Category: People Systems

Someone Else’s Story

Scots voting no to independence would be an astonishing act of self-harm. Imagine that the question was posed the other way round. An independent nation is asked to decide whether to surrender its sovereignty to a larger union. It would be allowed a measure of autonomy, but key aspects of its governance would be handed to another nation. It would be used as a military base by the dominant power […]

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Volunteer Manager’s Checklist

As a volunteer tourist I have really appreciated receiving tips before my trips from hosts. Now I return the favour. Here are some tips for volunteer managers, and many may also find the resources in the ‘References’ section at bottom of value. Your ideal destination Do you want to change the world? Most of us do, but how do we know we mean the same thing by this? To be […]

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Ten Grassroots Environmental Justice Campaigns from Around the World

Community Managed Sustainable Agriculture Andhra Pradesh in India has been called the pesticide capital of the world.  Pesticides cost farmers a lot of money.  To recover these costs the fruit and vegetables the farmers produced had to be expensive too.  This put them out of reach for many poor families.  Not only that, but farmers themselves had been hospitalised due to pesticide poisoning.  This is why Self Help Groups of […]

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Not Socialism, Not Capitalism… Distributism Seeks Community Power

Not socialism, not capitalism… distributism seeks community power. by Jay Walljasper, On the Commons Conservatives, progressives and everyone else likes farmers’ markets, local food, mom-and-pop stores and other qualities of a thriving community. Can they all connect around the commons? (Photo of the Barberton, Ohio, Downtown Farmers’ Market by the Barberton Community Foundation under a Creative Commons license.) In the early-to-mid-20th Century the Distributists — led by English authors G.K. […]

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Global Inequality and Its Ills

Inequality is bad for most people not just the poor, bad for business and political stability; and it can be cured. by Prof Peter Saunders Two recent books deal with inequality and some of the myths surrounding it (see ISIS reviews, SiS 63). In Capital in the Twenty-first Century [1], the French economist Thomas Piketty argues that the natural tendency of capitalism is to generate ever increasing inequality. We, lay […]

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Simon Anholt: Which Country Does the Most Good for the World? (TED video)

It’s an unexpected side effect of globalization: problems that once would have stayed local—say, a bank lending out too much money—now have consequences worldwide. But still, countries operate independently, as if alone on the planet. Policy advisor Simon Anholt has dreamed up an unusual scale to get governments thinking outwardly: The Good Country Index. In a riveting and funny talk, he answers the question, "Which country does the most good?" […]

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Commons Way of Life vs. Market Way of Life

by Silke Helfrich The market has always been with us. What’s new about life in the last three hundred years — and especially the last thirty — is that the buying and selling of goods is the overriding goal of human civilization. The market is seen not just as an efficient way to do some things — it’s increasingly heralded as the only way to organize our society. The market […]

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Ecuador Takes First Step Toward a Commons Economy

Government sponsors research on how to transition to commoning and open networks. by David Bollier A child during a parade in Ecuador by mavik2007, Flickr Creative Commons In 2013, the government of Ecuador launched a major strategic research project to “fundamentally re-imagine Ecuador” based on the principles of open networks, peer production and commoning.  Michel Bauwens, founder of the P2P Foundation would be leading the research team for the next […]

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The Promise of the Commons

Regular readers may remember an article I posted back in 2010 — Kings, Conquerors, Capitalism and Resilience Lost — where I covered a little historical ground for one particular former ‘East Bloc’ country; a history shared by several countries in central Europe. The article outlined how previously resilient land-based communities — which had lived and even thrived for centuries in close relation to each other and the land that sustained […]

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