Saturday, 19 August 2017

Papal endorsement of Social Economy...?!

Revolutionaries  of the past must be rolling in their graves. We live in extraordinary times when it takes a pope to say what most politicians, schooled in neo-liberal orthodoxy refuse to, which is that the liquid modernity of transient attachments and mobile, consumer driven attachments is bad for our social health. Progressive sociologist Zygmunt Bauman coined the "liquid" descriptor to capture the essence of consumer society. By comparison, a social economy as advocated by Pope Francis, where human values are built in throughout the economy, appears the real economic option left to us.

A mixed, private/public economy where the state is used to deal with problems such as sickness, unemployment and inequality left by the a-social, and anti-social character of private industry, had been an evolving  compromise option since the Great Depression of the 1930's. Whittled away by 30 years of neo-liberalism we now find ourselves with reduced caretaker states and increasing privatization. The only way towards a more solid, "social" economy, as advocated by Bauman (and the Pope and other "postcapitalist" voices like Paul Mason) is to "socialize" industry, by building social values into industrial norms instead of taking short-term gains at the expense of long term pain, which has been the norm in mixed economies. TorontotheBetter encourages a strong state along with an increasingly commercial enterprise sector, by championing those enterprises that make the leap from pure profit-making. A comprehensive social economy requires an engaged state to address basic needs such as health and education in addition to a social enterprise sector that will prevent problems such as unhealthy workplaces and unemployment before they occur.

There need be no contradiction between private and public sectors provided the private sector embraces  social as well as financial goals. We are not there yet. Until we are we must, and will, work for ecnomic socialization. Geting there is something TorontotheBetter will continue to identify ideas for, by championing those in  Toronto that have made the jump. All economies are social, it's just that some are anti-social...       

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Reaching out from city to city: TorontotheBetter supports the Common House project in London and commons movements everywhere

 www.commonhouse.org.uk

We recently received an appeal from the Radical Librarians Collective to support an important  community initiative in London where the horrific Grenfell Tower block fire recently killed and severely injured hundreds of inner city tenants. In solidarity from another city TorontotheBetter calls  on all to inform their networks others about initiatives like London's Common House, described below, that build commons where people are connected to others for the common good.
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TorontotheBetter [www.torontothebebetter.net ] - building Toronto's social economy sine 2004
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-------- Original Message --------
Subject: [RLC-DISCUSS] Fwd: [radicaleducationforum] Fwd: Save the Common House - Emergency Crowdfunder
Date: Sun, 23 Jul 2017 19:00:54 +0100
From: Radical Librarians Collective
To: RLC-DISCUSS@JISCMAIL.AC.UK
From: "radicaleducationforum" (via radicaleducationforum Mailing List) <radicaleducationforum@lists.riseup.net>
Date: 22 July 2017 at 20:26:34 BST
To: radicaleducationforum <radicaleducationforum@lists.riseup.net>
Subject: [radicaleducationforum] Fwd: Save the Common House - Emergency Crowdfunder
Reply-To: radicaleducationforum@riseup.net
Dear all,

As you may or may not know our radical community space The Common House is under threat. The loss of a large grant that was making up the majority of our funding mean that we urgently need cash in order to keep the space open.

The Common House provides space to a number of amazing groups and continues to provide a place for peer support, political organising, creating and learning across radical communities in East London and beyond.

We think it's important to maintain this space and not be driven out to some inaccessible margins. Today we are launching an emergency crowdfunder to keep us going in the short term while we source more sustainable funding through grants and other means.


Please help us by spreading the word, sharing widely through your networks and contributing if you are able.

In love and solidarity,

Common House emergency fundraising crew
For more details visit radicaleducationforum.tumblr.com
To get in touch, please email radicaleducationforum@riseup.net
To unsubscribe from this list, go to https://lists.riseup.net/www/info/radicaleducationforum
 

Sunday, 16 July 2017

As Whole Foods Degrades Better Food Shopping Options Survive in the GTA

A supermarket with a good food mission - Mississauga's Goodness Me location continues the tradition of social commerce this Canadian enterprise started in downtown Hamilton in the 1980's.
 
  
As American natural foods giant Whole Foods (aka "whole pay cheque") disappears into the jaws of predator capitalist Amazon a different story can be found in less glamorous surroundings in the GTA. It is not the practice of TorontotheBetter to make recommendations among featured enterprises but as former "ethical" enterprise options erode an example of evolved commercial integrity in the GTA should not be ignored. Founded in downtown Hamilton over 20  years ago and now present in the Mississauga and several other locations in southern Ontario, fair trade enterprise Goodness Me! commits to creating "the healthiest offering possible" and acting with "integrity, respect, and sincerity" while working with its customers, staff and suppliers.       

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Musical instrument lending libraries in Toronto and other Ontario cities expand the "loaner-ship" social economy


Toronto is among several Canadian cities, most recently Kitchener-Waterloo, where as well as their traditional books and videos public library borrowers can find musical instruments for their playing and learning pleasure. This augments the tool libraries and non-profit carshare organizations that are growing fast as mainstream ownership economics makes less and less sense for more and more. The logical conclusion of this wave is a library of everything. Stay tuned to this space for more social economy news. Like our favourite music the social economy loan-not-own option is catchy, and catching on.

Friday, 30 June 2017

Middle Class...enough already

"Working class Americans [and Canadians] know they're working class. It's elites who want to pretend everybody is middle class" from "Sleeping Giant: How the Working Class Will Transform America" (2016) by Tamara Draut.

Perhaps we should be pleased that Canada's prime minister and other more or less populist politicians have re-discovered "class", although, of course, that is the reality we all live, for better or worse, every day. Having acknowledged this "good", however, the "bad" of today's talk about class is far worse. Instead of abolishing class division, which is in plain language a hierarchy of inequality, Trudeau and the Liberal  Party want to increase the middle class and to enrol in it the unfortunate others, re-conceived by them as "wannabemiddleclass". To the conceptual idiocy of this (Hello, Justin - there can be no middle class without the wretched excluded, now called wannabemiddleclass) Trudeau either willfully blinds himself (put your money on this option) or somehow missed it in his various life journeys (about as unlikely as him thinking he would  wind up as the primary school  teacher he once, temporarily, was). The reason for his "blindness" follows below. 

1. Power and income are different, though in class  societies closely related. The reason Trudeau wound up as prime minister, not as teacher, is that being middle class is about power, not income. And the habit of power - connections, language, style - cannot be bought; it is learned and lived from an early age. Everybody knows this, children  too (except Trudeau, it seems). Middle income auto workers are wage slaves and are not  middle class - that requires the  the authority that comes from having the power to make the big decisions in their organizations, most fundamentally the power to hire and fire.
2. To admit that income (e.g. a lottery win) will never make you middle class would amount to a recognition that middle class wannabes are fantasizing and can never achieve what they supposedly want, according to Trudeau.  That's why he can't, and won't, admit it; to do so would be to accept that this class society has winners and losers, something that makes some of the middle class uneasy. The comforting  myth of social mobility runs aground in the sea of social classes. Our sought and struggled for social economy must be based on recognition, respect and rewards for the working class, not just Trudeau's incessantly celebrated middle class peers. 



Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Ouishare opens in Paris on July 5 - Celebrate the Commons with TorontotheBetter (and the world)

If co-operativism brought democratic democratic participation to the industrial economy in the nineteenth century  then our globally connected knowledge economy  needs a new form of participation: the commons. The world has more goods than anybody could ever use but thousands starve and suffer for lack of basics like clean drinking water. Something is wrong. The only solution is to make less and give away more of what we have, to make them available to all. On July 5, join Torontothhebetter and the world in celebrating the commons economy at the global Ouishare conference:www.ouishare.net

                                            It's in Paris, but we are all  part of it. Join us.