Community Articles from 2015
When the Workers Become the Owners: Taking the Co-op Movement to the Next Level
By Brian Van Slyke
Posted December 24, 2015
There’s a revolution taking place in the US workforce – but you may not have heard about it. Around the country, workers are starting businesses that they democratically control and that financially benefit them. These businesses, called worker cooperatives, are owned and governed by the employees. Every worker is a member of the co-op, which gives them one share and one vote in the company’s operations.
Worker co-ops are ending structural extraction of wealth by anchoring money and resources in low-income communities. Worker co-ops are a great strategy for low-income workers to plug into economic opportunities. Workers are gaining access to owning business, not just waiting for a paycheck from one. Those wages feed into community needs and resilience, from educational opportunities and child care for kids or elderly care for older people, to remittances abroad and financial literacy for people who might not have access to those skills. More…
High Fructose Corn Syrup Now Hidden Under a New Name
by Anna Hunt
Posted December 19, 2015
Food producers have many tactics for hiding food ingredients which have become unpopular with consumers, and such has happened to high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) following numerous scientific studies that have linked it to obesity, Type 2 diabetes and autism. In order to stop using the HFCS name in the ingredients list, food makers have taken to calling a sub-category of HFCS as “fructose syrup” or, plainly, “fructose”.
HFCS is a highly-processed chemical sweetener used in many processed foods, including breads, cookies, candy, condiments, and soft drinks. HFCS extends the shelf life of products, and it is often cheaper than sugar, which are the main reasons why manufacturers like it. But HFCS has gotten a bad rep, considering the circumstantial evidence that links it to various metabolic diseases, so Big Food and the Corn Refiners Association (CRA) decided to get creative. More…
What Really Matters?
by Zen Gardner
Posted December 14, 2015
It’s amazing how the big questions in life are pushed to the end of the line. Sure everyone wonders about the “big stuff” on and off, but their lives are too preoccupied with other issues that they’ve been told are more pressing and important – when it’s nothing of the sort.
This applies directly to the on-going awakening and how to put our best foot forward in times like these. How best can we be used to effect change? What is the most productive and effective course of action in our personal lives?
With everything at stake at this crucial juncture in history these questions become profoundly important. And the answers just may surprise each of us. More…
Rising debt service costs: Public banks for tax relief
By Mike Krauss
Posted December 11, 2015
Across the United States, states and municipal governments struggle to provide essential public services, such as schools, public safety, courts and prisons, public health, transportation infrastructure and parks, while also trying to keep taxes down for a middle class burdened with taxes of every kind.
Some of those taxes are easily identified, like those on income, wages, property, sales and gas. Some are almost invisible. One of these is the tax on the money raised by the bonds that governments issue to pay for capital projects.It’s called interest, and this tax shows up in our public budgets and financial reports as “debt service,” which adds to the burden on taxpayers.
In California for example, construction of the new Bay Bridge in San Francisco was projected to cost $6 billion. But California taxpayers are also on the hook for more than $6 billion more in interest, which will be paid to investors who purchased the bonds used to raise the first $6 billion. More…
Time to Stop Worshipping Economic Growth
by Brent Blackwelder
Posted December 7, 2015
There are physical limits to growth on a finite planet. In 1972, the Club of Rome issued their groundbreaking report—Limits to Growth (twelve million copies in thirty-seven languages). The authors predicted that by about 2030, our planet would feel a serious squeeze on natural resources, and they were right on target.
In 2009, the Stockholm Resilience Center introduced the concept of planetary boundaries to help the public envision the nature of the challenges posed by limits to growth and physical/biological boundaries. They defined nine boundaries critical to human existence that, if crossed, could generate abrupt or irreversible environmental changes. The global economy must be viewed from a macro-perspective to realize that infringement of the planetary boundaries puts many life support ecosystems in jeopardy. Without functional ecosystems, the very survival of life forms, as well as human institutions, is put in doubt, including any economy. There is no economy on a dead planet! More…
New Economy 2.0
by David Korten
Posted December 2, 2015
The old economy of greed and dominion is dying. A new economy of life and partnership is struggling to be born. The outcome is ours to choose. Imagine an economy in which life is valued more than money and power resides with ordinary people who care about one another, their community, and their natural environment. It is possible. It is happening. Millions of people are living it into being. Our common future hangs in the balance.
There is broad agreement about the need for a New Economy, but strikingly different versions of what that means. The New Economy 1.0 version envisions a magical high-tech fantasy world of limitless growth in mindless consumption.
New Economy 1.0 leaves unchallenged the implicit assumption of the old economy that life exists to serve the economy. It poses no challenge to a money-driven economic system designed and managed by Wall Street corporations to maximize financial returns to their major players. It leaves in place indicators that count the conversion of the real living-wealth of the many to the phantom financial-wealth of the few as a net gain for society. It has no plan for dealing with the internal dynamics of a system that by its design drives toward financial instability, wealth concentration, environmental stress, and political corruption. More…
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