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New Economy

How To Build The Future In Place: Taking The First Steps

Building the future in place envisions bringing together an ecosystem of community-based institutions and public policies that meets human needs and balances our relations within the natural world. It involves weaving together community initiatives and advocacy campaigns that now often operate in separate compartments to create a coherent politics, built around deep-rooted, place-based movements informed by comprehensive visions for transformative change at local and bioregional scales. It starts where markets and the system are failing, prioritizing communities and people who are being failed the most. In the process, it fills the greatest need now existing in our society, for community. In a fractured world where increasing disruptions can be expected, we need to somehow find our way back to human social solidarity, to being good neighbors. It’s not just climate. We face a profound crisis of global ecosystems.

Co-op Development In The Digital Economy

Co-op models have a marginal position in business education, the technology industry, and the popular imagination. In response, co-operators and their allies have created incubators, accelerator programs, and mutual-aid networks to support early-stage tech co-ops. Join us for an online panel facilitated by co-op researcher-practitioner Emi Do that brings together presenters from several such projects: CoTech, Exit to Community Collective, Platform Cooperativism Consortium, SPACE4,, UnFound Accelerator, and Union Cooperative Initiative. These projects advance democratic business formation and co-op theory-building, and they offer valuable lessons on the promises and challenges of accelerating worker ownership today.

Manifesto For Wholesome Cooperation: A Sociocratic Perspective

Sociocracy and cooperativism stem from the premise that humans thrive as social animals. Quite possibly, cooperation acts as our most characteristic trait as living beings. We need each other. No human effort, made by a lone individual, succeeds. Since the dawn of our species, we have engaged in cooperation, and we're still figuring out how to do it best. We could certainly do it better than we are now, and sociocracy sheds a light on the way forward. Sociocracy (also called dynamic governance) means governance by the socios: those who associate together. In other words, if you join, if you participate, you get to have a voice in decision-making.

Solidarity Economy 101: The Kola Nut Timebank Story

What if there was a way to trade time and share skills with your neighbors in a way that met a range of needs without involving cash? Since 2017, the Kola Nut Collaborative has operated Chicago’s only open-platform time and skills exchange, otherwise known as a timebank. Part mutual aid and community organizing, members come together to hear each other’s needs and share what they have to offer. Founding coordinator Mike Strode speaks with Laura about the changes he has seen in his community, how people are showing up for others, and what it takes to build a solidarity economy. Tune in for more on timebanking, and how it just might work in your community.

Economics For Emancipation: Tame, Smash, Escape

I'm currently the education programs and research manager at the Center for Economic Democracy and we're a movement support organization based in Boston, Massachusetts. Our work focuses mostly on capacity building in the movement, with the goal of democratizing economic power. In terms of what we actually do, what that looks like is organizing and building local coalitions, experimenting and trying to create new models of economic democracy, and also connecting trends locally with national partners to strengthen the broader Solidarity Economy movement. And ultimately, what we're doing at CED is trying to build new collective governance and ownership infrastructure to really shift power to frontline residents, both locally, but also creating models that potentially could be used elsewhere, or scaled in different ways.

Cosmolocalism: The Key To Our Economic Transformation

The idea that we need to transform the economic system in order to avoid environmental catastrophe is growing in popularity. The degrowth movement is currently the most prominent movement for post-capitalist economics, and it is true that getting past the imperative for economic growth is an important element of the needed economic transformation. But rather than simply going against the current hegemony of economic growth, we must create a holistic new system with which to supersede today’s capitalist system. To do this, we must find replacements for each of the major components of the economic system. A core component of capitalism for which we need a replacement is the development dynamic of capital accumulation for profit.

Solidarity Economics – A Path Away From Capitalist Exploitation

Professor Jessica Gordon-Nembhard explores the potential of cooperatives and solidarity economics as pathways towards economic democracy and justice. Drawing on historical examples from the civil rights movement and the Knights of Labor in the 1880s, Nembhard demonstrates how cooperative economics can counteract the exploitation inherent in capitalist systems. She underlines the importance of communal ownership and shared decision-making as mechanisms for wealth redistribution, arguing that such models can liberate communities from economic exploitation.

People’s Movements To Converge For Dialogues On Socialism

People’s organizations, leaders, intellectuals and progressive public figures around the world are set to converge in South Africa later this year, to “confront the crises of humanity with concrete alternatives and solutions.” The III International Dilemmas of Humanity Conference, organized by the International Peoples’ Assembly (IPA), will be held between October 14 and 18, in Johannesburg. As per a statement released on Wednesday, June 28, announcing the upcoming conference, movements from around the world have initiated the process of dialogues and coordination for the upcoming event, which intends to “to debate and create consensus that will lead to a common platform for reflection and action.”

Transformation Through Sociocracy And Participatory Budgeting

Kristina Banks and Ingrid Haftel from the Participatory Budgeting Project share reflections on the intersections between sociocracy and participatory budgeting (PB)--and how they are experiencing the transformative power of this shared governance systemically, organizationally, and individually.

Transitioning Between The Business As Usual Economy And The Next Economy

We have found the Two Loops model developed by the Berkana Institute very useful for making sense of the variety of approaches and paths on the journey to transforming the economic system (indeed, the image on the cover of this book is inspired by that work). The Two Loops model can also help you better understand what role you might play in supporting the transformation. While we are inspired by the Berkana Institute’s work and want to ensure that all credit for the creation of this model is given to them, for the purposes of our work we emphasize different aspects and interpretations of the Two Loops idea.

We Have To Find A Way To Use Things Longer

Wheelchair users in Colorado now can fix their own chairs when they break. It did take a new law, allowing them to access the parts, tools and diagnostics they need to do that—for the same reasons that, for years, John Deere argued that farmers don’t really own the tractors they buy. Because those tractors carry computer codes that are proprietary, farmers just have an “implied license for the life of the vehicle to operate the vehicle.” As our next guest has said, the notion of actually owning the things you buy has become revolutionary, if ownership includes your right to modify or repair those things. But it’s a revolution that is underfoot. So let’s catch up.

Worker Co-ops Fund Themselves, Solve Equipment Crisis

The espresso machine’s motor acted up on December 30th and completely failed three days later. Suddenly, all lattes and cappuccinos, critical to the income of any café, weren’t possible for the worker- and consumer- owned Flat Iron Coffeehouse Co-op. “This sudden loss of revenue was devastating” said co-founder and worker-member Larisa Demos. Everyday saw a 30% loss in sales and a noticeably different customer satisfaction level amid Flat Iron’s cozy, warmth-filled environment. Flat Iron re-opened in December of 2021 as a multi-stakeholder co-op in Bellows Falls, Vermont. “We weren’t sure who would assist us as a newer co-op,” said Demos.

Exploring Italian Social Cooperatives

Last week’s seminar with guest speaker Professor Vera Zamagni explored the various forms of value generated by Italian social cooperatives. Zamagni, an expert in economic history, particularly in the field of Italian social cooperatives, outlined the history and current prevalence of cooperatives in Italy, which are active in multiple sectors, including retail, distribution, agriculture/-food, housing, credit, and the production of goods and services. She noted that cooperatives were strengthened in Italy following World War II as a result of a provision in the country’s Constitution that mandates assistance for cooperatives and small to medium-sized businesses.

Cliff Durand Presente!

The San Miguel de Allende community joins social justice activists around the world to mourn the passing of Dr Cliff Durand, who died peacefully at home with his beloved wife Julie and their two dogs, after a short illness. Cliff leaves a huge legacy and an international reputation for his fearless, tireless and relentless efforts to create a more just and equitable world. An inspirational activist-leader, this giant of a man was a gentle and humble conversationalist; an insatiable learner; a whole-hearted and encouraging teacher; a critical thinker with a huge intellect; and a loving husband, father and grandfather.

Allied Community And Co-operative Shared Services (ACCESS)

So basically, ACCESS is a shared services platform and it provides a collective of professional services that are aligned with co-ops, nonprofits and other social purpose organizations. And we just have been working on this for the last year and a half. And the kind of the backstory to ACCESS — I was approached by the ED at ACCA, the Alberta Community Cooperative Association, and I was asked if I would be interested in writing a grant. And I think I was a month into the job there, and I wasn't quite sure what I knew about co-ops and, you know, even writing a grant application at that level. But once I saw what the grant was for, I was like, "You know what? I actually really like the whole heart behind this." Having worked in a nonprofit setting for many years, I think capacity — stretching employees beyond their capacity, expecting them to do maybe a little bit more than what they were trained for, or where their passions lie — that was always a piece that I always kind of argued about at the leadership table, or advocated for, like, "why is our bookkeeper writing a newsletter?
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