1525 Chapters
Medium 9781576758625

7: Guarding Tax Refunds and Combatting High Prices

Rathke, Wade Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

I have tried to forcefully introduce the concept that the job is unfinished unless we have full participation in programs creating citizen wealth, but the primary rule of asset building has to be that we cannot allow anyone or anything to steal or suck away the precious dollars that lower-income and working families must have to achieve economic security. In creating citizen wealth, a good offense has to be coupled with an equally powerful defense. There’s no sense in doing all of the work to put money in people’s pockets and then allowing those same pockets to be picked clean. We need a citizen wealth regime that allows us to take two steps forward without taking one step back.

When we looked at entitlement programs like EITC we saw that we have to be extremely vigilant about potentially predatory products and pricing like refund anticipation loans (RALs) offered by tax preparers, who should be the agents helping families receive the benefits. There are also some problems we can predict that can cripple fragile family economies because their income and assets are not elastic enough to handle the pressures caused by inflation in the price of necessities like food and fuel, yet surprisingly there are no programs in place that protect lower-income families from the global economic tsunamis that overwhelm the slender dikes built by few assets, limited income, and marginal wealth. Nonetheless, we need to shore up family defenses in all of these areas. Let’s look at how both of these problems are threatening efforts to create citizen wealth at the bottom.

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Medium 9781576753613

Chapter 7 Universal Birthrights

Peter Barnes Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,
that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,
that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness
U.S. Declaration of Independence, 1776

Capitalism and community arent natural allies. Capitalisms emphasis on individual acquisition and consumption is usually antithetical to the needs of community. Where capitalism is about the pursuit of self-interest, community is about connecting toand at times assistingothers. Its driven not by monetary gain but by caring, giving, and sharing.

While the opportunity to advance ones self-interest is essential to happiness, so too is community. No person is an island, and no one can truly attain happiness without connection to others. This raises the question of how to promote community. One view is that community cant be promoted; it either arises spontaneously or it doesnt. Another view is that community can be strengthened through public schools, farmers markets, charitable gifts, and the like. Its rarely imagined that community can be built into our economic operating system. In this chapter I show how it can beif our operating system includes a healthy commons sector.

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List Of Contributors

Tom Young Indiana University Press ePub

RITA ABRAHAMSEN is Professor in the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, University of Ottawa. She is the author (with M. C. Williams) of Security beyond the State: Private Security in International Politics (Cambridge University Press, 2011) and Disciplining Democracy: Development Discourse and the Good Governance Agenda in Africa (Zed Books, 2000).

RICHARD K. AL-QAQ is Research Associate at the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. His main research interests are the United Nations, particularly the organization’s political activities in the Southern hemisphere, theories and practices of international conflict resolution, and emerging powers in world politics. He is author of Managing World Order: United Nations Peace Operations and the Security Agenda (I. B. Tauris, 2009).

ANDREW BRADLEY is Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs and Human Development of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States. His responsibilities include the maintenance of African, Caribbean and Pacific Group–European Union relations, migration, human and social development, conflict prevention and resolution, and the promotion of democracy and human rights. Previously, he was a career diplomat serving in South African embassies and missions in Canada, Switzerland, and Belgium.

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Medium 9781609944902

8: New Stories Can Generate New Realities

Kahane, Adam Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

THERE IS NO EASY OR STRAIGHTFORWARD or guaranteed way to transform complex social systems. My own experience of 20 years of working with transformative scenario planning processes has been of producing both failure and success—or, more accurately, of not really knowing whether the processes have produced failure or success. Transformative scenario planning contributes to transforming systems through contributing to transforming actors and their actions. I can now see that this process is not as direct or immediate as I thought it was right after Mont Fleur. Poet Gil Scott-Heron said: “The first revolution is when you change your mind about how you look at things. The revolution—that change that takes place—will not be televised.”1 Transformative scenario planning generates tangible and visible change in the world via subtle, invisible, and nonlinear changes within and among us.

My most instructive experience of these ambiguities in making out the impacts of this work has been in Colombia. The Destino Colombia scenario project was conceived in 1995 but was almost stillborn; in 1996 it suddenly came to life; in 1997 the scenario team held three energetic workshops; in 1998 and 1999 they disseminated their results to the whole country; in 2004 the project was pronounced dormant or dead; in 2007 I heard stories about the project’s continued influence; and in 2012 the president of Colombia announced that it had always been alive and was now the leitmotif of the policies of his new government.2 What I have learned from this experience and others is that you must try to do this work as best you can, but that its failure or success—like most things about the future—cannot be controlled or predicted or even known. The Hindu text The Bhagavad Gita puts it succinctly: “The work is yours, but not the fruits thereof.”3

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Medium 9781605097060

Chapter 1 Bring My Job Home!

Hartmann, Thom Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

By preferring the support of domestic to that of foreign industry, he [the entrepreneur] intends only his own security, and by directing that industry in such a manner as its produce may be of the greatest value, he intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention.

—Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations, 1776*


About a year after President Barack Obama took office, on the first anniversary of his major economic recovery legislation, his administration was struggling to get the word out that the legislation was, in fact, quite a success story. I found myself invited to the White House as part of a small group of well-known authors and bloggers to meet with a top administration economist as part of this promotion effort.

It was an odd problem they were facing, given that this president was masterful during the 2008 election campaign in communicating his ideas and his vision to the American public. So what happened? Why didn’t America know that the $787 billion legislation represented one of the largest middle-class tax cuts in American history, that it had demonstrably created or preserved between 1.5 million and 3 million jobs, and that it had, in all probability, prevented the severe recession Obama inherited from George W. Bush from turning into a second Republican Great Depression, at least in the short term?

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