Wow, pretty good turnout for August. Big thanks to Heather, Amy, and Rick for a virtual tour of the alternative economy in the Bay Area. Some of the highlights of our talk:
-The point of establishing different methods of exchange is so that our economic transactions better support what we value most – health, nature, good relationships, being involved in our communities, self-determination, and broadly shared opportunity, etc.. An economy and culture focused maniacally on profit, growth, and marketplace values marginalizes what we hold most dear.
-There are many options for structuring our economic life and that they can coexist. Buying and selling in a marketplace using a single currency is just one option. There’s barter, time banking, sharing, gifting, free markets, alternative currencies, and more. These can co-exist and complement each other in an ecosystem.
-For the designers out there, that levels of trust and the scale of the social system can be a guide as to which method of exchange is optimal. For friends, family or high trust communities, a gift economy or generalized reciprocity works well. For national and global trade, widely accepted currencies work well. At the city or regional scale, barter, time banks, and alternative currencies can work. Your design choices also depend on your social goals.
-That there’s a lot of activity in developing the alternative economy, but it’s early in the game. Much work is needed to strengthen the movement. It’s up to us to create what serves us best.
-That there are many opportunities for us to jump in. For instance, Heather, Rick, and Amy are hosting a Festival of Grassroots Economics in Oakland on September 26th at Humanist Hall, 390 27th near Broadway. They need volunteers. I hope you volunteer or at least attend. Here’s the link to the festival: http://www.jasecon.org
MARK YOUR CALENDAR
The next meeting is September 17th. The topic is Beyond Awkward: Dating & Relationships Strategies That Bring Joy & Confidence. We’ll be sharing World Cafe style how to do better in dating and relationships.