Employment/Unemployment Working Group: February 4, 2012

The Employment/Unemployment Working Group met at Glenwood Coffee & Books Saturday morning, 9:30–11:30 a.m., February 4th, Paul facilitating. Attending, in addition to Paul, were Ed, Lynn, Dave, Larry, Michael, and Keith.

The meeting contained two discussions, each lasting an hour. The first, led by Keith, included a new idea of his of creating a Greensboro Technological Cooperative (GTC), “radically re-conceptualizing what we mean by employment.” Incorporating models already being developed by members of our WG, Keith made some original and potentially exciting proposals. His idea is based on understanding the new paradigms of economic life in today’s world of globalization. One example he gave was the redundant concept of “outsourcing.” Business People today, multinational, have no “out” or “in.” All is “Made In The World.” So, for example, when looking for a job, I am competing not only with talented individuals in my own locale, no, I am competing with everyone in the world. Does not Greensboro’s Volvo Truck not use “illegal” employee/nationals from countries elsewhere?

The GTC would highlight local talent and resources. Keith gave an example of a model industry based on “Open Source” operating systems, which he felt illustrated his new idea, this based on the idea that local homeowners could not easily figure out the Linux O.S. So, there are alternatives to proprietary software.

Keith bases most of his contribution on the fact that EDUCATION is the largest economic component in Greensboro: Engineering & Technology. Health Care would be an aim of GTC as well.

Larry continued the good work of our last Saturday’s meeting, covered by the minutes Keith took and posted from that meeting (which see). Larry recommends doing a lot more research before we approach the City Council, which we have been thinking of doing early in March. Recall that the current qualifiers for Development Grants are 35 jobs and a capatalization of $9,000,000. The big question is, “How to get the City Council to make a major shift in its thinking/policy?”

Our goal is to make alloted monies more productive. But, first, we have to propose a vision, perhaps cooperatives? As yet there is only an embryonic understanding of “co-ops.”

Larry explained the importance of city staff in our approach. Little of our approach is written in concrete at this time, mostly jello in fact, and we will certainly have this near the top of the Agenda at our next meeting (along with further discussion of Keith’s ideas, too). Larry urged more outreach, before we appear before the council.

As a context for all our work, it was proposed that this is a People’s Movement: “Our fundamental over-riding objective must be to move the wealth of the city from the hands of the Power Brokers and return it into the hands of the people.”

Because Ed is leaving town for a while, he will do a workshop for us on co-ops at our next meeting, next Saturday morning, 9:30, at the bookshop.

Respectfully submitted,