The rent is too damn high. Savings are impossible. Retirement? Ha! The planet is hurting Food is expensive already and getting worse. Banks and financial services pick our pockets and destroy communities. The racial wealth gap is growing at the same time as the US becomes less white. Our political and economic institutions do not seem to be capable of addressing social, political, spiritual, ecological, and economic challenges of this magnitude. And if they can’t, what should replace them?
The work to build new institutions to serve people and planet is painstaking but critical. Some people talk about social democracy, some talk about socialism or communism. Some talk about solidarity economy, some cooperative commonwealth, some call it economic democracy. Some prefer to leave the question open, and just posit the need for a “next system” or a “Great Transition”.
It can feel really overwhelming though to try to grapple with all these different perspectives and figure out where you land with them personally though. After all, not everyone has the luxury of time to dedicate to thorough study and analysis. Nor should they have to necessarily either!
Our goal here is to use the power of video and storytelling to land some of the key concepts of economic democracy and solidarity economy (etc). With this sampling of videos, you don’t have to spend five years studying economic democracy; lots of folks have done some great thinking and summarizing, working to bring these ideas down to earth and make them accessible in different ways.
We looked at six videos that attempt to grapple in different ways with the following questions: what purpose does “the economy” serve? Who does it serve? How might we make it different? What are some examples of this? Below are the videos we watched and in the next post, we’ll share some of our thoughts about each.
Lawrence Barriner II is Executive Editor for CoLab Radio, host of CoLab Radio on Air, and Program Director for CoLab’s Community Media work. He has Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning, is a trained facilitator, and leads storytelling and imagination workshops around Boston.
Evan Casper-Futterman is a 3rd generation New Yorker. He is the Director of the Economic Democracy Learning Center at the Bronx Cooperative Development Initiative, and has been a board member of the Cooperative Economics Alliance of New York City since 2016. He received a master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of New Orleans in 2011, and was a White House Intern in the Spring of 2012 in the Domestic Policy Council’s Office of Urban Affairs. He is currently a Doctoral Candidate (ABD) at the Bloustein School of Urban Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University, studying economic democracy.