5.0 out of 5 stars Common Sense Community-Based Economics, October 25, 2014
Laurence Brahm is one of those unsung heroes who was changing the world for the better, and influencing various governments in most positive ways, long before ecological economics and social enterprise became fashionable turns of phrase. I regard him as the anti-thesis to the predatory capitalism mantras and methods of our time. His proven focus on community development and evolutionary blends of state planning and market incentives is precisely what we need now that everyone understands that Western governments have been corrupted and Western economies destroyed by financial interests devoted to extracting value instead of creating value. This is a practical book, a spiritual book, and one that should be required reading among those intent on creating collaborative economies and social enterprises.
His recommended gradualist evolutionary approach is ethical and focused on stable transformation, not rapid looting by foreign bankers.
Quote (41): The fundamental failure of ivory tower cookie-cutter models, for all of their theoretical perfection, is that they ignore local conditions, culture, mindset, and historical burdens.”
Pragmatic idealism – and acknowledgement of mistakes, e.g. China rushing to bull-doze neighborhoods for high-rises.
Fusion Economics merges state planning and market economics. Focus on raising human productivity – creating value – rather than extracting value through financial slight of hand and outright theft.
Fusion Economics is holistic, tackles all issues at once and together. It avoids the quick fix or the superficial answer, and seeks more sustainable cross-cutting solutions. Common-sense economics stripped of ideology and foreign corruption.
Part II: Pragmatic Idealism, Compassionate Capital, Stakeholder Value, and Social Enterprise
QUOTE (58): Protecting community, culture, local identity, and the environment may be true development. Moreover, it could prove to be the next global economic, business, and financial driver.
Reinforce, rather than disrupt, traditional lifestyles, especially so those rooted in rural areas.
Monks are channeling mind-power. It works. Positive energy is rooted in traditional cultures, we destroy them at our peril. People – humanity – must be the focus of fusion economics.
Economic inter-connectivity and localization with happiness is the best antidote to extremism.
Himalayan Consensus rejects both Washington and Beijing models, strives for localized happiness, micro-finance, and community development.
QUOTE (112): Yanus points out that organizations like the World Bank and IMF often do not bother to consider factors such as transportation costs, price hikes, the cost of staple foods like rice and grain, or the affordability of education. … With all the economic theories, we forget the environment, forget people, forget culture, and destroy anything to make money.”
Development without values is useless
QUOTE (116): The Himalayan Consensus began as an amalgamation of ideas from social enterprise, gross national happiness, and micro-finance. Three principles emerged: a) protect ethnic diversity and identity, 2) work through local businesses, which requires community finance (meaning, change our financial system to support real businesses), 3) encourage business to be a stakeholder in community development and prioritize environmental protection.
Fascinating insights into World Social Forum (WSF), the anti-thesis of the World Economic Forum (WEF) also known as Davos.
Focus on changing the minds of corporations, government politicians will follow.
Multilateral aid is dysfunctional and business is more sustainable.
Part IV: The New Earth Consensus: Community Consciousness and Planetary Survival
Occupy failed from division between those who wanted to make specific demands and those fearful of alienating any portion of Occupy. Anatomy of Occupy's failure – failure to occupy Wall Street and the Exchange, failure to organize and mobilize politically to get on the ballot in every state.
General points of agreement:
1) Our global economy is not sustainable as it is being run.
2) The financial architecture is outdated and must change.
3) Climate change is the single biggest threat to our planet.
4) Military expansion fails to make our planet a peaceful prosperous place.
5) Our current political systems are dysfunctional.
6) The Media is not independent and reflect corporate-government sponsored opinion.
7) Peaceful civil disobedience has become the response to political inertia.
Re-Pioneering America: Solar as the new security – decentralize the grid
South African blueprint:
1) Produce our electricity from wind and solar power
2) Reduce energy use through energy efficiency in industries
3) Reduce energy use in home sand buildings
4) Expand public transport
5) Produce our food through organic small-scale agro ecology
6) Protect our water, soil, and biodiversity resources
7) Move to zero waste
Triodos Bank in the Netherlands and Belgium, are pioneers in social enterprise lending
Spain, Mondragon Collective – 250 companies and organizations
QUOTE (174): Today there are nearly 30,000 cooperatives in the United States operating at seventy-three locations. This should not be dismissed as “alternative economics.” It is becoming a new mainstream. The cooperative sector owns $3 trillion in assets, generates half a trillion dollars ia year in revenue, and pays 856,000 people $25 billion in annual wages. Their multiplier impact on the economy supports more than two million jobs nationally.
Note: Citing Michael Shuman, Local Dollars, Local Sense: How to Shift Your Money from Wall Street to Main Street and Achieve Real Prosperity (Community Resilience Guides), pp. 45-46. Chelsea Green Publishing, 2012.
Assesses failures of RIO+20
China as linch-pin.
1) Undertake massive state investments into the conversion from fossil fuel to renewable
2) tax incentives and rebates to encourage new growth cycle that is energy efficient
3) financial sector must lead with green credit for low carbon development
Founding stone of fusion economics Zhu Ronghi's “Sixteen Measures on Macro-Control Policy” distilled to five pillars:
1) state infrastructure investments into renewasbles
2) fiscal and credit policy to guide businesses in adopting renewable and efficient energy
3) replacing GDP with a broader more inclusive set of measures
4) macro-coordinating policy body to promote genuine green growth among ministries
5) education to transition values toward conservation
Concludes that new earth consensus being pioneered by youth, NGOs and social entrepreneurs unhindered by national boundaries.
This is a barn-burner of a book, and achieves what may be a very rare accomplishment, certainly one I have not seen before: it explains, in the most laudatory possible terms, Chinese successes in alternative economics AND it provides a clear roadmap for everyone else who might be willing to shun the City of London and Wall Street elements that are certain their LIBOR scandals and predatory practices can go on without pause.
Below are nine other books I have received and recommend, my summary reviews might allow the reader to appreciate all of them while buying this one book in the moment.
The Soul of Capitalism: Opening Paths to a Moral Economy
The Battle for the Soul of Capitalism
Griftopia: A Story of Bankers, Politicians, and the Most Audacious Power Grab in American History
Stop, Thief!: The Commons, Enclosures, and Resistance (Spectre)
Philosophy and the Social Problem: The Annotated Edition
Governing the Commons: The Evolution of Institutions for Collective Action (Political Economy of Institutions and Decisions)
The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, Revised and Updated 5th Anniversary Edition: Eradicating Poverty Through Profits
Governing Water: Contentious Transnational Politics and Global Institution Building (Global Environmental Accord: Strategies for Sustainability and Institutional Innovation)
Critical Choices. The United Nations, Networks, and the Future of Global Governance
Robert David STEELE Vivas
THE OPEN SOURCE EVERYTHING MANIFESTO: Transparency, Truth, & Trust