Sustainable Economy

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About Sustainable Economy

Our current economic system is becoming more and more unequal [1] and unsustainable, [2] socially, fiscally, and environmentally. While it serves the needs of some, it fails to serve, and even oppresses the needs of others. We see this as unfair, unstable, and unsustainable and we believe that it does not have to be that way. Our goal is to transition toward a societal structure which can become more fair and economically equal over time. Our goal is to create an economy that works for everyone, in harmony with the laws of nature.

A "sustainable economy" [3] is an economy in which success is judged, not merely in terms of financial profit, but in accounting for social and environmental factors as well. This is known, in the business world, as the "triple bottom line". All factors must be present in judging the success of an enterprise. If one element is failing, the whole entity is failing and the system is in danger of collapse. Many businesses are adopting a triple bottom line philiosophy as a more holistic approach to assessing value and determining success for the long term. See more on triple bottom line philosophy [4]

Our success, as humans and as a society, should be measured in terms of individual prosperity, quality of life, our ability to minimize suffering, and of the "thrive-ability" of life on the planet. The US corporate structures and the domination structures of government are structures which disregard the overall health of the planet, and has very limited, short term sights on the health of the economy.

Stock exchanges around the world are all geared primarily toward profit. In fact, it is US corporate law which *requires* publicly traded corporations to pursue profits above all else. We believe there should be more to business than just profit.

[PBS covers "The New Economy"] pulling together many of the projects/concepts that Occupy the Economy is aiming for. A living sustainable economy...

See Also The Occupy the Economy Page

See Also, the [Occupy the Economy] page, for more Sustainable Economics resources and organizing info.

Or go directly to the [Social Enterprise Working Group] page if you're interested in starting or working with Co-operatives, collectives, and/or Social Enterprises.

Working Vision Statement

To transform our local economy into a community that provides for human and planetary needs through means that exemplify the shared values of the Occupy movement.


Working Mission Statement

1. To create awareness and encourage education around ways to develop a sustainable economy.
2. To suggest and/or demonstrate actions that all people can take to improve the economy.
3. To promote the local independent creation of opportunities for individual, sustainable livelihoods.


Goals of this working group (draft!)

- EXPLORE the meanings of the word "sustainability" and

- CREATE AWARENESS within the Occupy Boston Community and the Boston region about the various ideas of what a "sustainable economy" might look like, so as to help ensure that OB statements and actions encourage society's move to a more sustainable society

- DISCUSS detailed practices and positions that will send the message regarding change that we believe is productive.

- DETERMINE legislative, individual practices that we believe strongly in. This task includes ECONOMIC MODELING of proposed practices/policies.

- ENCOURAGE Business and Government leaders, and Occupy Boston Working Groups to enjoy sustainable business practices.

- ADVOCATE with key public officials and the media to encourage the use of a more productive language that helps society both understand sustainability, and and move toward changes that we support.

- FOCUS on policies for businesses "external" to OB, including possible public policy reforms.

- COORDINATE with other OB working groups, in particular the Social Enterprise Working Group(focused on Social Enterprise policy discussions), and the Social Enterprises themselves, as they form. Also with industry-level working groups focused on business, like the banking working group (no wiki yet), the trading/derivatives working group (no wiki yet), and other relevant groups, like the environment group.


Ways to make the economy more sustainable

1. Set of ethical business practices to evaluate businesses by.

2. Harmful companies to boycott and divest from.

3. An interactive shopping guide, Responsible Shopper, from Green America helps you figure out which companies to buy from and invest in.

4. A searchable directory of ethical businesses at Green America's National Green Pages to buy from and invest in.

5. Green Business Seal of Approval from Green America.

6. Directories of local businesses to support. (Buy Local)

7. Socially responsible business associations for businesses to join.

8. Ethical economic models to explore.

9. Ethical business legislation ideas to promote ethical businesses and penalize harmful businesses.

10. Books, articles, and other resources analyzing economic problems and offering solutions.

11. [Local Currency Project]

12. [Other Individual Actions to consider]

13.1 Credit Union Research on what are good credit unions and investment companies.

Possible Projects to Work On

1. Organize a day to divest-reinvest, such as Community Reinvestment Day. People can choose to either divest from all corporations on Wall Street or only from particularly harmful corporations. Encourage supporting socially responsible investment firms for those wishing a more traditional route.

2. Feature and honor people who make public announcements of divesting in Wall Street harmful businesses and investing in ethical businesses and local businesses on Main Street.

3. Collaborate with local banks, and credit unions to form special funds for community reinvestment. The local bank or credit union would make loans from these funds to local businesses and non-profits that meet certain criteria of ethical behavior, such as serving the local community. The community investors would receive a financial return on their investments.

4. Examine "rating" groups to see which ones we like. Put potential ones here for discussion at the next meeting: Sustainable Economy Rating Groups


Sustainable Economy Rating Groups

One of our on-going projects is to gather up, review and then public a list of rating groups to help us as a society make our world a better place. [See the list here] and contribute!

Credit Union Research

"Crowdfunding"

Comparing the 3 bills now in Congress. House has passed one ("H.R.2930"). Senate has two others under consideration and open for your comment and input ("S.1791" & "S.1970").

Contact

SustainableEconomy@occupyboston.org Email us if you have questions.

Sign up for our email list to join our working group.

Meeting Minutes

[Minutes Feb 15 2012]

[Minutes March 1 2012]

Name Change Notice

The Sustainable Economy Working Group was formerly called Community Reinvestment.

The name was changed to encompass a broader perspective and to focus more on the issue of sustainability.

Resources and Reading

[Economics for the 99%] Treatise from UMass, lots of opinion, but educated opinion. Full of great data. And also a wonderful [full color "economic" timeline].

[Marxist Classes] by UMass Professor RD Wolff

The Cancer of Growth resources gathered by Terra Friedrichs, Occupy Boston populist financial analyst. With links to reference data/resources on the impacts of a "growth-based economy".