2nd Spring 2015 Edition
Image Courtesy of PhillipJohnston.com


It's fitting that Hedge Fund speculator John Paulson gave his $400 million donation to Harvard's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS). The largest in the history of the school, it was described as an act of "stunning generosity" by President Faust. That's her name. You can't make this up.


Paulson of course is known for his role in engineering with Goldman Sachs the infamous Abacus trade, a financial atom bomb designed to deceive while inflicting maximum damage on the market and society. And for what end? Personal enrichment. It would later require Goldman Sachs CEO Blankfein to attempt a lame - embarrassing really - defense of his firm's "client comes first" reputation in front of Congress. Goldman would soon settle accusations of financial fraud with the Securities and Exchange Commission for $550 million.


All the attention on "love to hate" Goldman deflected it away from Paulson, the principal behind the trade. In fairness, Paulson wanted to make a speculative bet that the systematically fraudulent subprime market built on "liars' loans" would soon collapse. That judgment was correct. But simply shorting mortgage bonds was expensive, and the timing of the collapse was unknown so the costs could mount. Not a "great trade." This is where the twisted genius of Paulsen and his co-conspirators came into play.


The Problem of Rising Rents and Falling Incomes Seen Through the Regenerative Lens

by Dr. Sally Goerner

Image Courtesy of The Atlantic's City Lab

"We are the poorest urban county not because we can't produce wealth, but because we haven't built what we need to capture it. You spend your life enriching someone else, somewhere else." 


-- Yorman Nunez, from the Field Guide's 

Bronx Cooperative Development Initiative story, 2013 


Affordable housing is very much in the news these days, especially in urban areas like New York and San Francisco where unaffordability is reaching crisis proportions. Minimum wage is clearly not keeping up with rising housing costs in these areas, but at some level most people intuit that endlessly increasing the minimum wage is a losing battle that won't allow workers to keep up with skyrocketing rents. The unstated obstacle to finding a better way is that we lack a compelling explanation for why a growing gap between rents and income is a problem not just an inevitability. To be sure, Keynesians point out that city health in general is harmed when local monetary circulation goes down because a larger slice of income going to rent means more money flowing upward and less circulating horizontally. But, the neoclassical and neoliberal economists who dominate policy discussions tend to see this issue as simply a matter of the detritus of unerring market forces. Regenerative economics creates a very different way of looking at this conundrum - one which suggests more lasting solutions. 



Latest Field Guide News

Image Courtesy of SproutContent.com


Did you miss the launch of A Year in the Life of a Regenerative Bank  l ast week?  Here'a another chance.


With the support of our grant partners, The Kendeda Fund, Compton Foundation, and Kalliopeia Foundation, we'll be going behind the scenes with this new, activating  Field Guide project this year, working with First Green Bank, a financial institution determined to be a r egenerative  change agent in their community. 


The project will invite mentors and provocateurs to engage with us as together we help shape the future of a pioneering bank facing formidable challenges as it attempts to go beyond sustainability in the sometimes-less-than-receptive economy of Central Florida. 



Monthly Quote

"Our economy has become an anti-economy, a financial system without a sound economic basis and without economic virtues."

- Wendell Berry


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