Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Boston Currency for fuller and sustainable employment?

Boston has suffered lately along with the nation and the world, as we adapt to financial recession. It seems clear that financial stimulus is the next step,, but Washington, D.C. and the state of Massachusetts seem unable or unwilling to step in.

Since Boston has property tax authority, perhaps there is a way for Boston government to stimulate the local economy in a way which ensures the return to the locale of the resulting benefit. I'm thinking of a municipal currency redeemable for Boston property taxes as they come due in the future. These notes would be accepted by Boston, and perhaps other participating municipalities here, toward yearly property accessments. Boston would print them now for acceptance in the coming years.

There are a number of ways they might be used. Boston could use them to pay otherwise furloughed state employees, and to pay otherwise-out-of-work contractors to do work. These bills would be exchangable, and people could exchange them, with Boston property owners accepting them as rent payments, with the incentive that they could pay future property taxes with them.

Another way to use these bills would be to arrange that all unions, employees and contractors currently used by Boston accept part of their payments in these bills.

Either of these would accomplish two things: It would employ those Bostonians otherwise unemployed, ( it would tend to steer its economic activity eventually toward involvement of Boston tenants and property owners ). It would also, as these bills flowed through the economy, draw attention to those economic opportunities that 'close the local loop'.

For example, off Boston are many mackerel, which used to be a staple, and still are in Europe. Underutilized locally now, these plentiful fish could be caught with local labor and eaten in town. Sailing sloops called 'Boston Hookers' used to sail out of our harbor to hook these, for sale on our piers, and could again, without imported oil use , if fresh mackerel were to find their earlier favor here.

As a flavorful oil-rich fish, mackerel's flesh probably would supply vitamin D to us, a vitamin who's health impacts have been lately researched, and which could help us, especially those of us with more pigment in our skin, in these long winters, to get the nutrition we need, as the sun with which our skin might make vitamin D is dim inn winter, and on the other side of our warm winter clothes.

It would take a business-labor-government-civil alliance to establish such a municipal currency, but there's a chance it could help us who most need help now, while helping in the longer term to draw attention and business to our options for local self reliance.

Brian Cady

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Bet Your Life? Planning career and retirement in a changing climate.

Are your career and retirement climate-ready? The fortunate of us have made elaborate plans for our career and retirement, yet aren't these generally made based on outdated expectations of stability of our earth's climate? Climate change will affect stability of the economic systems, which are inevitably based on use of agricultural land and other resources within that changing climate.

Perhaps we can do better for ourselves. Perhaps there are great personal financial and risk-aversion opportunities here for those who understand climatic reality and who plan ahead.

Perhaps, in doing better for ourselves, we will also do better for others, in that, while this recent election shows that the U.S. House has just lost even more of its grasp of climatic reality, individual efforts to sensibly prepare for likely futures will help the system of as a whole prepare. Indeed, these may be the only sytematic preparations possible for us.

For retirement, integrating forecasts (used in planning) that are actually based on the best possible climate-corrected projections of investment and commodity prices and transacted volumes may influence both investment planning directly, and anticipated withdrawals for living expenses. This integration may also influence the extent of risk inherent in these projections, which may well also influence withdrawal planning (e.g. planning for wider margins of error in what you'll need).

For career planning, climate-corrected employment forecasts could yield more security, and/or higher realized income, as well as better projections of the ethical implications of various possible careers. You might not want to be a sheriff if all you'll do is evict the mortgage-frauded innocent, suffering an economic collapse not of their making. Similarly, positions that are involved with supplying ecosystem services, when such services are made climatically impossible, might well be miserable. You wouldn't want to be invested in supplying water from desertifying watersheds to customers who, through no fault of their own, can no longer pay.
Similarly, property insurance firms that have essentially bet that weather will continue as it has will lose their shirts. Seaside flood insurance providers will lose out in two ways - more weather extremes will occur while sea levels rise.

These are simple forecasts; more intricate and more accurate forecasts are possible, and are probably being done for a few far-sighted folks already.

To sum up, there may be great personal financial and moral possibilities in integrating the best current science into one's career and retirement planning.