Post your comments and questions for 2012.
You must be a subscriber to make comments.
Lloyd’s Curbs Cover For Iran Petroleum Shipments
Reuters (2 July 10)
Economic Data Out Today Suggest Economic Recovery Cannot Continue Without Government Help
The Washington Post (1July 10)
CEBM Warns China Exports And Imports To Decelerate In Q3 And Onward
Zero Hedge (1 July 10)
Howard Davidowitz: U.S. Economy “Is a Complete Disaster”
Yahoo Finance (1 July 10)
China Manufacturing Slows Again Amid Growth Concern
Bloomberg (1 July 10)
China Provinces Raise Minimum Wages to Curb Disputes
Bloomberg BussinessWeek (1 July 10) (1 July 10)
Western Oil Firms Stop Business With Iran
TradeArabia (29 June 10)
BP Potentially More Devastating than Lehman!
Sultans of Swap (July 2010)
Do Hungry People Take Bigger Financial Risks?
The New York Time (29 June 10)
Inter-bank Lending Rates Hit New High
MailOnline (30 June 10)
Warning Signals Of A Double-dip Recession Flash Brightly Across The World
Telegraph.co.uk (29 June 10)
‘Potential Error’ Delays GDP Data
BBC News (29 June 10)
Drunk Trader Banned For Buying 7m Barrels of Oil After Binge
Guardian.co.uk (29 June 10)
The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index® Drops Sharply
The Conference Board (29 June 10)
The Tortoise vs. the Hares
Yahoo Finance (29 June 10)
Drop Dollar as Reserve Currency, U.N. Report Says
GATA (29 June 10)
Japan Jobless Rate Unexpectedly Rises, Spending Drops
Bloomberg (29 June 10)
Central Banks Should Weigh Ending Stimulus to Avoid Side Effects, BIS Says
Bloomberg (28 June 10)
Winfrey’s $315 Million Tops Forbes Celebrity Income Rankings
Bloomberg (28 June 10)
Central Banks Warn of New Crisis if Exit Left Too Late
Reuters 28 June 10)
Air China to Buy 20 Boeing Planes For $1.4 Billion
Reuters (28 June 10)
Frustrated by Boycott, Station Owners Want BP Help
Yahoo News (27 June 10)
The Third Depression
The New York Times (27 June 10)
Gulf Oil Spill? You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet
GlobalPost (24 June 10)
Wall Street Hiring Jumps Most Since 2008 as Guarantees Return
Bloomberg (27 June 10)
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: RBS Expects ‘Monster’ Money Printing by Fed
GATA (28 June 10)
Europe’s Fiscal Dystopia: The “New Austerity” Road
Information Clearing House (27 June 10)
Goldman Sachs Will Repurchase Securities Held by Montana Residents
Great Falls Tribune (26 June 10)
Med Records: Ditching Paper
amarillo.com (25 April 10)
U.S. Agricultural Trade: Imports
USDA.gov (18 March 09)
What Share of U.S. Consumed Food Is Imported?
Amber Waves (Feb 2008)
Lowden Plan Medical Chicken Calculator
Leak From Oil Rig Could Foul Gulf of Mexico Shoreline
The Ledger (26 April 10)
Dwindling State Bee Population a Mystery
Mansfield News Journal (24 April 10)
Taking Initiative for the Survival of the Honeybee
Back Yard Hive.com
Pine Ridge Hemp Project
YouTube (23 Feb 07)
By Anne Stuhldreher
…Unless, that is, you’re friends with someone like Maria del Carmen Torres. In between serving up pupusas and plantain chips at local farmers’ markets, she runs an informal lending circle with 12 friends. Every Saturday and Sunday, they stop by her Folsom Street apartment to drop off $200 in cash. And on Mondays the whole pot – $2,600 – goes to one person until everyone has their turn…
Cesta participant Ingrid Orellana isn’t going to wait for that. She got the 12 women in her group to let her put twice as much money into the cesta so she will get paid out twice as much and move her toward her goal of opening a fruit and vegetable stand off Geary Boulevard. “I’m tired of cleaning houses,” she said.
Continue reading Traditional Lending Goes Mainstream
One of the greatest opportunities before us is aligning our financial system with our local living systems — with our people, our culture and our natural environment. Currently, if you map out out and make visible our “financial ecosystems” you will find that the incentives in those systems are often at odds with what optimizes the living systems and build wealths locally. Bringing transparency to our financial systems and living systems within a place and finding opportunities to realign is an activity worth considering.
Data in your local area is typically collected by enterprises and agencies responsible for public and private operations and investment. Many years ago, I created a taxonomy of local investment categories to describe the basic areas of data collection.
1. Adult Education/Community College/College/Training
2. Agriculture and Food
3. Arts & Culture
4. Child Care
5. Courts & Judiciary
6. Economic Development
7. Energy (gas, electric, nuclear, solari, wind other)
8. Fire and Emergency Services
9. Health Care
11. K-12 Education
12. Land, Weather and Natural Resources
14. People Who’s Who: People Who Live and Work in Our Neighborhood and Our Core Competencies
15. Military, National Guard, Troopers, Sheriff, Police, Enforcement, Prosecution & Public Safety
17. Sewer and Garbage
18. Social Services
19. Sports and Recreation
20. Taxes, Time, Regulatory Powers and Assets Paid/Given to Federal, State and Local Government
23. Jurisdictions and Boundaries: Who and What Are We a Part of?
24. Risk Issues
25. Neighborhood Balance of Trade: Imports/Exports
26. Total Debt Per Person: Federal, State, Local, Consumer, Mortgage and Other
27. Parking Lot
An introduction to some of the key economics literacy you need to understand your local economy and to make sense of all the data available, see my curriculum Economics 101.
For an example of what communities are doing to build local literacy, see the many reports in the US on Consolidated Financial Reports. Participatory budgeting is a very interesting idea that emerged from the economic problems in Latin America. Check it out here. I always thought that community questing would be a great way to learn the economic history and assets of our communities. See: Questing: A Guide to Creating Community Treasure Hunts.
At Solari, the invention room is a place in our imagination where we go to collaborate on creating and developing great ideas. There are several protocols that apply in the invention room.
1. We stay in the positive. There is no such thing as a bad or stupid idea. If an idea does not strike us as particularly useful, we say that there are other ideas that are more “wonderful.” We also take personal responsibility to support and given energy as possible to the people in the invention room with us.
2. We avoid decisions. The invention room is for expansion, communication and invention. We don’t contract into decisions in the invention room. For that, we leave the invention room and go to a decision room.
3. No time consequences to the participants. Just because you have an idea, does not mean that you can be held responsible to implement it or anything else that would require your time. Your having an idea in no way commits you to anything that would use your time.
We have been getting more and more communications from our readers with lots of ideas on how to make our world a better place to live. We thought we would create an invention room here on the blog as a way for you to post these ideas.
I would like to add another protocol for this particular invention room..
4. We encourage you to promote ideas which you believe you or yours can implement on a financially sound and attractive way. We think there is nothing more powerful than useful ideas that can create income for the entreprenuers who implement them as well as create income and jobs for others. So if you think what you do can help our readers, please feel free to say so and post links. If we disagree, we reserve the right to not approve your post.
If you have ideas or comments that you would like to reach the Solari community, please place them as a comment to this post.
Catherine and the Solari Team
[CAF Note: The following presentation is a “back casting.” It is a fictionalized story set in the future that envisions the success of one of a Solari Venture Fund – Fillmore Solari in San Francisco, California in the United States]
Report to the Fillmore Solari Shareholders
Fillmore Solari A and B Shareholders
Fillmore Solari Venture Fund B Shareholders
On the Occasion of His Retirement
January 1, 2022
Sometimes, I think back to the old days at the turn of the century. Around the year 2000, we were in a fight for our lives, the neighborhoods were under attack and life seemed hopeless and full of darkness. And yet, it was under these conditions that the seeds of transformation were born. We gather today to celebrate this transformation and a world so full of hope and light.
As I look around the room I see so many familiar faces. Marc Tognotti and I were together when we incubated Fillmore Solari in 2003 in the original 3220 Sacramento Street space. Court Skinner was part of the original Palo Alto group in the South Bay Solari, and Christina Englebart was an ally from the Sebastopol Solari. A few others come from that original core on the Solari Action Network.
As we sat in the 3220 incubation offices long ago, we doubted that we could build a successful databank and investment advisor for the Fillmore. We feared we would be shut down and our lives and reputations ruined if we tried to bring sunshine to how all the government resources in our place worked – let alone ensure that these resources were used lawfully. How lucky we were to have a whole series of chance relations and gifts come our way, allowing us to grow together into a cohesive force of professional, talented men and women drawn together by our love for our place and a powerful faith that a sustainable and peaceful economy was possible.
One of the reasons for our initial success was that we raised our first round of capital with a community offering in the neighborhood. A fair amount of the retired residents were still looking for a way to move their investments out of corporate stocks — the stock market fraud at the turn of the century was significant and created a hunger among investors to invest close to home with the people whom they knew and trusted. Several provided seed capital and advice, paving the way for the broad acceptance of our first stock sale of the Fillmore Solari B shares and the Fillmore Solari Venture Fund B shares in the community. The year was 2004.
In later rounds, we brought in the state and local pension funds. Then, as we instituted alternative energy, we attracted significant rounds of socially responsible investment capital. As we built a liquid market for our stock and numerous mutual funds formed that specialized in secondary markets for Solari B shares, and before 2010 significant global capital started flowing into our equity pools.
The Fillmore Solari Venture Fund was an immediate success. First, it enabled over 100 businesses that sold a portion of their equity to the Fund to pay off all their existing debt. This strengthened their ability to weather the economic recession at that time. In addition, given the broad marketing of the shares in the community, a significant number of local retail customers were now shareholders. The affinity between customer and local business grew – encouraged by our efforts at common branding and marketing of the local businesses participating in the Fillmore Solari Venture Fund. Within several years time, the Venture Fund businesses were able to significantly shift local retail market share back to the local stores. It was a winning formula – debt down, profits up. The result was a nice increase in stock values for the early investors. And steadily we expanded the initial and later funds to finance most of the small businesses in the area and to incubate many new ones.
With the community offering under our belts, we had a significant number of authorized and unissued non-voting shares. That led to our second significant early success.
One of the contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination at the time was a Congressman who was the ranking minority member on the House government reform committee. Although the younger folks in the room tonight know him as a two-term President, those of us who were there at the beginning remember a time when serious people considered it inconceivable that he had a chance to win the Democratic nomination, let alone the White House.
It was back in 2003 that the Solari Action Network brought the missing money issue to the fore. The federal government had for many years consistently refused to produce audited financial statements and reliable financial systems as required by law. Significant monies were reported missing at two agencies – the Department of Defense and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Thanks to some serious politicking by the young Congressional staff and their very brave Congressman, the federal agencies — working through the interagency federal credit task force and the interagency webmaster task force — were required to post all the digital data about federal credit programs, including defaulted debt and foreclosed or forfeited properties and assets. These databases included addresses and zip codes. In addition, the agencies were required to post their government contracting budgets. For the first time, the country could see the names of the private corporations and banks that really controlled and operated many of our government’s financial and accounting programs, including those, which were missing so much money.
At the same time, the open source software community based in San Francisco was able to pull together a network of leaders from the global open source software community. As the federal agencies began to disgorge the data, the open source community provided online tools that allowed communities to quickly find, download and aggregate data about much of the defaulted mortgage, small business and consumer debt in our communities.
We were later to refer to this Internet explosion of debt data as the “in the twinkling of an eye” strategy — because it was able to shift so much political and economic power overnight before the established powers realized what was happening. Very few people understood the potential of this type of sunshine to reverse the growing centralization of financial capital and control.
The illumination of the extraordinary corruption and waste that had developed was a bit disturbing, to say the least. More shocking was the extent to which large corporations and banks were being paid to service local debt and government monies at rates well above what local businesses and workers were willing to and able to provide. But this was soon overshadowed by the new opportunity. Neighborhood after neighborhood was able to demonstrate that these resources had not been lawfully or prudently managed. Looking to head off a tax revolt of citizens asserting legitimate common law rights of offset, Congress passed authorization for the federal agencies to accept non-voting Solari B shares in exchange for these assets.
As Fillmore Solari was up and running, we were able to swap stock to assume ownership of all federal defaulted debt and properties in the Fillmore Solari area. The successful workout and management of these troubled assets by local businesses was a significant source of new employment and profits for the businesses in the Fillmore Solari Venture Fund. The debt in our community went down even more, while our profits and equity went up again. Later transactions followed as we swapped non-voting equity for consumer and other small business debt controlled by private banks and financial institutions. We also swapped equity ford discounted municipal debt that supported a number of privatizations and reengineerings that we accomplished with a consortium of solaris here in San Francisco and in the South Bay.
The high speed creation of jobs and profits among networks of honest small businesses awoke America and many global networks to the power of bringing transparency to government resources by place. Most people in America did not understand at that time the extent to which large corporations and banks were subsidized by government contracts, subsidies and regulation, and that locally controlled solari databanks could illuminate that subsidy in remarkably powerful ways – ways that could result in grassroots assertion of the rule of law. Second, the realization that we were all being drained by a negative return on government investment that could be quickly reengineered to provide a positive return gave hope to many. Things were not hopeless – there was hidden wealth that could be unleashed.
This new economic vision transformed the political landscape. Suddenly, the honest citizens and businesses discovered that they could make money shifting jobs and contracts out of over-subsidized or corrupt situations and into the hands of those who would manage them well. Unimaginable political alliances were formed. Suddenly activists known for their opposition to war, to the war on drugs, to prison privatization and to globalization were teaming up in neighborhoods to help their local Chamber of Commerce and Farm Bureau assert local economic control.
The socially responsible investment community and independent media found themselves on common ground with the Kiwanis and Rotary Clubs in the heartland of America. The traditional gold and silver investment community found itself teaming up with the community currency leaders in the sustainable development networks; together they created new very powerful forms of community currencies that could be smoothly traded between communities globally. And the churches and the spiritual organizations wove through all of it like a thread. Solari tithing practices helped to establish standards for circulating a portion of profits back into the spiritual and civic lifeblood of communities.
With these alignments in a place, came business and consumer aggregation. This occurred in many areas. The example I remember best was in health care, when Fillmore Solari teamed up with the local health care practitioners and local insurance companies to address the urgent need for a health care safety net.
Consumer aggregation gave local consumers the ability to make trade offs. With four major hospitals here in the Fillmore area, we watched the sometimes-painful process as more and more resources switched to alternative healing and non-western medicine. We also saw an integration of economics between how our food was grown and processed, the stress in our daily lives, and the cost of our health care. As a result, the average travel distance of the food we eat dropped from an average of 1,500 miles to less than 200 miles over the last two decades. Today a lot of the food we eat is grown at home here in the city. Back then, virtually none of it was homegrown. We have watched much more flexible work hours develop as the average commute time has dropped to something much more in keeping with a village economy. We have also seen overall community health improve as more and more citizens switch to bicycles or walking. Part time jobs were created for the old and the young in helping assist the aging population.
Why did the powers that be not stop what was happening? Well, now, there was the power of the Solari model. As things turned out, given the speed at which transparency was occurring on an out-of-control basis, the powers that be could make more money on financing communities using the solari model. Indeed, the capital gains generated over the last two decades as a result of the integration of new technology into places, the explosion of education and learning by the citizenry, and the healing of the environment have far surpassed what was imagined possible when we began so many years ago.
Many of the greatest fortunes at the turn of the century have increased by many multiples today. In the end, most organized crime money changed its ways because it was attractive to do so. This is not to gloss over the fact that not all of these networks made the switch. Some stuck to their old ways and did a lot of damage before they were shut out or died off. The war economy and its covert operations did not go quietly. Yet, as the equity economy grew and the old central-banking, debt-based economy died, the war economy slowly was isolated and shrunk.
Although I feel blessed by our prosperity, the financial gains were not the important part for me and the other core members of the Fillmore team. I remember back to a time when I believed that the earth was not just dying – it was being killed by the human race. How do I describe the pain of feeling that we were destroying our planet and the chance for generations yet unborn? We were estranged from God and from nature. Men and women were estranged from each other, as were the different generations. What a lonely feeling it was.
And then things began to move into alignment. It started with the divine. We began to look at the notion of God as a personal and intimate relationship. The notion of using our time and our attention and our money as “votes” that expressed our spiritual values lead slowly to a reintegration of our world. It inspired what the Dali Lama at the time called “a revolution of responsibility taking.” It also brought the magic back into our world as we built alignment between our spiritual and our financial lives, unleashing a new and transforming energy. This is what happened when the greatest prayer warriors on the planet decide to make it their business to understand money and to return it to its place as a useful tool to serve a divine purpose.
As I walk through the Fillmore today, I see a world so different than when we started. The streets are bustling with my family and neighbors, with animals, flowers and plants. There is music, there are bocce tournaments, and there is hopscotch. There are far more bicycles than electric cars. Although we are in a large city, it is astonishing how much food we grow locally in our gardens and on our rooftops. Children walk the streets of our city safely at any time of day or evening. The beauty of our place is matched by the richness of our relationships. Once upon a time, the creation of Fillmore Solari helped remind us that my neighbors blessing blesses me and vice versa. When my neighbor’s business improved, my stock went up. So did his. When my landscaping improved, my stock went up. So did my neighbor’s. And so we were slowly transformed to a new yet ancient culture – “do unto others as you-e would have done unto you.”
But Fillmore Solari is a young person’s game. What energy it takes! We have had quite a to-do this year over the poaching of our best teachers by the surrounding neighborhoods who used stock options in their equity pools to tempt our teaching teams away from us. This has driven teacher salaries up even higher – and resulted in significant complaints from shareholders regarding the effect that losing our top teachers has had on our stock prices.
The ongoing debate against corporate TV continues. There are still a few who love to watch corporate TV, although most media consumers in our area switched to local community cable programming. The Bay area community cable networks blossomed after the state and local pension funds funded the third round of the Venture Fund and our Fillmore station seeded Fiske Smith’s programming development of the “Real Deal” storytelling and music making series that brought connectivity to so much local content creation by the artists, poets, writers and young people. It takes a young person to sort out all the investment opportunities that have been generated by this explosion of video and audio content both here and by our Bay area solari joint venture partners.
As the years have passed, I have moved from founder to management and board member, and board member to Chairman, and from Chairman to Chairman Emeritus. Now I believe the time has come for me finally to step down and become a simple shareholder. Thanks to the creation of a liquid market for my stock, I can continue to exchange the fruits of my labor for some ready cash to support my Bocce habit and to grow old comfortably in my childhood home.
I want to thank you all for coming this evening and for your many years of support and service to this place that we call home. I recall a story once told in the writings of Carl Jung about a patient who came to see him. She had falling in love with her best friends husband. She reconciled her desire by killing her friend and marrying the husband. Apparently, she got away with the murder. And then she went mad. She told Jung that from the time she murdered her husband, wherever she was, the birds would stop singing. It seems the birds knew.
Most of all I want to thank you for being a part of this adventure for these twenty years. Thank you for creating a place and a time where the birds are plentiful and their songs fill our souls with praise and thanksgiving.
Goodnight and God Bless.