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    New perspectives on money

    The May/June issue of Resurgence has arrived and it looks very interesting.

    Its a special focus issue titled "The money delusion: In search of true wealth". It kicks off with an excellent editorial from Satish Kumar which introduces the topic.

    Here are a few quotes to give you a flavour of the article:

    "Let us be clear. Money is not wealth. It is a delusion to think that money is wealth. True wealth is good land, healthy animals, flourishing forests, clean water, honest work, abundant creativity and human imagination"

    and

    "For example, there is never a shortage of money for wars and weapons, but it is always in short supply for arts and education"

    Its worth a read and can be found here

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    Frightened by voluntary simplicity

    An article in the New York Times here tells of a couple who are shedding their possessions prior to starting a new life as organic farmers. What I found interesting was that they have had some hostile reactions on the blog they are keeping to document the journey. I suspect that many people find the idea of others who are stepping outside the norm and “letting it all go by” to be threatening.

    As a Subaru owner and former city escapee currently back in corporate life, the cover of this book appealed to me instantly. It was brought to my attention by this review at Cool Tools. It seems an increasing number of people are setting up alternative lives and documenting their efforts in blogs and books. No complaints from me as I enjoy this genre, as long as the accounts retain an authentic feeling. Some of my favourites include Urban Dreams, Rural Realities and the Nearings classic The Good Life. More on these another time.

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    US police under the spotlight

    A video of a US policeman calmly capsicum spraying unarmed sitting protestors has created an international storm. James Fallows has exhaustive coverage and Mark Bernstein summarises the story with key links and adds his own view in this excellent post Shame

    The walk of shame, as UC Davis Chancellor Katehi walks to her car before rows of silent students, was extraordinary. James Fallows wrote of the affectless sadism of the campus police, captured forever in film. If the euro collapse does usher in the second great depression, that video is going to become an icon and this behind-the-scenes account will someday be treasured the way we cherish stories of riding in the car with Martin.Bob Ostertag wrote a terrific piece on the shameful militarization of campus police. He doesn’t go far enough. Chancellor Katehi claimed that the quad was cleared because of “the encampment raised serious health and safety concerns.” Ostertag argues treats this as an error, a stupid failure of understanding and planning. But it’s not just a mistake.It was a lie. (Via Mark Bernstein)

    Perhaps all law enforcement officers should be trained in the fundamentals of non violent action to enable them to more appropriately respond to these situations. Thoreau's essay) is a good starting place (full text here), Ghandis' biography is another valuable source.

    Book - Ghandi Biography

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    CNN occupy wall street

    I had missed the interesting social experiments Ruskofff describes, the local media is adopting its usual superficial view.

    CNN: Occupy Wall Street is not a Protest but a Prototype

    “Occupy” is anything but a protest movement. That’s why it has been so hard for news agencies to express or even discern the “demands” of the growing legions of Occupy participants around the nation, and even the world. Just like pretty much everyone else on the planet, occupiers may want many things to happen and other things to stop, but the occupation is not about making demands. They don’t want anything from you, and there is nothing you can do to make them stop. That’s what makes Occupy so very scary and so very promising. It is not a protest, but a prototype for a new way of living. (Via Douglas Rushkoff.)

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    The failure of international politics

    Stirring writing “After Rio, we know. Governments have given up on the planet” by George Monbiot in reaction to the collapse of the Rio Summit. He still finds reasons to continue to make efforts towards preserving the biosphere. Its clear however that we cannot look to governments and international agreements to do anything significant.

    Was it too much to have asked of the world’s governments, which performed such miracles in developing stealth bombers .. global markets and trillion-dollar bailouts, that they might spend a tenth of the energy and resources they devoted to these projects on defending our living planet? It seems, sadly, that it was.

    Monbiot pledges to focus on “rewilding” which I am also keen to work on.
    Another thinker in this area is Paul Kingsnorth who discusses in this article why he started the Dark Mountain project. Dark Mountain is in the last throws of raising money for its third anthology of writing, illustration and prose. I bought the first book and have ordered the third, its good reading and thought provoking. Check it out here

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    Rushkoff speaks to occupy movement

    Douglass Rushkoff is always worth reading, here is a rousing speech he gave to Occupy Wallstreet
    Occupy Reality - Transcript

    You are not fighting against people, but against a machine.It was put in place over 500 years ago.
    By a wealthy elite - trying to repress a booming peer to peer economy.
    Those people are all dead, but their program lives on.
    (Via Douglas Rushkoff)

    As he says in the opening lines this speech covers the material that is exhaustively documented in his book Life Inc which is a fascinating read.

    Book - Life Inc

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    Groups with more women are more intelligent

    Tom Malone on collective intelligence and the “genetic” structure of groups

    The average intelligence of the people in the group and the maximum intelligence of the people in the group doesn’t predict group intelligence.

    and

    So how do you engineer groups that can problem-solve effectively? First of all, seed them with, basically, caring people. Group intelligence is correlated … with the average social sensitivity — the openness, and receptiveness, to others — of a group’s constituents. The emotional intelligence of group members, in other words, serves the cognitive intelligence of the group overall. And this means that — wait for it — groups with more women tend to be smarter than groups with more men.

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    Off the map

    I noticed this post recommending the movie "Off The Map" recently.

    We watched it last night and really enjoyed it. We have been talking about it on and off all day today which is the sign of a movie that has gotten under our skin. I particularly liked the understated direction that let the landscape and the story unfold without joining all the dots for the viewer. Fascinating also to see the homesteading life depicted. I was scanning each frame for those small details that give authenticity and was not disappointed. We already had the Taos region on our destination list as we love native american jewellery, so now we have another motive to visit.
    (Via Cage Free Family)

    Reviews
    Tina Ferguson
    Some notes from the director Campbell Scott

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