Friday, May 28, 2010

Posted on “Unemployeds” Forum

>As the economy recovers and employers increase hiring to meet the growing demand
>for goods and services, many currently unemployed workers will be able to find new

"The economy" will not recover. There will be no growing demand for goods and services. What we are experiencing is structural unemployment of the grandest scale. We are on the bust side of a thirty-year supply side boom that saw a major investment in foreign made products and domestic transportation and retail outlets. For a while, this boom supported a growth in professional business employees, exactly those whom the referenced article identifies as the long-term unemployed. The other jobs created by the supply side/retail boom were low paying retail and other non-living wage service sector jobs.

Together, the bust adds up to a permanent deficit in effective demand for the over-supply of junk that has been sold to the American consumer in the last thirty, fifty, one hundred years.

What we need to do is recognize that we are on the other side of a post-peak fossil fuel economy and organize ourselves into a collective union that works to rebuild relocalized economies in all communities, all regions.

It will take leadership that is foreign to the economic and political history of this country. It will take a solidarity that has never been seen before and is highly unlikely with the mindless hedonistic anarchy that is prevailing in our country today.

In the meantime, stick with the Dems., when it comes to safety-net issues.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Demand Side Management, Supply Side Reallocation (Jobs, Equity)

Demand-Side Management, Neighborhood Redevelopment and Transportation Planning

I would like to address the supply side scenario for energy production based on assumptions of economic growth requiring an increase in the use of energy.

The trouble with focusing on supply side economics and energy is that they both ignore demand. In relation to economics, the lack of effective demand for the plethora of consumer products will prove to be the downfall of this past generation’s experiment with supply side economics. With respect to energy, we must recognize that demand side management is critical to any possibility of a sustainable future. Liberal economics (laissez faire, the so-called free market) cannot deal with the problem(s). We need a planned economy to effectively retrofit the infrastructure and to rebuild our communities to be walkable, therefore eliminating the terrible daily waste of oil/energy resources for transportation purposes.

I have to differ with rosy scenarios regarding the contribution that photovoltaics can make. I’m not an electrical engineer or an electrician, but it is my understanding that PVs don’t have the oomph (be it voltage or amperage) to contribute very significantly to the current and recommended increased usage of electricity. Sure, PVs and wind might be able to contribute to lighting applications and a few very high efficiency appliances, but they can not power our transportation, industrial, business, and home heating and air conditioning, hot water, agricultural inputs, refrigeration, drying, and cooking needs.

We could go full throttle to the building of nuclear power plants, but I am highly leery of their toxicity and safety issues. Even if we pursued the path of electrification with the maximization of nuclear power, it will require a tremendous overhaul of our transportation infrastructure, and other applications currently met by oil products, coal, and natural gas. Such an overhaul could only be possible by a Totalitarian economy, which I would argue that is closer to what has evolved from the rapacious Capitalist Conglomerate oligopolistic conspiracy and control of all levels of government. What I am proposing as an alternative is an economic democracy. Although I am presenting a comprehensive plan, it will never be realized without the popular support of the citizenry.

Nuclear is not a “free market” technology. Government programs paid for most of the resources for development of such. Then, there is the waste issue. Is it not the Federal Government who is going to or proposing to pay for the waste depository at Yucca Mountain (Nevada)? Also, there is the issue of bringing back the so-called Price-Anderson legislation. This was legislation in which the Federal Government provided insurance for nuclear power plants and related operations. No private insurer would underwrite the risks, thus the Feds had to step in. In the current political environment of casting all responsibility to the wind, I can darkly envision a full throttle nuclear program without any insurance or public accountability. It is the same for the myopic revenue sharks of the fossil fuel industries.

Perhaps a better scenario could be realized if we started very soon with a planned economy that focused first on economic and energy demand side management and also retrofitted infrastructures with respect to very scarce and relatively clean (I view carbon resources, if appropriately used, to be cleaner than nuclear) energy applications.

The potential for solar thermal hot water is immense. Imagine all hot water demanding properties on the planet equipped with such devices. Imagine all the (community/worker owned) jobs involved with the production, installation, and distribution of these units. I list distribution last, because all efforts need to be made to maximize the localization of such production and installation, as well as any other products for which going towards relocalization may be possible (e.g. food).

Relocalization is part of the plan (and not just for food). Instead of reversalism, the term that the IMF representative, Staniford, has coined as being emblematic of the relocalization paradigm, let me offer the following "re" words that imply a gradual evolution to a future which incorporates the best of the past, for your consideration, response, and action.


Little to no beneficial change will occur without an almost religious change from the paradigm of economic growth and standard of living to one that emphasizes community redevelopment and quality of life. This is an important educational component of an alternative ecological economic plan.


If we can be successful and realize the educational/reform component, the next (concurrent) step is to reorganize to one of cooperative (or at least partially so – we will probably need to compromise on the divide between one dollar/one vote and one person/one vote as the dominant paradigm of economic organization) communitarian local and regional economic entities, at least until the day that we are all nearly equal in terms of ownership of the means and goods of production and distribution. How to assure the transition from inequality is problematic. However, as the entire economic system begins and proceeds to fail, those wealthy seeking to avoid total financial ruin will welcome the opportunity to accept the quality of life paradigm, foregoing their opulent, ostentatious, enslaving, ecocidal, genocidal, and suicidal "standard of living" modus operandi.


We need coordinated community, inter-community, inter-regional and world planning agencies that agree on the fundamental mission of a global ecological economy that have the basic pillars of inclusion, humanity, equity, and sustainability.


Communities will need to be physically rebuilt to make them walkable (i.e. new urbanism, reusing existing buildings, retrofitting residential communities built in the oil/automobile age by building community economic and cultural centers making necessities and other important quality of life amenities, available to all within walking distance of their homes Also such a plan should include housing and other built environment improvement and ownership opportunities for the less well off. Included in such a plan would be neighborhood work stations which would aid in the ability of office workers to telecommute in their occupations as we transition from a supply-side nightmare to a sustainable, equitable, and quality of life economy. Imagine all the jobs!




With respect to electric vehicles, my thoughts are that they may be a small part of a longer term solution and probably restricted to rebuilt/walkable urban and suburban neighborhoods for the use of the elderly and/or infirm. The top priority with respect to fossil fuels and other energy resources is demand side management. The chief priority in planning the role of the automobile is to reduce automobile use by 80% in the next 20 to 40 years. We are currently burdened by a terrible oversupply (including owned and overstocked inventories at factories and dealerships) of fuel inefficient and poorly designed internal combustion vehicles. If these vehicles weren't so poorly designed, there could be a significant opportunity to convert them to hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles. But they are very poorly designed. Perhaps the current population of vehicles should be deconstructed and parts reused or recycled. Such is obviously not a feasible alternative, though efforts should be made to make all vehicles that are in use after a comprehensive downsizing of the vehicles remaining in use New vehicles should be exclusively, hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and electric, except maybe for long-term transport and work vehicles. It is very doubtful that we ever need to produce one more vehicle off the absurd robotic assembly lines of atrociously designed anachronisms, opulent ostentations.
The could be tremendous amounts of work generated by the reconstruction of neighborhoods and the rearrangement of production, distribution, and communication systems to make them neighborhood friendly. In addition, a great potential for work lies in the field of deconstruction of transportation and related infrastructure adaptation. Parking lots could be torn up and converted to community gardens. Streets (and rail systems) could be torn up and converted to walking and bike paths and others altered to be less wide, restoring the liveability of housing located on these very noisy busy passageways. Parking garages could be torn down and replaced by mixed-use developments and/or garden/park uses. Highways could be dedicated mostly to bus travel, long distance transport, and perhaps some, if not many, of them torn down and reclaimed as natural and agricultural land. For automobile usage, it would be optimal to encourage the development of car-sharing cooperatives. All vehicles left in use must be quiet, and slower (with the exception of busses and long range transport). With respect to transport and distribution systems (and production systems) relocalization and neighborhood telecommunications (including teleconferencing facilities) should be the major goal, greatly reducing the need for long-range transport.

Another Iteration of “the Plan”

We need some perspective.

Liquid and gaseous fossil fuel use is about 150 years old and automotive use about 100 years old. Look how absurdly, the personal automobile dominates our life and is destroying any hope for a future.

We need to deal with more than incremental adjustments from the modern automotive age. If we want to continue the many benefits of precious fossil fuels, the many opportunity costs of those fuels, to personal automobile usage, then we need to set as a goal (here in the USA) and realize it, to reduce the use of the personal automobile by 80% in the next 20 to 40 years.

It is not encouraging, because Obama explicitly stated the other day that the automobile is such an important part of American history and culture and needs to remain so. This is a statement of a myopic politician beholden to special interests.

If you've never lived in the Northeast (USA) where much of the city, town, and village centers were built before the automobile, it may be hard to imagine a future with the greatly reduced automobile use, but it is very possible and absolutely desirable.

The key is the walkable neighborhood. That is, neighborhoods for everybuddy where everyone can get what they need within walking distance of their residence. This will take a major shift in the way that resources are allocated and products distributed to communities. The major over-supply side mall outlets (for those products and services that have utility) could become regional warehouses and older town and village centers, where they exist could be explicitly brought back as outlets for these products. Where the town and village centers do not exist, such as here out West (I'm in Eugene, Oregon), where the mindless assumption of the automobile has led to the mindless, endless residential districts with their equally alienating and squandering (strip) malls, communities could be rebuilt (think of all the jobs) to provide community centers and outlets.

Of course, this will not happen in the absence of a complete commitment to neighborhood/inter-community/inter-regional/worldwide ecological economic resource planning and allocation and redevelopment.

The resource allocation issue could be handled with a reformed economic system, an equity union, with a "plan and implement" modus operandi for economic operations. Reforming the financial system to take the fundamentally inflationary Capitalist aspect of "discounting the future" (i.e. assuming that money in the future will be worth less) could lead to a system of ecological economical redevelopment where only true growth in wealth would occur and be shared and could occur under the aegis of a mission emphasizing peace, equity, inclusion, humanity, quality of life, wellness, and sustainability.

Removing the gluttonous oil resource use by the USA and Capitalist automotive oriented allies would slowly rescind the need for the hegemonic occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, threats to Iran and to both domestic and worldwide environments which need to be conserved and shared equitably and frugally, particularly with the interests of youth, children, and future generations in heart and mind. The world acting in concert would stand much better prospects for peace.

The Ecology of Redevelopment

A big part of my redevelopment plan (aside from the financial systems reform) is the REBUILDING of neighborhoods to make them walkable for the necessities of life (that is, assuming a goal of a much less harried pace than today, but also assuming that people will have responsibilities, obligations, and desires). Such a plan would include a massive education program in retraining workers and training in youth in the building trades. Human resource management would be utilized to try to maximize the match between where the primary contractors/instructors and student/workers lived and the neighborhood building projects.

Communities would be rebuilt to emulate mature ecological systems, in that they maximize the efficiency of energy and resource input into the community so that once resources enter a community, they stay in the community for the maximum amount of time possible. Once all communities are sufficiently rebuilt (a timeline of 20 to 50 years?) under such guidelines, they would evolve to ongoing day-to-day and maintenance communities and the amount of heavy labor required would decrease and the amount of leisure time increase. Again, (day-to-day and maintenance) workers would be employed in, surrounding, and/or as close to their residency as possible and it would be a priority for real and capital assets to be owned by the workers and the community patrons who ideally would be one and the same. The Neighborhood Equity Union would replace credit unions and of course, other forms of financial institutions. Parks and gymnasiums would be an important part of the plan as leisure time increased and the healthy aspects of physical labor decreased.

Concurrent with rebuilding, and the reallocation of production and distribution resources, would be efforts to make office, communications, knowledge and intelligence based labor into primarily home and/or neighborhood based vocations. Occasional travel would be necessary and desirable, but quiet bus travel and car-sharing cooperatives could be employed to fill this need along with family visit and recreational needs and desires. With respect to the former, extended families would be encouraged to develop, remain, and/or reunite geographically.

TARP and Related Matters

As DeFazio and others have suggested fire Summers and Geithner, but take back ALL the TARP money, not only that given to AIG and Goldman Sachs.

Put the money into a Peoples Equity Fund for allocation to community betterment/worker owned projects for ecological economic redevelopment which is inclusive, equitable, humane, altruistic, healthy, needs and peace oriented, and sustainable.

We do not need a Federal Reserve, which is the biggest heist of all history. We do not need Federal Taxes and we do not need to borrow funds from the self-serving Banking and Investment “Community”. All we need is a Treasury to make direct allocations to enterprises and individuals within communities and within and among economic sectors that produce and serve to meet the needs of people..

DeFazio talks of "infrastructure" and the organized crime of the fluke 20th century continues to trickle in millions upon millions of dollars to the linear trajectory of a dysfunctional suicidal and genocidal (of all youth and children) “path”. What does he want more squandered "stimulus" money, a continuation of the National Highway Act of 1950? Sorry, Peter, you're right on the front end, but wrong from then on.

Decommission the military and end military spending as fast as possible and dedicate some if not much of that money to the comprehensive education/action (eduaction) program that will be necessary to transition to such a cooperative communitarian/socialist (because some may be unable to contribute, and at first there will be a lot of resistance from many who are happy with a welfare state existence and/or understandably prefer such to the slavery and repugnant alternatives that thinly exist, if at all, within the Capitalist system) economy.

Much more to write, but limited space.

In Peace, Friendship, Community, Cooperation, and Solidarity,

Mike Morin
Eugene, OR
(the unresponsive DeFazio's district)

P.S. I have repeatedly suggested to the nameless, faceless women who stonewall for Peter, or perhaps more accurately for the Capitalist interests that control him and manipulate him, that Peter (and I have been in touch with Congressman John Lewis from George (Mason) Jah Town) (and John’s staff seem to understand better) and hopefully others introduce legislation to directly access Treasury funds for the purpose of assisting in a public/private(quasi-public) partnership that would exand the concept of an Organization for Economic Opportunity to all communities with the public sector’s participation being one of direct funding to low-income communities programs and projects, and funding of community organizing personnel in the mold of ACORN, Ameri-corps, and/or similar or a newly conceptualized program.

The Relationship of Equity Union(s) to Existing Financial Institutions and Community Betterment Organizations

The role of the Equity Union is to alter the allocation purposes and priorities of the Investment "Class" (i.e. the owners of Banks and Corporations and Traders on Wall Street and similar venues).

While credit unions and banks primarily make mortgage loans, car loans, consumer loans, and in loans to businesses, an equity union (with accounts in a community development union(s)) would specifically be dedicated to making equity grants, equity participation, and equity sharing allocations to community betterment organizations (CBOs).

When a financial organization makes a loan, it has first claim on net revenues. In other words, before a workers' cooperative or a traditional sole proprietorship, partnership, or corporation can pay themselves, they must first pay back the interest (and eventually principal) on the loan.

In an equity union participation (as differentiated from an outright grant), any dividends to the equity union participants would be paid back subsidiary to the interests of the worker owners or community/worker owners of the CBO firm. The arrangement would be negotiable. If the negotiation calls for no dividends, whatsoever, then that would be called equity sharing.

Equity shares/participations in a CBO could not be traded and could only be bought back by the members of the Equity Union at par value. In other words, no capital gains would be allowed.

Concerning the Restructuring of the Global Financial/Economic System and Recent Discussion of Nationalizing “Banking” Interests

With regards to "nationalizing" Banks and other "investor owned" Institutions, we must be realistic concerning the inter-national composition of the investing institutions, corporations, and individuals.

Writing from a libertarian socialist point of view, I think it is necessary to clarify the objectives of any comprehensive program to re-dedicate private resources to a quasi-public mission and to consolidate equity and assets for the purposes of sharing the former and writing off the economically paralytic inflationary cost aspects of the latter.

In lieu of an economic system based on credit and equity trading, whose motivation is the underwriting of speculative ventures, we need to transform our fundamentally inflationary financial/economic system to one that is based on equity sharing and meeting the needs of people in the form of community betterment.

Such a financial system would be the right hand, the resource allocation facilitating function and services of an ambidextrous ecological, democratic, economic "plan and implement" economy that would respect and favor the sovereignty of villages/neighborhoods, educate-foster-facilitate-inculcate inter-community and inter-regional equality, unity and cooperation based on the basic principles of inclusion, equity, humanity, mutualism, altruism, quality of life (in lieu of standard of living), environmental/public health and wellness, sustainability, and peace.

Such a system would seek to establish a more just balance between competitive advantage and comparative advantage with the concerns of those indigenous to a community being paramount.

Such an economic system would recognize the necessity to embrace and implement conservation ethics for shorter term programs and projects of ecological economic redevelopment dedicated to survival pursuits and skills and its concomitant ubiquitous environmental improvement activities, and to the longer term programs and policies related to the legacy of the human race and its dominion (i.e. the recognition and respect of the resource limits imposed by a finite planet).

I call such a proposal an equity union and believe it to be a prudent and practical alternative to the extant economic/financial system. I believe such an economic rearrangement based on the fundamental mission of world unity and cooperation is the best hope for the purpose of entering an unprecedented era of peace and human progress and success.

A Re-introduction to the Concept of Equity Union(s)

The current Capitalist dominated system is dysfunctional both from an equity/fairness and economic and natural resource sustainability perspective.

The dominant paradigm in Capitalist financial business operations uses something called the discount rate which assumes that money will be worth less (eventually worthless) in the future, thus creating a necessity to extract profits exceeding a "hurdle" rate leading to unfair and unwise exploitation of workers, borrowers, and natural resources, and to rampant inflation.

The use of credit is not a good business or personal practice. In business, it should be discouraged because creditors have first claims on net revenues and hold liens on real property and capital assets. For "consumers", the use of credit is unwise because the system is set up to extract profits from interest thus assuring that when consumers use credit that they are losing money relative to inflation. Certainly the current foreclosure crisis in the USA is ample evidence of the inflation and the unfairness and unhealthiness of the mortgage lien process.

Credit Unions and Mutual Insurance companies are in theory attempts to institute non-profit economic democracies for their respective industries. However, because of the need to compete for customers, both of these relatively progressive financial service organization types are forced to play the same game that is basically destructive to individuals, families, communities, and the natural environment. Ideally, credit should only be used as a last resort, much more preferably not at all. We should replace all aspects of the extant financial system with an Equity Union. In some ways, a mutual insurance company is similar to an equity union. However, because such companies are required to realize profits in order to compete for "policy holders" (really investors), the companies that comprise the portfolios of the mutual insurance firms cannot be not-for-profit, can not be mutual organizations themselves.

In a not-for profit Equity Union financial services system based on principles of mutuality working in concert with ethical, wise, knowledgeable, and intelligent community, inter-community, inter-regional, and worldwide planning there would certainly be an important role for financial service workers.

A major impediment to such an Equity Union would be the competitive advantage of the current financial sector and the fear of the friction of change to those individuals and organizations. Dealing with this sector of "the" economy, it would be more feasible with regards to Capitalist resistance and more humane, to orderly and peacefully transition to an Equity Union, coordinated with ecologically sound economic planning.

I am writing and talking about transitioning slowly, methodically, and with the minimum amount of friction and hardship from a dysfunctional financial system, based on self-interest, to one designed to benefit everybuddy.

At risk of understatement, it will take a huge amount of work to educate folks to the need and benefits of such change and to communicate the basic Plan. Transition Planning will also be a very difficult process, but I see no alternative to the current, impending and worsening global economic, political, social, and natural environmental collapse.

The Peoples' Equity Union concept is designed to be a grass roots, popular choice "movement". I am organizing with individuals, workers, and shopkeepers in my neighborhood, adjoining neighborhoods, and through the inter-net to whomever I can attract an interest in the concept.

The focus is primarily local, yet regional, and global at the same time. It is my dream, not a hope yet, to encourage a critical mass of people to organize locally around a unifying mission, unifying principles, unifying strategies, and unifying tactics in order to minimize the amount of administration at the regional and wide cooperative populations.

The theory is that neighborhood locales, the neighborhood community/worker hybrid association will have maximum autonomy and will be guided only, in their inter-community and inter-economic sector relationships by regional Planning Boards and a Global Policy Committee.

We must replace the current equity trading systems, corporate conglomerate corporations, insurance companies, and usurious banking systems of the Capitalist status quo with a worldwide Peoples' Equity Union with branches in every community/neighborhood.

The goal is to be a true economic democracy: of, for, and by the people.


Concurrent with financial systems reform, where equity sharing and not-for-profit equity collaboration would replace the current financial paradigm of for-profit equity investing, equity trading, and usurious credit arrangements, we need to evolve to a different system with respect to residential and other real property occupation arrangements.

In lieu of rent or leases, people should be allowed to acquire equity in their abodes and business properties. For example, in the case of an apartment, if one paid $500 per month to a property management firm, let's say $50 per month would go to property maintenance, and another $40 to administration fees, insurance, etc. This would leave the resident with $410 of accumulated equity added to their account each month. If we had a large cooperative housing organization (preferably world-wide, and preferably the only form of property ownership) then when someone had to move or wanted to move, they could take their equity with them to the new property.

With regards to mortgages, they are horribly usurious and should be banned. The scenario related above would also replace the current system of financing "home ownership loans".

A huge problem that we are facing now is the terrible inflation in the market values of real property (and capital assets, for that matter). If we pooled our equity, pooled our assets, and collectively wrote off our liabilities, then we could significantly write down the market values of real and capital assets.

More on Equity Union(s)

In a not-for profit Equity Union financial services system based on principles
of mutuality working in concert with ethical, wise, knowledgeable, and intelligent community, inter-community, inter-regional planning would serve the needs of the people.

In local and inter-community equity unions, equity sharing would be the modus operandi. People with funds being held in equity unions would have the option of sharing in primarily worker owned community betterment projects based on the principles of quality of life, equity (which means ownership, and also means equality), humanity, and sustainability (which means there will be an economy and natural resources for the youth and the children, and for generations to come).

If the inflation spiral can be removed (and the cost of real and capital assets brought back to earth), then indigent and poor workers could hope to increase their equity holdings and quality of life assets and equity investors could hope to get their money back. Some endeavors, beyond poor workers enrichment, would be not-for-profit. That is, profits made beyond a pre-determined return to the poor workers, would be re-invested in more such worker/community betterment hybrid businesses (preferably cooperatives).

Equity investments in community businesses could not be sold to others, but could be bought back at par value (the price of the share of the stock when it was invested). Such would be discouraged, and disallowed if it was a qualified low-income/low wealth equity investor, who may, or may not if they were allowed to collect (limited) personal dividends.

Equity Union branches in low income/low wealth neighborhoods would be allowed to set up a (501)(c)(3) to receive donations to an equity fund for their neighborhoods, to be kept in a local Equity Union and the funds allocated (equity grants) by a Board committed to community betterment and the likely success of the endeavor(s).

Equity Union – An Example

Getting Started

Hi Mike,
(rest of letter deleted)

[By the way, I presently have more income than is best for my
lifestyle, and now have recently gotten my hands on some extra money.
I'm not used to this situation. Do you have any suggestions about
where to 'invest' for the greater good, keeping in mind that my main
concerns remain first 'global heating', and then generally shorter
paths to possible eutopias vs. possible extreme dystopias?]


Hi Dan,
(rest of letter deleted)

I, too, have some discretionary funds that I would like to put into trust
for public service and altruistic endeavors. Perhaps, you and I (and others if we can find them) should investigate creating a local Peoples' Equity fund. My idea on that is to see if we can open a group trust account in a Credit Union, where each trustee would have an individual account, yet allocations to community betterment projects could be done collectively, with each individual signing off on the amount that they want to dedicate to the project.

The idea would be that we would "invest" in community betterment projects with the care that we would expect to only get the par value of our "investment" back or we could choose to make individual and/or collective tax-deductible or maybe tax credit eligible contributions to "qualified" non-profit community betterment organizations (CBOs)

CBOs could be not-for-profit, non-profit or both.