Category Archives: Community

Newsletter—Spring 2016

Upcoming AgendaIMG_5014

Europe. I’ve booked my flight to Europe. I’ll be landing in Milan, Italy on 31 May, will remain there for 2 or 3 days, then travel onward to Athens, Volos, and Pelion.

As I mentioned in my January newsletter, I will be conducting a weeklong course in innovative finance, exchange, and economics from 24 June thru 1 July at the Alexandros campus of the Kaliklos Holistic Summer School. This collaborative and problem-centered course titled, Exchange and Finance for the New Economy: Principles and Practice, is intended to stimulate the development and deployment of community currencies, moneyless exchange system, and equitable finance, and is designed especially for social entrepreneurs, enthusiastic agents of change, government officials, and serious students who are ready to co-create a new sustainable and convivial economy from the bottom up. Besides learning and co-creation, courses at Kalikalos also provide participants with opportunities for community building, personal growth, and recreation.

I am excited to be returning again this year to Greece and to be working with course participants to achieve some truly revolutionary outcomes. We’d be pleased to have you join us.

Details about the course, fees, and booking are at http://www.kalikalos.org/exchange-finance. One or two bursaries may be available to qualified low income participants.

Greek participants are being offered (1) a discount of 33% on the full course, or (2) for those who are able to participate only on the weekend of 25/26 June, an invitation to do so on the basis of a free will offering.

Malaysia. I’ve accepted an invitation to speak in October at the International Forum on Inclusive Wealth (http://www.ifiw.my/) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The subject of my presentation will be a revolutionary plan for the creation of a global exchange network based on locally controlled credit clearing exchanges. This will be an elaboration of ideas I first laid out in a chapter of my 2009 book, The End of Money and the Future of Civilization.

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The Panama Papers: The secrets of dirty money

The rich and powerful have for a very long time used shell companies and secret numbered bank accounts in tax haven countries to not only avoid taxes, but to hide their gains from illegal and immoral activities. Now, thanks to yet another courageous whistleblower, the general public is getting a glimpse into this world of hidden wealth and malfeasance.

The so-called Panama Papers that have recently been disclosed by the media were first delivered by an anonymous whistleblower about a year ago. Since then additional documents have been provided and the trove of data now consists of 11.5 million documents that total 2.6 terabytes of digital files. This leak is said to be a bigger bombshell than even Edward Snowden’s revelations of U.S. government’s spying on citizens and allies.

It will take a long time to sift through all that material but a few startling revelations have recently been made. I have to wonder though, why it has taken so long for any of the contents to be reported in the mainstream media, and why the initial focus has been on Russia, Iceland, and FIFA? Why have we not heard about names of any Americans turning up in these documents? Surely we have more than our share of crooks in the USA, the greatest of all tax havens. MSNBC has something to say about that, which you might want to read. I wonder, might something in these documents have implications for the 2016 Presidential election? Hey, you journalists, let’s get cracking on that.

If you wish to dig deeper into this matter, a good place to start is on the website of Süddeutsche Zeitung, http://panamapapers.sueddeutsche.de/en/.

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Geopolitics—Why was Qaddafi murdered?

The US-NATO attacks on Libya and the overthrow of its government is by now old news, but very few people are aware of the real reasons behind the intervention. Ellen Brown, in a recent article, Exposing the Libyan Agenda: A Closer Look at Hillary’s Email, has done a good job of exposing the real agenda in Libya, and to the rest of the world for that matter. She concludes, “violent intervention was not chiefly about the security of the people. It was about the security of global banking, money and oil.” The fact is that anyone who is perceived to be a threat to the dominance of the global money and banking regime will be ridiculed, discredited, or eliminated.

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Living in Community

As I grow old(er) I’m feeling the need to be a bit more settled than I’ve been in recent years. Although I’m in pretty good health and still independent, my nomadic lifestyle is becoming more difficult. I’m seeking to connect with others of like mind to invent new ways of aging together and supporting each others’ independence and whatever good work we still hope to accomplish. To that end I recently posted an ad on the Fellowship for Intentional Communities website. Here’s what I said:

We are seeking to organize a group of independent seniors (and maybe a younger or two) who are still actively engaged and working in various ways to make a better world. We don’t like, or cannot afford retirement homes. We think a better way is to cooperate and share in a cooperative household where we can have the privacy we need while working together and providing each other with companionship and support.

The community might be located anywhere but our focus right now is on Tucson and southern Arizona which offers a delightful climate, a relatively low cost of living, and all the amenities that one might desire. Large houses in this area can be leased for quite reasonable rents.

If you have any interest, please let me know at thgreco@mindspring.com.

Spring flowers and fragrant blossoms refresh my spirit, I hope they do the same for you,

Thomas

Free Community Capital Toolkit

The Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE) is offering a Community Capital Toolkit that can be downloaded free of charge from the BALLE website.

In case you’re not familiar with BALLE, here is a brief description of the BALLE vision and mission from their website:

Within a generation, we envision a global system of human-scale, interconnected local economies that function in harmony with local ecosystems to meet the basic needs of all people, support just and democratic societies, and foster joyful community life.

At the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies, BALLE [bawl-EE], our work is focused on creating real prosperity by connecting leaders, spreading solutions that work, and driving investment toward local economies.

BALLE equips entrepreneurs with tools and strategies for local success, and we provide the national forum for the most visionary local economy leaders and funders to connect, build their capacity and innovate. …more…

Toolkit includes: The 20-page Guide to Community Capital
Seven FREE past webinar recordings
Access to a community capital library of resources

You can download it here.

Community-based, citizen-led solutions: Greece shows the way.

Regarding effective community initiatives, you might want to read this inspiring article from Der Spiegel about two Greek women in Athens who have done some remarkable social action things: People Power: Young Greeks Team Up to Combat Crisis.
This story shows what Greeks can do, and are doing, to make things better for themselves, aside from government policies and actions, by organizing “self-help initiatives to provide free medical care, repair street lighting and monitor public spending.”
The rest of the world might follow their lead. read about it here.

Neighborhoods and social capital, key features of a convivial society

The following appears in the August edition of On The Commons newsletter. Jay Walljasper suggests 25 Tips for Making Your Neighborhood Better.–t.h.g.

The neighborhood is the basic building block of human civilization, whether in a big city, small town or suburban community. It’s also the place where you can have the most influence in making a better world. Jay Walljasper, Senior Fellow at OTC and Project for Public Spaces and author of The Great Neighborhood Book, has studied neighborhoods around the world and come up with this list of how to make your community more livable and lovable.

These suggestions are focused on strengthening the sense of community and spirit of the commons by providing people with ways to come together as friends, neighbors and citizens. That creates a firm foundation that enables a neighborhood to solve problems and seize opportunities.

This is drawn from a presentation he gives regularly to community, civic, academic, professional and business groups. For more information, see Jay Walljasper.com.

1. Give people a place to hang-out

2. Give people something to see

3. Give people something to do

4. Give people a place to sit down

5. Give people a safe, comfortable place to walk

6. Give people a safe, comfortable place to bike

7. Give people reliable, comfortable public transportation

8. Make the streets safe

9. Make the streets safe—not just from crime but from traffic

10. Remember the streets belong to everyone—not just motorists

11. Don’t forget about the needs of older neighbors

12. Don’t forget about the needs of kids

13. Let your community go to the dogs

14. Reclaim front yards as social spaces

15. Remember the best neighborhoods, even in big cities, feel like villages

16. Plan for winter weather as well as sunny, warm days

17. Don’t fear density—people enjoy being around other people

18. Don’t give up hope—great changes are possible when neighbors get together

19. Build on what’s good in your community to make things even better

20. Remember the power of the commons: people working together for the benefit of everyone

21. Never underestimate the power of a shared meal to move people into action

22. Start with small steps—like planting flowers

23. Become a community booster, watchdog, patriot

24. Learn from other neighborhoods in your town and around the world

25. Take the time to have fun and enjoy what’s already great about your neighborhood