New Clear Vision

constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted
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Outside the Public Senses

March 27, 2014 By: NCVeditor Category: Economy, Guest Author

He Hated Her for Who (S)He Was…

by Lily Liu

The long-awaited river flowed from her, streaming into the dirt as if it had been destined to breathe life into the chrysanthemums creeping from the ground. Relief filled her body as the tension dripped out, joining nature’s soil through its earthly movement.

He watched her from behind a sea of glass. Comfortable, yet irritated at the faint smell of lemon air purifier wafting from the restrooms down the hall, he wished the lemon smell, and the smells they meant to cover, could be contained. Those things weren’t meant for the public nose.

She rocked, singing joyous prayer into the passing wind. Each note warmed her throat as she sought expression, as she felt her happiness ooze from her lips. She swung her arms outward with the wings of the nearby pigeons who, startled by the outbreak of song, were flapping in chaos.

Still watching, he thanked the sea of glass for breaking sound. He preferred the predictable tics of his desk clock, the steady buzz of the pure fluorescent lighting, the controlled tapping of his shoes against his desk. Spontaneous emotions were meant for dramatic effect at friendly gatherings. Public displays of self ought to be acts of refinery. Only premeditated proverbs for the public ear. (more…)

It’s the Ownership

July 11, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: David Swanson, Economy, Politics

New Book Highlights What We Must Do

by David Swanson

If you’re like me you’ve read several books that list inspiring examples of worker owned businesses and co-ops, suggesting that expanding on such models might begin to right the wrongs of an incredibly unequal society that is growing even more unequal by the day.

The best such collection I’ve found is in a new book by Gar Alperovitz called What Then Must We Do?  This book also offers a powerful argument that radical change is needed, albeit an argument with some possible flaws.  First the inspiring examples:

Workers own and run factories in Cleveland, Atlanta, Washington DC, Amarillo, and many other cities.  Labor unions that once opposed worker ownership, including the Steelworkers and several others, now create worker-owned companies.  Forty percent of Americans are members of cooperatives, including credit unions.  People moved hundreds of millions of dollars, if not billions, from large banks to credit unions and small banks in 2011 and 2012.  (That should continue!)  Then there are community development corporations and land trusts, alive and thriving.  There are even corporations redesigned, and labeled B Corps, chartered under new laws in 12 states to allow them to legally pursue the social good as well as profits. (more…)

Bicycling Means Business

November 13, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Economy, Jay Walljasper

Cities Discover Good Biking Attracts Jobs and Talent

by Jay Walljasper

“Biking is definitely part of our strategy to attract and retain businesses in order to compete in a mobile world,” says Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak as we pedal across the Mississippi river on a bike-and-pedestrian bridge. “We want young talent to come here and stay. And good biking is one of the least expensive ways to send that message.”

“I was having dinner with a creative director that a local firm was eager to hire for a key post,” Rybak adds.  “He was an American living in Europe, and we spent most of the evening talking about the importance of biking and walking to the life of a city. He took the job.”

Minneapolis has invested heavily in biking — creating a network of off-street trails criss-crossing the city, adding 180 miles of bike lanes to city streets, launching one of the country’s first bikeshare programs, and creating protected lanes to separate people on bikes from motor traffic — which is why it lands near the top of lists ranking America’s best bike cities.

“We moved from the suburbs to downtown Minneapolis to allow our employees to take advantage of the area’s many trails and to put the office in a more convenient location for commuting by pedal or foot,” explained Christine Fruechte, CEO of large advertising firm Colle + McVoy, in a newspaper op-ed. “Our employees are healthier, happier and more productive. We are attracting some of the best talents in the industry.” (more…)

Memorial Day Redux

May 01, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Diane Lefer, Economy, Family, Politics

Working Smarter to Save Workers’ Lives

by Diane Lefer

According to US Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, more people die in the American workplace in a single year than have been lost in nine years of war in Iraq. “Each day in America, twelve people go to work and never go home,” she told the audience at the Action Summit for Worker Safety and Health held at East Los Angeles Community College on April 26, one of many events leading up to Workers Memorial Day, April 28, an annual date of remembrance for those killed, injured, or sickened on the job.

María Elena Durazo, Executive-Secretary-Treasurer of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, reported there were 500 work-related deaths in 2011 in California and “Workers are still being fired for speaking out in order to avoid death.”

This loss of life and countless serious injuries, continue to occur although the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), intended to protect workers, was signed by Richard Nixon 41 years ago. (more…)

Common Concern

February 07, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Economy, Jay Walljasper, Politics

Toward A World that Works for Everyone

by Jay Walljasper

You would expect Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business to focus its teaching on making profits from the world as it is instead of asking students to explore how to fundamentally change it.

But that means you probably haven’t met business Professor Leo Burke — a former entrepreneur, Motorola executive and, in his student days, manager of the Notre Dame football team.

At first glance, Burke ’70 hardly seems a rabble-rouser. Wearing tassel loafers, navy blue slacks, a tasteful blazer and wire-rim glasses, he looks exactly the part of a business professor. Yet when standing at the podium in an Executive Leadership Seminar — so slender it appears a strong breeze would carry him away — he sounds like a community organizer crossed with a moral philosopher. “When we are able to work out of our deepest values, we can work with a compassion for others that changes systems.” (more…)

Follow the Money

January 19, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Economy, Jennifer Browdy de Hernandez, Politics

And Let the Revolution Begin!

by Jennifer Browdy de Hernandez

People in the know always advise us to “follow the money.”

Thanks to the Occupy movement, it’s become plain to a lot more of us that huge amounts of money are concentrated in a very few, very influential hands.  Big business interests control politics at every level, and the name of the game is profit for the top managers and owners, with the bare minimum allowed to “trickle down” through taxes and philanthropy.

Nothing new in that picture.  But there are some provocative new ideas arising about how to change a system that seems so entirely entrenched that most of us don’t even bother to think too hard about alternatives. (more…)