The Mom’s made, Kids-led bond, btw, is the central feature of the game. Other game features include the local biocultural diversity market. That market  is linked to, at the discovery phase, the foodshed asset mapping we are doing. Our goal is to create more margin and more biodiversity per acre. Processing, marketing distribution and branding, along with education wwithin the local bioregion coming out of a 100 acre food hub we are helping launch in Yancey County, NC.

Juanita Brown, who created and built World Cafe is leading our engagement. Tom Moroz is a great mapper who’s worked with Soros Open Society and Gates on non profit data. He’s bundling together community tools, like LocalWiki with a platform from the Urban Institute which lists all the non profits in a region, and who their grantors are. It does not at this point, look across

Our local engagement person is Joy Boothe, daughter of a share cropper who became a successful small business person. As an example of what Joy has done, back in 1984 there was no women’s shelter in this poor county. She built a network of people’s houses, including her own, to act as a distributed shelter. Then raised money to build a shelter. Then raised money to train cops and EMT’s in how to deal with spousal abuse. We are following her into the community, funded by a group of aging boomers who want a legacy and who want to create a local economy where their smart kids could move back, possibly. They want their grandchildren nearby. This is the first time Joy will be paid for what she has been doing for 40 years in the community.

We have an approach focusing on bicultural resilience, across a network of resilient small towns and cities that each have lower costs of capital through using the lens we train people to use to create more capital. There is an amazing new light saber we use called philanthropic investing; get a tax deduction, then invest, and you’ve already won. You’ve got your deduction. The money you make comes back to make you a more powerful giver. It reduces the cost of giving; you can lend sometimes, instead of grant or give.

With philanthropic giving, you can think really long term, like 12 years. Or you can think super short term; create a tiny perpetual innovation fund that invests $5k for pure concept startups around food and farming in Yancey County. High failure rate is fine, because the product is a serial entrepreneur who by the third or fourth time, might make it, getting further each time. It’s a long term bet based on smart short term expected failure. You can invest in capacity built on rapid forgivable failure within a collective intelligence learning journey to create wiser entrepreneurs, working within an intergenerational frame.

The dialogues that will be had in a household who are part of a group that implements the other anchor of the bond will be really rich. These are families or communities who share dividends that will come out of the food hub cooperative every year, Imagine this:. Parents will want to think short term; take the abundance and pay the bills or go on a trip. The kids, starting with six year olds, will want a chunk of that abundance put into their bonds. And so will their big brothers and sisters, for their class’s bond. Could be the third grade will become the leader, and other classes will start following them. It uses Juanita Brown’s new Wiser Together approach. Nicole Lazarro is on board to build the card game that will connect all these pieces. I can tell you about the other pieces, too, if you’d like. What you build, if you do, will help them, and they will help you. This thing is being built within several autonomous local groups, each working on a different part of the whole.

Maybe we could call it the Wiser Together Neighborhood Economics Community Engagement and Funding Kit.
First bond product, Rise of the Ecowarriors. The kids of Yancey County would love to be part of it, once you build it to the point they could engage in it. Our first year international project could be REW, but we also look for others. REW has the infrastructure of engagement, and that could be replicated, or brought to scale across several projects, perhaps. The subscription, TV series potential of this project are of course obvious. And Cynthia and Mark see and understand far more of that potential than I do.

I’ve added Nicole because she scoping out a proposal to scope out a card game that links and explains and engages people around this emergent distributed resilient network of small towns and cities. The card game will evolve into a mobile game, once we know the patterns of behavior to code after taking the cards into the field as a story board stakeholder engagement tool. And there will be commerce around the mobile game; the bored children of megabilionaires domiciled in London for tax reasons, who are clients of one of our partners. We hand the game on a thumb drive to them, because they don’t come to Paul Cheng’s office; he goes to their yachts.

Finding the leverage points, motivations, game play structure, etc. for this whole thing is what Nicole, poor dear, has taken on. Nicole has suggested a one day gamestorm around this in Yancey County. We need to raise some more money for that from somewhere. And to build the game itself. I think the community will be really involved in building the game, within an architecture we devise. But I don’t know anything about that.

I would love the game to evolve and to be adaptably locally within a common language of ideas and trade to enable efficient resource flows of social and financial capital within the learning circle of the network of resilient small towns and cities we are part of.

His new book is free; I am spending a lot of the day reading it. Coming from managing virtual economies, he understands we deal in myths we collectively agree to in order to make the economy run. He has gamed this crisis probably 20,000 times, virtually, I bet. I consider him an ally and I want to find a way to have him come to SOCAP15 in San Francisco, the first week in October (we’ve move away from nearly overlapping with Burning Man).

Here is the link to Varoufakis free new book, out January 2015. Here is a link to an excerpt from kindle

Here at 11 minutes in, he asks if Germany is going to plunge Europe into darkness for the third time in a centurey.

Here is his first post 2008 book

Here is the activist art project group he leads with his wife

his site
and on digital economies
what are corporations for, a blog at US gaming company Valve

One of the things with the highest long term potential that I am working on is what I am  calling the Literacies Engine. It will produce a tiny perpetual innovation fund of $5k investments in college students startups focused in the circular economy; reducing waste, carbon foot print, toxic effluent, while also reducing long term cost savings and short term waste handling costs. It should reasonably produce $1.5 million a year through the cost savings of those same entrepreneur cohorts using village capital’s innovative peer due diligence to decide who wins. The hook is that it’s replicable; we can give out $5k to the top startup, selected by the students, every six weeks at each college. And they will also be in a learning network, of other students using the same funds from sorting books for Better World Books and only sending on the ones that will sell.That cost saving will be shared. One fourth of it will go to the Tiny Perpetual Innovation Fund; the $5k to the students for a circular economy selected by peer due diligence. One fourth of the potential $6 million annual savings, to be administered by literacy non profit Reach out and Read for literacies, including indigenous language literacy, entrepreneurial literacy, multicultural literacy, adolescent girls digital literacy as a way to help them find their both and other kinds of literacie. The other half of the savings goes to Better World Books, dropping almost $3 million to the bottom line.

The startups have BWB’s real world supply chain to use as their jungle gym as they try to figure out how to upcycle batteries, phones, mattresses, or who knows what?

We are going to map power and influence and money in a town or city, and find the silos where we could imagine a bridge, discover the valuable stranger, the unlikely ally, in your own bioregion. Our goal is to change the dominant narrative from one of empire, with the market the ravenous dog sent out by empire, to one where we bring the market to heel, tame her and turn her into a working dog, like a border collie, marshaling the sheep, at the shepherd’s design. We want to change the narrative from empire, served by a ravenous market, to one of community. Neighborhood Economics, Nov 12-13, in Louisville KY. We want to tell a new story to our grandchildren by what we do today.

As I head off to the Balle conference, I have one thought in my head. How does Neighborhood Economics fit into the localist world? What do they have that we can learn from as we put on an event with that title the day after the Slow Money conference and the day before the Biodynamic Farming conference, all in Louisville, Ky the week of November 10.

Our fall event is deeply speculative; it’s asking a simple, but complex question: how can you tame the market, grand tool that it is, and make it serve all of us fairly? We suspect that change can best be implemented systemically on a densely connected, socially constructed local level, so we are in agreement with where Balle has been for years. So we are coming (there are two of us, me and I think Tim Soerens) is going to make it, as part of an inquiry into how can you make the market serve the commons, and not reward a few at the expense of the rest?

We think by changing the grander narrative, going from a story that is about an empire that has morphed into the market as empire to a narrative that is about the community. Our current economic system is not making us happy or safe, regardless of how much we have. The need to hold onto systems that preserve wealth for the few paralyzes the ones on top; stuck in rictus and just as trapped as the oppressed. That is something I learned from long time civil rights for all crusader and author Will Campbell, with whom i spent some time when I lived in Mississippi for 20 long years. He had an epiphany that the racist redneck was just as trapped as the black people he was oppressing. So both needed to be set free. Maybe something like that could be applied as a strategy to the brittle, threatened haves holding on to what they have, because it is great stuff, yet fearing they are living on borrowed time, that things will not always go their way. Boomers looking back and beginning to count the cost of their privilege is an interesting area to explore as we try to create an economy that works for all.

We will be keying everything at Neighborhood Economics off of Walter Brueggeman and Peter Block, talking together. Brueggeman is perhaps the best known and most widely respected Christian theologian, but his work on the Jewish scriptures is appealing to many Jewish people as well. Block started as a corporate organizational consultant, but evolved to become an expert  and author on building communities. It was Block who said what I think is maybe the clearest explanation of why this topic of Neighborhood Economics needs to be explored now: “Our current system is not making us happy or safe.” This system is not working for anybody, the haves and the have nots. As we look at changing the system and impacting the people who have a vested stake in the current system, we need to remember that; this system is not working for them, either. Here are Block and Brueggeman are talking together about data versus narrative.


I wrote this for the Federal Reserve’s think tank publication, that comes out of San Francisco.  Because of that entrepreneurs who can pay something like a dividend approach me. We have come up with this, which Tim Freundlich agrees needs to be created by a loose consortia of entrepreneurs and investors:

Impact Founders Fund

Creation of a holding company model to allow founders of established
ventures to put in 1-20% of their holdings to a pool that will then
provide partial liquidity to founders and a derisked cooperative, diverse
holding of long term positions in all for all. Idea would be to attract 20
entrepreneurs/managers to put in perhaps an average of 10% of their
holdings. If we assume that the average company would be valued at $15mm,
and the average entrepreneur groups hold about 40% or $6mm and put 10% in
for $600,000 of which they would get $300,000 out in cash from the fund
and $300,000 in shared holdings of the pool, it would indicate a holding
company 50% owned by entrepreneurs, 50% by investors, owning about 4% of
the companies in the pool. And we’d need a capitalization in cash of $6mm
and a total value of $12mm. We could over course increase the scale from
10% to 20% average and double the sizing.

Taking Jeremy Rifkin’s ideas to the next level, Michel Bauwens hits a really good lick here.

His thinking works both in the frame of Neighborhood Economics and Watershed Economics in a kind of operating system role:

Describing the commons-centric society to come he says: “Unlike proprietary capitalism, the value is deposited by a community of contributors in a common pool ; this is the core of the new value creation; this is the sphere of abundant knowledge that can be shared and reproduced at marginal cost; the infrastructure of cooperation is empowered and enabled by a new type of for-benefit associations, which do not command and control the production, but make it possible. They are most often foundations, like the Apache Foundation or the Gnome Foundation; around this is constituted a entrepreneurial coalition of enterprises, which provides employment to an increasing number of peer producers: 75% of linux contributors are paid by enterprises who operate on the market , and create market value on top of the commons. Other forms of peer-driven economies are constituted around distributed labor (crowdsourcing), social media (Facebook, Twitter). This new form of netarchical capital (the hierarchy of the network, hence ‘net’-‘archical’) that at the same time enables and empowers social cooperation and collective value creation through sharing and the commons, also captures the value.”


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