They say we are self-interested, we’re always out to win.
Always individualistic, though it used to be a sin.
They say we need free markets, the better to compete,
and the economy will flourish if we only think of greed.
This is Economics 101, the way it’s taught today. Not a word about nature, community, caring, sharing, or cooperation.
During the mid 19th century, advances in science, democracy, education, literacy, public healthcare, labour unions, technological breakthroughs, banking, and the power of fossil fuels to generate rapid economic growth certainly made it seem that after ten thousand years of economic stagnation the competitive pursuit of profit was improving life for all. In the 1760s it took eighteen hours of human labour to transform a pound of cotton into cloth. By the 1860s it took one and a half hours. Today, it probably takes five seconds.
Continue reading The Birth of a New Cooperative Economy
Guy Dauncey, April 2017
This essay was submitted to The Next Systems Project Essay Contest, in which is was awarded second place. “We received hundreds of submissions from 30 different states and 26 countries, proving that many around the world not only believe system change is necessary, but have thought long and hard about what a new system should look like and how we might get there.” http://thenextsystem.org/announcing-the-winners-in-our-essay-competition/
You can download the essay as a PDF here. A New Cooperative Economy
Our task is to fashion a political vision and a political narrative that is a compelling answer to neo-liberalism and the ideology of competition, free markets, and the primacy of capital. We need a political economy of cooperation, solidarity, of mutual benefit. – John Restakis, Civil Power and the Partner State, 2016
Our modern economy is in crisis. Can we build an alternative economy as our ancestors did in the transition from feudalism to capitalism? It’s a question that takes us deep into our values, culture, history, politics—and visions of the future.
Continue reading A New Cooperative Economy
by Guy Dauncey
When the future teenager walks down the future Main Street in future Smalltown BC, be it Williams Lake, Smithers, Houston, Creston or Kimberley, which of these thoughts might she or he be thinking?
“I can’t wait to get out of this place—it’s so, like, basic.”
“This place is so cool. I wish there was work, so that I could stay.”
“This place is so über-cool. My friends in the city are so jealous that I get to live, work and play here.”
British Columbia has many communities that built their economies around traditional resources that are now either collapsing or going into decline. Unless there’s a strong impulse for community economic renewal, there’s a risk that working people will leave and young people will follow, never to return.
Continue reading A New Economy for Small Communities
Sarah Petrescu’s series in The Times Colonist on poverty and homelessness made a valuable contribution to public awareness about the realities that people living in poverty have to live with every day.
Her final part, Big problem, small changes, laid out small changes that could help, such as raising income assistance rates. It’s a big problem, however, so here are some big changes that could contribute to a future in which there is no poverty at all, except the voluntary simplicity of those who want to live with a minimal footprint on the Earth. Continue reading Six big changes could put an end to poverty