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  1. Donation rwingett
    Ming the Merciless
    03 Nov '09 22:01

    In this article, Gar Alperovitz makes the case that the next economic revolution is already happening. It is taking hold at a grass roots level beneath the media's radar. So far, at least. It's only a matter of time before these ideas make their way into the mainstream.

    The new American revolution challenges the current notions of dog-eat-dog capitalism—through the building of a parallel economic system that shares, cooperates, empowers, and benefits fellow workers and community members.

    Over the past few decades, thousands of alternatives to the standard, top-down corporate model have sprouted up—worker-owned companies and cooperatives, neighborhood corporations and trusts, community-owned technology centers and municipally owned enterprises.

    Maybe there is light at the end of the tunnel.
  2. 04 Nov '09 16:50 / 3 edits
    One thing that might move towards a fairer economy might be an increase in the % of products and services provided by smaller-sized businesses. When an employer knows all of his workers personally, he's probably going to treat them better than if he's the CEO in charge of a workforce of 1000's. When an employer knows his customers personally, he's going to treat them differently than if they're just abstract sales figures.

    The problem is that "economy of scale" generally makes it much more efficient to produce things in large quantities for sale to large markets. This leads to the big companies and the big workforces that seem to be at the root of capitalism's biggest evils.

    But perhaps internet technologies are making it easier for the smaller businesses to be more competitive? Because this is where I would imagine most of the co-op and trust arrangements are likely to arise. But these businesses will still have to offer something that the Wal-marts don't.

    There is hope, though. I remember one time when my brother needed a battery for his digital camera and I wanted to get something to drink that was marginally healthy. The only store in the area was a Wal-mart. The battery section didn't have the battery we needed, and the drink section was an endless aisle of soda and the equivalent of kool-aid. And we had to hike a mile through the place to do this. I would imagine there's a lot of other stuff that Wal-mart doesn't sell, so there should be lots of room for niche stores that offer quality products and services.
  3. 04 Nov '09 16:52