Bring New Economy to Your Community
Another jobs report is in and it shows continued waddling along in job creation, just enough to keep the unemployment figure stable. The reality is the collapse has cost the nation 3 million jobs and that number is not shrinking. The “Lost Out-Put Clock” shows the nation has lost $4,602,667,601,6089 in national income and counting since the 2008 collapse.
To make matters worse we are now entering a new reality of poor jobs, part-time and temporary, and low-paying without benefits like health insurance. Big business makes big profits off these workers but treats them like they are disposable people. Workers with health care will not see benefits from Obamacare, indeed things will likely get worse. This comes after years of stagnant wages, and at a time when CEO pay continues its rapid increase. The wealth divide is worsening as the ‘haves’ and ‘have-not’s’ become more extreme.
The bi-partisans in DC have created an economy that savages the long-term unemployed and they refuse the kind of policies that would protect abused, low-wage workers. Indeed, a prominent belief is that the poor get too many benefits and therefore don’t seek jobs, ignoring the reality that there are 3 unemployed for every 1 job. Because of mistaken austerity programs, cuts to state and federal jobs, and inadequate investment in the economy by the government, we have seen a record 54 months with over 7.5 percent unemployment.
People are realizing that they cannot make it in the current Wall Street dominated corporate capitalist economy. It is not designed for most people to make it. Rather it is designed for a small percentage to profit while everyone else is exploited and economically insecure.
A new economic model is gravely needed and has in fact taken root worldwide and increasingly in the US. People are not waiting for Congress, and are instead taking action to create the new democratized economy in many areas from finance to employment to food, energy and health care.
Two years ago, we organized the economic democracy track of the first national Democracy Convention. More than 1,000 people attended and the energy for creating real democracy was high.
The second national Democracy Convention will take place this August 7 to 11 in Madison WI. Once again, It’s Our Economy is organizing the economic democracy track, this time in partnership with the Public Banking Institute. Our focus this year is to bring those who have been building the new economy together to share what they are learning so that participants can put new systems in place in their own communities.
Since 2011, efforts to build local economies and create affordable and sustainable supplies of the basic necessities have all advanced, and the potential for the future is amazing. Gar Alperovitz, a political economist who will be a speaker at the convention, recently had an article published in the New York Times about the vast potential of the aging baby boomer generation reaching retirement. Owners of businesses can take steps to transfer ownership of their businesses to their workers, this provides economic benefits to both the owners and the workers, and builds the foundation for a new economy.
We will challenge the concept of money with Jacqui Dunne, co-author of “Rethinking Money” and learn how communities are creating monetary systems that are based on values of dignity and collaboration rather than exploitation and competition. Kurt Von Mettenheim, an international expert in public banking, will give us the facts we need to make the public banking argument. And Marc Armstrong and Ellen Brown will share the experiences of the 20 states that have public banking supporters.
We will learn about efforts to end the debt-based economy and become participants in making local budget decisions. We’ll also look at creating permanently-affordable housing, public renewable energy and businesses that are legally required to serve the community rather than wealthy investors.
On Friday, August 9, we will hold a plenary session on the big picture of the economy, followed by a social event where you can meet the presenters and discuss these topics in more depth.
Sign up for the Democracy Convention at DemocracyConvention.org. The fee is low so that everyone can attend. We look forward to seeing you there.