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Daily Digest 11/24 - Death Of A Family Farm, What Makes A City Unhappy?

Chris Martenson - 7 hours 46 min ago
  • What Makes A City Unhappy?
  • Killings by Utah police outpacing gang, drug, child-abuse homicides
  • Solar and Wind Energy Start to Win on Price vs. Conventional Fuels
  • New Battery Composed Of Lots Of Nanobatteries
  • Where Oil And Politics Meet
  • How Energy Secure Are The EU And UK?
  • Death Of A Family Farm
  • Melting Away

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Categories: Economics

14 Fabulous Open Source Gifts for the Holidays

Shareable Magazine - 9 hours 3 min ago

Article and images cross-posted from

Categories: Economics

6 Awesome Harvest Festivals from Around the Globe

Shareable Magazine - 9 hours 7 min ago

Before the age of supermarkets and 24-hour diners, seasons dictated our lives far more intimately than they do now and there was a time of the year that was crucial to human survival: the harvest.

Ever since our ancestors moved from being hunter-gatherers to farmers, the harvest has been an important element of the human experience. It was not only a celebration of the bounty each year, it foretold the future. At harvest, people would know whether they would be well fed through the winter and beyond.

Categories: Economics

How to Fire the Bosses, Create a Four-day Work Week, and Thrive

Shareable Magazine - 9 hours 14 min ago

If someone said your organization could eliminate email and meetings, fire the bosses, go to a four day work week, and thrive, what would you think? Where’s the punchline, right? Well, there is no punchline. Many companies are taking such steps.

Categories: Economics

So you want to start a LETS?

Matslats - November 23, 2014 - 18:25

Is it a good idea to start a LETS in 2014? The brand is 30 years old, and has a track record littered with poor governance, currency collapse, low participation and high turnover. The domesticated hippies of the 80s and caring sharing consumers of the 90s are not the same as the Occupiers and Transitioners of today. The existing LETS projects at least in UK are failing to thrive even in recession. The movement preferred decentralisation over software coordination, and slicker projects emerge every week.

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Categories: Blogs

Treebeard: Becoming The Change We Wish To See

Chris Martenson - November 23, 2014 - 05:50

Here at Peak Prosperity, we follow a lot of the problems and challenges of the world around us and explore what can be done in response to them. And in seeking solutions, we have to remind ourselves that if we want the world to be different in some way, the only way to begin changing it with 100% certainty is by changing ourselves. In the end, we are responsible for how we perceive and relate to what's happening around us, and true change begins with taking ownership of what our reality is, and what we want it to be.

For such a heady topic, we've responded to previous requests from the community and invited our own philosopher-in-residence Andrew Graves -- better known as Treebeard on the site -- to expound on the topic.

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Categories: Economics

Responsible donorship

Matslats - November 22, 2014 - 15:41

Of course I'm jealous. People tell me every other day that my work is important, but much funding flows to demonstrably stupid projects.

I no longer seek funding or material support or even volunteers for my work. I no longer worry about funded projects overtaking mine. I have understood that what I'm doing is antithetical to money, and unlikely to be funded by any reasonable plutocrat or angel. Just as states and banks simply can't see moneyless people, projects which neither beg nor boast are invisible to donors.

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Categories: Blogs

What Role Should Cities Play in Sustainable Consumption?

Shareable Magazine - November 22, 2014 - 09:11

Resourceful PDX connects residents to events like the neighborhood cleanup pictured above. Credit: SE Uplift

Categories: Economics

Daily Digest 11/22 - Stop Trying To Save The World, Record High Temps In B.C. Waters

Chris Martenson - November 22, 2014 - 07:53
  • Stop Trying To Save The World
  • There’s a Giant Contradiction at the Heart of the U.S. Economy
  • Officials Revise Goals on Containing Ebola After Signs of Wider Exposure in Mali
  • The Secret Life Of Passwords
  • Small Business Saturday: Promoting Small Businesses and One Great Big One
  • China Needs 1,000 Nuclear Reactors to Fulfill Its Climate Pledge
  • Record North Pacific temperatures threatening B.C. marine species 
  • Half of Americans Think Climate Change Is a Sign of the Apocalypse

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Categories: Economics

Beyond the Sharing Economy in Gijon

Shareable Magazine - November 22, 2014 - 06:52

My trip to Gijon, Spain for the Beyond the Sharing Economy conference began five months earlier 30 feet underground in the catacombs of Paris.

Let me explain.

Categories: Economics

Energy & The Economy - Crash Course Chapter 22

Chris Martenson - November 21, 2014 - 17:17

In the past few chapters on Energy EconomicsPeak Cheap Oil, and the false promise of Shale Oil, we've gone into great detail to show how our economic growth is deeply dependent on our energy systems.

Understanding the known facts behind this story, as well as each of the stated risks is what The Crash Course is about: assessing those risks and deciding what, if anything, a prudent adult should do about adapting to these realities and facing these risks. 


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Categories: Economics

New Film Shows How Florida Farmworkers Won Fairer Pay From America's Biggest Food Companies

Lucas Benitez of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers. Photo by Jeffery Salter.

The small city of Immokalee, Florida, provides produce to millions of people. It’s one of the country’s agricultural hubs, but with an average per capita income of $9,518, the majority of residents—many of whom are farmworkers—live well below the national poverty level.

“The wealth doesn’t stay here with us.”

That’s Lucas Benitez, founder of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers and a former farmworker, in the new film Food Chains.  The documentary, by director Sanjay Rawal and executive producers Eva Longoria and Eric Schlosser, follows the Coalition’s fight for human rights and fair wages for tomato pickers. “There is more interest in food these days than ever,” the filmmakers write on the film’s website. “Yet there is very little interest in the hands that pick it.”

Rawal, who spent 15 years working in the nonprofit industry and several years abroad, was aware of the routine human rights abuses against agricultural workers overseas. “I had no idea that these same abuses could be happening here,” he told me. “I knew I couldn’t just focus on the problem, I had to focus on the solution.”

For Rawal, the most promising path out of this kind of exploitation comes from the Coalition’s strategy of organizing workers at the bottom to revolutionize entire supply chains.

In the 1990s, Benitez and a small group of other tomato pickers founded the Coalition to create a safer working environment in Florida’s fields and raise farmworkers' pay. In addition to winning wage increases, the group has been instrumental in fighting sexual exploitation, violence, human trafficking, and debt bondage on farms.

Many tomato pickers live in trailers with up to 16 other people during the growing season, since rent is otherwise unaffordable. Until recently, when Coalition organizers succeeded in increasing their pay, workers received 50 cents for each 32-pound bucket of tomatoes they picked—a pay-per-piece practice that’s a holdover from slavery, according to the film. Pickers’ wages usually amount to less than $50 a day, and they work long hours under the constant threat of sexual assault and abuse. Because many are undocumented, crimes against them often go unreported.

In 2011, the Coalition launched the Fair Food Program, an project aimed at getting corporations to pay farmers an additional cent for every pound of tomatoes purchased. The program also demands that allegations of abuse and sexual assault on the farms are taken seriously.

Many large companies have already signed on—some of them after tenacious, drawn-out campaigning by Coalition members. Whole Foods, Subway, Walmart, and Chipotle are among several corporations that now comply with Fair Food Program standards.

Now, upwards of 80,000 Florida farmworkers—about 90 percent of the state’s total—are receiving the benefits of these protections. But Food Chains largely focuses on Publix, a major regional grocery chain in Florida, which has refused to meet with Coalition members or join the Fair Food Program, despite public pressure.

Part of what makes the Fair Food Program so successful is that the additional cost for tomatoes is offset to consumers: Since it’s distributed among millions of buyers, each family pays just pennies more per year. Plus, the program holds producers accountable: If they’re found guilty of inappropriately handling a case of sexual assault or abuse, for example, partner companies can’t buy their produce. In other words, if workers report an issue and a supplier in Florida doesn’t address it, that supplier won’t be able to sell to Subway or Whole Foods. Janice R. Fine, a labor relations professor at Rutgers, called it “the best workplace-monitoring program I’ve seen in the U.S.” earlier this year in The New York Times.

Julia de la Cruz, a Coalition member, says farmers are already seeing the benefits of the program. Workers now have a right to take breaks, to leave the farm when they feel threatened, and to report cases of sexual assault or abuse without fear of retaliation.

According to de la Cruz, farms are enforcing a zero tolerance policy against sexual assault. There have been cases where women have reported abuse, and those supervisors were investigated and fired. And that additional penny per pound of tomatoes? It’s a “significant economic relief for our workers, and our community,” she told me.

Rawal sees this fight in the American tomato industry as part of a bigger global issue. “More than 95 percent of the products that we purchase come through a supply chain system,” he said. And other, non-agricultural workers who produce for major retailers—like the Gap and Walmart—face very similar issues at the bottom of their respective supply chains.

Rawal and and his colleagues believe the Coalition’s model of grassroots organizing can be a solution for workers all over the world.

“This is not a film about oppression,” executive producer Eva Longoria told MSNBC’s Chris Hayes this week. “It’s actually about transformation.”

Watch the interview below. Food Chains opens on November 21. Click here to find out about screenings near you.

Nur Lalji wrote this article for YES! Magazine, a national, nonprofit media project that fuses powerful ideas with practical actions. Nur is a contributor to YES! based in the Seattle area. Follow her on Twitter at @nuralizal.

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Categories: Economics

Daily Digest 11/21 - Lean Times Ahead, Can Immigration Save Japan?

Chris Martenson - November 21, 2014 - 08:21
  • Can immigration save a struggling, disappearing Japan?
  • Lean times ahead: Preparing for an energy-constrained future
  • Switzerland Net Exports 100t Of Gold In October
  • New York City’s Unemployment Rate Drops to Lowest Level in Six Years
  • America's 11 Million
  • The Economic And Strategic Implications Of Low Oil Prices 
  • How Climate Change Will End Wine As We Know It
  • Scientists: Be Lazy, Don't Rake Leaves

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Categories: Economics

SELC Celebrates Victories and Launches Seed Library Campaign

Shareable Magazine - November 21, 2014 - 08:14

On Tuesday, the Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC) hosted its annual Fall Celebration and Showcase. Now in its fifth year, SELC is a driving force for the new economy, doing pioneering work around worker cooperatives, home-based food businesses, alternative currencies, legal guides for sharing, legal apprenticeships, accessible legal cafes, renewable energy, the commons, seed libraries and more.

Categories: Economics

Off the Cuff: The Shift From Paper Assets To Real Ones Is On

Chris Martenson - November 20, 2014 - 18:29

In this week's Off the Cuff podcast, Chris and John Rubino discuss:

  • Mass-delusional Markets
    • Investors are mistaking the destruction of our fiat system as prosperity
  • The Shift From Paper To Real Assets Is On
    • At least, among the top 1%
  • Generational War
    • Coming to a stagnating economy near you
  • It All Comes Back To Energy
    • And there's still no magic bullet in sight

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Categories: Economics

Share Thanksgiving Connects Canadians and Immigrants for Holiday Meals

Shareable Magazine - November 20, 2014 - 12:09

Share Thanksgiving is a free, turkey-based matching service connecting new immigrant families with host families in Canada, where Thanksgiving is in October but is still celebrated with family gatherings and a large feast of turkey, pumpkin pie and all the trimmings. Now in its third year, Share Thanksgiving recently had 700 people participate in 10 cities across Canada.

Categories: Economics

Daily Digest 11/20 - The Economy's Ebb And Flow, Dust Storms On The High Plains

Chris Martenson - November 20, 2014 - 08:29
  • Emission Statement
  • The Geography Of Terrorism
  • The Economy's Ebb And Flow
  • Rich hoard cash as their wealth reaches record high
  • Cops Mock Victims While Learning How to Legally Steal Their Property
  • Russia-China Deal Could Kill U.S. LNG Exports
  • Dust Storms Again in the High Plains
  • Keystone XL pipeline bill dies in Senate

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Categories: Economics

When most projects just disappear off the radar, its great to see such a self-cr...

Community Currency Magazine - November 19, 2014 - 20:44
When most projects just disappear off the radar, its great to see such a self-critical & artistic account.

In 2010, Pixelache and curator Susanne Jaschko invited UK artist Christian Nold to develop a project for Helsinki. Autopsy of an Island Currency describes and reflects on the two-and-half year process of this artistic research project, which attempted to create an experimental local currency for the…
Categories: Economics

Keep Your Eyes On The Prize

Chris Martenson - November 19, 2014 - 19:53

At the essential center of the framework of the Crash Course is the almost insultingly simple idea that endless growth on a finite planet is an impossibility.

It is so simple it could be worked out by a clever 4 year-old and yet it must not be so simple because the main narrative of every economy in every corner of the globe rests on the idea of endless, infinite growth.

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Categories: Economics