New MutualismJanuary 17, 2012 4 Comments
I am made greater by the sum of my connections, and so are my connections
– Stowe Boyd
Today, Curtis Odgen and I will be hosting an LLC Webinar on Collective Leadership. We are talking about a significant shift in how we organize our work for social transformation. Stowe Boyd, the net’s social anthropologist, recently posted what he calls the beginnings of an elevator pitch on “New Mutualism.” I found it resonant, relevant and tremendously exciting; here it goes:
In a world where our traditional institutions — and their leaders — are hopelessly out of date and failing at insuring our well being, we know that something new has to take their place. And fast.
Whatever the individual paths that led us to this insight, we need to first find solidarity in a challenging and chaotically changing world, because the financial and political forces that are increasingly influencing our economic and political systems seem to have small concern for us. Consider the growing income inequality in the US, as an example.
We, those of us that have come to realize that we are living precariously, living at great and increasing risk due the actions of failed institutions and broken policies, must rapidly move past the passive, consumerist, individualist mindset of the industrial era.
We, the Precariat, need to create alternative institutions, controlled by us and dedicated to investing in activities that will benefit us, rather than global corporations and the magnates that control them. We need to find common cause and grow local, regional, national, and international mutual associations, owned by the members and dedicated to decreasing the staggering risks that confront us, individually and in common. These organizations can be as diverse as unions dedicated to protecting the interests of freelancers (like the Freelancer’s Union), local food cooperatives, or international policy organizations.
We need to commit ourselves — individually and collectively — to finding common cause and the general recourse to a mutualist response to problems that confront us at every scale: in our neighborhoods, cities, regions, nations and globally. We can’t wait to be saved by others.
Core mutualist principles:
- Ownership and governance of new institutions by members.
- Benefits-based, not profit-based, organizational principles.
- Cooperative orientation toward asset allocation, investment, and distribution of benefits.
- Mutual support of the activities of other mutualist organizations.
What do you think?