Want to Build an Economy that Works for Everybody? Next Week, We’re All About It

Next Monday, YES! and the New Economy Coalition kick off New Economy Week—five days of national conversation about the ideas, strategies, and projects that make up the movement.

For more than a decade, we at YES! Magazine have written regularly about something we call the “new economy.” Readers will recognize the worker-owned cooperatives, local food initiatives, and alternative ways of measuring wealth that have been hallmarks of our reporting on this topic. But if someone cornered you in the bulk foods aisle and demanded to know what, exactly, the new economy is, what would you tell them?

New Economy Week will have plenty going on offline as well.

The answer, it turns out, is up for debate. Even among the thinkers and organizers most invested in the term “new economy”—Gar Alperovitz and Chuck Collins come to mind—vigorous debates and conversations are going on all the time about what it is, where it should focus, and how to make it spread.

To focus that discussion, the New Economy Coalition, a nonprofit organization that supports more than 100 member groups, has set next week aside as the second annual “New Economy Week.”

Monday through Friday, the days will be packed with online panels, local events, and writings. The coalition has picked five juicy questions about new economy issues and sent them to its members to see what they think. We’ll be curating their responses each day from Monday to Friday. You can find links to all five days here (we'll be updating the page with articles and links daily).

And New Economy Week will have plenty going on offline as well. The activities range from multi-day conferences such as “Who Owns Vermont?”—which will explore alternative ownership models in that state—to more intimate gatherings like happy hours celebrating October—our “national cooperative month”—in San Francisco and Philadelphia.

Meanwhile, several hundred inventors, entrepreneurs, activists, and organizers will gather in Detroit for the “New Work New Culture” conference to discuss topics like the financing of community-owned projects, the way cooperatives are portrayed in the media, and the role of local food production.

“We’re hoping that people will become inspired and empowered,” said Mike Sandmel, the New Economy Coalition’s manager of coalition engagement, “not just to oppose our unjust and unsustainable economy, but to take part in building something better.”