CIC Association

Serving Community Enterprise

There's space to be indulgent on a social networking site, so allow me a little. The current economic collapse has been a long time coming. Releasing financial, especially currency, controls some years ago led to an explosion of speculation, conspicously with hedge funds, but insurance, mutual funds, pension funds and banks have all been feeding from a trough that grew exponentially. Described as the service sector it was little better than gamblers sitting round a table on a Mississipi paddle steamer. It makes no real contribution to our wealth. It produces nothing. These gamblers were able to reduce risk whilst handling huge sums of money because financial controls were removed. It's tempting to talk of capitalism but to do so is to also highlight the alternatives used in the past and I have no wish to suggest that they will work any better.

That system is now reeling, and will take some time to recover because the mass of the population don't have the means to assist right now. It will take time to recover by using our tax receipts. It's easy to forget that a small number of billionaires own half the world's wealth, and little is done to reduce that inequality. Indeed the relatively prosperous West can see the real dangers to us all if the rest of the world were ever to have our standards of living, and that's the excuse that allows greed to continue unabated. Nevertheless we are all still begging crumbs from the masters' tables, and they will fight hard to maintain their superiority.

Yet nation states are close to bankruptcy, with no strategic plan in place that will ensure a future, other than more taxes, let's keep our heads down, throw borrowed money into the fire and hope it will go away when the global economy recovers. Hardly an encouraging approach.

There are signs of rebellion. The use of foreign workers is being questioned. American unions (at least) are talking about encouraging folk to buy US products. Globalisation no longer looks so attractive (if it ever did).

As community interest companies we could be in the vanguard of social change. That's not an impossible dream. Given a modicum of support we have already demonstrated that we can be competitive - and I use that word in a very broad sense, for we don't just make money, we provide social worth that cannot be matched by the conventional commercial model. We respond to demand, and that is often a response to need. There's a social awareness that is clearly lacking elsewhere.

This is not the place for a vindictive analysis of the weaknesses of the individualistic capitalist system we've endured since the growth of Empire. Instead we need to recognise the importance of our joint endeavours. Each CIC has a small sphere of influence, and a direct concern to operate within a chosen sector. Collectively there is synergy. We can influence the power brokers. We can institute change. We need networks such as this embryo association in order to do so. There will be many battles ahead. If our approach is seen to work. If we do provide the products and services that people require then those we replace will not be happy bunnies - and they are skilled at fighting back for their's is a competitive world, with no holds barred.

This association must be welcomed, supported and encouraged.

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Comment by Trevor Lockwood on February 11, 2009 at 23:02
Jeff: your approach makes you a CIC! There's a deeper association, and we must all recognise that the conventional capitalist model is uneven, and inherently unstable. Social awareness is vital if we, as a species, are to survive, to move on. I recognise the stage development you describe. In many respects it is also a spiritual journey. The Lucis Trust is one such approach, - but that may be a journey, and a commitment too far for many people!

All this sits in a complex arena: one that is worth exploring.
Comment by Jeff Mowatt on February 11, 2009 at 8:39
Hi Trevor,

We've not become a CIC yet. but you may be interested to read the philosophy and principles of people-centered economics, in essence business serving people, which began with a critique of Western economics of greed and a 'what if' as an alternative.



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