What made us go from the kibutz to the eco-village, from the commune to co-living, and from cooperatives to collaborative consumption? Is it a bottom-up movement or a fashion? Is it enduring or a flash in the pan?
History books usually study social movements of the second half of the nineteenth century from the point of view of the split between anarchists and Marxists. Both theories played an important role in debates of the great workers’ movements of the following century, and for a long time, no one seemed to question the root they shared: the idea that the origin of the “social problem” was in the way in which the production of things was organized.
It’s normal for that powerful idea to occupy, almost without question, the center of historical stories: from the First International to the fall of the Communist regimes of Eastern Europe, the story of European reforms and revolutions was written in terms of work stoppages, general strikes, “wildcat” strikes and factory occupations. In the world of alternatives in the same days,… Continue reading »
Community, and specifically the empowering and distribution of assets within communities, has long been the driving force for Anne-Marie Naylor’s work. In 2008, she established the government-funded Asset Transfer Unit, working with over 30 partners to promote and support a nationwide community asset transfer environment. In 2013, this has become a new enterprise. Naylor is now the Associate Director of Locality, a new and innovative approach to delivering publically-owned assets to communities. Land and buildings, as well as entire institutions such as hospitals and ports, can benefit greatly from community ownership, and Naylor seeks to give people the tools to do this. Social inclusion, spatial and economic regeneration and working with the public, private and third sectors are all high on Naylor’s agenda, and she is turning her attention to technological and intellectual ownership as she continues to inspire and empower.
As businesses increasingly embrace a not-for-profit culture, an end to overconsumption on a finite planet could finally be in sight. But given the huge lobbying power of vested interests, it will remain impossible to create a truly sustainable world until the illegitimate power of corporations is held in check.
Does changing the way we do business hold the key to creating a world where resources are shared more equitably and consumed within planetary limits? According to Professor Donnie Maclurcan of the Post Growth Institute, the answer is a definitive yes – but only if we can fully embrace a business model that doesn’t require profits to be distributed to shareholders, and works instead to reinvest revenues back into the company. Increasingly, socially and environmentally conscious entrepreneurs are adopting not-for-profit (NFP) business practices across the whole spectrum of traditionally for-profit sectors. Maclurcan, whose book ‘How on Earth’ co-authored with Jennifer Hinton is due out next year, firmly believes that the NFP model presents an alternative macroeconomic framework with the potential to revolutionise how we produce goods and services, and thereby… Continue reading »
The information society has come with the promise to restore information as a commons. The promise has not yet proven true. Instead, we face trends towards the commercialisation and commoditisation of all information; towards the totalisation of surveillance and the extension of the battlefield to civil society through information warfare; towards disinfotainment overflow; towards a collapse of the technological civilisation itself.
The Vienna Summit is a multi-conference and is at the same time the 5th ICTs and Society-Conference: The Internet and Social Media at a Crossroads: Capitalism or Commonism? Perspectives for Critical Political Economy and Critical Theory.
Given that the information society and the study of information face a world of crisis today and are at a crossroads, also the future of the Internet and social media are in question. The 5th ICTs and Society Conference… Continue reading »
Mantua – 26th – 27th November. The local Chamber of Commerce, the City of Mantua, the Province, local ONGs, SMEs and knowledge institutions, such as the Mantua University Foundation and some local schools are glad to support the two days event that will take place in Mantua.
The main objective of the Festival will concerns the conception of a prototype of an institutionalizing process to run the city as a collaborative commons and therefore as a “co-city”. A co-city should be based on international collaborative governance of the commons whereby urban, environmental, cultural, knowledge and digital commons are co-managed by the five actors of the collaborative governance – social innovators, public authorities, businesses, civil society organizations, knowledge institutions through an institutionalized public-private-people/community partnership. This partnership will give birth to a local p2p physical, digital and institutional platform with three main aims: living together , growing together, making together. The cooperative model endorsed by “Tavolo della Cooperazione e dell’Economia Civile” is based on the innovative features of open dialogue, cooperative system design and mutual sharing. Thanks to the effort of Labsus… Continue reading »
The book is packed with good information. It makes the current situation in the world of finance transparent for You and I. We can finally understand how things went wrong, why the 2008 financial crisis happened and why we are still not back to normal. The authors’ proposal to overcome the banking crisis makes eminent sense and the book, although addressed to economists and bankers, is quite readable for an interested general reader.
The book addresses banking, not just banks, because banking, which the authors define as the creation of private or “inside” money, is not an activity limited to banks. Other, non-bank financial institutions are also involved in the money creation business.
“Calling for the end of banking might sound too simplistic to solve today’s problems in the financial system. Such a notion likely stems from a vague definition of banking. Some label all activities undertaken by banks as banking. Others think of banking as a bundle of financial services such as asset… Continue reading »
Back in May 2013, we wrote about worrying attempts to create a harmonized system for controlling the sale of seeds in Africa that would increase the power of large suppliers such as Monsanto, at the expense of small farmers. A long and interesting article in Intellectual Property Watch indicates that those efforts are intensifying:
The African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO), with the help of the United States and an international plant variety organisation, is working to grow regional support for a controversial draft law. The draft protocol would boost protection for new plant varieties, despite concerns of local civil society that it would not be in the best interest of ARIPO members’ food security due to its potential impact on small farmers. ARIPO held a regional workshop on the issue in recent weeks in part to build support for a treaty negotiation to lock in these protections.
There appears to have been an attempt to censor criticism at that workshop.