Generation Local

A growing number of young people know what must be done to cure our ailing global economy. They are not only protesting a failing system but are also building its replacement. New agrarians are being met by fellow new economists in urban neighborhoods, small towns, and remote villages.  They are coming home—a Generation Local.  You will find them in farm fields, small-batch manufacturing, local marketplaces, recycling ventures, renewable energy coops, farm-to-table restaurants, house concerts, food pantries, and Grange meetings.

Peter Barnes in Great Barrington July 27th

In his new book, With Liberty and Dividends for All: How to Save Our Middle Class When Jobs Don't Pay Enough, Peter Barnes continues the current discussion about wealth inequality.  In his argument that the middle class will be unable to sustain their lifestyle on wages alone, he echoes the analysis of Thomas Piketty in Capital in the Twenty First Century, and more recently of Saskia Sassen in her book Expulsions: Brutality and Complexity in the Global Economy.

Addressing Wealth Inequality - Piketty | Barnes | Paine

Thomas Piketty's book Capital in the 21st Century has placed a proverbial line in the sand for all those concerned with inequality of wealth distribution. 

Piketty is an economic historian.  In his book he documents the fact that owners of capital assets – including stocks, bonds, and real estate – have historically realized a financial return higher than wage growth.

Wendell Berry on Culture and Agriculture

In his presentation at the 1974 Agriculture for a Small Planet Symposium in Spokane, Washington, Wendell Berry remarked:

"Few people, whose testimony would have mattered, have seen the connection between the modernization of agricultural techniques and disintegration of the culture and the communities of farming."

A Revolution in Agriculture

Wes Jackson does not apologize for thinking long-term.  He knows such visioning is a practical necessity for achieving a transition to an agriculture that restores and conserves the health of the soil while mitigating the effects of climate change.  He is a plant geneticist, after all, trained to consider future generations.  At The Land Institute, which he founded four decades ago, the task at hand is to breed perennial crops th

Cultivating a Farmland Commons

A new generation of young, well-prepared, and sustainable farmers is on the rise, ready to establish themselves securely on the land.  Inspired by the opportunity to do meaningful, healthy, and productive work by rebuilding regional food systems, these entrepreneurs form a powerful force for the future of ecologically informed agriculture. 
By raising food locally for local markets and fostering a farm-to-table cuisine, they are creating an alternative to our global supply chain and making visible the connection among food, farms, farmers, and community.

Speaking for Collective Change

What does a new economy built on principles of fairness and sustainability look like?  How do we model it; where is it emerging; how do we collectively strategize to fully implement it?  These are the pressing questions of our time.
The Schumacher Center's speakers are pioneers in the development of a new economy. Together they are responsible for the creation of multiple organizations, initiatives, and publications that are addressing these questions.

Their voices are powerful; they are leading a revolution for change. To broaden the influence of these voices, the Schumacher Center's staff has assembled a  compendium of exceptional speakers.

The Fine Art of Pamphleteering in 2014

It was October of 1981 when Kirkpatrick Sale, supported by E. F. Schumacher Society (now the Schumacher Center) Director David Ehrenfeld, recommended that we revive the fine art of “pamphleteering.” Wendell Berry and Wes Jackson had just delivered prophetic talks at the First Annual E. F. Schumacher Lectures at Mount Holyoke College.

In “A Call for a Revolution in Agriculture,” Wes argued for an agriculture based on perennial grains, leaving the fragile prairie soils rich and untilled. It was a bold plan with nothing less than the future health of our heartland at stake.

A Parallel Grassroots Political Economy

At a seminar held in the Schumacher Center’s Berkshire Library this fall, Gar Alperovitz provocatively posed the question

"If you don't like Capitalism and you don't like Socialism, what do you want?"

The responses he received indicated both a confidence in solutions initiated by citizens working in their local economies and a distrust of purely political solutions.  They also indicated that issues of appropriate scale need to be addressed, though not feared.  Joanna Arnow's short video with excerpts from the seminar can be seen below.

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