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Strengthening Regional Economic Ties

Bioregional Economics

Fritz Schumacher argued that from a truly economic point of view, the most rational way to produce is “from local resources, for local needs.” Jane Jacobs, speaker at the Third Annual E. F. Schumacher Lectures, re-emphasized Fritz’s point through her analysis of a healthy region as one creating “import replacing” industries on a continuing basis. A fully developed regional economy, producing for its own needs, is only possible, however, when control of resources and financing lies within the region itself. At present, ownership of land, natural resources and industry, and determination of conditions for receiving credit, have become increasingly centralized at the national level. As a result, all but a few large urban areas find that major control of their economic resources is foreign to the area.

This situation calls for a reorganization of economic institutions so that they are responsive to regional needs and conditions. These new economic structures will, by their very form, decentralize control of land, natural resources, industry, and financing in an equitable manner among the people living in an area, so creating the infrastructure to facilitate full local production for local needs.

These considerations constitute the economic rationale for the development of community land trusts, worker owned and managed businesses, non-profit locally-controlled banks and regional currencies. Regional economies cannot be expected to flourish until all of these new, broadly democratic forms are implemented within each region, and the old centralized forms are in decline.

Of these new institutions perhaps the least understood will be that of regional currencies, because we have all become so accustomed to assuming that national currencies are the norm and preferable. In her book, Cities and the Wealth of Nations newly published by Random House, Jane Jacobs illustrates “how national currencies stifle the economies of regions.”

She views the economy of a region as a living entity in the process of expanding and contracting. She understands the role of a regional currency as the appropriate regulator of this ebbing, flowing life. If a region does not produce enough of its own goods, relying heavily on imports, its currency is devalued. As a result import costs increase, discouraging trade. At the same time, because the currency is less in demand, interest rates will decrease, thereby encouraging local borrowing for the production of “import replacing” goods. Conversely, if the region is adequately supplying its own needs, then its currency “hardens,” that is, holds its real value relative to other currencies. As a result imports are cheaper, encouraging trade, and interest rates higher.

“Currencies are powerful carriers of feedback information, then, and potent triggers of adjustments, but on their own terms. A national currency registers, above all, consolidated information on a nation’s international trade.”* But what information is then returned to the individual regions? “Imagine,”. Jacobs suggests, “a group of people who are all properly equipped with diaphragms and lungs but who share among them only one brainstem breathing center. In this goofy arrangement, the breathing center would receive consolidated feedback on the carbon dioxide level of the whole group and would be unable to discriminate among the individuals producing it. Everybody’s diaphragm would be triggered to contract at the same time. But suppose some of those people were sleeping while others were playing tennis. Suppose some were reading about feedback controls while others were chopping wood.”* Should the Industrial Great Lakes Region or the Farmbelt States, both in a condition of severe economic depression, adjust their local economies in the same manner as the thriving Sunbelt or the booming Silicon Valley of the West Coast? Can small businesses in rural areas compete with international corporations and the federal government for access to national currency, especially when interest rates are kept artificially high by the federal government’s policy of carrying a huge debt with seemingly no real intention of repaying that debt?

The dependency on national currencies actually deprives regions of a very useful self-regulating tool and results in the paradoxical creation of stagnant economic pockets in a seemingly prosperous nation. Jane Jacobs’ book is a stunning argument for independent currencies, we recommend her as one of the day’s foremost regional economists.


•Quotes from Cities and The Wealth of Nations, published by Random House, 1984, pp. 160 & 161.

Local Initiatives

The staff of the Schumacher Center is concentrating much of its effort during the next year on local activities. We have helped the Self-Help Association for a Regional Economy (SHARE) to open a downtown Great Barrington office to better serve potential borrowers. We are working closely with the SHARE board of trustees to help launch an independent currency for the Berkshire region.

The Community Land Trust in the Southern Berkshires, with the encouragement and advice of the Center, is sponsoring the creation of a local Land Conservation Trust. The Community Land Trust and the Conservation Land Trust will be bound together in a new legal relationship developed by Center staff. This form will provide great flexibility for both organizations to aid them in a combined effort to acquire farm land and then to go on to provide incentives to insure it is farmed in an ecological way addressing local agricultural needs.

When not acting in his capacity as the Center’s president, Robert Swann works as a builder. He has made a specialty of designing low cost, simply structured, energy-efficient homes. His experience as a contractor of homes designed by Frank Lloyd Wright has lent a beauty of line and form to his own building designs. Bob has just helped establish a building cooperative, “Community Builders,” locally. Bob’s knowledge of the Mondragon producer cooperatives of Spain has helped to provide a working structure for the group. A percentage of the profits of Community Builders will be set aside to help finance new small businesses.

But how do these local initiatives serve the members of the Schumacher Center? The work of planning and envisioning a decentralist, human scale society, of considering the details of its various elements, is exciting and engages us in a dialogue and debate with economists, planners, activists, humanists, and politicians around the world. The debate seems one of the most urgent for the future of the globe. The work has great vitality. But we are lucky to have always the clear example of Fritz Schumacher, who while an economic theorist, was also a thorough pragmatist. Fritz needed to know which technologies actually worked at an intermediate level. He worked closely  with  technicians  to  develop  and test appropriate technologies in various regions and conditions of the world so that he would have a direct answer to the question, “What can we do here, in this situation?”

A strength of the board and staff of the Schumacher Center is in developing the “softwear” of the appropriate technology movement, that is appropriate institutional structures in land holding, financing, banking, credit creation, and corporate structure that will compliment Schumacher’s emphasis on “intermediate technology.” As bioregionalists we take seriously the adage to think globally and act locally. What we hope to achieve in our local activities are working models and direct experience with those models so that our discussions of a decentralized society are tempered and shaped by pragmatic and human dimensions, making the papers and handbooks developed out of these experiences richer and more valuable to our general membership.

We would like to express a special thanks to all those involved in the Berkshire programs. It is their participation that   has given  substance to an idea; their individual circumstances that have brought a human dimension and warmth to an achievement; and their recommendations, based on direct experience that have refined and strengthened a model.

Lake Baikal.

In his autobiography, Peter Kropotkin describes his years of frontier life in Siberia, first in Irkutz on the broad and deep Lake Baikal with its wealth of natural resources, and later establishing settlements along the great Amur River of the newly   annexed  far   eastern territory.   In that difficult pioneering  task, accompanied by the recently released prisoners of Tsarist labor camps, he came to value the working of small groups that had the autonomy to decide, on the spot, how they would proceed with a project. The heavy handed Russian bureaucracy lost its hold so far from Moscow and those most directly effected by the settlements went about shaping their own futures together. Kropotkin learned first hand what small groups could achieve when given free rein. His life long commitment to cooperative decentralism was forged in those early Siberian years.

SHARE

SHARE (Self-Help Association for a Regional Economy) has collateralized six loans representative of the diversity of small businesses in rural areas. Susan Sellew of Rawson Brook Farm makes a soft Chevre cheese from the milk of her dairy goat herd and the herbs she has grown on her organic farm. She needed five thousand dollars to complete her milking parlour and cheese room to state standards, so enabling her to sell the cheese through stores and restaurants.

Jim Golden has trained his two draft horses, Spike and Rosie, to haul timber and fire wood from forests. In contracting work with forest land owners, Jim can assure the owner that the woods will be treated in an ecologically responsible manner without undue stress on the land caused by heavy equipment. The loan was to complete a barn for the team.

Bonnie Nordoff has a knitting machine in her home which takes bulk weight yarn. She knits sweaters, tights, leg-warmers and scarves for children and adults using her whimsical, colorful designs. Her small loan was for a bulk supply of wool yarn, so lowering her overall costs and establishing credit with suppliers.

Marty Greenhut makes house calls to repair washers and dryers and reconditions old machines in his shop for resale. His is a valuable service in a rural area that would otherwise be dependent on service people traveling some distance. Marty’s loan was for a supply of extra parts.

All four businesses are doing well and are repaying their SHARE collateralized loans on time. One new loan has just been approved. Kites of the Four Winds produces large colorful kites from designs of its manager, Sally Van Sant. The business is labor intensive and permits sewers to work in their own homes. One of her suppliers, discontinuing a line of fabric used in making the kites, offered Sally a quantity of material for half price. Kites of the Four Winds’ busiest time for mail orders is in the Spring. The three thousand dollar loan collateralized by SHARE can be paid off in six months largely through the savings realized on the fabric.

But where does SHARE find the funds to collateralize these loans? SHARE is a non-profit corporation open to residents of the Southern Berkshire region. Members open 90-day notice accounts at the Great Barrington Savings Bank earning 6% interest. They contract that these accounts may be used as collateral for loans not normally qualifying for bank loans,but meeting the social, ecological and business criteria of SHARE. The bank actually handles all of the funds and makes the loans on the recommendation of SHARE at a low 109? interest, keeping the 49? difference as its cost for servicing a small loan. Essentially SHARE has separated two functions of banking, leaving the role of accounting with the bank and letting the community of depositors decide which businesses to encourage in the area by extending low interest credit.

While in form SHARE is simply a loan collateralization program, in practice it has proved much more. Members, knowing which businesses are supported by their funds, become the committed customers of those businesses. They choose Rawson Brook’s Monterey Chevre cheese before national brands and ask for it at shops where it is not yet available. They think of Bonnie’s wool sweaters when contemplating a special gift. They root for Spike and Rosie at the draft horse pulling contest. These local economic relationships encourage social patterns that in turn help begin to shape a uniquely regional culture.

Berkshares

The next step in the SHARE program is to issue a regional currency. Known as “Berkshares” the currency will be a powerful visible tool for recognizing and strengthening regional economic ties.

Berkshares will be denominated in units of cordwood, an important source of’ energy in the New England area. Consumers will be able to purchase Berkshares at a local bank using federal reserve notes (dollars). The exchange rate between Berkshares and federal reserve notes will be determined by the going price of a standard cord of wood in the region. SHARE will contract with cordwood dealers to deliver cordwood at a negotiated price in federal dollars. The average of these contracts will determine the exchange rate between Berkshares and federal reserve notes. The value of the Berkshare will thus hold steady against the value of a real commodity, cordwood, and so will have a constant real value. SHARE will publish the exchange rate in local papers on a regular basis.

Merchants will contract to accept Berkshares at their places of business. SHARE will list participating businesses in a widely circulated directory. In addition these businesses will have a sign in their windows letting customers know they accept Berkshares in payment for goods and services.

Customers with Berkshares in their pockets will be encouraged to shop locally. The Berkshares will carry an expiration date and may not be traded for federal reserve notes before that date. This will encourage the continued circulation of the Berkshares within the region. At expiration, those holding Berkshares may exchange them at a local participating bank for federal dollars, or exchange them through SHARE for cordwood, or exchange them for a new issue of Berkshares, whichever they perceive as the most valuable. As the Berkshare will maintain a constant real buying power, independent of the effects of national inflation, we assume that it will quickly become the preferred currency of the region, thus encouraging the creation of new import replacing businesses that will accept the Berkshare in trade.

We have letters of clearance from the Securities and Exchange Commission and the U.S. Treasury stating that the project does not violate any of their regulations. A local bank has approved the operation of the program but is waiting final approval from the state banking commissioner that the program conforms with state banking regulations. Our county’s state senator is meeting with the banking commissioner on our behalf to facilitate a ruling. Once we have reached a final arrangement with a local bank, we will complete the printing of the Berkshares and seek letters of commitment from local merchants.

Regional Responsibility for Farm Land

In 1981 Robert Swann, president of the Schumacher Center, helped to form the Community Land Trust in the Southern Berkshires, Inc. The Community Land Trust currently owns ten acres with four house sites clustered to intrude as little as possible on the remaining apple orchard. The offices of the Center are housed on the land.

The Community Land Trust leases the house sites to individuals who build and own their homes on the land. Lessees may sell their homes, but only up to a value equal to the replacement value of the house itself. The Community Land Trust retains an option to buy at this price. The objective behind this provision in the lease is to prevent speculation in land value.

The decentralist Ralph Borsodi called speculation “legal robbery.” Henry George, the nineteenth century American economist, pointed to this ability to derive “unearned increment” from the land as the major economic cause of the increasing discrepancy between the rich and the poor. In his book Progress and Poverty he shows how the ability to monopolize land, which all people need access to for housing and earning a living, can create prosperity for some and the illusion of progress, while at the same time the rising rents that build the prosperity lead to increased poverty for others.

Since the public at large creates the value in land because of its increased need to use it, it is the public at large that is being “robbed” when an individual is allowed to pocket the unearned increment for himself or herself. Borsodi distinguished what was created with human effort from what was “God given,” and suggested that land and natural resources should be held in trust for the common good.

The Community Land Trust, whose membership is open to any resident of the region, is a quasi-public body whose objective is to retain the community created value in the land for the community benefit. But what does the Community Land Trust do with the monies it collects in lease fees? It simply sets it aside to purchase additional land so that more of the public can benefit from democratic access to land.

There is sometimes a confusion between community land trusts and land conservation trusts. While both have a common concern about insuring that land is treated in ecologically sound ways, they differ in that community land trusts are primarily concerned with productive use of the land, while land conservation trusts are more concerned with preservation of ecologically sensitive land.

Increasingly in rural areas, both community land trusts (CLTs) and land conservation trusts (LCTs) are recognizing their responsibility to farm land — the LCTs to insure that farm land is protected, the CLTs to insure that farmers have access to land at a price that enables them to continue farming. This joint interest suggested a joint relationship between CLTs and LCTs. As a result the Community Land Trust in the Southern Berkshires is helping to create a sister organization that will have the educational, charitable and ecological purposes of a land conservation trust. The legal arrangements for this relationship can help establish a formal pattern of cooperation between CLTs and LCTs.

Behind this concept of a joint working relationship lies an important tax consideration. Under IRS rulings, although CLTs are non-profit corporations, they cannot obtain a charitable status unless they are specifically limited to serving low income persons. While CLTs do provide access to land on a democratic basis to those who might not otherwise afford it, as broad based land reform organizations they effectively serve all people. The inability to receive tax-deductible gifts of land, limits the CLTs in their ability to obtain land.

LCTs, on the other hand, while having tax-exempt status as preservation organizations, cannot grant equity in buildings or improvements on land which they own. For this reason LCTs that acquire or are given valuable farm land, usually place restrictions on the land that it can only be used for agriculture and then sell it back on the open market. Such land frequently becomes just an open space backdrop in a suburban area. Few farmers can compete with homeowners in the area to purchase the land. It might be leased by the new owner to a farmer for haying, but is rarely productively farmed. The end result of the charitable activity of the LCT is that a few are privileged to see the pretty rural scenery from their homes that have increased in value because of the restriction on the neighboring land, but the broader public need for locally produced farm goods is not insured. Should the LCT hold onto the farm land and lease it itself, the farmer has little incentive to make improvements on the land because he or she would have no equity rights. Therefore the farmer plants the crop that will produce the highest yield in the shortest time — most often corn, one of the worst eroders of soil.

Under a special provision, IRS has provided that a “title holding corporation” may be linked to a charitable organization so that income producing property or assets of the charitable organization may be turned over to the title holding corporation for management. “Provided it returns all income over expenses” back to the parent corporation, the title holding corporation will also be deemed a charitable organization. Land conservation trusts have not made use of this provision before. However, with the suggestion of the Schumacher Center, the Ozark Regional Land Trust, 427 S. Main St., Carthage, MO, did apply for and received favorable ruling from IRS for establishment of a charitable title holding corporation in connection with it. The tax designation for the title holding corporation is 501(c)(2).

The Community Land Trust in the Southern Berkshires plans to become the title holding corporation of the newly formed conservation organization that it is helping to create. The most important result of this relationship will be a combined effort to protect farm land. The LCT could purchase farm land or receive it as a gift, protecting its use by holding it in public trust. It could then turn over the productive land to its title holding corporation, placing agricultural restrictions on the farm land itself. The CLT would then lease the land to a farmer on a 99-year lease. The farmer could actually own the farm house and farm buildings. The CLT might allow for the construction of one or two new homes to give the flexibility of more than one farm family on the land. These provisions would be carefully spelled out in a land use plan that was registered with the lease, protecting the rights of the farmer and the farmer’s heirs, but also protecting the ecological rights of the land. Because the farmer would have equity in any improvements on the land, the farmer would have positive economic incentives to farm in a sustainable manner, building the soil, planting perennials or orchards. The lease fee would be low enough for farm activity, but should the farmer stop farming the lease would have to pass to another farmer, insuring the productive use of the land.

Under the present system of land ownership, farmers are encouraged to become land speculators. This is largely due to the fact that farm income is generally low relative to the constantly increasing cost of farm land. As farmers, especially older farmers, see the value of their land going up but their income remaining low, they are encouraged to sell the land, often to developers or land speculators, but seldom to younger farmers who cannot afford the high cost of the land. In this way younger, would-be farmers are kept from doing, not only .what they want to do, but what the community needs them to do (i.e., raise food) in order for the community to become less dependent on sources of food outside the region. The new relationship between CLTs and LCTs will provide another private option for retiring farmers when considering the future of their farms.

Inevitably regional communities will have to assume some responsibility for insuring that farmers have an incentive to produce quality food and for protecting the soil from erosion and pollution from chemical pesticides. Both community land trusts and land conservation trusts have been in some ways hampered by tax legislation from doing the full work that they should be doing. We feel that by implementing this new relationship that significant advantages will occur enabling the land trust movement to take a fuller role in bringing about through private means an ecologically responsible agriculture and greater self-reliance for regions.

How Can You Participate?

The Schumacher Center receives many requests for information about the local programs we have help to initiate. Though we have the various legal documents (by-laws, contractual agreements, loan criteria, etc.) used in the programs and copies of articles detailing some of the human dimensions of the programs, we do not have the narrative that connects these documents and explains their function and use in actual day to day operations. The material needs organization into a simple handbook form. This would help to make the programs more readily transferable to other regions.

We estimate that the production of each of the three handbooks on SHARE, Berkshares, and the conservation/community land trust relationship will cost about five thousand dollars including writing and printing. Much of these funds will return over the years to the Center through the continued sale of the books, but the funds are required in advance. Should you wish to contribute to the production of any of these booklets, simply send a tax-deductible donation to the Schumacher Center specifying its use.

Alternatives to Politics as Usual

Copies of Charlene Spretnak‘s and John McKnight‘s talks given at the Fourth Annual E. F. Schumacher Lectures are now available through the Center.

Those who were able to attend the Lectures in New Haven concurred on the value of the experience. The Lectures brought together John McKnight’s thoughtful questioning of the rapid growth in the health care industry which in assuming more and more services unto itself, breaks apart many of the human threads that once linked traditional communities, and Charlene Spretnak’s reflections on the values motivating the newly emerging Green Political movement. The topics were freshly considered, turning common left/right positions inside out; the panelists’ contributions were pertinent, adding further dimensions for consideration; the audience was engaged in debate with the speakers and among themselves. Behind all was an earnest attempt to arrive at a humanly concerned, ecologically responsible, economically feasible, and spiritually informed approach to future political policies. The dialogue still continues.

Recommendations

Resurgence magazine of England was the first to print E.F. Schumacher’s articles which were later collected in Small is Beautiful. Now under the able editorship of Satish Kumar, Resurgence is still publishing articles by today’s foremost alternative thinkers in a variety of fields including economic, cultural, scientific, and political.

New Options is a monthly newsletter out of Washington, D.C. Editor, Mark Satin has done a credible job of giving a voice to decentralist political initiatives. Forward looking, concise, and informative, it bridges many old left/right polarities.

Buber On The Social Future

We came to trust Martin Buber for his careful record of the human spirit in its process of observing itself in relation to the universe. In his book I And Thou, Buber was able to sustain and explore the simultaneous experiences of observer and observed. Commenting on the languages of “primitive” peoples in which the separation of the “I” and the “thou” was not yet as sharpened, Buber writes: “The Feugian (language) surpasses our analytical wisdom with a sentence-word of seven syllables that literally means: ‘they look at each other, each waiting for the other to offer to do that which both desire but neither wishes to do.'”*

We came to love Martin Buber for his wonderful retellings of old Hasidic tales, the world of sense perception and the world of imagination blending, separating and then coloring each other again.

Only recently did we discover Buber’s social writings. His Paths in Utopia is a concise history of decentralist-cooperative thinking. He discusses Saint-Simon, Fourier, Owen, Marx, Proudhon, Kropotkin and Landauer among others and is quickly able to come to the essence of the writer’s contribution, finding and naming the vision that moved each one. But while describing these other social thinkers, Buber is at the same time tracing his own path, his own vision of a new social order.

A recurring theme in the book is that of “Associations” — free associations of producers and consumers who together out of their mutual interest determine production and quantity and distribution. Buber sees these associations as small in scale and regional, or land based, and so of necessity there is an element of self-sufficiency in their planning. Buber suggests that the limited and vying interests of the producer against the consumer can only shape a limited and vying future. He points again to the simultaneous experience, to our mutual interests as both producers and consumers. It is in this simultaneity that individuals meet at a larger social level and feel their communality. It is a vision of local control of local resources and manufacturing and of participation in decisions by those effected by those decisions.

Paraphrasing the school of Fourier, Buber writes: “Only through these voluntary associations will the third and last emancipatory phase of history come about in which the first having made serfs out of slaves, and the second wage earners out of serfs, the third will accomplish the transformation of wage earners into companions or associates.”* Buber’s elaboration of the concept of producer/consumer associations is bold and useful.


*Quotes from / and Thou, translated by Walter Kaufmann, published by Charles Scribner’s Sons, N.Y. and Paths in Utopia, translated by R.F.C. Hull, published by Beacon Press, Boston.

Leopold Kohr Lecture Tour

E. F. Schumacher called Leopold Kohr, “the teacher from whom 1 have learned more than from anyone else.” Schumacher went on to observe that “Kohr is one of the few original thinkers of our time — and a vastly entertaining writer.” In his books The Breakdown of Nations, Development Without Aid and The Overdeveloped Nations, Kohr presents, with eloquence and wit, the argument for the effectiveness of the small autonomous unit in the solution of human problems and the potential for radical decentralization of overgrown institutions.

Now retired from teaching positions he has held at a number of world universities including Rutgers, University of Toronto and the University of Puerto Rico, Kohr will be travelling from his native Austria to make an East Coast lecture tour sponsored by the Schumacher Center. Following is a schedule to date. Some of these meetings will be held over dinner at a restaurant, an informal gathering that Kohr favors and refers to as the “Academic Inn.” For further details and reservations, contact the Schumacher Center.

Boston       

April 9th, 7:00 P.M., Caffe Vittoria, dessert, $10.

Amherst       

April 11th, 7:30 P.M., Lecture at Hampshire College, West Lecture Hall, donation.

Rutland, VT       

April 13th, Annual Meeting Of Jefferson League of Vermont, Calvary Bible Church and Conference Center, 194 Grove St. 6:30 P.M. dinner talk by Kohr, $10/plate. 4:00-5:30 Robert Swann and Susan Witt will speak on SHARE.

Salisbury, CT

April 14th, 5:30 P.M., Academic Inn at Stagecoach Hill Restaurant, Rte. 41, Sheffield, MA.

Great Barrington

April 16th, 7:30 P.M., Lecture at the St. James Episcopal Church, Main St.

New York City

April 17th and after.

Fall Lecture Program

“Politics and Third World Development” will be the theme of the Fifth Annual E. F. Schumacher Lectures planned for Saturday, October 19, 1985.

John Todd, founder of the New Alchemy Institute, president of Ocean Arks International and president of the Company of Stewards, Inc., an ecological design firm, will be one of the two speakers. John is currently at work in the Caribbean developing low cost, windpowered boats for use by local fishermen. The objective is not only to help small fishermen in third world countries who have been left “high and dry” by the rising cost of fuel, but also to “link the returns of fishing fleets with reforestation and land reclamation” and to “bind the economy of fishing to that of the land and create on a coastal-community scale an economic ecology.” The approach Todd is bringing to third world development issues is characteristic of the whole-system, ecologically-concerned research and development for which he is well known.

Recognizing the importance of economic independence for the projects he is helping to initiate, Todd recently formed the Four Elements Corporation, a research and development company which takes technological concepts suitable for a sustainable culture and develops them for commercial viability. Annals of Earth Stewardship, 10 Shanks Pond Rd., Falmouth, MA reports regularly to its readers on this new work.

We look forward to a report of John Todd’s experiences in dealing with political realities while attempting to unite economic and ecological concerns in third world development projects.

Francis Moore Lappé, co-founder of the Institute for Food and Development Policy and director of its Values, Economics and Everyday Life Project will be the second speaker. Best known for her book Diet For a Small Planet, Francis is presently concerned with the “parallels in our beliefs concerning poverty of the third world and our own poverty.” Lappé refers to such commonly held beliefs regarding third world countries as “hunger and poverty result from scarcity” and “poverty and hunger result from natural forces beyond human control.” Such beliefs “determine how we perceive poverty in our own midst.” She notes that “if we accept as inevitable the growing gap between rich and poor, we forsake the very character that our nation’s founders, such as Thomas Jefferson, saw as essential to democracy — a relative equality of condition.” Lappé’s book on the subject will be published this fall by Ballantine Books. Her talk at the Lecture will be in advance of her book.

Food First: Beyond the Myth of Scarcity, co-authored by Lappe and Joseph Collins challenged the myths held about the causes of world hunger. The Institute for Food and Development Policy, San Francisco, which she and Joseph Collins founded in 1975 has been internationally recognized for addressing the political and economic roots of world hunger.

As always at the Lectures, there will be time for questions and answers from the audience as well as for comments by a panel of respondents. Please mark the 19th of October on your calendar. We are considering two possible Massachusetts locations. Members will receive registration details during the summer. Should you like to publish notice of the Lectures in your organization’s newsletter or in local newspapers, please request further details giving copy due date.

 

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