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House Sharing for Boomer Women Who Would Rather Not Live Alone

Sally Abrahms, AARP Bulletin
The time was right for the three 50-something women to pool their resources and buy a house together.

Louise Machinist, a clinical psychologist, was ready to move out of her house now that her children were grown. Jean McQuillin, a case management nurse, had just moved into a rental apartment from the home she had shared with her then-husband. Karen Bush's job as a corporate consultant required her to travel often, which meant making arrangements for her cat and fish — and returning to an empty house.

For the women, buying a home to share made sense. Said Machinist, "There's every advantage to be gained from it."

Other older singles seem to agree. Increasingly, female boomers and older women — both bosom buddies and strangers — are moving in together as a way to save money and form a community.

Online home-sharing websites, workshops and meetings for prospective housemates are booming. One such event recently occurred in Sarasota, Fla., where people in the city's Living in Community Network met potential housemates...
(31 May 2013)


Pro-Growth Media Bias Fuels Scientific Ignorance, Finds New Media Watchdog Site

Press Release, Growthbusters
Journalists are operating under the magnifying glass of a new "media watchdog" on the lookout for bias about growth. Most reporting and commentary in the news media about economic growth and population growth is founded on a cultural myth that endless expansion is both possible and desirable, according to the non-profit that recently launched Growth Bias Busted (www.growthbiasbusted.org).

Citizen-Powered Media created the website to encourage accurate reporting and commentary on issues of growth in population, economies and consumption. Growth Bias Busted spotlights examples of pro-growth bias on its "Wall of Shame," and celebrates balanced and accurate reporting on its "Wall of Fame."

"Today when a news story is published about population growth, the headline and story frequently assume population growth is good news. It's considered a positive indicator for cities, states and nations," according to Dave Gardner, president of Citizen-Powered Media and director of the documentary GrowthBusters: Hooked on Growth. Associate Producer Lynsey Jones adds, "We find the same bias in reporting on GDP growth, housing starts, factory production and retail sales. The fastest growing cities and economies are portrayed as winners in a competition that -- when examined closely -- is a race to the bottom."

"We just had a century of unprecedented economic and population growth," explains Gardner. "During this time we came to think growth is wonderful, and for a time it was. But now we have filled the world with 7 billion 'consumers'. Earth no longer has excess capacity to support future growth."...

Growth Bias Busted Website: http://www.growthbiasbusted.org
(18 June 2013)


The trouble with billionaires (book review) by Linda McQuaig and Neil Brooks

Left Central Book Review

I am indebted to the British Welfare state; the very one that Cameron would like to replace with charity handouts. When my life hit rock bottom, the safety net, threadbare though it had become under John Major`s government, was there to break the fall… J.K. Rowling… Cited in `the trouble with billionaires'

This book is a fusion of rigorous academic analysis and sharp, witty journalism. The humour a necessary antidote, given the unconscionable economic detail outlined. Facts linked to the rapacious appetite of the super elite, gorging on tax avoidance. Aided and abetted by supine legislators in the UK and USA. Linda McQuaig and Neil Brooks explain how the political right, adroitly undermined the post-war consensus of Beveridge and Keynes in the UK, the same result achieved in the USA with the gradual destruction of the New Deal consensus. Criticism articulated by Frederick Von Hayek who feared that benevolent government intervention would lead us down the road to serfdom. A ridiculous idea, predicated on the notion that social security; full employment, legal aid, economic growth and an NHS somehow reduced liberty. As this book points out, when Hayek required assistance from the social security system, he was not shy about utilising its collective provisions. It is indeed a strange sort of serfdom, which provides a hospital bed for the sick, a bizarre understanding of liberty that disregards the need of a safety net, when boom turns to inevitable bust. All those tens of thousands of post-war Higher Education students benefitting from free education in the UK or through the GI Bill in the States – hardly resemble serfs. But their counterparts today do; a bizarre twist on the Hayek model. The exchange of correspondence between Hayek and Charles Koch outlined in the text, makes for illuminating revisionist reading...
(26 April 2013)


Community Owned Village Shops - report

The Plunkett Foundation
Community-owned village shops continue to be one of the leading success stories of the UK co-operative and social enterprise movement. In 1993 there were just 23 community-owned shops; 20 years on there are over 300, with a further 30 anticipated to open in 2013 alone.

In May 2013, Plunkett published its annual report on community shops: A Better Form of Business; Community-owned village shops. This report provides an overview of the development of the community shop sector in the UK and the health and wealth of the sector today. Specifically, the report provides numerical data about the range of legal and management structures of these shops; a summary of the scope of products and services they offer; an analysis of their profitability and contribution to the local economy; and a background of the people who make community shops work.

Download to the report
(May 2013)


How a Manchester co-op is getting the food revolution moving

Ally Fogg, The Guardian
These are tough times for food producers. Last week the National Farmers Union (NFU) reported that confidence is at a 'new low' with 45% of arable farmers less confident in the prospects for their farm over the next 12 months, against only 16% more confident. In a separate, though probably related finding, the nation's wheat harvest is in crisis, with 2013 yields expected to be down 29% on last year, which were already below average...

But in Greater Manchester, a group of growers and buyers are quietly demonstrating that alternative models of fresh food wholesale markets are possible. Less than two years ago, Manchester Veg People (MVP) was set up as a non-profit-distributing co-operative to bring together organic, sustainable farmers with potential customers – primarily in the restaurant and catering industries. The simple idea was to help plan and co-ordinate supply and demand of fresh fruit and vegetables, while sharing resources, knowledge and skills...

In their first active year, MVP enabled the sale of over £22,000 of produce. That may not sound a lot in the context of a multibillion farming industry, but considering it was delivered with minimal resources, using borrowed transport, storage and office space, it offers just a glimpse of what is possible...
(20 June 2013)
 

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