Our Blog | October 2010

Guest Post - John Restakis - Humanizing the Economy

by: EJ on 10/27/2010
Posted in: Guest Posts

Humanizing the Economy by John Restakis has just been released and was launched to celebrate Co-op Week on October 21st. In this guest post, author John Restakis explains his motivation for writing the book and his hopes for the future.

In the fall of 2008, I was fortunate enough to be able to take a year long sabbatical to research and write about the role of the co-op model in today’s global era. When I left Vancouver for my outpost on the quiet mountain slopes of eastern Tuscany, things were just beginning to look bad on Wall Street. By mid November, the financial systems of the world’s leading economies were on the verge of collapse. I followed the events on a tiny television from the kitchen of a small stone farmhouse surrounded by thick woods and deep snow but still able to receive the satellite signals of the BBC and Al Jazeera. It was a perfect instance of the perks and perils of our global era. Deeply affected by what I was witnessing, as were millions of others, I decided to frame the narrative of the book I was writing within the crisis of capitalism and the utter lack of any consequential discussion of an alternative. Two years on, the meltdown seems to have been stemmed. But the deeper crisis of a system in dysfunction continues to unfold. Meanwhile, opposition to the status quo has become a permanent and growing feature of any international economic gathering. Most recently, at the June meetings of the G20 and G8 in Toronto, the security measures surpassed $1 billion in costs and turned the city’s core into an armed camp.

In fact, the rising crescendo of protests that commenced at the Battle of Seattle a decade ago are only the most recent outcries against a model of economic and social organization that has drawn determined opposition and resistance for the last two hundred years. But the tangible effects of this global economic order, the marks that it scribes on the lives and livelihoods of billions of people the world over, are felt not in the realm of ideology, trade policy or politics. The effects are visible in the wages people earn if they are lucky enough to have a job, in the prices they get for their coffee beans, in the cleanliness of their drinking water, in the quality of their shelter and whether or not their children will go to school. These are the battles for survival and the prospect of life with dignity that billions of people the world over have to wage day in and day out. Today, with a global economic crisis destroying the livelihoods and pulling the foundations from under millions in developed and poor economies alike, the pitfalls of the new economic order are plain for all to see.

I wrote Humanizing the Economy to talk about an alternative. At its heart, it is a story about how a revolution in human society that began with the rise of democracy in politics continues to unfold as the democratic idea struggles to find its place in the world of economics. If economic democracy is the hidden face of this ongoing revolution, then the history of the co-operative idea is its most durable expression.

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Blog Action Day 2010 - Dry Run

by: Heather on 10/15/2010
Posted in: Activism

Blog Action Day is an annual event that unites the world's blogging community in an effort to raise awareness and generate discussion about a particular topic of far-reaching global consequence. This year's issue is water, specifically the water issues facing our planet.

In Dry Run: Preventing the Next Urban Water Crisis, Jerry Yudelson delivers a …

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Valedictorian Speaks Out Against Schooling

by: Heather on 10/12/2010
Posted in: Activism

This past June, Erica Goldson made a bold move. As the valedictorian of her 2010 graduating high school class, she delivered a shattering indictment of an educational system that fails to inspire and motivate in favor of turning out a complacent workforce. In her speech, Erica cites John Taylor Gatto from Weapons of Mass Instruction:

 

We could …

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John Robbins on Huffington Post

by: EJ on 10/08/2010
Posted in: Health

This afternoon I was working with Joseph Keon on his upcoming book, Whitewash:The Disturbing Truth about Cow's Milk and Your Health. We were discussing the foreword which has been written by John Robbins, author of Diet for a New America. He asked if I had seen John's post on his Huffington Post blog this morning, entitled, "How Bad is McDonald's …

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New Visual Essay from Franke James - What Can One Person Do?

by: Heather on 10/07/2010
Posted in: Author Events

Franke James, author of Bothered by My Green Conscience has written a new visual essay which is featured on 350.org. What Can One Person Do, When 6.8 Billion Are Frying The Planet? is also being presented as a live event for 10/10/10 in Franke's hometown of Toronto, Ontario.

 

In her essay, Franke ponders the challenges of adapting the city to …

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