Liberating Alternatives

Born into the arms of an inventor and a poet, questioning the status quo and seeking new ways of doing and being is sequenced in both my genetic inheritance and the core values I learned as a child. Surrounded by poverty and raised with great books, great teachers, and profound  compassion, I have always lovedContinue reading “Liberating Alternatives”

“Ways that I am NOT Going Back to ‘Business-as-Usual’”

A note on my intended audience: for now it is you, my fellow participants, and I (Jon Hokama) hope to lay the groundwork for an article for the Focolare Living City Magazine (or Plough Publishing) to equip small business owners, like those of the EoC, and others with the conceptual tools necessary to articulate andContinue reading ““Ways that I am NOT Going Back to ‘Business-as-Usual’””

From Downward Mobility to Interdependence

Where I find myself right now I grew up in Catholic social justice circles and Dean Brackley, SJ (NYT, NCR) was one of our saints. I started reading his book, The Call to Discernment in Troubled Times, when I was a teenager after returning from a summer in El Salvador. I was intrigued by whatContinue reading “From Downward Mobility to Interdependence”

Of Stone Soup and Spinning Wheels

PART I Blessy My economy story, like most of my stories, starts with my grandmother. She was 70 by the time I was born, no longer showing up on employment statistics or GDP but deeply involved in the reproductive labor of our household. She cooked, cleaned, and provided constant childcare and education for me andContinue reading “Of Stone Soup and Spinning Wheels”

Too messy to fail: ancestral mutual aid and instinctive sharing as the topsoil for the cooperative ecosystem

I’ve come to believe that mutual aid is the dynamic heartbeat at the confluence of the theories of change in this framework. When I was 33, I went up on a forested mountain near my home for a 4-day fast with no food or water to inspect my life and bring back some renewal andContinue reading “Too messy to fail: ancestral mutual aid and instinctive sharing as the topsoil for the cooperative ecosystem”

Community Economics: A brilliant future, or the world that always was?

Often I feel the biggest hurdle to implementing alternative economic models is belief that the rules of our economy are laws of nature; universal, immutable. If we step out of and away from the power structure, we find indications that the myths of late stage capitalism can fade rapidly. Though capitalist market ideology holds brightContinue reading “Community Economics: A brilliant future, or the world that always was?”

My table and what to do with it (w/RS added)

My economic story My inheritance I have five sets of china stored away in my house right now.  Dishes, teacups, saucers, salad plates handed down as family members have passed.  I’ve never used them.  Some of them I couldn’t even describe.  More sets will come.  And yet I keep them.  After willingly parting with theContinue reading “My table and what to do with it (w/RS added)”

Why are Gallery Walls White and Why Do We Know the Answer?

This prompt brings to mind Material Return, an enterprise of The Industrial Commons (TIC), and its movement ecology which hinges on the principals of a circular economy. All three theories of change (Personal Transformation, Changing dominant institutions, Setting a New Shared Ownership Agenda) are employed along the way, whether it’s the internal culture of theContinue reading “Why are Gallery Walls White and Why Do We Know the Answer?”

The sacredness of struggle

When I think of how to describe my “economic ecology”, I think a lot about struggle and how it forms a substantial portion of what I consider my inheritance. But, struggle is not solely negative, it’s indicative in part of strength, resilience and a ferocity of hope. Common refrains around the expansiveness of measures ofContinue reading “The sacredness of struggle”

Leave It To Beaver and Mutual Encountering

In plain terms, my economic resources are significant. As an American cisgender female from an upper to middle class family in rural North Carolina, my identity politic (in this and other geopolitical spheres) skew toward prosperity… in the Barbara Billingsley from Leave It To Beaver, sense of the term. Social, relational, and educational opportunities wereContinue reading “Leave It To Beaver and Mutual Encountering”

I bring my whiteness with me wherever I go

From my family, I inherited an immigrant’s determination, values around doing good work in the world while making a living, a commitment to mutual aid, and the economic benefits of whiteness.  My grandparents came to the United States from Poland by way of France in 1940. They were Jewish intelellectuals who escaped the holocaust byContinue reading “I bring my whiteness with me wherever I go”

From Ownership to Stewardship?

Response to Part Two The prompt left me reflecting on eco-system models that can hold the intersection of “alternatives, institutions, and personal change.” In watching our cooperative eco-system grow we constantly encounter the foundational need for personal change so that those eager for a piece of the change, and often those who have been harmedContinue reading “From Ownership to Stewardship?”

It wasn’t enough

I’m a pragmatist, committed to economic justice and I have worked to change the economy by doing different things for 40 years. Looking at the theory of change models I realize that I have been involved in a number of different strategies. I have been creating, supporting and investing in alternative models like cooperatives, communityContinue reading “It wasn’t enough”

Coop of Entrepreneurs

I came across this coop for artists and creative professionals a few years ago while researching models for a freelancer cooperative. They have 35,000 members across the EU, and seem to primarily provide shared productivity tools and administrative support. My background is in supporting local small business owners with few or no employees. I amContinue reading “Coop of Entrepreneurs”

Design-Thinking: Empathy Required

As I reflected on the purpose of the Shared Owership Workshop and what book not only provided an insight to a societal problem, but one that could be reduced through the implementation of a shared ownership model, I thought of the book Evicted. As many of you are already know, when using a design-thinking modelContinue reading “Design-Thinking: Empathy Required”