Economic Activism

Monday, December 26, 2005

Step 1: Maximize Income

Once your basic expenses are covered, every extra dollar you earn can be earmarked for saving. A common misconception about money states:

“Money is the root of all evil”

Realistically, money is more like a tool: it can be used for good or for ill. Money can buy bread or money can buy bombs.

Exchange

Earning money is no different than spending money: an exchange. Money can be exchanged for goods or services – including labour. The price is determined mainly by the alternatives. The vast majority of employees have far fewer alternatives than employers do. Thus, employers often enter into the exchange from a position of strength.

Adding Value

Although your employer pays you for your time, they aren’t buying your time; they are buying what they get from that time (i.e. the number of widgets produced). If you do something that has more value to your employer, you might get paid more. Higher paying jobs don’t necessarily create more value for society though, only for the employer. Thus, to produce a net benefit to society, progressives need to compete for high-paying jobs so the excess money earned can be directed to progressive causes.

Conclusion

Money itself is a tool: access to resources. Economic Activists look to channel money to progressive causes. For progressive causes to flourish, we need hundreds, if not thousands, of Economic Activists to compete for the best, highest-paying jobs.

In a future post I’ll discuss some of the places to find out how to earn more money. Still, earning lots of money isn’t the only thing that determines your savings. Someone with a modest income who minimizes their expenses can still build large savings.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Economic Activism -- Bare Bones

What is Economic Activism?

Economic Activism is a simple recipe to produce long-term, sustainable funding for progressive causes.

Why do we need Economic Activism?

For progressive causes, like social justice and the environment, helping others is the top priority. Yet, the most common hurdle for progressive causes is a lack of money. Economic Activism creates stable funding for the people who work hard to see our values put into action.

Five Steps of Economic Activism:

  1. Maximize Income
  2. Minimize Expenses
  3. Invest Savings in Government Bonds
  4. Donate Interest to Progressive Causes
  5. Network with other Progressives (to Improve Effectiveness of Steps 1-4)

The details of each step will be described in future posts. The overall goal is to produce a growing stream of funds that can be channeled to progressive causes.

Implications

One person with $1000 invested has around $30 per year in interest to donate. After saving $1000 per year for 10 years, that’s $300 per year to donate. With 20 people, that’s $6,000 per year. With 200 people, the result is $60,000 per year: stable funding for one full-time activist to promote and realize progressive causes.

Moving Forward

Ten years is a long time; convincing 200 people can seem overwhelming. In a future post, I'll discuss "What can one Economic Activist do?"

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Economic Activism -- The Basics

What is Economic Activism?

Economic Activism is a simple recipe to produce long-term, sustainable funding for progressive causes.

Why do we need Economic Activism?

Progressive causes, like social justice and environmental projects, often depend on dedicated volunteers and supporters. This is because progressive causes are about helping each other, and not about making money. The most common hurdle for progressive causes is a lack of money. Progressive causes need money in two forms:

  • steady streams of cash for regular activities
  • large infusions of cash for special projects (preferably without strings attached)

Economic Activism supports the people who work hard to see our values put into action, by giving them the financial support they need to succeed.

Five Steps of Economic Activism:

  1. Maximize Income
  2. Minimize Expenses
  3. Invest Savings in Government Bonds
  4. Donate Interest to Progressive Causes
  5. Network with other Progressives (to Improve Effectiveness of Steps 1-4)

The details of each step will be described in future posts. The overall goal is to produce a growing stream of funds that can be channeled to progressive causes. The design allows regular people to see their values enacted, instead of wishing for “someone” (media, government, etc) to make it happen.

Implications

The recipe can be easily followed by most individuals and when many individuals follow it the results become even more dramatic. For example, one person with $1000 in bonds at 3% interest has $30 per year to donate. If that person saves $1000 per year, after 10 years, they’ll have $300 per year to donate. If 20 people do the same, that’s $6000 per year. If 200 people follow the recipe, that’s $60,000 per year – enough to hire one full-time local activist (or 10 in India) to promote and realize progressive causes.

Moving Forward

But, ten years is a long time. And, convincing 200 people can seem overwhelming. “What can I do myself, today, with what I’ve got?” Good question, in a future post I'll discuss "What can one Economic Activist do?"