Tag: capitalism (page 2 of 11)

Challenging capitalism through co-ops and community

The glossy Instagram lifestyle is actually led by a fraction of a fraction of 1% of the world’s population. Instead of us all elbowing each other out of the way in pursuit of that, this article points to a better solution: co-operation.

There are two types of economics active in the world right now — which basically means two radically divergent varieties of economic life. The first is economics as most economists and writers see it and talk about it. The second is economics as most people live it.

Call the first “the top-up.” It’s the economics of competition and asymmetrical knowledge and shareholder value and creative destruction. It’s the dominant system. We know all about the top-up. Tales of the doings of the top-up economy are mainlined into our brains from business articles, financial analysis, stories about our planet’s richest people or corporations or nations. Bezos. Buffett. Gates. Musk. Zuckerberg. The Forbes 400. The Fortune 500. The Nasdaq. The Nikkei. On and on.

Call the second “the bottom-down.” We don’t hear as much about it because it’s a lot less sexy and a lot more sticky. It involves survival mechanisms and community solidarity and cash-in-hand calculations.

But it’s the economic system of the global majority, and this makes it the more important of the two.


The top-up economic sphere functions like a gated community in which people who have money can pretend that everything they do and have in life is based on merit, and that the communal and cooperative boosts from which they profit are nothing but natural outgrowths of that merit.


Change always comes from below — and it is in the bottom-down relationships where growth and egalitarianism can flourish. Every volunteer fire department is a community platform. Every mutually managed water system demonstrates that neighbors can build things when they need each other. Every community-based childcare network or parent-teacher association is a nascent collective. Every civic association, neighborhood or church council, social action network or food pantry gives people a broader perspective. Every collectively run savings and credit association demonstrates that communal trust can give people a leg up.

Source: Co-ops And Community Challenge Capitalism | Noema

A hardwired obedience to the capitalist system that we exist within

I’m not sure where I came across this, but Ian Nesbitt is undertaking a modern pilgrimage on a recently-uncovered medieval route from Southampton to Canterbury.

He talks about the ‘inner journey’ as well as the actual one-foot-in-front-of-another journey. Sounds interesting, so I’ve added his blog to my feed reader.

Then there was a pandemic. During that period, Iike many others, I found myself looking inwards and, in the relative stasis of those months, began to question parts of myself that I never questioned before, in particular the drive to progress and keep moving on to the next thing, to keep producing. I began to wonder if that wasn’t just part of my character, so to speak, but actually a hardwired obedience to the capitalist system that we exist within.

Source: Pilgrimage #1: the adequate step | The Book of Visions

What if I never change?

Oliver Burkeman on Jocelyn K. Glei’s Hurrry Slowly is an absolute treat. In particular, he quotes Jim Benson on how we can easily become “a limitless reservoir for other people’s expectations”. I also liked the discussion around the “internalised capitalism” of “clock time”.

The title comes from an important point that Burkeman makes about so many of our hopes and dreams being based on somehow in the future being a radically different person to who we are now.

It reminded me of a section in Alain de Botton’s The Art of Travel in which he summarises Seneca by saying that the problem about going somewhere to escape things is that you always take yourself (and your mental/emotional baggage) with you…

Oliver Burkeman on why we try to control time, how perfectionism holds us back, and the problems with a “when-i-finally” mindset.

Source: Oliver Burkeman: What if I never change? | Hurry Slowly