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An Exploration of alternatives to the mainstream economy.

Despite the strength of their critique, attacks on capitalism are commonly met with the Thatcherite mantra, There Is No Alternative. But is this true? For those who equally reject communist-style central planning, what are the other possibilities?

The idea of these talks is that although capitalism and the money / banking system organises large areas of human life in today's society, it is only one way of doing things and there are still many areas of life that don't work that way. So if we are interested in challenging the way that capitalism tends to distort social relationships in favour of those governed by monetary exchange and private profit, one way of doing this is to look at areas of life that are organised according to different principles, and then think about how these could be extended to work on a larger scale.

The talks start by looking at small scale practical examples of how people can distance themselves from the mainstream economy in the way they live their lives, and then work up to looking at larger scale examples and alternative visions of how an alternative economy might be run.

Each evening will start with two or three speakers talking for up to 30 minutes each about their topic, followed by free discussion among those present.

The talks will be on Thursday evenings from 7.30 to 9.30 at the Friends Meeting House, Meeting House Lane Lancaster (near the railway station).

  • June 14th: Mike Hannis on 'Alternative Communities' and Rhiannon on 'Cooperatives'.
  • June 28th: Morecambe Bay Credit Union will speak about their work. There will be a talk on LETS (Local Economic Trading Systems), hopefully by someone from the Kendal LETS.
  • July 12th: 'Online Gift Economies' - various speakers to be arranged, including one on 'open source software'.
  • July 26th: Andrew Sayer from Lancaster University on 'Moral Economy' and Pat Devine from Manchester University on 'Participatory Planning'.

If you have any questions about these talks, please contact: andy at earthsong dot free-online dot co dot uk (replace 'dot' and 'at' with the characters to make my email address).

If you want to continue the discussion from one of the talks online, or talk about any aspect of alternative economics, there is a bulletin board to do this at:


Please feel free to add any useful links you find that are relevant to the themes of the talks. You can either post them here yourself by registering on the wiki, or else go to the bulletin board and add them to the 'Useful links' thread there. - video on the gift economy in Mali, west Africa. Other stuff on this site is good as well. - Lots of material on 'altruistic economics'. - Participatory Economics (Parecon for short) is a type of economy proposed as an alternative to contemporary capitalism. The underlying values are equity, solidarity, diversity, and participatory self management. The main institutions are workers and consumers councils utilizing self managed decision making, balanced job complexes, remuneration according to effort and sacrifice, and participatory planning. - The post autistic economics movement began as a group of french economics students who were dissatistied with the way they were being taught, and has grown into a global movement critiquing the foundations of modern economic theory. - the website of PROSPERITY, a monthly Money Reform journal based in Glasgow, Scotland, which is dedicated to spreading understanding about the nature of our debt-based money system, and campaigning for publicly-created debt-free money.

The Money Reform Party - The Money Reform Party has been created expressly to educate the British people about the money supply in order that through the greater awareness of the electorate, our politicians will no longer be able to ignore this vital issue.

Film: Money as Debt - Paul Grignon's 47-minute animated presentation of "Money as Debt" tells in very simple and effective graphic terms what money is and how it ... all » is being created. It is an entertaining way to get the message out.

Film: The Money Masters - How International Bankers Gained Control of America - A 3 1/2 hour non-fiction, historical documentary that traces the origins of the political power structure that rules our nation and the world today.