“Chapter 11 of our Resilience Imperative is the penultimate one and we had to write and rewrite this one five times to get it right. It is focused directly upon your question about Ownership transfer mechanisms and what these look like including the roots of the idea in the 1820s with the insights of Thomas Spence the ingenious proponent of working land trusts (see chapter 4), the brilliant French Swiss political economist, Sismondi and working up from there through the Chartists, Ruskin, other co-operative commonwealth visionaries and practitioners through to Gandhi’s trusteeship concepts, CLTs, Democratic ESOPs, the Co-operative Land Bank etc. This is evolutionary economics arising out of terribly difficult and opposed class struggles seeking democratic commonwealth.
Ruskin was consciously appreciative of unresolvable tensions in human nature (based on DNA and nurture) as a clear-cut basis for new political economy. The core insight he had was that wealth is life, not dead things (speculative exchange values or illth as he called them creating illness pervasively). In Unto this Last, he paints in wonderful words (language almost like Shakespeare) a scenario indicating a guild vision (with resonances of Sismondi) of a political economy of art and based upon… Continue reading »
The text below is a manifesto elaborated and signed by some members of the European Parlement.
A informal group of commons activists is interested to take the opportunity of this manifesto (and within the agenda of European election) to discuss how to interconnect the Social Economy, the SIEG (Economic services of general interest) and the Commons issues in the future Parlement.
This informal group includes Frederic Sultan, Benjamin Coriat and Fabienne Orsi (researchers), Perez Roland, Pierre Calame, Gaelle Krikorian (European Green), Nicole ALIX and Philippe Herzog, …
“Common goods are universal: they belong to everyone and they must not be monopolised by private interests. European Institutions, as guarantors of fundamental civil liberties, peace, cultural diversity and the rule of law, must ensure respect for, and the preservation of, these common goods.
Common goods, by definition, belong to the community. Water, the quintessential common good, should not be privatized or commoditised. Nor should this be the case with education and health. They ought not to be treated as commodities, but rather us our common heritage, protected and enriched by the community.
In a context of crisis and austerity, where privatisation is often encouraged, a political approach based on respect for common goods represents… Continue reading »
“Standing’s contention is that the precariat will soon become “we”. It is increasing in size and range, and spanning no end of occupational categories, from the fluorescent-jacketed service workers who keep our cities running to ambitious graduates who take “jobs” in the digital world on the basis of bogus self-employment. Over time, these people will find a voice – and, as Standing sees it, the “labourist” political left will then have to radically alter its views not just of political economy, but of what it is to live. “Twentieth century spheres of labour protection … were constructed around the image of the firm, fixed workplaces, and fixed working days and work-weeks that apply only to a minority in today’s tertiary online society,” he points out.
“While proletarian consciousness is linked to long-term security in a firm, mine, factory or office, the precariat’s consciousness is linked to a search for security outside the workplace.” This is fundamental: it shreds such sepia-tinted ideas as the “dignity of labour”, and the notion – shared by both the old left and its reformist successors – that to toil is to express one’s essential humanity. As Standing puts… Continue reading »
to the extent that there is interest in democratic decision-making, algorithmic monopolies are something antitrust authorities should watch. Right now Uber is wringing a lot of inefficiency out of the taxi industry. But eventually it will have so much power that it will introduce problems of its own.
“Uber controls all of the information in this so-called ‘market’.
One of the premises of a market is relatively balanced information on the part of both the buyer and the seller. But Uber is neither a buyer or seller, it’s a broker. And as a broker, it shows the buyer and seller only what it wants to. Its algorithm is not regulated nor is it transparent, so neither the buyer or the seller has any credible information. This isn’t a market, it’s a monopoly. It’s a special type of monopoly, an algorithmic monopoly. It may mimic market-style pricing, or it may not. That’s up to Uber.”
For one month, I became the “micro-entrepreneur” touted by companies like TaskRabbit, Postmates, and Airbnb. Instead of the labor revolution I had been promised, all I found was hard work, low pay, and a system that puts workers at a disadvantage.
Excerpted from a must-read article by Sarah Kessler:
“The prospects of finding a living wage in America do not seem any brighter than they did back in 2008 when Busque founded TaskRabbit. Unemployment has drifted down from its high of 10% in October 2009 to 6.6% in the January 2014 report, but income inequality is, according to research based on tax-return data from the IRS, the worst it has been since 1923.
And the anecdotal evidence is appalling. Walmart, the single largest private employer in the country, was spotted at one location last holiday season hosting a Thanksgiving food drive for its own workers. McDonald’s, the second largest fast-food chain in the country, teamed up last summer with Visa to sketch out a budget for its low-paid full-time workers. The budget presumed they would each be working a second job. More than a decade after Barbara Ehrenreich wrote Nickel and Dimed to chronicle firsthand the struggles of low-wage workers, conditions… Continue reading »
We really like the FairShares Model “where the knowledge creation model of Wikipedia is combined with the governance model of the John Lewis Partnership and the values and principles of the Co-operative Group”, and so we’re cross-posting this article (licensed by the FairShares Association under a Creative Commons Attribution, Sharealike License) here:
In this article, FairShares Association co-founder Rory Ridley-Duff outlines the continuing case for social and economic reform to support a FairShares Model of enterprise. FairShares brand principles change the way that investment activity is understood to ensure that capital is allocated for entrepreneurial, labour and user activities as well as financial contributions. The result is wealth and power that is shared more fairly.
At the start of 2014, I came across new studies that acted as a powerful reminder of the need for a FairShares Model. In this article I will describe the most striking of these, then argue that the co?operative and social enterprise movements need to concern themselves with everyone in the ‘bottom’ 80% of the population, not just those in extreme poverty. They also need to protect the… Continue reading »