The Economic Revolution Is Already Happening -- It's Just Not on Wall St.
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MA: You have been somewhat dismissive about the left's emphasis on messaging, ostensibly suggesting that what makes change are serious ideas and a coherent and powerful understanding of what makes sense. Can you elaborate on that?
GA: I don't disagree with better language, political rhetoric and framing. But that's often used as a substitute for programs that are out of date or for not thinking through alternatives.
So if a central issue is how to change the economy's organization, that's not a matter of framing. It's a matter of building up a vision and organizing a long-term strategy.
The framing argument can be positive, but it can also stand in the way of people rolling up their sleeves and getting down to work for the long haul.
MA: Are the alternative models being taught in the business schools yet? If not, how can people learn alternatives to the dominant corporate models?
GA: They aren't being taught yet, although in Cleveland, one of the business schools is beginning to design a course.
We are seeing business schools working on "social enterprise," which is another form of democratized wealth ownership, in this case, usually a nonprofit corporation making money for a public service.
For instance, in Seattle, there is Pioneer Services, which began as a drug-rehabilitation nonprofit. It began training people who had gone through the rehabilitation program, then produced some businesses so they can do their training on the job. They began making money in the businesses to finance their whole program.
I think they're a scale of about $60 million now. It went from 1 percent profits and 99 percent grants to almost 99 percent profits, used for public purposes.
This is now being developed in other parts of the country. Some of the business schools, Harvard and Yale, are teaching these principles in business school, and I think we're going to see them begin moving into the co-op area as more experience develops on the ground.
For people who are interested in doing this, www.community-wealth.org is a tool. There are people who are doing it and help others. That's a major change historically, upon which I think we can really build.