Sustainable Community Development
NEN members John de Graaf and Juliet Schor argue we need a new way of measuring our national well-being and envisioning our economic future. They both point to a strategy of more time and less consumption to lead the way to a greater sense of well-being for all Americans.
Worker cooperatives and supporters of cooperative development recently filed a charter to establish a new national credit union to focus on worker cooperatives.
Want to start a new social enterprise? Investor’s Circle is calling on entrepreneurs interested in starting socially and environmentally responsible businesses to apply for funding from angel investors. Application deadline is July 30.
The US Department of Housing and Urban Development recently announced they will fund $100 million to connect housing to jobs fostering local innovation and a clean energy economy under a new Sustainable Communities Planning Grant Program. The program corresponds to a new strategic plan that links HUD’s objectives with comprehensive economic development in urban areas.
Amid this recession and ballooning deficit one billionaire was able to pass his fortune on to his children tax-free, through a 1 year loophole provided by Congress. Currently the Senate is considering a Responsible Estate Tax, with graduated rates, that would prevent such losses in much-needed revenue that contribute to extreme income inequality.
Meanwhile rampant unemployment continues to plague many communities in the U.S. In some places Common Security Clubs, a project of NEN institutional member the Institute for Policy Studies, are providing resources for people to organize for their economic security.
The Financial Reform bill finally passed out of conference last month. Victories in the bill include an end to taxpayer bailouts of financial firms, shareholders getting a say on pay for executives, new rules for credit rating agencies, a strong consumer protection watchdog, and a Financial Stability Oversight Council to watch for systemic risk. Not everyone thinks the system can be so easily remedied. The Crises of Capitalism, a viral internet video offers David Harvey’s insight that capitalism, not oversight, is the problem.
What happens when an American economist heads to Paris and confronts opposition academics in tight quarters? In his words, a “dog fight,” but one that might interest those of you who follow international academic trends.
BP continues to face fire for the oil that is expected to continue spewing into the Gulf of Mexico for the rest of the summer. The Backbone Campaign has launched a full boycott that includes both local and national outreach to the media. The BackBone Campaign is called for corporate capital punishment, tongue only slightly in cheek, given that corporations have personhood in the U.S.In other media news, Naomi Klein has joined a long list of luminaries on the left who recognize the holistic implications of what has happened.
There has been some good news, though, especially across the pond where the UK has just strengthened environmental reporting rules for corporations. New rules may require corporations to begin reporting carbon emissions as early as next year.
While the oil industry successfully gathered 800,000 signatures to get a challenge to California’s AB32 (a law that requires the state to reduce GHG emissions to 1990 levels by 2020) on the ballot for November, Gov. Schwarzenegger has been busy rallying the cleantech community to defeat it. The resolution would suspend AB32 until unemployment levels drop below5.5% for four consecutive quarters-not likely anytime soon. It could set an important nationwide precedent if it passes.
Recently the UN Development Fund for Women and the UN Global Compact announced 39 lead signers of the CEO Statement of Support for the Women’s Empowerment Principles-Equality Means Business, which will help to focus corporate policies on gender inequality.
In other good news 15,000 activists travelled to Detroit for this year’s U.S. Social Forum. Why didn’t you hear more about it in the media, especially when compared to the overwhelmingly white and male Tea Party? Jim Hightower says the only way to effectively combat the faux populism of the Tea Party is with legitimate populism grounded in organizing.
One of the core struggles in the social justice movement remains how to merge environmental protection with worker protection. The Institute for Southern Studies has some suggestions.
Democracy and Corporate Accountability
Some British banks are getting sued in the U.S. for their behavior regarding mortgage-backed securities. Will it fundamentally alter the way multinationals operate?
As legitimate internet neutrality legislation looms communications corporations are getting organized–this time with astroturfing and lobbying. Free Press has launched a national campaign to bring these abuses to light and empower citizens to take action.
Big Food has been hit hard by the recession and by advocacy efforts from the locavore and food justice movements, including calls for new limits on advertising to children. What’s a corporation to do? The consumers of the Global South beckon.
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