America Emerging: Culture And Economics

America’s task among the nations is to shape a just, equitable, and ecologically responsible economy.  The economic is our realm, our element.  As Americans, we move in and through the economic confidently and flexibly.

Even when we have achieved financial stability we do not hesitate to recognize a new spirit, a new direction in the economic, and throw caution and convention aside to support it. Or, we sense when our economic decisions have gone awry and we pick up and start again, undaunted.

The design for a new product made with native materials in the hands of a young entrepreneur; the passion in the voice of a young heiress determined to invest in a fairer economy rather than in the highest returns; the stories of local farmers and their food connecting people, land and community—all of this inspires our American imagination and outweighs earlier concepts of efficiency, scale, or self-interest.

As a culture, we are beginning to recognize that our grand economic experiment to-date, of which we were so proud, has failed to serve people and planet.  But, characteristically undaunted, we have begun to readjust and re-experiment. Citizens across the nation, organized in neighborhoods, cities, and small towns, are working together to create new economic forms that support an emerging new economy.

We will recognize some of these at a number of events this fall.

In the next few days, PBS NewsHour will air a report on BerkShares, a local currency in the Berkshire region of Massachusetts that helps citizens identify and engage with the independent local businesses that are the backbone of their local economy.  The full story will post to NewsHour’s website once aired.

On September 22nd at 7:30PM, BerkShares will celebrate its 7th Anniversary by honoring Berkshire Local Businesses at the historic Mahaiwe Theater in Great Barrington.  Special guest David Brancaccio, host of American Public Radio’s Marketplace Morning Report, and State Representative Smitty Pignatelli will present awards to outstanding businesses—”BerkShares Superlatives.”  Tickets are available through the Mahaiwe for $10 or 10B$.


Gar Alperovitz is known as a spokesperson for new enterprises incorporating worker ownership and management in their structure.  These initiatives are rebalancing priorities by serving the interests of workers and their place-based communities over the interests of global capital.  In so doing, they are modeling characteristics of the future American economy—distinctive for being neither Corporate Capitalism nor State Socialism.


Gar Alperovitz’s public talk in Great Barrington will be October 11th at 7:30PM, in the Music Room of the John Dewey Academy at Searles Castle.  Tickets are $5 or 5B$.  Pre-registration is required. Phone 413 528 1737 or email to reserve tickets.

The Thirty-Third Annual E. F. Schumacher Lectures will feature Van Jones and Otto Scharmer, with host Judy Wicks.  The theme of the Lectures is “America Emerging: Culture and Economics.”

Author of Theory U and the newly published Leading from the Emerging Future, Otto Scharmer is a brilliant and popular speaker on the leadership needed to transform our economic paradigm from “ego-system awareness to eco-system awareness that creates well-being for all.”



Founder of Rebuild the Dream, Van Jones is a charismatic speaker who argues that a new kind of economy must be built, an economy rooted in our neighborhoods and reflecting their complex cultures. The economic is not separate from, but an intimate part of, the cultural.  Ignoring that fact has contributed to our current crises.


Judy Wicks is leading a movement for the renewal of local economies and the promotion of diversity among the small businesses that make up those economies.  Her own White Dog Café taught her how to build alliances of mutual support.  She used those lessons to shape the principles of Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE).  Her new book Good Morning, Beautiful Business, is the story of that journey.


The Thirty-Third Annual E. F. Schumacher Lectures will be held November 9th from 10AM to 3PM in the Ballroom of the Essex House, Central Park South in New York City.  Tickets are $150 per person and include lunch.  Pre-registration is required and can be completed through our website or by sending a check to Schumacher Center for a New Economics, 140 Jug End Road, Great Barrington, MA 01230 with lecture tickets in the memo line.

We are at a critical juncture in the re-visualizing of the American economy. Alliances are forming.  Single-issue organizing is a thing of the past. We need to celebrate and leverage transformation wherever it is occurring, region by region, neighborhood by neighborhood, green business by green business, grassroots group by grassroots group.  Much is at stake.

America’s culture and its economy are renewing themselves, with new purpose and vigor.  Join us in fêting this emergence.