Fruits of a really fun job illustrating covers for four short stories commissioned by the Data & Society Research Institutes’s Intelligence & Automation Initiative.
For amateurs and dilettantes who do not rely on their art for a living, moving to the commons has plenty of upside and little downside. For creative professionals, however, particularly those burdened by economic hardship, the risks associated with transitioning to a non-proprietary business model can feel (rightly or wrongly) prohibitive. Often times, the typical free culture advocate’s response to this concern is to either dismiss it, to reemphasize the moral case for freedom, or to point to others’ success stories as proof that “it can be done.”
We believe these responses are insufficient and miss the deeper point: no matter how feasible commons-based production may appear to those who are familiar with it, for those suffering from the paralyzing effects of systemic money scarcity – unemployment, poverty, overwhelming consumer debt – the free culture response is incomplete at best, and callous at worst.
Our proposal for addressing this issue is to combine the free culture movement’s view of the bitstream economy with the Modern Money view of the monetary economy.
—Free Culture? Free Finance by The Modern Money Network (Columbia Chapter)
The TIF Illumination Project is a volunteer-run investigative journalism & community education project that has done incredible work exposing one of Chicago’s most vile and complicated scams, Tax Increment Financing. TIF has resulted in the redistribution of billions of dollars away from local communities and into the coffers of developers and cronies. Please help the TIF Illumination Project produce this important video series to bring the fruits of their research to a wider audience:
Naked Capitalism has done more to inform my understanding of the world, and generally derail my post-college trajectory (in a good way, I think) than any other place on the internet. Loyal, near-daily reader since 2008 — which probably goes a long way to explaining where my time has gone all these years. I have no idea how Yves and Lambert pull it off day in-day out, but I am much indebted to them.
“For the most part, tech punditry has yet to reckon with the coming era of hard limits, which is why it can get away with extrapolating current First World consumption habits into the indefinite future. Instead of imagining a world of iPad-toting social media consultants, the purveyors of Skymall futurism should be thinking about what happens after the planet can no longer sustain their present lifestyle.
Once we reach that point, maybe the same people currently applauding the death of the book will envy the French, who have gone out of their way to preserve the sort of textual content you can read without consuming any electricity.”
Ned’s latest for The Baffler
“Unfortunately, the gap between those with money and power and those who actually know what they are talking about has grown catastrophic. The rich are surrounded by sycophants and pretenders whose continued employment demands that they not question the premises. As Larry Summers lectured Elizabeth Warren, ‘insiders do not criticise insiders.'”
But how can activists actually start moving toward the open source vision now? “For starters, there are eight ‘tribes’ that among them can bring together all relevant information: academia, civil society including labor unions and religions, commerce especially small business, government especially local, law enforcement, media, military, and non-government/non-profit. At every level from local to global, across every mission area, we need to create stewardship councils integrating personalities and information from all eight tribes. We don’t need to wait around for someone else to get started. All of us who recognise the vitality of this possibility can begin creating these new grassroots structures from the bottom-up, right now.”
I’ve finally uploaded the video of a seminar I shot back in March, GUARANTEED INCOME OR EMPLOYMENT: ECONOMIC RIGHTS FOR THE 21ST CENTURY. Of all 8 of the Modern Money & Public Purpose Lectures I attended & recorded, this one is perhaps the most important.
In particular, I recommend Pavlina Tcherneva’s lecture. She discusses her research on the Jefes program in Argentina, which provided government jobs to impoverished “Heads of Households” and is about as close as you can get to a real-life full employment program. The program was very successful on a number of levels. Contrary to the intentions of the program’s administrators, nearly 75% of the workers employed were women. They ended up socializing childcare, among other community services. The government preferred for women to stay at home and receive a basic income, but they could only get women to switch to a welfare system by shutting down the Jefes program.
Further reading can be found here & anyone interested in the subject should check out this semester’s schedule of Modern Money Network events. I’m the house videographer again this year, so if you can’t make it live, do check for the edited videos on youtube — hopefully I’ll be a bit more prompt getting them posted this time around!
watch this! (slightly nsfw)
Just noticed that the video I shot of the Modern Money Network’s MMT v. Austrian School debate was linked to in the New York Times. Unfortunately, the article it accompanies, a profile of Warren Mosler, is a bit of a hatchet piece, though no worse than you’d expect from such an outlet. And they published it on July 4, not exactly a day folks are eager to watch a two hour debate on macroeconomics.
Unless you are sympathetic to Austrian economics, I recommend Warren Mosler’s seminar with Stephanie Kelton over the debate for a (less painful) introduction to MMT:
Video I shot in 2011 of a lecture by Chris Seefer, an attorney at Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP — the law firm responsible for collecting the “mountain of evidence” of a massive ratings agencies scandal, as documented in Matt Taibbi’s brutal article The Last Mystery of the Financial Crisis.