To change our present economic system, we need to have a vision of what we are working for, even if that vision cannot be realized right away, and even if it will never be realized in quite the way that we can now imagine. In this spirit, I here offer some thoughts as to what an economy of abundance would look like, with seven key elements that I consider crucial.

Mark Dworkin and Melissa Young’s film “SHIFT CHANGE” will premiere at 5 p.m. Sunday, April 6 on KCTS 9. The documentary explores employee-owned businesses succeeding in today’s economy.

NCBA CLUSA is now recruiting for an Executive Director for the Philadelphia Area Cooperative Alliance (PACA). The Executive Director is responsible for the organization’s consistent achievement of its mission and financial objectives. The Executive Director will provide day-to-day leadership for Philadelphia Area Cooperative Alliance (PACA) including strategic management and organizational leadership, financial supervision, grant-writing/fundraising, promotion of PACA to internal and external audiences.

Sharing has always been essential to human life, but “What’s new,” says Neal Gorenflo, founder of Shareable Magazine, “is our blindness to it.” Through our individualized pursuit of happiness—a lifestyle ushered in during the Industrial Revolution—many of us have forgotten that for centuries the most promising source of security came from our ability to build and maintain strong social connections and respect the commons. 

As the founder and executive director of the Freelancers Union, and the CEO of the social-purpose Freelancers Insurance Company (FIC), Sara Horowitz has dedicated herself to empowering and protecting America’s independent workers. Now, as the institution she leads grows from strength to strength, she’s focusing on “New Mutualism,” a social movement of change and cooperation that's about moving from consumption to connection.

The roots of modern cooperatives stretch back more than 150 years, but it wasn't until 1995 that the International Co-operative Alliance adopted seven core values around which all cooperatives should operate. When the United Nations declared 2012 the International Year of Cooperatives, these principles renewed an important conversation about what it means to be a credit union, specifically why they exist and how they are different by design.

Experience tells us that governance in member-owned co-operatives is distinct from that in investor-owned businesses, yet we do not understand fully how this operates in practice.  This research study of governance in large co-operatives helps to fill the gaps in our knowledge.

 

Recently I jumped on a train to Birmingham and attended the founding conference of Students For Co-operation, a new national federation supporting students to set up co-operatives while at university.

The Twin Oaks Community wants to make its Communities Conference an annual event. Attendance has been increasing yearly. They need to build a permanent kitchen to keep up with the growing demand for this powerful demonstration of intentional community.

Help Map the Movement

So, what should I put on the map?

Your local community garden. That artist-owned studio space you love. The babysitting coop your neighbors started. Any place that is helping regular people live the independent, connected life they want to live. And if it’s owned by the people who work or shop or connect there, that’s even better.

See the map and add to it on the Freelancers Union website.

If you happen to be looking for your morning coffee near Golden Gate Park and the bright red storefront of the Arizmendi Bakery attracts your attention, congratulations. You have found what the readers of The San Francisco Bay Guardian, a local alt-weekly, deem the city’s best bakery. But it has another, less obvious, distinction.

“We’re re-writing the standard storyline for a successful organic food business,” says Dan Rosenberg, founder of the twelve-year-old Greenfield, Massachusetts company Real Pickles, which makes naturally fermented and raw pickles from regionally-grown vegetables in a 100% solar-powered facility.

Sharing has taken root and the #SharingSpring is in bloom. Around the world, people who understand the transformational power of the sharing movement are gathering together to collaborate, participate, rethink, swap, celebrate and create. Inspired by the Occupy movement, Arab Spring and M15, the #SharingSpring is about creating solutions to pressing issues in our communities right now.

Arizmendi Association Fee Formula

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We know that if people are to use resources mindfully, to manage them well, and to both demand and correctly use appropriate end of life systems, then we need to design systems that they are easy and convenient to use.

There are two ‘muscles’ that can be flexed in relation to resource and waste management – the Circular Economy muscle, and the Access Economy muscle. A lot of muscle-building effort has gone into the former, and the latter is a muscle we’ve only just discovered we can build.

[Editor's Note: we are passing along this email notice from the Ohio Employee Ownership Conferece.  The conference will take place on April 24th, with pre-conference events on April 23rd.]

A Wealth of Opportunity: Employee Ownership Fuels Growth

We have a few updates for you:

American consumers benefit to the tune of $8.5 billion due to credit unions’ presence in the marketplace.

And the nation’s 98 million credit union members received $6.1 billion in benefits during the year ended Sept. 30, 2013, in the form of lower loan rates, higher dividends, and fewer and lower fees.

[I]f we accept that difference in human communities is good and normal and expected, then we have got to learn how to be at ease with the range of human experience, bodies, cultures, subcultures, and values. If we want to be at ease with the complex reality of human difference, then we have got to learn how to be good to each other when we bump up against it – which we will, regularly, unless we want a conformist monoculture in which everyone behaves, thinks, and feels the same way.

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