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Categories: Economics

Inside Italy's Urban Commons and Sharing School Movements

Shareable Magazine - April 25, 2015 - 08:52

I met architect Andrea Paoletti four years ago at Impact Hub SoMa in San Francisco, the coworking space where I’m a long-time member. He was visiting from Milan to lead a collaborative interior design project with Hub members. His job was to help Hub members design their space so that it encouraged collaboration. His work interested me and was relevant to Shareable. I asked him to write an article about his work co-designing collaborative spaces.

Categories: Economics

Daily Digest 4/25 - The Financial Black Hole, Rethinking Extinction

Chris Martenson - April 25, 2015 - 07:44
  • The Private Equity Firm That Grew Too Fast
  • Negative Interest Rates: The Financial Black Hole
  • Wired Is Right And You Damn Well Ought To Raise Hell
  • A mega-Comcast could have squashed online competition, government says
  • War For Hire
  • The downside of “Drill, baby, drill!”—degraded North American ecosystems
  • California orders no water diversions despite legal rights
  • Rethinking extinction

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Categories: Economics

A Monetary Reform Proposal for Iceland

Beyond Money - April 24, 2015 - 10:22

I have recently received from several sources word of a new monetary reform proposal. This one, commissioned by the Prime Minister of Iceland, is titled, MONETARY REFORM A BETTER MONETARY SYSTEM FOR ICELAND, and is authored by Frosti Sigurjonsson.

I’ve taken the time to read only the Overview and summary portion, but that is sufficient to discern the crux of the Sigurjonsson proposal, which is this:

The Central Bank will be exclusively responsible for creating the money necessary to support economic growth. Instead of relying on interest rates to influence money creation by banks, the Central Bank can change the money supply directly. Decisions on money creation will be taken by a committee that is independent of government and transparent in its decision-making, as is the current monetary policy committee.

New money, created by the Central Bank, will be transferred to the government and put into circulation in the economy via increased government spending, by reduction in taxes, by repaying public debt or by paying a citizen dividend.

The Central Bank will also be able to create money for lending to banks for onward lending to businesses outside the financial sector.

Sigurjonsson indicates that his proposal draws heavily upon an earlier proposal titled, A Monetary Reform for the Information Age, by Joseph Huber and James Robertson (New Economics Foundation (2001)), which I critiqued early in 2002. That critique, along with subsequent dialog between the authors and myself, can be found at

Since both the Sigurjonsson proposal or the Huber/Robertson proposal advocate the same basic approach, I strongly believe that any serious consideration of either, should also consider my above mentioned earlier critique and subsequent dialog.

While I agree with much of what Huber and Robertson (and presumably, Sigurjonsson) say about the defects in the present money system, I believe that their proposed centralized “solution” does not go nearly far enough in solving those defects. Continuation of the money monopoly in (presumably) different hands does not get to the root of the problem. It is my view that the key to achieving more equitable and sustainable economic interrelationships lies in liberating the exchange process from monopolized money and banking, enabling the creation of competing currencies and credit clearing exchanges, and allowing the needs of traders themselves to determine the supply of exchange media (money) in circulation at any given point in time.

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Categories: Blogs

Rising Police Aggression A Telling Indicator Of Our Societal Decline

Chris Martenson - April 24, 2015 - 09:22

It’s time to face some uncomfortable ideas about the state of civilization in the United States.  It is no longer the beacon of freedom illuminating a better way for the world, because it is becoming more and more uncivilized by the day.

The recent spate of police brutality videos and the complete lack of a useful or even any reasonable response by the police unions has shaped this piece of writing, but it goes well beyond those incidents and extends into all corners of the lives of US citizens now.

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Categories: Economics

Preparing for the Coming Breakdown

Chris Martenson - April 24, 2015 - 09:18
Executive Summary
  • The boom in fossil energy has allowed us to enjoy a stability that we may not be able to maintain in the future
  • As society erodes, power concentrates in those intent on grabbing it
  • Nurturing cultural capital is key to maintaining freedom and fairness
  • Strategies for reducing your risk to societal breakdown

If you have not yet read Part 1: Rising Police Aggression A Telling Indicator Of Our Societal Decline available free to all readers, please click here to read it first.

Now we need to prepare those people who live in borderline uncivilized nations, which include the US, Mexico, much of South America, and a few European nations for what is coming next.

Ask yourself this: If tensions are this bad now, while relatively abundant resources exist, how bad do you think they’ll get during the next economic downturn or financial crisis?

One of the core predicaments is that the future simply cannot be more wonderful than the past in terms of ease of life and living standards. The pie is no longer growing like it used to, and someday it will begin to shrink.

My Monkey Brain

I have a confession to make. I react strongly to injustice. It simply makes my blood boil. Writing this article has been one of my less fun adventures in a while because of all the horrible injustices I had to wade through to assemble it.

For a long time I thought that my angry reaction to injustice had to do with old childhood slights around unequal Christmas gifts or something, but I’ve since learned it’s a more primal reaction than that.

Or perhaps I should say primate reaction.

Watch how Capuchin monkeys react an unfair situation and if you are like me, you’ll...

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Categories: Economics

Interviewed: The Leaders of Kenya's College for Cooperatives

Shareable Magazine - April 24, 2015 - 07:49

Established in 1952, The Co-operative University College of Kenya trains students to lead the country's many cooperatives. (Nathan Schneider)

The Co-operative University College of Kenya (CUCK), on the outskirts of Nairobi, looks like any other college. Students walk along its manicured paths and drab hallways with their books and phones—alone, absorbed in thought, or in groups, gabbing with each other. Visiting, I felt like I'd been on campuses like this a million times. But I had never been to a college for cooperatives.

Categories: Economics

Daily Digest 4/24 - Guide to the Coming Collapse, "The Time To Accumulate Gold Is Now"

Chris Martenson - April 24, 2015 - 07:06
  • Jim Rickards - "The Time To Accumulate Gold Is Now"
  • Armageddon Down South: Learning from the Calbuco Volcano Eruption in South America
  • Facebook says it doesn't save your unpublished posts
  • A Practical Utopian’s Guide to the Coming Collapse
  • You Can't Get an Apartment Because Rich People Need Them All
  • Switzerland And Gold: What's Next?
  • Oil markets bullish as US shale boom grinds to temporary halt
  • The real losers in Brazil's Petrobras scandal
  • Big Hit For U.S. Oil Production In January
  • Food Chain Catastrophe: Emergency Shut Down Of West Coast Fisheries: “Populations Have Crashed 91 Percent”

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Categories: Economics

Off the Cuff: Our Culture Is Failing Us

Chris Martenson - April 23, 2015 - 19:15

In this week's Off the Cuff podcast, Chris and Charles Hugh Smith discuss:

  • Broken Markets
    • When all signals are false, how does one invest wisely?
  • The Decline Of Culture
    • A fundamental crisis within Western society
  • The Decline Of Civilization
    • We are on a track to repeat history, and not in a good way
  • Crafting A New Narrative
    • What should a more functional society aspire to?

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Categories: Economics

Daily Digest 4/23 - IMF Warns Of Potential Instability, Is Europe Worth The Investment?

Chris Martenson - April 23, 2015 - 07:56
  • IMF Reports Warns of Financial Instability – Low Interest Rates Will Be Our Doom
  • Obama’s Republican Collaborators
  • Is Europe Worth The Investment?
  • MSNBC’s Touré Has the Taxman on His Case
  • Expect Deflation, Inflation And Hyperinflation In This Distorted Financial System
  • Record Numbers Of Drivers Trading In Electric Cars For SUVs
  • How to Make Money in Renewable Energy
  • Big oil warns world to brace for a different, but equally daunting, price shock to come
  • U.S. Oil Production May Not Drop In Earnest Until 2016
  • Your White Teeth and Smooth Skin Are Damaging the Environment
  • 1,015 gallons of water were used to make this plate

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Categories: Economics

New Bill to Spur Growth of Worker Coops in California

Shareable Magazine - April 22, 2015 - 07:59

A new bill in California is a step toward recognizing worker cooperatives as a solution to the state’s growing income inequality and worsening prospects for low- and middle-income people.

AB 816 clarifies language in the existing coop statute and creates the legal structure, capital structure, and certain exemptions from registration requirements to make it easier to form worker cooperatives.

Categories: Economics

Spain's CIC Tries to Build a New Economy from the Ground Up

Shareable Magazine - April 22, 2015 - 07:49

Top image: Enric Duran. Article and image cross-posted from and

Categories: Economics

Daily Digest 4/22 - Greek Bank Shares Slide, Eurozone Gov't Debts Continue To Rise

Chris Martenson - April 22, 2015 - 07:07
  • Greece buys six weeks’ space with order transferring city funds
  • Atlantic City Managers In Talks to Hire Restructuring Lawyers
  • Surging medical, nursing care costs strain Japan's public finances
  • Chicago Schools Haunted by Bankruptcy Chatter Ahead of Bond Sale
  • Eurozone government debts continue to rise in 2014
  • Key European interbank rate drops below zero
  • Fink Says Central Bankers ‘Destroying’ Insurers With Low Rates
  • Greek bank shares slide to record low as ECB considers pulling the plug
  • India’s Central Bank Chief Looks for More Accommodation
  • Hungary Central Bank Flags More Easing as Rate Cut to Record

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Categories: Economics

Food Stamps Are Worth Double at These Michigan Farmers Markets—Helping Families and Local Businesses

The USDA is putting $31 million behind a program that helps low-income families take home twice the veggies, and local farmers make twice the money.
Categories: Economics

Green Dreams for Earth Day

Shareable Magazine - April 21, 2015 - 13:17

Photo credit: Garry Knight under a Creative Commons license.

At a time when ecological destruction is more dire than ever, the work of protecting the planet depends on dreamers just as much as on scientists, activists, public officials, and business leaders. Earth Day, when millions of people voice support for environmental causes, is the perfect time to recognize this.

Categories: Economics

Meet Lacuna, a Pop-Up Library Made From Books

Shareable Magazine - April 21, 2015 - 10:58

What to do when you’re gifted 50,000 books? Give them away, of course. But how? This is the challenge organizers of the inaugural Bay Area Book Festival faced after the Internet Archive gave them 80 boxes full of 700 books each.

Categories: Economics

Daily Digest 4/21 - Wall Street Bets On Oil Price Rally, Live Small To Be Happy

Chris Martenson - April 21, 2015 - 08:01
  • Live small, be happy? The next new big thing
  • The Future Of Flying
  • The Government Killed 8 Eagles, 730 Cats, and a Million Starlings Last Year
  • New York Apartments, Art Top Gold as Stores of Wealth, Says Fink
  • Mutant Broccoli Has Been Enhanced To Fight Cholesterol
  • Wall Street Bets On Oil Price Rally
  • Offshore Oil and Gas Drilling in the Southeast Atlantic: What You Need to Know. What You Can Do
  • Maybe climate science news makes a difference?

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Categories: Economics

Deluding Ourselves

Chris Martenson - April 20, 2015 - 14:50

Once you understand the role of oil, you cannot walk around or travel anywhere without seeing its massive impact on our lives.  Whether it’s the year-round abundance in our grocery stores or it’s the endless traffic jams in every city across the globe, every single day of the year, you see oil’s effect in and on our collective lives.

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Categories: Economics

Daily Digest 4/20 - World's Electrical Waste Reaches New Peak, Moving To Mars

Chris Martenson - April 20, 2015 - 06:58
  • Out of the ashes - Could we reboot a modern civilization without fossil fuels?
  • A revolt is growing as more people refuse to pay back student loans
  • Key Democrat says he’ll try to kill Obama-backed trade bill
  • Hundreds drown off Libya, EU leaders forced to reconsider migrant crisis
  • Congress cannot be taken seriously on cybersecurity
  • Moving To Mars
  • World's mountain of electrical waste reaches new peak of 42m tonnes
  • The EIA Is Bizarrely Optimistic About Future U.S. Oil Production
  • Falling battery prices boost outlook for electric vehicles

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Categories: Economics

The Sharing Economy Needs a Public Option

Shareable Magazine - April 20, 2015 - 06:37

Photo credit: jonathan mcintosh / Foter / CC BY-SA. Article cross-posted from Al Jazeera America.

Categories: Economics