As a teacher and a single soccer mom, it is easy to be stuck in a thought silo, especially when it comes to creating a new economic story. To my students: I am so grateful to you! I can force you to read what I read (follow the evil cackle.)
When I can't stand it anymore, I cast my net, in brief, highly scheduled windows, seeking the choir to strengthen my own voice.
Yesterday I had a phone conversation with the CEO of an organization that was recently featured in Forbes, and seeks to disrupt capitalism to repair society. The following is the bulk of a letter I wrote to Mark Eckhardt of COMMON. I recommend listening to Mark's interview on the podcast, Next Economy Now by Lift Economy. In it, I was deeply impressed by his personal story. Speaking about the possibility and importance of letting go of some of our dividing definitions of self and other, I encourage you to listen for that and many other rewarding reasons. Thanks again, Lift Economy for another inspiring podcast.
So how can a school teacher with a budding blog, a few lesson plans, and dreams of more contribute and benefit from the COMMON concept? Funny you ask, I wondered the same thing. As a rationalized my reasons for potentially joining the COMMON network, that asks a mere $99/mo. to connect, I worked on the following goals:
1- Curriculum Goal:
I am most interested in (because it seems like the next most likely step considering my role as teacher): working with a team to implement a curriculum for economics that is both revealing and optimistic. I feel that economics education is the most unbiased way to address some of the social, political and environmental ills we face, because it speaks to numbers. Still, economic theory is contentious and controversial. Because I am not an economist, but still human, I fear providing students with an overly biased and naïve or inaccurate perspective. A diverse team (who still maintains a common vision- sustainable abundance for all) to collaborate on the curriculum would be best. I can't pay anyone, but perhaps COMMON can help connect interested parties, initiate a collaborative effort, and who knows, garner some funding to expand the reach of such a project. I also think that a curriculum that reveals the inherent problems of our current global economic system and solutions for local communities to be empowered by creating their own wealth, would be a great addition to any "development" efforts internationally. I was in the Peace Corps in Tanzania, charged with teaching about HIV/AIDS, and therefore, about the importance of having enough hope in life to protect oneself and others. My focus soon became economic development. This kind of conversation/ curriculum is critical to everyone everywhere. It is also constantly changing with new stories of hope, and culturally relevant, place specific examples. Do you think this project is too ambitious, close to impossible, or timely?
2-Crypto-Community Currency Goal:
Depression, addiction, and even an increasing suicide rate plagues our youth. Lowering the stigma of depression by just talking about it isn't enough in my view- not when we could do so much more. We can offer students tangible solutions to bettering themselves, and an economic paradigm that proves that "peace profits." I've always felt that conceptually, that is the point of business. However, it is not that narrative, and it is not the outward expression of business right now. I am coming to understand that this is not because business or human nature are to blame, but the intrinsic nature of interest-bearing money and a speculative stock market and misguided government that look solely at profit margins and GDP respectively in order to determine where to invest. I believe we can change this. The next great interest of mine is to learn more about how to create complimentary currencies that can reach critical mass, and using the continuous explosion of new technologies, like blockchains, to make it happen. I am currently working on becoming a "Certified Blockchain Expert"- a silly certification by Blockgeeks. It would feel more effective to join with others who are working on this exact issue: using blockchain to develop community currencies. I would like to help our local currency to grow again. Who knows, if that can be done, perhaps I can help other communities too.
3- Research Goal:
I am interested to see how organic inquiry on behalf of students and citizens can be investigated. Great research questions come up all the time from friend and community members, and when they come up for students, these are the fertile ground for genius. Can collaborations between high schools, universities, and the public be formed (via perhaps blockchain technologies) in order to answer some of these questions in a way that was transparent and ongoing. There is a growing divide, epitomized by the president, between how we view reality and what facts describe that reality.
Sorry to overwhelm you with too much information. It was helpful for me to write it out so I have something to refer to when we talk.
About the author
Observations, reflections, questions, and personal inquiries on how to shift our collective mindset to one that fulfills our human potential as innovative, compassionate, and joyful.