A Magazine About Food, Art & Exchange In Midtown Kingston, Published By The Hudson Valley Current.

The New Economics: Virtues of the Old Economy

Originally published in the December 2013 issue of Country Wisdom News.  This might be a bit of a surprising topic, especially if you read last month’s column in which I talked about the “old economics, in which money is king, competition can be brutal, human values are ignored, and the environment is not even on […]

Book Review: Put Your Money Where Your Life Is

“As so many Americans feel powerless to confront a financial system designed to serve the few, Shuman offers us real choices: tools that align our lives with our values. That’s power. I love this highly readable, timely, surprising book.”  —Frances Moore Lappé, author of Daring Democracy and Diet for a Small Planet  Americans agree on […]

The New Economics: The Special Proposal

Originally printed in the July 2012 Issue of Country Wisdom News. The field we call New Economics abounds with ideas and projects intended to help build a just, prosperous and environmentally sane economy. In this column I’d like to tie together and complete several lines of reasoning taken up in my last three columns, all […]

The New Economics: Elemental Economics

The matrix of ideas and attitudes about economics is perhaps a bit like soil. Various soils are more or less fertile, and soil can also be degraded through overuse—or contaminated, as we see with modern-day industrial farming. In the same way, our economic thought systems have great potential for understanding, but are clouded by culture, […]

The New Economics: The Age of Capital

Originally published in the April 2012 issue of Country Wisdom News. The new economics is about working toward a way of thinking and acting that is valid for our present day world. To put it ironically, it’s an economics “as if the human race were capable of learning something.” Of course we are capable of […]

The New Economics: The Three Economies

Originally Published in the March 2012 Issue of Country Wisdom News. By: David McCarthy I would like to share an emerging framework I’m developing that could be helpful in understanding and discussing economics. This framework points out and distinguishes three kinds of economies happening simultaneously in human society: the tangible economy, the symbolic economy, and […]

New Economics: Civil Credit and Civil Money

Published in Country Wisdom News, February 2012 issue Right around now is a great time to be interested in alternative economic thinking. The uncertainties and injustices we are all going through have created a lot of motivation for new thinking and new directions of action. A lot of smart people are getting involved and working […]

Currency Corner: Community Currencies and Universal Basic Income Initiatives

The focus of this issue is alerting readers to current activities regarding Universal Basic Income Initiatives (UBIs) and growing interest in including Community Currencies, like our Current, in these initiatives. UBIs, in their purest form, provide every adult with a regular government paid fixed income. The basic income payment does not require that a person […]

The Currency Corner: We are ALL Assets!

By: Dr. Michael B. Marks and Dr. Leanne Ussher  In the inaugural issue of “The Currency Corner,” we described the Hudson Valley Current (HVC), and the importance of joining this local ecosystem of exchanges in order to promote local businesses, and ensure their growth and survivability—especially during the pandemic. We noted that through a closed […]

The New Economics: The Ironies of Plutocracy

Reprint: Country Wisdom News October 2011 It’s wonderful to think about many of the new and positive economic ideas that are available to us these days—and maybe even to take action on some of them. But I’m afraid we risk impotence and even irrelevance if we don’t see and understand a tiny little elephant in […]

The New Economics: Economics As If…

Reprint: Originally Published in September 2011 Issue of Country Wisdom News Small is Beautiful, the groundbreaking book by E.F. Schumacher, appeared in 1973. Its subtitle, Economics as if People Mattered, was as brilliant as the title itself. Small is Beautiful (so worth reading if you haven’t) was a passionate cry for thoughts and actions that […]

Paddle Your Own Canoe: How Currents Liberate Our Local Wealth

Austria was in a bad way in 1932. There was sometimes-violent political turmoil in the 1920s even before the Great Depression hit, and in 1931, the largest bank in the country failed as the country slid toward fascism. In the small town of Wörgl, 20 miles from the German border, Mayor Michael Unterguggenberger had immediate […]

Economics’ Turnaround From Recession Can Come Ascension

While the term “depression” is most often associated with the massive economic downturn of the 1930s that initiated an era of great suffering and a concomitant increase in social awareness and the creation of standardized safety net programs for populations the whole world over, such economic downturns have been occurring throughout history. Often, in the […]

Emergency measures: Ulster County all in on climate action agenda

By Anne Pyburn Craig On March 29, it was announced that Ulster County had joined the Climate Reality Project’s County Climate Coalition, the first county in New York to agree to implement results-oriented measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in accord with the 2015 United Nations Paris Climate Agreement On June 9, Pat Ryan will […]

Aiming Towards Community Solar – Economics Shape Our Energy Abilities

By Paul Smart Where does solar power stand these days, two years plus into a time of reversing energy trends? Talking to folks around the Hudson Valley, looking at solar projects big and small, we’ve noticed shifts in attitudes. But also challenges tied to deeper economic and societal trends. We still know a number of […]

Building a Farming System Fit for the Future

By Martin Kirk Farming is not for the faint of heart. It requires passion, dedication, perseverance, and a lot of ingenuity. This is especially true if you are not just trying to be successful as a stand-alone farmer but also help transform the very way we do farming to make it more just, equitable, and […]

GENTRIFICATION BLUES: Does It All Come Down To Class?

By Paul Smart gen•tri•fi•ca•tion: the process of repairing and rebuilding homes and businesses in a deteriorating area (such as an urban neighborhood) accompanied by an influx of middle-class or affluent people and that often results in the displacement of earlier, usually poorer residents. As a longtime resident of the Hudson Valley, and New York State, I’ve […]

Money Isn’t Everything: Exploring the 8 Forms of Capital

By Chris Hewitt I was at a family gathering over the Easter holiday recently when I overheard a relative talking to my son. He said, “Remember that you have to get a great job and make tons of money before you can do good things for the world. Money is the most important thing in […]

Community Cash Flow

Local Currencies Can Keep Dollars in a Neighborhood By Ron Kim  Every day, more and more family-owned small businesses facing high rents, minimum wage increases, elimination of tip wages and unreachable mandates are shutting down and leaving New York. As a son of immigrant parents who ran a 24/7 grocery store throughout my childhood, this […]

Widening Our Civic Responsibility 

Participatory Budgeting Comes To The Valley By Tola Brennan If you give money to the government, shouldn’t you have a say in where it goes? In communities across the globe, an upstart process called Participatory Budgeting is proving that people can have a voice that penetrates into the daily operations of government. Participatory Budgeting, or […]

The Community WiFi Future

New Webs Emerge Across The Globe By Paul Smart I’m writing this in the state capitol up in Albany, hooked to the internet via my iPhone’s hotspot. I’m writing this in a local library, in a coffee shop, in a fast food joint by a highway. I’m writing this in the comfort of my own […]

Beyond The Big Short & In Need of a Bigger Bailout

By Paul Smart A number of friends have been discussing The Big Short, the 2015 Oscar-nominated comedy based on one of the factual threads that led to the financial collapse of 2007/2008, which in turn led to the election of Barack Obama as our 44th president, as well as the rise of our current, 45th […]

How Do You Fund Idealism?

Crowdsourcing Has Very Deep Roots By Paul Smart     Crowdfunding had its biggest year ever in 2017, when nearly one billion was raised by Ethereum and other blockchain-based computing platforms for new cryptocurrencies. It capped off a few years in which the world of online crowdfunding platforms mushroomed from several hundred a decade ago […]

Bursting the Crypto Bubble

A Big Difference Between Local Currency By Chris Hewitt When Bitcoin was originally released, everyone was calling it a currency. In a way, it can be thought of as a currency (if it allows for trades to be made), but the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) no longer consider […]

What’s With The Tax Changes?

A Guide for Our Readership Demographic By Paul Smart     It’s tax deadline time. The politics of the partisan Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017 are likely to ripple through the coming years as many have just started seriously looking at the law’s needed fixes — par for the course for any big […]

New Allure Of The Gig Economy

Freelancing’s Place in the Hudson Valley By Tola Brennan     It used to just refer to jazz musicians in the 1920s. Now, according to research, it will involve more than half of the American workforce in the next decade.     The “gig economy” label was coined at the height of the financial crisis […]

Getting Beyond Our Trust In Fiats

  How Two Bay Bucks Define New Currencies By Paul Smart     One of the keys to understanding all the new approaches to currency, as well as all things lumped under the general category “new economy,” is to get a sense of an effort’s mission, the “why” behind its invention in the first place. […]

Currencies Grow When Decentralized

Cities Used To Have Their Own Money By Mark Griffith     How many currencies does the world need? Actually, let’s make this more concrete. The euro was a colossal bet on the proposition that Europe, at any rate, needs only one. You will have noticed that the experiment is going badly. And why is […]

The Bitcoin Story

  Crytocurrencies Change the World By Paul Smart     Bitcoin, Bitcoin, Bitcoin. Cryptocurrencies. Economies. Big words, two of them not yet covered by spell check in most systems, that come down to money. Like our president, they’re sucking up all our news space. But what do we really need to know about each? What […]

Time As The Ultimate Currency

Robert Owen Had It Right 200 Years Ago By Paul Smart     I’m falling in love with the Welsh textile entrepreneur and social utopian Robert Owen. I believe we all should, given the ways he embodies the spirit of social entrepreneurship and mindful economics being touted these days.     Owen is one of […]

The Basic Economics of Food

Sharing With CSAs and Food Banks By Paul Smart     We’ve entered the season of shared meals, of giving food. It’s also that time of year when those of us with a locavore bent start looking around for new sources of fresh veggies that don’t involve long journeys to market in refrigerated shipping containers. […]

Laws Of The Land

  The Effect Of State Ag Regulations By Anne Pyburn Craig     Farming has been a vital part of the Hudson Valley economy for generations, supplying food for the tri-state metro area and beyond. A lot of hungry people means a large market. But neighboring a vast population center also means development pressure that’s […]

Some Things Are Tradeable Forever

Going Back To Seed By Paul Smart     Seeds are big. As locavore agriculture grows in both the rural and more urban stretches of the Hudson Valley, people want them. They grow seeds, trade them, and even build up new businesses around seeds. Seeds are a key political subject. They’re again key to local […]

Economies Built on Trust

The Micro- & The Macro-Story of Airbnb By Paul Smart     There’s been much talk about Airbnb in the Hudson Valley of late. Counties are arguing about how to draw taxes from it, as they do from hotels, motels, and old-style bed and breakfast establishments. Towns are worried about liability in situations where the […]

Local Currencies

Jumpstarting An Island’s Economy Sardinia’s Local Currency—Sardex—Tolls A Familiar Ring By Paul Smart     See if this sounds familiar: An online platform for doing business on credit for services and products one needs. Instead of using regular dollars and cents, there’s an account that starts with a credit for what one does, what one […]

Enhancing the Heart of Community

Good Work Institute To Focus on the Hudson Valley By Paul Smart    There are ways in which the Good Work Institute’s fast growth mirrors all that’s been happening in the Hudson Valley of late. With a mission “to educate and connect a network of engaged local citizens and actively support their collaborative efforts to […]

Valley Visitors

Tourists Love To Love the Hudson Valley By Anne Pyburn Craig     Unless you live at the end of a dead-end road and do all your business online, you’ve probably noticed that our part of the world gets more visitors every year. Even if you do live at the end of that dead end […]

An Offer You Can’t Refuse

Insurance Starts Well-Meaning But Can Become Its Own Risk By Paul Smart     There are two basic views of insurance. For the first, think of classic gangster pictures and the snarled idea that one needs some form of protection from all the bad things that could happen to one. The insurance offer comes with […]

New Economy News

Small Businesses Are the Heart of the Local Economy A Bees In Our Trees Workshop Urban-dwellers have significantly different lifestyles than their country cousins. A fun and insightful workshop dubbed “Bees in our Trees” will demonstrate exactly how this is true for the bees of the world, and how trees can be used to help […]

Fraternal Organizations & Secret Societies

How People Get Together Has Benefits As Well As Faults By Paul Smart     Looking through the history of fraternal organizations and secret societies in America, pages and pages of names and acronyms appear. They came in three great waves, the first concurrent with the upheaval of the Revolution and including the advent of […]

Communal Petri Dish

Despite Business-Like Failure Rates, Shared Housing Experiments Work To Keep The Ideal of Community Alive By Paul Smart The common notion of a commune, or any sort of communal or shared living situation, still sits back in the late 1960s. It’s that image from Easy Rider, where Captain America and Bill visit this set of […]

Cap and Trade Economics

Getting At The Elemental In Another System We Started, Then Abandoned By Paul Smart Not that long ago, “cap and trade” was seen as an across-the-board success story for reining in man’s penchant for pollution. After first becoming law in 1990, as a Bush-era invention under the name “emissions trading,” the idea was noteworthy as […]

Triple Bottom Line Thinking

Interview with Current member Ajax Greene of On Belay Compiled by Katie Clayton   When did you open your business? On Belay Business Advisors was founded in early 2006. At that time the Hudson Valley was not generally engaged with the national Localism and Triple Bottom Line business community. We were one of the leaders […]

Making Our Money Local

London’s Brixton Pound May Be The Most Successful Experiment Yet By Paul Smart There have been times, here and abroad, when money was something truly ephemeral. States had their own pounds before the Revolution. Anyone could start a bank and issue currency for nearly three decades starting with Andrew Jackson’s populist rise. In more recent […]

After Materialism

When I was a kid, I spent many of my summers at my grandparents’ farm in Westfield, New York. We had a lot of wonderful homegrown food: fresh vegetables, berries, and all the great meals my grandma made. When we would take too much food on our plates, my grandpa would say, “Your eyes were […]

What is Democratic Socialism?

Getting at moral economics, now that the dust has cleared. I edit a local newspaper and have been fielding a lot of attempts to convince me why I should be doing more to address the way our nation and world is slipping into a hellish form of socialism. This usually ends with me telling whoever’s called […]

When the Workers Decide

What happens when the employees of a business concern are also the owners? That’s a question Shawn Berry of Lift Economy, a management consulting firm, is eager to start answering in the region. Berry and his company are focused on promoting the concept of worker-owned cooperatives as a structure that could resolve some problems that […]

Decades Later, Small is Still Beautiful

by Terence P Ward The year 1973 was a year of notable events. George Steinbrenner bought the Yankees for $12 million, days before the American League adopted the designated hitter rule. Gold surged above $1000 an ounce, and oil reached nearly $12 a barrel on the world market. Across the pond in England, E.F. Schumacher […]

A Social Agreement to Thrive By

by David McCarthy It has often been said that money involves a social agreement around what people use as a medium of exchange, and as to how the whole system is structured. That being so, in most cases, our “social agreement” is simply to be passive and follow the status quo. We allow the decision […]