Just finished cleaning up the contents page of our conference proceedings, after the first of three days in Open Space with Omidyar friends gathered here in Chicago.
Aside from handling facilitation and hosting matters, my own conversations focused primarily on alternative currencies, markets and credit, looking at the possibility of mutual or community-based credit (as opposed to commercial or institutionally extended credit). The attraction is that mutual credit systems rely on webs of relationships rather than interest payments. Much to digest before I can say more. I’ll try to ground some of today’s learning in next steps for Small Change News Network in a session I’ve posted for tomorrow.
Most fascinating proposition of the day, given my recent studies of China and world currency markets, is the explanation that the real reason for going to war in Iraq and Afghanistan was to gain/maintain greater control over the flow of oil to China. Why? Because they are a tremendous economic wildcard, we can’t control their fiscal, monetary or currency market activities, but if we can manage the oil spigot, we can speed or slow their economy to better serve the American economic interests. In this context, the Chinese bid for Unocal looks like a real shot across the bow.
Most remarkable thing here is the simultaneity of well-informed global scope and really down-and-dirty practical action in so many different localities around the world. More than any place I’ve ever been, there is a palpable, credible sense of “we can do this,” no matter what. The whole of our work seems to be powered by a tremendous, yet unassuming, generosity. Yum!