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The dot-com boom seems like a lifetime ago, doesn't it? Pre-financial collapse. Pre- real estate collapse. Pre-9/11. Pre dot-com collapse. Pre-election 2000.

And yet even after all those things, life today for the mainstream culture bears a striking similarity to the dot-com era.

Well, the jobs are less numerous and many of the ones left don't pay so well. Techies in the 90s did much better than they do today. Ditto for advertising industry workers swimming in dot-com ad dollars raised in IPOs for vaporware start-ups that were going to make billions. (Thankfully, at least some did.)

In terms of consumption, though, we're still partying like it's 1999.

Lots and lots of stuff is still being bought, for many people more than they can possibly manage. And the reason we can still afford them in this recession for the 98% is that there are always countries, people and people who can be pinched. And that's what our government and corporations and their legions of toadies and the IMF and the World Bank are REALLY good at: converting other people's stuff and labor into "externalized costs," cheap products, and huge profits.

Exploitation, um, "externalized cost:" the bedrock of the American Way.

Don't worry. Soon enough today's economy will seem as distant as the dot-com era, probably more so. The further you are from the top now, the sooner the Class and Climate Wars are going to re-size your personal economy. Hell, most of the population is already feeling the contraction.

If we're smart, though, there could be upsides. In fact, it could get much better.

Jill Schor is one person thinking ahead. She recently gave her below vision of the economy in 2050. It assumes, of course, that we've been reasonably smart and are thus moving down the path to sustainability. If we're not, the economy will not only be much smaller but also even uglier than today. More overall Hobbesian.

In my 2050 we have people who work on average 16–20 hours in the formal economy at regular jobs, receiving regular paychecks. They meet their needs in a variety of other ways. They do some self-provisioning, for example growing food in high-tech, eco-knowledgeable ways—low-labor, high-yield growing technologies. They have a 3D printer that they can program to make small manufactured goods. The household is a little factory.

People are involved in a range of peer-production activities—that is, the kinds of collaborations we’ve seen online in the world of informational software and culture such as Wikipedia. It’s not-for-profit, collaborative, high quality, and operating according to a different economic model. There’s peer-to-peer exchange that’s possible in lots of activities and areas. I’m thinking of peer production in lodging and sites such as Couchsurfing and AirBnB, where peers make homes available to others for free or a small fee. We are seeing peer production in transportation and food.

In my future, people have more time to be involved in the production of things so if they only spend 20 hours at their jobs, they can make clothes or bake things and share with neighbors in exchange for another service. It’s an economy of sharing and peer-to-peer collaboration that frees people from high-impact lifestyles and long hours, because most of this activity is local and creative. One thing that people like is variety in how they spend their days. It’s the new economics of household production.  - Jill Schor, interview, Solutions

Of course, a choir of neoliberal economists and corporate and government lackeys and functionaries will continue to worship economic growth and the untethered, short-sighted consumption upon which it's based, blinded by habit, including greed, too afraid of losing familiar forms of security, comfort and status to transition to something more sustainable economically, environmentally, even socially. And their benefactor owner-priests will simply continue to siphon and stockpile the surpluses and fortify their increasingly militarized and gated cathedrals of capitalism, luxury retreats, and monuments to their insatiable egos.

Forward-looking thinkers like Jill Schor and David Korten (below) are the ones who are truly being practical, at least concerning the general welfare. They are members of a vanguard of this future now just ahead, a future that requires a "new economy," sized to this planet and shaped to the real priorities and values of inhabitants looking to sustain civilization long-term.

What? New Economy? Didn't the New Economy begin in the 80s, mature in the 90s and crash and burn already?

The term new economy has two sharply contrasting meanings. Let's call them New Economy 1.0 and New Economy 2.0.

In New Economy 1.0, money is the defining value and power resides in global financial markets.

In New Economy 2.0, life is the defining value and power resides in people and communities of place.

New Economy 1.0: Magical High-Tech Fantasy World

Investopedia defines New Economy  as "a buzzword describing new, high-growth industries that are on the cutting edge of technology and are the driving force of economic growth." This New Economy 1.0 envisions a globalized money-driven, perpetual-growth "High Tech Wonderland" of magical technologies and market forces that liberate humans from environmental constraints the economic growth. Global corporate monolith's competing for monopoly control of resources, technology, and markets to make money for rich investors continue to be a defining feature. New Economy 1.0 simply puts a new face on the Old Economy of financial values and concentrated power that traces back at least to the founding of the British East India Company in 1600 and now threatens our national and species viability.

[snip]

...New Economy 1.0 features a belief that  magical technologies and global market forces will save us from our environmental follies and eliminate barriers to accelerated rates of economic growth in perpetuity.

[snip]

[New Economy 2.0: Cooperative, Sustainable Civilization]

There is an important place in the New Economy 2.0 vision for advanced technologies and for global sharing of ideas and technology. This is particularly true for energy and communications technologies that wean us from dependence on fossil fuels and support and collective decision making on a global scale. New Economy 2.0 does not, however, assume that technology will magically save us from our reckless abuse of one another and nature. Rather technology is a facilitator of the deep transformation of values and institutions required to achieve an economic system that meets the needs of all in sustainable, creative balance with Earth's biosphere.

- David Korten, Beyond High Tech Fantasies, Living Economies Forum

Susan van Gelder is the Executive Editor of Yes! Magazine, a cornucopia of news, research findings, cases studies and living examples of people reaching out and exploring the future in which this new economy and the wider culture it serves exist outside small experiments. She recently had this to say about worker cooperatives and the reason that Yes! is so interested in them, the essence of which applies to the broader concept of new economy.
We've found that there's something very different that happens when human beings can make decisions driven by all of the things we care about: our communities, the freshness of our air and the [?] of our water, our children and their children down to the seventh generation, as our native friends say--all of these can come to the forefront if profit and loss statements and returning profits to those who are already wealthy isn't our dominant concern. -Sarah van Gelder
We do not have to be victims of the old new economy indefinitely. We simply need to be adventurous or courageous enough to invent a new new economy.

Juliet Schor is a professor of sociology at Boston College. Before joining Boston College, she taught at Harvard University for 17 years in the Department of Economics and the Committee on Degrees in Women’s Studies. A graduate of Wesleyan University, Schor received her PhD in economics at the University of Massachusetts.

Jill Schor has written extensively on Americans’ relationship to work, including her bestseller, The Overworked American. Her most recent book is True Wealth: How and Why Millions of Americans are creating a time-rich, ecologically-light, small-scale, high-satisfaction economy (formerly published as Plenitude). It is about the economics and sociology of ecological decline, and suggests a radical change in how we think about consumer goods, value, and ways to live. Schor is currently working on issues of environmental sustainability and its relation to Americans’ lifestyles, the economy, and the emergence of a conscious consumption movement. She is a cofounder and board member of the Center for a New American Dream, a national sustainability organization.
- Solutions

David Korten is considered a luminary of the New Economy movement. Some might say the foremost guiding light.

Dr. David C. Korten worked for more than thirty-five years in preeminent business, academic, and international development institutions before he turned away from the establishment to work exclusively with public interest citizen-action groups. He is the cofounder and board chair of YES! Magazine, co-chair of the New Economy Working Group,  founder and president of the Living Economies Forum (formerly the People Centered Development Forum), a member of the Club of Rome, and a former board member of the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE) and associate of the International Forum on Globalization.

Korten came to realize that the crisis of deepening poverty, inequality, environmental devastation, and social disintegration he observed in Asia was playing out in nearly every country in the world—including the United States and other “developed” countries. Furthermore, he concluded that the United States was actively promoting—both at home and abroad—the very policies that were deepening the crisis. If there were to be a positive human future, the United States must change. He returned to the United States in 1992 to share with his fellow Americans the lessons he had learned abroad.

Korten’s publications are required reading in university courses around the world. He has written numerous books, including Agenda for a New Economy: From Phantom Wealth to Real Wealth, the international best seller When Corporations Rule the World, The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community, and The Post-Corporate World: Life After Capitalism. He contributes regularly to edited books and professional journals, and to a wide variety of periodical publications. He is also a popular international speaker and a regular guest on talk radio and television. You can find lots of video of him on YouTube.

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Stuff That Really Matters™☮ ♥ ☺

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Stuff That Really Matters™☮ ♥ ☺ is a DKos Group. At the same time, specific Stuff That Really Matters™☮ ♥ ☺ are also Trade Secrets (heh...) to be revealed to, expanded upon and owned by people who pay attention and participate. :) It's going to take somewhere between 5-10 diaries to lay out the territory. IMO it's very interesting stuff and, of course, it's Stuff That Really Matters™☮ ♥ ☺. So it's got that going for it.

Two other groups, Affordable Sustainable Housing, and Intentional Communities Research and Development also address Stuff That Matters Most™☮ ♥ ☺, as will become evident directly. If I could I would probably put the diaries of those groups in folders for this group. Maybe DKos 6 or something. In lieu of that I will just include links to those groups in diaries of Stuff That Really Matters™☮ ♥ ☺.

When the territory becomes clearer to those paying attention :) I will be inviting contributors and encouraging people to inquire directly with me on that because it is more than one middle-aged, well-meaning curmudgeon can cover, though if there are no takers, I will still try, because, guess what? It Really Matters™☮ ♥ ☺.


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Previous Stuff That Matters diaries:

Stuff That Really Matters™☮ ♥ ☺ 5.26.13 - The Story of Change
Stuff That Really Matters™☮ ♥ ☺ 5.24.13 - Growth By Consumption
Stuff That Really Matters
The Story of Stuff & Netroots Sustainability Dream Job In Berkeley?

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Selected Current Diaries That Matter In Other Ways ☮ ♥ ☺

Green diary rescue: The redwoods, the High Plains Aquifer and fracking ourselves crazy (Meteor Blades)

This week in the War on Workers: Low-wage workers keep pressuring fast food chains (Laura Clawson)

Hellraisers Journal: Dear Consumer, conditions in Bangladesh are your fault as Walmart profits! (JayRaye)

What's Happenin'? ☮ ♥ ☺ 5.25.13 (joanneleon)

In praise of farmers' markets (annetteboardman)

Why Reality is Inadmissible Evidence (cskendrick)

This week in the war on voting: Bipartisan election commission seen as weak tea by some critics (Meteor Blades

"All of the Above": Most Meaningless Slogan Ever (kindler)

Exposé - 80 Years of Planning: The Kochs + The Family + Birchers = TEA PARTY Disinformation Machine (War on Error)

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (20+ / 0-)

    Re: "...will the American people notice, or are they dumb as sticks to quote the social historian Morris Berman who blames the culture for our problems." - don midwest. don, I'd like you to meet Woody and Twiggy. ☮ ♥ ☺

    by Words In Action on Sat May 25, 2013 at 10:26:11 AM PDT

  •  yeah. i remember the dot com bust. :) I like that (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Words In Action, slksfca

    you end on an up note ! thanks for the links to the new economy. not sure my electrophysiology skills translate well into a barter system, but i am handy around electric circuits.

    "None of us got where we are solely by pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps" Thurgood Marshall

    by UTvoter on Sat May 25, 2013 at 10:33:08 AM PDT

    •  What? You can open up a (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      UTvoter, slksfca

      brain slice exchange. You can always sell off your beautifully stained neuron and dendrite collection!

      Re: "...will the American people notice, or are they dumb as sticks to quote the social historian Morris Berman who blames the culture for our problems." - don midwest. don, I'd like you to meet Woody and Twiggy. ☮ ♥ ☺

      by Words In Action on Sat May 25, 2013 at 10:38:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for the T&R (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    UTvoter

    MB.

    Guess I'll write another one.

    :)

    Re: "...will the American people notice, or are they dumb as sticks to quote the social historian Morris Berman who blames the culture for our problems." - don midwest. don, I'd like you to meet Woody and Twiggy. ☮ ♥ ☺

    by Words In Action on Sat May 25, 2013 at 10:35:23 AM PDT

  •  Barter is the ultimate in tax avoidance (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Words In Action

    In the traditional economy about 25-30% of the value add from economic activity goes to taxes to pay for schools, heathcare, social security, fire and police protection, roads, etc.  - all those essential services Democrats support.

    Those engaged in barter evade their responsibility to help the rest of society through paying taxes.  So both parties engaged in barter profit, but don't share their profits through paying taxes.  Those actively engaged in barter will still expect the receive eduction for their children, healthcare when needed and police and fire protection and all the other services of government while not paying their fair share of the cost for the services.

    I can see how Libertarians and Republicans can support the idea of barter, I don't see how Democrats can support a barter economy without giving up their values.

    The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

    by nextstep on Sat May 25, 2013 at 10:56:35 AM PDT

    •  Time banks are also (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Nada Lemming

      tax exempt so long as the time dollar is not tied to an amount of currency.

      I understand your point about taxes and public services. There are at least two additional factors to consider, however: more than half of the money paid in taxes go to tax breaks for the rich, corporate welfare, Homeland Security, the Intelligence Community, and Defense spending in general, related spending of which is spread throughout lots of different budgets. And then there's all kind of spending in the DOE and the DEA which is downright evil. I'm not saying all of this stuff is bad, but a huge amount of it is. And mostly that is not the stuff being cut. The austerity will be focused on the programs I support, which have been shrinking for a long time already.

      Second, the money in the traditional economy that would be pulled out would stop funding the plutocrats, who are responsible for the disastrous economic policies we have been following for decades: economic growth through hyper-consumption and waste and planned and perceived obsolescence and massive exploitation at the expense of EVERYTHING else, because of course nothing is more important than the economy, and now the only economy that really matters is the one for the 1%. Everyone else can live in a recession so long as the 1% is thriving.

      So, to me, if we are going to have some--ANY--control of our future, we are going to have to withdraw our support from the mainstream economy that the plutocrats live off of to suck us dry...

      By my standards, continuing to support the plutocracy and their destructive, self-serving economy and the Climate Change and widespread resource depletion kind of trump everything else. If we let them continue, there won't be much left over to fight over, and they'll be hiding out in impervious fortresses anyway.

      It means, yeah, we'll have to pull together into our communities and take care of some of things we rely on government for today, but, hey, give the plutocracy a little time, and we won't have the services anyway. At least this way we are preparing to be self-sufficient.

      Re: "...will the American people notice, or are they dumb as sticks to quote the social historian Morris Berman who blames the culture for our problems." - don midwest. don, I'd like you to meet Woody and Twiggy. ☮ ♥ ☺

      by Words In Action on Sat May 25, 2013 at 11:25:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  William McGuire (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Words In Action

        former CEO of united health group, lives on a property so huge his home can't be seen from any of the four highways that surround it.  He doesn't even need much of a fence.  You would be exhausted just walking in from the road.  

        Bad things aren't bad! And anyway, there's mitigation!

        by Nada Lemming on Sat May 25, 2013 at 01:57:05 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Also, if you look at the average small (0+ / 0-)

      business owner, many of whom are Democrats, and corporate Dems, you are going to find millions of people engaged in all kinds of tax avoidance already. Most small businesses--and I know this from buying, owning and selling them--are loaded with personal items paid for as corporate expenses, thereby both buying the item or service through the company and then cutting the tax bill in one swoop. And, as an ex-executive, there are plenty of standard ways that they avoid, defer, etc. and otherwise reduce their tax burdens, ways not available to most people.

      And, as I said, with less and less of the tax dollar being used to help people and more and more being used to fund the corrupt plutocracy, it's suicide not to being looking at alternatives. The 99% and millions of species are going to be in a very bad way economically and environmentally in the next decade or two. As Alvin Toffler said, you either have a strategy or you are part of someone else's strategy. Continuing to rely solely on representatives, which has been a disaster for decades now, is suicide, homicide and genocide at this point.

      Re: "...will the American people notice, or are they dumb as sticks to quote the social historian Morris Berman who blames the culture for our problems." - don midwest. don, I'd like you to meet Woody and Twiggy. ☮ ♥ ☺

      by Words In Action on Sat May 25, 2013 at 11:45:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Last, I suspect that (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Nada Lemming

      the government and the corporations will figure out some what to stick a hose into the new economy and siphon off their rents.

      Either that or they'll send in the troops to break it up.

      But we have to try. We are not going to vote our way out of this. Voting is a band-aid at best. Sure, use the band-aid. But we're going to need a heckuva lot more than that before these wars are over.

      Re: "...will the American people notice, or are they dumb as sticks to quote the social historian Morris Berman who blames the culture for our problems." - don midwest. don, I'd like you to meet Woody and Twiggy. ☮ ♥ ☺

      by Words In Action on Sat May 25, 2013 at 11:52:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •   IT IS CRITICAL (3+ / 0-)

    that we conceive and plan and prepare and test out ideas for survival - in all regards - for our gloomy future.

    For lots of reasons, not the least of which is so that we can present a real functioning alternative to joining a life and spirit killing Corporate Borg, when the shite hits the fan..... and it will, whether in economic collapse, mega climate crisis, uprisings, etc.

    Because I will bet everything I have, that the Corporate Borg is preparing.....  We have to develop good, working, practical alternatives.  And keep the hope alive for humanity.  (I do not think that the last statement is hyperbole, unfortunately.)

    Tx for this great diary,

    We Must DISARM THE NRA The next life you save may be ONE OF YOUR OWN!

    by SeaTurtle on Sat May 25, 2013 at 11:12:56 AM PDT

    •  Absolutely. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SeaTurtle

      This diary series will continue deeper into the concepts and methodologies and then case studies of people and communities doing this stuff.

      Combining this with the other groups on affordable, sustainable housing, which is going to be key in the face of the advancing Class and Climate War--particularly for the twenty-somethings who will never really get to have good-paying jobs--and on Intentional Communities, within and around which most of this activity is going to occur, I then plan to set my course in terms of what activities to engage in where and with whom...

      Re: "...will the American people notice, or are they dumb as sticks to quote the social historian Morris Berman who blames the culture for our problems." - don midwest. don, I'd like you to meet Woody and Twiggy. ☮ ♥ ☺

      by Words In Action on Sat May 25, 2013 at 11:36:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Good stuff! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    UTvoter, Words In Action, Burned

    Thanks, WiA.

    I've read a few things about a new economy, collaborative economics, and the other names for it that I can't recall at the  moment.  I'm excited that you are writing about it.  I want to dive into it and learn as much as I can to try to catch up with these ideas.

    We need hopeful new ideas and innovation that could work for us -- we need it really badly.  


    "Justice is a commodity"

    by joanneleon on Sat May 25, 2013 at 12:12:12 PM PDT

    •  Yes, joanne, I agree. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      UTvoter, Burned

      Hopeful is good. And there's so dang little of it.

      But this, I'm pretty sure, is the direction we need to go.

      :-)

      Re: "...will the American people notice, or are they dumb as sticks to quote the social historian Morris Berman who blames the culture for our problems." - don midwest. don, I'd like you to meet Woody and Twiggy. ☮ ♥ ☺

      by Words In Action on Sat May 25, 2013 at 02:08:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Sorry to be late, WIA! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Words In Action

    Work interferes with my DK duties, one of which is to rec all of your great diaries!

    WE NEVER FORGET Aminul Islam, Bangladeshi Labor Martyr

    by JayRaye on Sun May 26, 2013 at 04:43:17 AM PDT

    •  Well, as (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JayRaye

      they say--better late than never. I enjoy yours to JRaye.!

      Re: "...will the American people notice, or are they dumb as sticks to quote the social historian Morris Berman who blames the culture for our problems." - don midwest. don, I'd like you to meet Woody and Twiggy. ☮ ♥ ☺

      by Words In Action on Sun May 26, 2013 at 06:38:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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