"Hi, Marc... You seem to think everyone's worried about robots. But what everyone's worried about is you, Marc. Not just you, but people like you. Robots aren't at the levers of financial and political influence today, but folks like you sure are. People are scared of so much wealth and control being in so few hands... Unless we collectively choose to pay for a safety net, technology alone isn't going to make it happen." [more inside]
Congress takes a casual look at the peer-to-peer economy - “Finding new ways to monetise used or existing assets has the obvious and immediate effects of raising their value and the wealth of their owners, while simultaneously reducing the value of comparable stuff owned by incumbent companies — for whom monetisation already wasn’t a problem, and who find themselves burdened by the newly competitive environment. The innovations also provide a surplus to those consumers who previously would have paid more to an incumbent. And all without any new stuff actually having to be made.” [more inside]
I wallow on my knees in thick mud, hoedag in hand slogging up a near vertical hillside, napalmed bare... rain whistling sideways so hard it bores through my hermetic, vulcanized head-to-toe rainsuit. I look like an astronaut traversing across an eerie, silent moon crater rhythmically bending over to scrape the ground every 6-9 steps... That was 1978 when I was a migrant treeplanter; a job the Oregon State Employment Service lists as the hardest physical work known to this office.., one person in fifty succeeds the three week training period. Like thousands of other college grads that year, I was the product of a liberal education promising an exciting, good job as reward for four years of costly training. So what the hell was I doing planting trees and eating mud for a living? Well I'll tell ya, being a rowdy forest worker in a self-managed collective of modern gypsies traveling the beautiful hinterlands of Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Alaska, and northern California made career pursuits or regular employment look awfully dull. Hoedad's Stories and Poems - the rise and fall of an American reforestation cooperative. [more inside]
Brad DeLong, recently installed at Equitablog, lays out a future (wonkish) where the returns to capital keep increasing relative to labor: "What do we people do to add value? Eight things... [more inside]
May 9 was the grand opening of Chicago's New Era Windows Cooperative, a unionized, 100% worker owned and operated window manufacturer with an interesting history. "In 2008, the boss decided to close our windows factory on Goose Island and fire everyone. In 2012, we decided to buy the factory for ourselves and fire the boss. We now own the plant together and run it democratically. This is our story."
Start Your Own Currency - "In the Catalonia region of Spain, a restaurant and a community garden are part of an experiment in alternative cash--they are accepting a home-grown currency called the Eco as well as the Euro." [viz. gated article (Google link), cf. The Wörgl Experiment]
American Worker Cooperatives: a library, resource centre, startup guide, and map of over 200 industrial cooperatives. [via mefi projects]
The Birth of Sharing Law and the Rise of Co-ops - "A new sharing economy is emerging — but how does it fit within our legal system? Time for a whole new field of cooperation law." (via wc)
Asia Snapshots "is a blog that examines topics in Asia through the perspectives of interesting people interviewed by a group of bloggers in Mainland China, Vietnam, Taiwan, and more." Meet Gao Qingrong and family, who along with seven other households are part of an organic farm co-op in Anlong Village, Sichuan. Or there's the tale of how one of the bloggers met Jun Jun, a male prostitute in Beijing; an encounter with Silang Laji, a road maintenance worker in Kham, a Tibetan region of China; and Gege, an enterprising journalist in Chengdu.Via
Just Coffee is a vertically-integrated coffee cooperative with a mission to provide the training and resources to create a sustainable small-scale international coffee company fully owned and controlled by the coffee growers. Could they also provide a model solution for the immigration problem?
Whizzkid develops Linux application for Windows [...]The significance of the development is that Linux and Windows are able to work in parallel on the same computer or server. To[sic] now, the computer world is divided into systems that operate either with Windows or with Linux. [...]
Brothel Goes Live on Net RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (Reuters) - Rio de Janeiro's Vila Mimoza (Pamper Village) brothel is propelling the oldest profession in the world into the 21st century. Within the next two weeks, the Vila Mimoza prostitution cooperative, just north of downtown Rio, plans to launch a Web site (http://www.vilamimoza.com.br) aimed at luring customers and making the "village'' a major stop on the tourism trail. Oh boy. Not much different than porn sites, but the "sex workers' labor movement in the 1970s" history tidbit could be interesting.