Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Transitional models towards sharing economies

Sharing (non-monetary) economies are becoming more broad spread as talk, networks and tools for sharing production and exchange expand.

Mid-August The Guardian ran an item by Hal Niedzvieki 'Are you ready to embrace the apocalypse?' with the comment that 'Facing up to the slow collapse of our planet is hard, but thinking apocalyptically could help us prepare for the crises to come'. The item promoted a gathering, Uncivilisation 2013, in Hampshire (UK) attended by hundreds of people. Sessions included wild-food foraging and moving beyond a monetary-based economy. The event was run by the Dark Mountain Project:
a network of writers, artists and thinkers who have stopped believing the stories our civilisation tells itself. We see that the world is entering an age of ecological collapse, material contraction and social and political unraveling, and we want our cultural responses to reflect this reality rather than denying it.
In the capital city and country towns of Victoria (Australia), groups such as the Darebin Food Harvest Network, which promote food swaps and harvesting for direct use and donation, sharing information, skills, resources, goods and services. In Castlemaine, the Harvest Group of Growing Abundance focuses on fruit plants and fruit growing. Both show transitional models for moving towards non-monetary production and exchange. 

An online tool for sharing goods — just involved with household exchange — has been started at/by TuShare.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Democratic community management achievements

The global REDD+ (Reduction of Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) program was designed to enhance the sustainability of forests and reduce global carbon emissions. The aim of this mechanism was to conserve stores of carbon in forests by establishing a carbon market. The creation of a price for carbon in environmentally rich forests was expected save them from exploitation for timber.

So far REDD+ has proved a clumsy mechanism with few successes. Instead, as a recent article in Solutions (Vol. 4 Issue 3) points out,
There exists an alternative to market-based efforts, or an essential prelude to them: community forest management. Mexico presents a global model for devolving rights over forests, creating community forest enterprises, and meeting the goals of REDD+.
The article, 'From Mexico, Global Lessons for Forest Governance' by David Bray outlines the model, which relies on devolving to local communities 'a nearly full bundle of rights over forests, supportive government policy, and efforts to generate income for local communities'. Bray writes that:
Formally, the Mexican model is based on common property governance over forested territories by legally recognized rights holders organized in long-standing communities tied together by kinship and mutual knowledge. These common property forests represent a third way of economic development, beyond just public property and markets.
Indeed researchers, such as David Barkin a Professor of Economics at the Universidad Autonoma Metroolitana-Xochimilco in Mexico, are studying non-monetary and non-market production and exchange in such communities for their real and potential capacity to better satisfy basic needs and wants within a more genuinely democratic framework than exists within capitalism today. Examples of Barkin's work include an article written with Lemus (2011) 'La Economía Ecológica y Solidaria: Una propuesta frente a nuestra crisis' in Sustentabilidades No. 5 and Considering Alternatives: Local Justice for Environmental Governance Analytical Framework Report