New Albany Renewal

New Albany Renewal is intended to serve as a repository for ideas relevant to preserving and restoring historic buildings, cleaning up neighboorhoods, revitalizing downtown, and improving the quality of life in New Albany, Indiana.

Location: New Albany, Indiana

Monday, January 21, 2008

One of My Favorites

It's one of my favorites and now you can read it too!

Compromise, Hell!: Why have we let those entrusted with our country's defense beome it's destroyers? by Wendell Berry from the Nov/Dec 2004 issue of Orion magazine is a favorite clipping that I have read several times.

"...we have allowed ourselves to believe, and to live, a mated pair of economic lies: that nothing has a value that is not assigned to it by the market; and that the economic life or our communites can safely be handed over to the great corporations."

"It is true that economic violence is not always as swift, and is rarley as bloody, as the violence of war, but it can be devastating nonetheless. Acts of economic aggression can destroy a landscape or a community or the center of a town or city, and they routinely do so."

Want more? Read the entire article:

Living Economies

I can't believe that I haven't posted anything about BALLE. Evidently not. So here it is.

The Business Alliance for Local Living Economies or BALLE is working to create a group of local business networks dedicated to building strong Local Living Economies.

Living Economy Principles
A Living Economy ensures that economic power resides locally, sustaining healthy community life and natural life as well as long-term economic viability.

A Living Economy is guided by the following principles:

  • Living economy communities produce and exchange locally as many products needed by their citizens as they reasonably can, while reaching out to other communities to trade in those products they cannot reasonably produce at home. These communities value their unique character and encourage cultural exchange and cooperation.
  • Living economy public policies support decentralized ownership of businesses and farms, fair wages, taxes, and budget allocations, trade policies benefiting local economies, and stewardship of the natural environment.
  • Living economy citizens appreciate the benefits of buying from living economy businesses and, if necessary, are willing to pay a price premium to secure those personal and community benefits.
  • Living economy investors value businesses that are community stewards and as such accept a "living return" on their financial investments rather than a maximum return, recognizing the value derived from enjoying a healthy and vibrant community and sustainable global economy.
  • Living economy media provide sources of news independent of corporate control, so that citizens can make informed decisions in the best interests of their communities and natural environment.
  • Living economy businesses are primarily independent and locally owned, and value the needs and interests of all stakeholders while building long-term profitability.

They strive to:

  • Source products from businesses with similar values, with a preference for local procurement
  • Provide employees a healthy workplace with meaningful living-wage jobs
    Offer customers personal service and useful safe, quality products
  • Work with suppliers to establish a fair exchange
  • Cooperate with other businesses in ways that balance their self-interest with their obligation to the community and future generations
  • Use their business practices to support an inclusive and healthy community, and to protect our natural environment
  • Yield a "living return" to owners and investors

Find out more:

A Different Way to Do Business

I have some time to catch up on my posting today, so I have been flipping through my stack of clippings. It seems that I always have more information to share than I have time available for posting.

This particular clipping is from Orion magazine, Nov/Dec 2004 (yes, I am a bit behind). It's titled The Morning After and I just realized that it is by Bill McKibben, a leader in the sustainable ecomony movement and author of Deep Economy. Since I am going to have the privilege of hearing him speak later this week at a conference that I am attending, I decided to share this article here.

I'm sorry that I can't find the article online because I would like for you to have the opportunity to read the entire thing, but I'll do my best to give you a summary here.

This story is about a small community, Powell, Wyoming, that is bucking the big-box trend with a downtown clothing store. Powell Mercantile is a small store with racks of inexpensive clothes. What's different about Powell Mercantile? For one thing it is actually making money competing against the big chains.

It works because it is community owned. Five hundred people each invested between $500 and $1,000. They were told "to consider it more of a donation to the community, not a great investment."

It works because it's nothing fancy. It's carries what the residents of Powell want to wear. Jeans and shirts much like they would purchase at Wal-Mart. It works because the costs are strictly controlled.

And, mostly it works because "people looked around and decided that they wanted more than "always low prices"--they wanted neighbors, a downtown, a community that worked. They couldn't afford to pay gobs more than they would at Wal-Mart, but they also couldn't afford to watch their town slowly crater. So they did something about it."

You can read more about Bill McKibben and sustainable economies at his website