Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Ten Steps Towards a New Economy

1: Envision a new Bay Area economy- facilitate community dialogues, extensive bay area wide survey and visioning conference for the new economy to discover our common goals, values, needs and resources.
2: Council for a new Bay Area economy-establish an organizational structure that facilitates participatory democratic advisory role for multi-sector collaboration to develop new the self-sufficient, sustainable Bay Area economy. Include elected representatives from geographic districts and economic sectors, as well as key “thinkers” in this area. This council will provide a decision-making body to advise government, businesses, nonprofits, banks, etc. on how to implement of the people’s vision of a new economy. Create special committee to address race, class, gender, and environmental inequities.
3: Multiple currencies- regional paper currency, plastic municipal id or discount card/currencies , Bay Area small business to business mutual credit system (with ethical criteria as a qualification for participation), community financing currencies (veggies shares, renewable kilowatts, NoBAWC Bucks), community self-help time exchange and time dollar store/café/community centers.
4: Municipal budgeting- adoption of participatory budgeting for municipalities, formation of neighborhood councils to administer community project/infrastructure budget, regular town hall meetings to debate city-wide budget, voting for categorical appropriations of city-wide budget, prioritization of contract awards to local contractors ( especially worker cooperatives) seed funding for local import replacement businesses and training programs, and transition to worker cooperative business support.
5: Better banking- evaluate and rate local banks and credit unions according to community values, support development of new banks and forms of banking as needed to address these community values, needs and goals. Encourage institutionalized public participation in decision-making of community reinvestment allocations.
6: Community investment- as part of council of new bay area economy, organize body to oversee planning for local investment (slow money) and local stock exchange to develop regional self-sufficient and sustainable real economy, transfer investment into nonmonetary community wealth that may or may not be repaid in real wealth (e.g. renewable energy kilowatt (shares?), offer credit to small businesses and individuals at no interest (administrative/insurance fees may apply) in the form of dollars or local currency.
7: Basic needs support- organize by municipal government or as nonprofit organization collectives forms of low cost health care, cooperative/cohousing situations, food growing and low income food distribution, childcare, eldercare, etc.
8: Wage equality- establish strong local living minimum wage and maximum wage laws as well as health benefit, vacation and paid time off minimums.
9: Reclaim land and businesses- government or nonprofit organization collective reclamation of land/buildings/infrastructure (including energy and public transit) through eminent domain, land trusts and other mechanisms to return to public ownership of the collectives commons and to worker cooperative and consumer cooperative businesses.
10: Rebuild the nonmonetized and real local economies- create infrastructures for community dialogues and education, community connection, local food production, rainwater catchment and recycling, home composting, community sharing (tool lending libraries, car sharing, community child care, community gardens, creative arts centers, etc.), solar thermal, passive solar, renewable energy, local recycling, repair and reuse businesses, etc.

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