Thursday, May 28, 2009

How is Your Local Economy?

I just returned from the 7th Annual BALLE (Business Alliance for Local Living Economies) conference in Denver.  I love collaborating with good folks who are working to change the system.  As I’ve written previously, the greatest leverage point in any system occurs when you change the system goals. 

As a BALLE supporter, our goal is the creation of a vibrant, verdant and sustainable local living economy.  We believe a local economy is more resilient, sustainable, human, fair and workable than the alternative.  For a million years of history, humans relied exclusively on a local economy to meet most of their needs.

In Denver, I had the chance to speak with Hunter Lovins who as usual, never fails to provide a great quote.  She put it succinctly when she said,  

“We don’t have a broken system in need of repair, but rather a failed system in need of replacement.” 

The current economic driver is to make money regardless of the environmental or social cost.  The paradigm we are working for is an economic system that meets our social, spiritual and economic needs within the constraints of our biological, finite world. The local economy is the perfect system.

Why is the human brain wired the way it is?  Our minds get stuck on certain beliefs (mental models) and we believe our beliefs are reality.  For example, why do most people think that if we can just return our economic system to the way it functioned a few years ago, all our problems would be solved.   As Hunter pointed out, the system our government is working to fix brought us this mess. 

BALLE promotes a different economic order.  Over 60 communities have BALLE chapters (Portland’s is the Sustainable Business Network of Portland) and these communities all feel they’ve benefited from a thriving local business community.

Since the global, corporate economy has left such a mess all over, I hope you'll join me in creating a sustainable living economy.

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