Politics in Chicago is a rough-and-tumble sport only rivaled for mindshare by the city’s beloved Bears. Since Mayor Richard M. Daley announced that after 21 years in office he wouldn’t seek re-election, the ensuing mayoral race has proven to be wildly contentious, with both outsiders and machine politicians vying to fill the power vacuum left by the departing imperial mayor.

I didn’t expect that I'd learn anything about my identity during my Year of Living Shareably. I thought I’d just learn new skills, get new insights about sharing, and meet new people. I wasn’t expecting to learn about my place in the world. Wrong.

America’s bitterly divided discourse about government and the public sector is all but absent here at the global commons conference in Hyderabad, India where criticisms of government seem driven more by an impulse to protect communities from state-corporate takings of common lands than by the urge to eliminate taxes and regulation.

Two days before the launch of a global commons conference here in Hyderabad, India, drawing more than 600 people from 69 countries, a roomful of activists and scholars from across South Asia found that even in this controlled environment, unity is not so easy.

Playing a theoretical game called “Win All You Can,” these seasoned advocates of the commons — generally united in their efforts for sustainable ecologies and socially just economies — locked their minds and wills in a losing effort to protect a hypothetical commons.

When we started Shareable just over a year ago, we had no idea what to expect. Would anyone care about sharing? Would we have enough to write about? Will we make a difference?

We didn’t know, but we were committed to finding out. 

Committed because in a world where the drumbeat of advertising and lobbying for obscenely expensive solutions to our personal and collective challenges is deafening - sharing stands out. It’s cheap, green, and anyone can do it.

Committed because we need each other more now than ever. Sharing helps us thrive in difficult times.

I know when I run into angry, aggressive, and plain old mean commenters online ("trolls," in the common parlance), I usually assume some unfortunate cocktail of personality disorders, excessive leisure time, and Red Bull. But in an article up at ZSpace, George Monbiot suggests I might be underestimating their co-ordination, that what appear as isolated if not uncommon cyber malcontents are at least some of the time a paid group of virtual henchpeople in the employ of major corporations or even governments themselves.

On Monday November 8, SAP Labs Palo Alto hosted Future Salon with Catherine Austin Fitts, Founder and managing member of Solari Investment Advisory Services, LLC, and former Assistant Secretary of Housing for the Federal Housing Commissioner during the first Bush administration. The theme of the event was "Facing Hard Facts and Creating Positive Futures" with founder and host of Future Salon Mark Finnern.

The Obama Administration’s Open Government Directive (pdf) turned one on Wednesday, offering government transparency advocates an opportunity to reflect on its successes and challenges to date. The directive requires government agencies to improve the accessibility and quality of data while utilizing open data and social media to better interact with the public.

Melinda Blau has been covering relationships and social trends since the seventies. In this special column for Shareable, she draws on her own social experiments as well as stories she collected from others about how to develop meaningful relationships with near-strangers.

Recently, I asked an American woman whether she’d moved to Paris in 1952 because she’d fallen in love with a Frenchman. Without missing a beat, she said, “It’s a little more complicated than that.

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