island of Sardinia conferring with the founders and administrators of Sardex (http://www.sardex.net/), a commercial credit clearing exchange that has been notable for its success in organizing small businesses and service providers on this island of about 1.6 million people.

I’ve known about Sardex since almost its beginning five years ago and have corresponded over the past few years with Giuseppe Littera, one of its founders, but this was the first opportunity I’ve had to get an inside look at their operation. I came away with a pretty good understanding of how they operate and the impression that the Sardex structures, procedures, and protocols come closer to optimal than any other trade exchange I’ve seen. It appears to be a developing model that is both scalable and replicable.

I will not attempt to provide here a comprehensive report or detailed analysis, rather I will highlight a few major points and provide some sources of additional information for those who are interested in doing their own research.

Some highlights:
Current membership: ~3,000
Current transaction turnover: ~1.5 million euro equivalent per month
Expected turnover for 2015: 50 million
Velocity of credit circulation: 12 times per year
Employees included as sub-accounts: 1,000

When I asked about the key factors that account for their success, here is some of what I was told:

1. Founders are dedicated to the mission to relocalize and rehumanize the economy and to reconnect people by enabling the creation of interest-free local liquidity based on the production capacity of local businesses.

2. Social solidarity and cultural cohesion, while very important and part of the mission, were NOT a pre-existing factor that would account for their early success. In fact, they have had to work hard to develop social solidarity and cooperation amongst their members, but this is now changing. One account broker told me, “I can see how behavior of many of our members has changed. When the financial crisis first began, they were starting to lay off employees or cut their wages, and they were reluctant to spend their euros. This made matters worse as the circulation of money slowed down. But as they began to participate in the process of earning and spending trade credits, they began to increase pay to their workers and to invest in their education. In one case, when a member’s shop was burglarized, other members stepped up to help by donating some of their trade credits to help their fellow member recover from the loss.”

That anecdote demonstrates the differences in behavior that results when people experience scarcity compared to when they experience abundance. In this case, the scarcity of euros caused behavior to change in the direction of reduced willingness to spend and the contraction of overall economic activity. But their experience with trade credit was much different. Realizing the greater availability of trade credits, and finding it easier to earn them, leads people to experience abundance and to be more generous and spend more liberally.

3. I was surprised to learn that the Sardex revenue model relies mainly upon initiation fees and annual membership fees (collected in euros); and that they had decided early-on to stop charging fees on transactions. For me, that approach is counter intuitive in that I have long held the view that recruitment would be most successful if membership were made easy, low cost, and risk free, and that it seems reasonable to apply the principle that users pay in proportion to the amount of services they receive. In this case, that principal would mean that those that receive more credit clearing services should pay more. Well, this may be a case where successful practice trumps rational theory. Marketing specialists should look closely at the dimensions of this phenomenon.

There is however some logic in this approach in that, since the cost of participation is relatively fixed, members should seek to maximize the benefits of their membership by trading more within the network. Initiation fees are set according to the size of the business and range from 150 to 1,000 euros. Annual membership fees are likewise based mainly on turnover and range from 350 to 2,500 euros.

4. Strong member support by an effective staff of brokers who help to arrange trades, especially for those that have high earning capacity to avoid excessive accumulation and high positive trade credit balances.

5. Recruitment strategy tries to replicate the supply chain, i.e., bring in businesses that are the suppliers of existing members or prospective members.

6. “Solidarity threshold.” Requirement that members offer their goods and services for trade credit at the same prices as their euro prices, and that payment be accepted 100% in trade credit on all transactions of less than 1,000 euros. “Blended trades,” i.e., payment in a combination of trade credits and euros are allowed on larger purchases, according to a sliding scale).

7. (a) Restrict membership to companies that have a registered office in Sardinia. This promotes social solidarity and excludes large multi-national corporations. (b) Avoid “saturation” (accepting too many members that offer the same line of products or services).
[While I am fully supportive of the former of these, and would indeed, permanently exclude multi-national companies, this latter practice of avoiding saturation I consider to be of use only in the initial stage of establishing credit clearing as a credible means of exchange and an effective source of local liquidity. Ultimately, I believe that membership must be open to any community-based small or medium enterprise (SME) that meets the basic qualifications for membership. Of course, not all of them will qualify for lines of credit.]

8. Fully compliant with reporting and tax regulations. Transparency is a matter of fundamental importance.

9. Emphasis on monetizing the unused capacity of members. Connecting unused supplies with unmet needs is a primary benefit of credit clearing services.

The Sardex company has been consulting with other groups to replicate their system in seven other regions around Italy. In the future, Sardex is planning to initiate a rebate program to bring consumers into the trading community, which will enhance the circulation of local trade credits, make Sardex better known, and stimulate more sales for their business members.

Here below is a list of a few of the many reports and sources of information about Sardex. Readers are invited to add others as comments.

From an idea to a scalable working model: merging economic benefits with social values in Sardex, by Giuseppe Littera, et al, at the London School of Economic, Inaugural WINIR Conference, 11-14 September 2014, Greenwich, London, UK. http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/59406/1/__lse.ac.uk_storage_LIBRARY_Secondary_libfile_shared_repository_Content_Dini%2C%20P_From%20idea%20to%20scalable%20model_Dini_From%20idea%20to%20scalable%20model_2014.pdf
You can get a pretty good picture of the distinctive features of Sardex by viewing Giuseppe Littera’s presentation that was made (in English) at a conference in Volos, Greece, in 2014. It is to be found on YouTube at, https://youtu.be/rvaL2A8juz0
Report (in Italian) in the Italian daily newspaper, La Repubblica: Dalla Sardegna al resto d’Italia. Sardex inventa la moneta complementare. “Abbiamo ripensato l’economia.” http://www.repubblica.it/next/2014/06/23/news/dalla_sardegna_al_resto_d_italia_sardex_inventa_la_moneta_complementare_abbiamo_ripensato_l_economia-89771112/?refresh_ce. [English translation needed.]

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Categories: Blogs

Message to Robin Hood Collective

Matslats - August 19, 2015 - 13:18

The wonderful Robin Hood Collective is gathering for 4 days in London and I so regret being unable to attend that I'm writing this post for all the assembled!

I'd like to introduce myself and share what I'm doing and what I would like to see Robin Hood doing.

read more

Categories: Blogs

Daily Digest 8/19 - Mexico Central Bank Sells $200M, Yuan Slips Further

Chris Martenson - August 19, 2015 - 07:25
  • China Turned to Risky Devaluation as Export Machine Stalled
  • Falling ruble leaves Russian carmakers with nowhere to turn
  • Minister says economic sabotage being used to attack Malaysia
  • Putin Revives Soviet Deal of Pretend-Work-and-Pay to Hide Crisis
  • Saudi Stocks Sink Into Death Cross as IMF Sees Growth Slowing
  • Slump in Indian corporate earnings set to continue
  • Brazil Stocks Extend Six-Day Slide as Gol Sinks on Economic Woes
  • Brazil’s Political Crisis Puts the Entire Economy on Hold
  • Private sector UK pension deficit reaches 900 billion
  • Abe Aide Says Japan Needs 3.5-Trillion Yen Economic Package
  • Russia May Halt Monetary Easing If Oil at $40, Kremlin Aide Says
  • China's central bank put $93 bln into development banks in July
  • Mexico central bank sells $200 mln in currency auction
  • Chile central bank says external risks could increase peso volatility
  • Singapore bankers rattled by Asian moves to chase undeclared wealth
  • Indonesia Central Bank to Change Dollar Purchase Rules
  • China's yuan slips even as central bank sets firmer midpoint
  • Chinese Stock Indexes Fall Over 6% Despite Central Bank's Cash Injection

Join the conversation »

Categories: Economics