"A quiet revolution is rumbling through New York's municipal offices as they retool to support the creation of worker cooperatives as a way to fight poverty.
Spurred by the powerful example of immigrant-owned cleaning cooperatives and the longstanding example of Cooperative Home Care Associates in the Bronx - the largest worker cooperative in the country - progressive city council members are allying with a new network of worker cooperatives, community based organizations that incubated immigrant-owned coops and the influential Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies to figure out how the city can encourage this still-tiny economic sector. Once fully in place, New York City will be a national leader in providing municipal support for these democratic enterprises."Read more
California lawmakers on Monday approved a measure making it easier to use alternative currencies [...].
The bill would repeal what backers said was an outdated law prohibiting commerce using anything but U.S. currency.
"This bill is intended to fine-tune current law to address Californians' payment habits in the mobile and digital fields," said the bill's author, Democratic Assemblyman Roger Dickinson in a press release.
He cited the popularity of bitcoin, and added that under the current law, even gift cards and reward points from retailers could be considered illegal.
"In an era of evolving payment methods, from Amazon coins to Starbucks Stars, it is impractical to ignore the growing use of cash alternatives," Dickinson said.Read more
The Sustainable Economies Law Center is proud to announce that our co-founder and Executive Director, Janelle Orsi, has just been named a 2014 Ashoka Fellow! Ashoka Fellows are leading social entrepreneurs who are recognized for their innovative solutions to social problems, and their potential to change patterns across society. According to Ashoka, Fellows "demonstrate unrivaled commitment to bold new ideas and prove that compassion, creativity, and collaboration are tremendous forces for change."
Watch Ashoka's three-minute video showcasing SELC's work and vision for a more just, compassionate, and resilient world:
by David Bollier
news and perspectives on the commons
"Practicing Law in the Sharing Economy will be a landmark reference tool for law and the sharing economy for years to come. May it inspire more law students to enter this under-served field of law, and may it help catalyze changes in law and public policy to affirmatively support the new modes of sharing that are popping up all over..."Read more
On the face of it, Loconomics and Bring It Local sound like typical tech startups.
But behind the scenes, both companies are fomenting a quiet revolution in their business structures. They are organizing themselves as cooperatives - for-profit enterprises owned by the people who work for and use the services.
Renowned author and activist David Bollier, well-known for his work on the commons, writes a raving review of Janelle Orsi's book Practicing Law in the Sharing Economy (ABA 2012). "...Practicing Law in the Sharing Economy will be a landmark reference tool for law and the sharing economy for years to come. May it inspire more law students to enter this under-served field of law, and may it help catalyze changes in law and public policy to affirmatively support the new modes of sharing that are popping up all over. The mismatch between the burgeoning sharing economy and legacy legal regimes urgently needs to be addressed." Read more.Read more
by Carolyn Said
EXCERPT: Janelle Orsi, executive director of the Sustainable Economies Law Center, said the sector helps perpetuate income inequality. Its challenge will be to create structures that help return wealth to users, such as cooperatives, she said.
It's not all sunshine, as sharing start-ups tackle big issues at industry meet-up
By Caitlin McGarry (@Caitlin_McGarry)
EXCERPT: “[Peers] didn’t want this conference to be all sunshine and, ‘The sharing economy is magic and perfect,’” said Janelle Orsi, an attorney who gives legal advice to sharing start-ups at Oakland's Sustainable Economies Law Center, during a Tuesday panel. “We can step back and say, ‘What are the things we haven’t factored into our considerations yet?’”Read more
Legal problems have put companies like Airbnb and Lyft in the spotlight, revealing that our laws leave very little room for innovation. It’s not a matter of deciding whether it should be legal to use Airbnb and Lyft. It’s a matter of deciding how, where, when and how much. A more nuanced legal system could figure this out, by balancing concerns about housing affordability, health and safety, impact on neighborhoods, and the imperative to reduce consumption and carbon emissions....Read more