what you get here

This is not a blog which expresses instant opinions on current events. It rather uses incidents, books (old and new), links and papers as jumping-off points for some reflections about our social endeavours.
So old posts are as good as new! And lots of useful links!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

No Excuse for Apathy

One of my unfinished projects has been a mapping of “alternative” ways of using our energies than that of the mad economic system which has had the globe in thrall (and peril) for at least the post-war period……
The project started with a short essay in 2001 (updated in Notes for the Perplexed) and moved into higher gear with the opening last autumn of a website Mapping the Common Ground which acts as a library of useful material for those keen to effect social change. Ways of Seeing…..the Global Crisis was my round-up of the reading I had been doing in recent years – with my common complaint being the failure of writers to give credit to others and indeed to make any attempt to do what Google Scholar exhorts us to do – “stand on the shoulders of giants”.
So I was delighted, this morning, to come across an encouraging American initiative The Next System whose opening video may be a bit crass but which makes amends with its initial report – The Next System Report – political possibilities for the 21st Century which contains extensive references to writing I had not so far encountered and to good community practice in various parts of the world.  This led me to new writers such as Pat Devine and Andrew Cumbers (celebrating public ownership); and such gems as -
- the manual Take Back the Economy;
- the book Capitalism 3.0 by Peter Barnes
We are Everywhere – a celebration of community enterprise
- An article on Democratising Finance by Fred Block
- The full bibliography of Danny Dorling’s glorious Injustice book

And that was just a couple of days after I had downloaded a lot of material relating to “the commons” which delicately tiptoes round the topic of “common ownership” – see this excellent overview The Commons as a new/old paradigm for governance – with a second section here
I was alerted to that by a fascinating article in Open Democracy Planning a Commons-based Future for Ecuador which is part of a wider effort that country has been making – set out in a document National Plan for Good Living which must be one of the first efforts this century to have a National Plan!

Other finds are -
The evolution of social enterprise – a very friendly overview of various landmarks in the important history of this “movement” (rather US-centric)
 - Commons Transition – the book from a site “of practical experiences and policy proposals aimed toward achieving a more humane and environmentally grounded mode of societal organization. Basing a civil society on the Commons (including the collaborative stewardship of our shared resources) would enable a more egalitarian, just, and environmentally stable society.

So no excuse! Let’s get off our backsides and do something to build a more sensible world!!

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