14 January 2011

Developing the New Economy

Posted by Admin under: Creation; Economy; Evolution; Forum; History; Inspiration; Leadership; Organization; People; Permaculture; Resiliency; Sustainability .

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In “Time for a New Theory of Money” (Yes! Magazine, Oct 28, 2010), Ellen Brown argues that “By understanding that money is simply credit, we unleash it as a powerful tool for our communities.”

Both the article and the comments it provoked, along with a series of related posts and lists of everything from new ways of measuring wealth to Common Security Clubs to Seven Ways to Transform Banking, open up a treasure trove of new ideas and experiments for building the new economy. One that looks immediately relevant is Community Banking Initiative of the New Rules Project. The very idea of the New Rules Project — “designing rules as if community matters” — is itself remarkable, and is a project of The Institute for Local Self-Reliance, which has been working on issues of scale of institutions and distributed ownership since 1974.

All of which suggests the need for a community-based version of a system that I experimented with back in the 1990s in the form of a business-to-business credit exchange, and with subsequent ideas for local currencies and community-focused investments. All of these are based on the realization that, as pointed out by Paul Grignon in his remarkable animated documentary, Money=Debt.

Another way of looking at this is that money equals commitment: it’s a promise to “pay” the recipient in the form of a legal currency that must be accepted by the sellers of goods and services, and it’s created by the promise of the recipient to repay it with interest. This means that the investment of money must generate more value that is recognized in the creation of additional cash or asset appreciation, a “profit” that is shared by the investor and the entrepreneur, and further increases the circulation of wealth.

My goal is to make this topic a focal point for the work of the Sustainable Leadership Forum over the next year. At the same time, as my wife and co-founder Victoria Zelin has pointed out, what seems to be of most interest to people are the field trips, not just meeting in a room to discuss issues. So how to illustrate the emergence of the new economy with a real-world exploration or adventure? Here are several of the ideas we’ve come up with:

  • Visiting a recycling center
  • Visiting local organic farms and greenhouses
  • Look at water-and energy-related projects
  • Visiting the Meadowlands Commissions and understanding their work in restoring ecosystems
  • Looking at the work of the Passaic River Institute and Coalition

— and we welcome your suggestions.

More to come, but this is the basis for discussing our February 15 program.

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Correction: We'll be hosting this year's holiday potluck — "Bringing Solar Power Home for the Holidays" — on Saturday, December 15, from 4 to 9 p.m. Click here for more details. RSVP to [email protected].
Saturday, November 17, 2012, 10 a.m. Eastern: Sustainable Neighborhood & Community Conversations (III).
Saturday, October 13, 2012, 10 a.m. Eastern: Transforming Neighborhoods and Communities II.
Saturday, September 8, 2012, 10 a.m. Eastern: Transforming Neighborhoods & Communities.
Saturday, June 16, 2012: SLF Potluck June 16: Sustainable Living Communities.
The Sustainable Haiti Conference took place April 23-25, 2012 in Miami.
"Inside Job" Movie Party. Saturday, February 11th, 6:00 PM, Liberty Ridge, The Hills, Bernards Twp, Basking Ridge, NJ 07920.
2nd 'Buy Haitian, Restore Haiti Conference', January 26, 2012, Karibe Convention Center, Petion Ville, Haiti
Dec 11 SLF Potluck: "Bringing Sustainability Home for the Holidays" Basking Ridge, NJ. RSVP to [email protected].
Saturday, July 9, 2011, 4 p.m. Open House Party & Potluck, Saturday, July 9, 4 p.m., Basking Ridge, NJ.
RSVP to [email protected]
Saturday, May 21, 1-4 p.m. EcoCenter Update. At the Morristown EcoCenter, 55 Bank Street, Morristown, NJ 07960.
Saturday, April 16, 1-4 p.m. "Haiti & Us: The Leading Edge of Sustainable Development." At the Morristown EcoCenter, 55 Bank Street, Morristown, NJ 07960. A copy of the update presentation has been posted here.
Saturday, March 19, 1-4 p.m. "Creating the Morristown EcoCenter." Held at 55 Bank Street, Morristown, the site of the proposed EcoCenter.
Saturday, February 19, 1-4 p.m. Monthly meeting, ""A Profound Transformation in Consciousness," Morris County Library, Whippany, NJ. Click here for details.
Saturday, January 15, 1-4 p.m. Putting Idealism into Practice: Tour of Half Moon House. Click here for details.
Saturday, December 18, 1-4 p.m. Challenge & Strategy Session: "Reinventing Wealth," followed by our annual "Potluck for the Planet" from 4 to 8. Click here for details.
Saturday, November 20, 1-4 p.m. Challenge & Strategy Session: "How Do We Measure Sustainable Value?". Click here for details.
Saturday, October 16, 1-4 p.m. Challenge and Strategy Session: "Toward a Sustainable Growth Strategy for New Jersey".
Download the slide presentation here, and the discussion paper here.

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