In the midst of a global economic crisis, alternative economic narratives gain attention. Can grassroots exchange systems (re)produce values of equity, sustainability, and democracy? What is the role of sustainability in discussions about economic possibilities? Join us for six free debates about the history and future of sharing, barter, and exchange.
All programs take place at The Theater at The Museum of Arts and Design, 2 Columbus Circle. RSVP for the events here. All discussions will be followed up with a reading group the Sunday after the event, hosted at our exhibition space: The Clocktower, 29-27 41st ave, Long Island City, Queens.
Speakers include: Keith Hart, Silvia Federici, Mary-Beth Raddon, Jason Pine, and Stephen Gudeman in dialog with the public.
All programs free of charge
The Human Economy: an interdisciplinary approach to the world economic crisis
The idea of a ‘Human Economy’ came out of an international movement inspired by the World Social Forum in 2001. This brought activists and intellectuals together who rejected the dominant free market and command models of twentieth-century economy. These were based on abstract and impersonal models of human behaviour, remote from the concerns of people on the ground, and they left the vast majority of the world’s inhabitants in acute poverty and without meaningful freedom. A human economy would be one that gives priority to what people really do and think, while addressing the needs of humanity as a whole. A program has been set up in Pretoria, South Africa to develop research on the human economy from the perspective of the global South. A short talk will outline its aims and achievements before opening up a conversation about how a project whose academic outputs are still largely limited to words might engage the public in more contemporary ways.
Creative Financial Literacies: Speaking a Local Dialect
Impelled by consumer credit crises, many governments are introducing market-focused financial literacy programs. But what kinds of literacies are most needed for a sustainable, convivial economy? This talk illustrates how barter and sharing create new literacies for security and prosperity, and examines the challenge of combining different kinds of economic knowledge.
Measure for Measure: What's Fair?
Small farmers in Panama and Colombia raise many crops for home consumption, including rice, maize, potatoes, beans and greens. To accomplish this work, they often recruit and trade labor, and to facilitate these exchanges, they use creative, homemade measures. Each crop and each task in a crop has a different ruler. The work is not interchangeable nor are the measures, such as a rice task for a maize task; they are incommensurate. The people do say, however, that they are trading life’s vitality or energy for life’s vitality. With changing times, the farmers also are raising crops for sale. Work in these crops is measured by the day and is priced and paid in money. This commensuration or bringing to a single bottom line is eroding the customary rulers and language. What are the traditional measures, and what does the local language about work tell us about market life?
Qualities of "Economic Performance" in Alternative Economies
In the dominant economy, economic performance typically refers to the outcomes of an enterprise, industry, or a national or global economy and the degree of efficiency with which the outcomes are met. It is measured in terms of achievements, such as value creation (largely shareholder value) and growth. Interesting questions arise when we consider economic performance in broader terms than outcomes, accounting for the qualities of performances themselves.
In this talk, Jason Pine draws from his recent book The Art of Making Do in Naples (University of Minnesota Press 2012) to consider qualities of economic performance that get lost in the narrow formulations that have dominated talk of “the economy.” He suggests that by looking at the contact zones where the “formal,” “informal” and “illicit” economies overlap, we can better sense some of the potent affective and aesthetic forces, such as the desire for personal sovereignty and the freedom to make creative decisions, that are at work in any economic scene.
(Re)Producing Value: Incommensurable Exchange
In the midst of a global economic crisis, alternative economic narratives gain attention. Can grassroots exchange systems (re)produce values of equity, sustainability, and democracy? What is the role of sustainability in discussions about economic possibilities? With MAD as its site of dialogue, the barter network Ourgoods.org presents a series of conversations between economic anthropologists and cultural producers. Join us for six free debates about the history and future of sharing, barter, and exchange.
Speakers include: Silvia Federici, David Graeber, Mary-Beth Raddon, Jason Pine, and Stephen Gudeman in dialog with organizers of the Brooklyn Time Bank, RISE, Black Women's Blueprint, Bit Coin, and OurGoods.
Women, Reproduction, and the Construction of Commons
Silvia Federici will discuss how a gender based approach can reframe the question of the commons. In particular she will describe the struggles that women are making internationally to create more collective forms of reproduction.