July 2016
Brexit: Ignorance Calls Out Ignorance
By John Fullerton
Image Courtesy of www.newmoney.gr

"It ain't what you don't know that gets you in trouble.  It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." - Mark Twain
Former U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair discussed the momentous June 23 Brexit Referendum on a still "Too Big to Fail" bank conference call last week.  Revealing how he really felt near the end of the interview, he proclaimed, "Knowing what you're talking about became a disqualifier during the Referendum."

Blair typifies the neo-liberal elite who as Twain observed "know for sure" what they are talking about, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.  One would think the Brexit debacle (not to mention the Trump debacle, the rise of Sanders, and the race tensions spinning out of control in the U.S., all rooted in a deeply flawed and divisive economic system that works too well for a few, and not well at all for too many) might cause these leaders to seriously ask themselves whether what they "know for sure just ain't so."  And we wonder why today's "elites" attract such disdain.

No doubt, the Leave vote was supported by many who had little understanding or interest in the European Union (E.U.); this has been well-documented.  No doubt we also find its roots in the rise of xenophobic, anti-European opportunists who spearheaded the Leave campaign, only to shamefully disappear from the public stage when they surprised themselves and got their way. (Con't.)
Celebrating the Internal Asset Builders of BALLE
By Susan Arterian Chang

At Capital Institute we believe that in order to thrive, all human communities--small, medium, and large--need to continually invest in their internal assets, capacities, and capital (and here we mean capital in all its multiplicitous forms).  Fortunate indeed are those communities that understand that very basic principle, and that have the wherewithal to identify and participate in the knowledge networks, both internal and external, that can support them as they work to build sustainable vitality.

Twenty years ago, I started up a community newspaper in a suburban city north of New York.  Over the ensuing eight years that the paper was published, our small city encountered many challenges.  For a time, the paper brought together a small but enthusiastic band of local residents and business people who sought to invest in our internal assets: to encourage economic development by reviving our depressed downtown in a way that reflected our city's rich diversity, to save our historic buildings from the wrecking ball, and to find creative ways to encourage active stewardship of our dwindling open space.

When we were particularly discouraged by a government intent on seeking solutions only from outside developers who wanted to remake our gritty city on their own terms and at taxpayers' expense, I would scour the Internet (this was pre-Google days!), searching for a network of like-minded people who might offer support and encouragement to our beleaguered grassroots activists.  A highlight was the day we brought renowned urbanist Roberta Gratz to tour our downtown and speak to a packed house eager for her advice.  But that was only a day and it was hard to build momentum from there.   I have often thought that if we had been able to connect with the robust organization that The Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE) is today and had access to the many ongoing network building opportunities it now offers, we might have had a fighting chance to achieve the critical mass and the negotiating savvy to jumpstart a community-led revival in our city.

So in its 15th anniversary year, we want to salute BALLE, its leaders, and its mighty band of Fellows, in particular those we have celebrated in past Field Guide stories.  How lucky are the communities that now have BALLE to guide them through these dark days and into the light of a regenerative, new economy.

BALLE Fellows and their Stories

(While some of these Fellows have gone on to other endeavors, the organizations they founded live on.)
Speaking Engagements

This July 25-27, John will travel to Boulder, CO to speak at:
  • The 60th Annual Meeting of the International Society for the Systems Sciences
What We're Reading

From TIME Assistant Managing Editor Rana Foroohar's new book about the rise of finance and the fall of American business to a new paper out from the B Corps co-founders to a thoughtful piece by The Nature Conservancy's President & CEO Mark Tercek, there have been a handful of must-reads in our field over the past few weeks.
  • "Impact Governance and Management: Fulfilling the promise of capitalism to achieve a shared and durable prosperity,"
  • "Invest in America's Original Infrastructure: Nature," WSJ.
Quote of the Month
"My favorite words are possibilities, opportunities and curiosity. I think if you are curious, you create opportunities, and then if you open the doors, you create possibilities."

- Mario Testino
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