Tag 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

Coping, caring, and building community

As the financial and economic ground continues to shift beneath our feet, it becomes ever more imperative that we reduce our dependence upon the institutions and structures that we have come to depend upon and take for granted. The financial tsunami of 2008 and the continuing aftershocks should be a wakeup call. The sock markets may be up (for now), but that should not be taken as comforting evidence that everything is “getting back to normal.” As billionaire financier George Soros said in his recent book, “This crisis …has brought the entire [financial] system to the brink of a breakdown, and it is being contained only with the greatest difficulty. This will have far reaching consequences. It is not business as usual but the end of an era.” (The New Paradigm for Financial Markets: The Crash of 2008 and What it Means. p. 81).

The total outstanding credit for all sectors in the U.S. economy was 160% GDP in 1929, 260% in 1932. By comparison, we entered the 2008 crash at 365%, and Soros believes this will rise to about 500% of GDP within the next few years.

What seems to be in prospects for the foreseeable future for the vast majority of people in the developed world, especially the United States, is diminished purchasing power. This the result of simultaneous trends of underemployment or unemployment, rising prices of basic necessities due to currency debasement (inflation), and systematic attacks on the middle-class by the political establishment.

How do we cope with all of that? It is, of course, as the proverb says, both a challenge and an opportunity. I have suggested before that society is on the verge of metamorphic change that offers the promise of a more peaceful and harmonious world in which basic needs are met and everyone has the opportunity to realize their fullest potential. But it will take the right kind of action to make that vision a reality. It will require that we take sharing and cooperation to new levels, and that we create new structures that can serve the common good. An essential part of that is building community.

On that score, I take inspiration from Richard Flyer and the Conscious Community Network. Richard recently posted a list of 37 ways to build community. No Act is Too Small! You can click on that link to learn more, but I have extracted the 37 ways here for your convenience. I’m sure Richard won’t mind.—t.h.g.

1. A smile and a wave will go a long way.

2. Each morning, ask where you can make a difference.

3. Find the good in others instead of their faults – start in your home and on your street.

4. Become aware of hidden needs on your street – isolated seniors;

youth needing mentors, single parents; etc.

5. Start a community garden.

6. Practice forgiveness.

7. Surprise a new neighbor by making a favorite dinner – and include the recipe.

8. Slow down and enjoy the present moment.

9. Don’t gossip.

10. Start a monthly tea group.

11. Play cards with friends and neighbors.

11. Start a babysitting cooperative.

12. Form a group of neighbors to walk their dogs together.

13. Seek to understand.

14. Start a carpool.

15. Have family dinners and read to your children.

16. If you grow tomatoes, plant extra for a lonely elder who lives nearby – better yet, ask him/her to teach you and others to can the extras.

17. Turn off the TV, Play Station, PSP, and talk with family, friends, and neighbors.

18. Bless your food with gratitude.

19. Know that love is not a feeling but a courageous choice.

20. Ask neighbors for help and reciprocate.

21. Talk to your children or parents about how their day went.

22. Say hello to strangers.

23. Create a neighborhood newsletter.

24. Organize a neighborhood clean-up.

25. Be a model and demonstrate the virtues you want to see in the world.

26. Be a peacemaker.

27. Talk to the mail carrier.

28. Shoot some ‘hoops with neighbor children.

29. Support local merchants.

30. Speak kindly and listen carefully

31. Hire young people for odd jobs.

32. Form a tool cooperative with neighbors and share ladders, rakes, snow blowers, etc.

33. Grow your own food.

34. Be real. Be humble. Be respectful.

35. Offer to watch your neighbor’s home or apartment while they are away

36. Be of service to all.

37. Go to http://www.consciouscommunity-reno.org/ to share your stories.

Adapted from http://bettertogether.org.

Teach your kids to be entrepreneurs

Here’s an inspiring talk by Cameron Herold on ways to become more self-reliant and less dependent on government programs. Couple that with sharing, cooperation, and community organizing and maybe we have a formula for creating the “butterfly economy.” — t.h.g.