Take a look at Legion M, an innovative effort leading the way from worker-owned businesses to fan-based entertainment and have a lot to say on the opportunities:
“As a Legion M shareholder you’ll get a chance to go behind the scenes with us as we work with top Hollywood creators to release exciting new projects. You’ll get invites to shareholder-only online hangouts with the cast and crew, live-streamed tours of the set, first look at clips, and all sorts of stuff like that.
We’re taking a proven business model (content production) and adding a twist that we believe gives us a huge competitive advantage. Hollywood is fiercely competitive, but everybody knows there is money to be made if you are successful. Especially if you are working with people that have a track record of success.
Our competitive advantage is our community. By allowing fans to own equity and come along for the ride with these projects, we’re building a legion of people that are financially and emotionally invested in the project’s success. That’s a huge advantage when it comes to things like marketing, monetization, distribution, etc. and gives our content a leg up. Imagine the power of a million fans working to make a project successful!”
This is a fantastic, thought-provoking and conversation-starting interview with Noam Chomsky on current and potential future economic structures.
Next System Project: What’s your approach in terms of the principles or the models by which we can really engage the questions of ownership and democracy in the economy? Is it a worker-centered vision? A community vision? Would the economy function on principles of subsidiarity? And what do you do about large industry? Do you mix and match some of the principles, competing interests, and goals that are inherent to different institutions to create a national-level strategy?
Noam Chomsky: My feeling is that all of those initiatives should be pursued, not just in parallel, but in interaction, because they’re mutually reinforcing. If you have, say, worker-owned and -managed production facilities in communities which have popular budgeting and true democratic functioning, those support each other, and they can spread. In fact they might spread very fast.
If you look back at the labor movement in the late 19th century, you see it had a rich array of worker-owned, worker-directed media: worker-written newspapers all over the place, and many of them by women—the so-called “factory girls” in textile plants. Attack on wage labor was constant. The slogan was, “Those who work in the mills should own them.” They opposed the degradation and undermining of culture that was part of the forced industrialization of the society. They began to link up with the radical agrarian movement. It was mostly still an agrarian society, the farmers groups that wanted to get rid of the northeastern bankers and merchants and run their own affairs. It was a really radical democratic moment. There were worker-run cities, like Homestead, Pennsylvania, a main industrial center. A lot of that was destroyed by force, but I again think it’s just below the surface, can rise easily again.
Read the full interview here.
What permaculture can teach us about prosperity
Listen to a conversation between Ethan Roland, author of Regenerative Enterprise and Permaculture designer, and Chris Martenson of Peak Prosperity discuss the 8 forms of capital and how staying prosperous in changing and uncertain times is about building wealth in all 8 forms. This goes for us as individuals as well as families, businesses, ecosystems and communities.
They share many examples and ideas of how building all forms of capital can reshape and reflow the systems from degenerative to regenerative. They go over some principles about where to start, such as educating yourself in the forms you are least familiar with and valuing where you are strongest. They both suggest that each of us start out by becoming an entrepreneur and figuring out how to convert the various forms of capital into each other to create more diversity and increase our abilities (and our environment’s) to handle whatever comes along.
Read the first of a series of blogs by Carol Sanford who has been researching and writing about the concept of regenerative business since the 70s. She will dive into the history, dissect the principles and hopefully make the practice more accessible to some of us just starting out. If you are curious about what it means to be a regenerative business and how it came about, bookmark this series. She starts out by presenting her definition of regenerative, then promises to go into detail about how that relates to business. This is going to be some serious business geekery!
Check out this simple website that has amassed a large collection of cooperative-related articles, videos, case studies and tools specific to the US (with a few for Canada). Read the startup guides, watch some TED talks and see who is offering classes and job opportunities. This is the place to be for up-to-date articles and news.
These Neighbors Got Together to Buy Vacant Buildings. Now They’re Renting to Bakers and Brewers
This excellent article tells the story of two neighborhood economic cooperatives who are proving that this model can not only provide a return for investors but enliven an area and create jobs. The first is in Minneapolis where neighbors invested their money into a few vacant, unsightly buildings and loaned money to people who wanted to start businesses in them. Now the street is a vibrant hub and they are acquiring more co-op members for other projects, keeping money in their communities and increasing property values.
The second example is a tiny community in Alberta, Canada that was losing people and investment to other towns. The neighborhoods got together and built a cooperative whose job it was to build more cooperatives to bring back the services needed to keep people shopping in town. They started with the businesses that already existed and helped them thrive, using grants from government programs that already existed in Canada. When the government agency saw how much difference the grants made, they added new services for local communities and together the programs are growing to spread this model throughout Alberta.
Both stories highlight the hard work involved in setting up the co-ops initially but also give credit to local laws that allow these alternative economic models to succeed. The article goes into details about both the laws and the way they were used, giving anyone interested in creating a co-op a fantastic head start on what to look for and what pitfalls to expect.
Read this Holacracy article by Mark Vletter of Voys/Spindle Telecom to get a wonderful feel of what this system of governance can offer a growing company. He acknowledges that Holacracy is not easy to implement, but that its benefits far outweigh the learning curve. He shares advice and some of the positive aspects he and his companies have experienced.
“We treat Holacracy as a proven system; we never had any debate on whether or not a part of it is good or bad. We take it as a whole. The system has evolved this way for a reason. We don’t want to develop a new system; we want to adopt a proven one.”