In 1934, Werner Zimmermann and Paul Enz created the WIR currency to help stabilize Switzerland’s economy through the pangs of the Great Depression. Today, the WIR still circulates, strengthening and stabilizing local commerce throughout Switzerland. In this episode, we speak with Volker Strohm, Head of Communications for the WIR bank. We ask him about how the WIR works and potential applications for today’s economic problems.
Is democracy under threat? Persisting inequity and increasing polarization brings the strength of representative governments into question. In this episode we speak with Niheer Dasandi, a Senior Lecturer in Politics and Development at the University of Birmingham. His book, Is Democracy Failing?, takes a look at the health of democracy in the face of rising populism in the West. We ask Niheer to give us a sense of where our democracy is today and if it’s still the best form of government to meet the challenges we have ahead.
Economics touches all of our lives. Shouldn’t it be easy to understand? Turns out, it’s mostly common sense. You just need the right person to explain it to you. And that person is Howard Yaruss. Howard Yaruss is an adjunct professor of economics who’s written a book called Understandable Economics: Because You Can’t Improve a System You Don’t Understand. In this episode, we ask him to dispel some common misconceptions about economics and explain why it’s so important for all people to have a solid understanding of this field of knowledge.
Indigenous economic models value collaboration over competition, harmony with nature over extraction, and subsistence over accumulation. In our first episode of 2021, we speak with Rebecca Adamson, an American Cherokee economist and scholar, about the lessons we can learn from indigenous economies to improve the wellbeing of all people and of our planet.
The Korean War is the longest standing overseas US conflict. It’s been 70 years since it began and North and South Korea remain deeply entrenched in the ideological and political struggles engendered by the Cold War. Christine Ahn, founder and executive director of Women Cross DMZ, is mobilizing women around the world to finally bring this war to an end. In this episode we speak with Christine about the echoing impacts of the Korean War and why it’s so important to have women lead the way to future peace.
The fashion industry has a waste problem. In addition to being one of the worst polluters of our world’s waters, this industry sends billions of dollars worth of unused textiles to landfill each year. Now, Stephanie Benedetto is doing something about it. Stephanie Benedetto is the founder of Queen of Raw, a marketplace to buy and sell sustainable and deadstock fabrics and textiles. By cataloguing and repurposing these fabrics that would otherwise go to landfill, Stephanie is creating a model of integrity and sustainability in the supply chain for the fashion industry and beyond.
Unconditional Basic Income. People around the world are in desperate need of economic relief in a pandemic that has exposed and exacerbated extreme levels of disparity and poverty. A basic income could be the solution. In this episode, we speak with Scott Santens, a writer and advocate for UBI who is also the first person to crowdfund his own poverty-level basic income. We ask about his argument for UBI, the barriers to achieving it, and the future he sees possible for humanity.
How do you jumpstart an economy in a community that has no money? Create a new currency. Will Ruddick is one of the directors of Grassroots Economics, a non-profit foundation focused on community development through economic empowerment the community currency programs. By creating new and secure currencies with blockchain, marginalized communities can become self-sustaining economies.
Rachel Cook, founder of Seeds, is the architect of a new economy. The way Rachel sees it, there’s more than enough money in the world to meet every human being’s needs. But in our current monetary system, the flow of that money is carefully controlled by gatekeepers like banks and investors. Using the power of cryptocurrency, Rachel’s opening new pathways for giving, allowing wealth to flow more easily from person to person. Once the barriers blocking access to wealth are broken down, suddenly anything seems possible.
Who’s responsible for our happiness? For most people, finding happiness–true happiness–is a personal journey. But what if the government took on some of that responsibility? In this episode, we speak with Dasho Karma Ura, President of the Center for Bhutan Studies on Gross National Happiness. We ask about Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness Index, key findings, and what we can do to bring us all more happiness.
Jean-François Noubel calls himself an ‘open source earthling’. Though he lives in France, he considers his true home to be within himself. Like a turtle. And though he lives within a market economy, he chooses to live as much as he can in a gift economy instead, without money. But why? As a researcher of collective intelligence, Jean-Francois sees currency as the tool that informs the design of human society. He believes we have to expand our concept of wealth and redesign the currencies that connect us to create economics systems that are fair, civil, and transparent.
These fish need some friends. In this episode, we speak with Kurt Beardslee, executive director of the Wild Fish Conservancy in Duvall, WA. We ask Kurt about the current threats to dwindling Chinook salmon populations and what we can do to protect essential, life-giving species of fish. In the world of ‘sustainably’ caught fish, things aren’t always what they seem.
In the spirit of patriotism this election week, we’ll be talking about our national mammal—the American bison or buffalo. And not just any Buffalo. Wild Idea Buffalo. Wild Idea is a family owned-business in South Dakota that has become a model for clean, regenerative, and healthy meat production. We wanted to talk to the family about our current system of industrial agriculture and how we can change our relationship with food to be in better balance with the planet and our own bodies.
Meet the millionaire who wants to tax the rich. In this episode, we speak with Morris Pearl, a former managing director at BlackRock who now serves as the chair of an organization called Patriotic Millionaires. Patriotic Millionaires is a group of high-net-worth individuals who believe that all Americans would be better off in a more prosperous, stable, and inclusive nation. We ask Morris how we can get to that more inclusive place and why the wealthy should care.
Extinction Rebellion is a global movement to get the world’s governments to address the climate and ecological emergency. What started in the UK in 2018 has now grown to include 1145 groups in 72 countries around the world. In this episode, we speak with Christina See, a core organizer in New York, to learn more about how this movement has brought in so many people from such a wide array of backgrounds and what it will take to save ourselves from extinction.
In this episode, we start a dive into the role of money in politics. From campaign financing and Citizens United to lobbying and taxation, the influence of money on democracy is undeniable. And in a system where dollar contributions count as speech, some voices will inevitably be raised above the rest. We ask Michael Kink, executive director of the Strong Economy for All Coalition, what we can do to safeguard and fortify the principles of democracy in the face of big money.
We’re in a crisis of consciousness around money. A system of endless growth isn’t sustainable for people or planet. But to change that system, we first need to change minds. That’s the business Dr. Pedram Shojai is in. Pedram is a doctor of oriental medicine and former monk turned entrepreneur. Through books, film, and online platforms like Well.org, he is opening minds around the world to new possibilities in the areas of health, environmentalism, and conscious capitalism.
Until destructive fossil fuel extraction practices are ended, until the rights of nature are restored, until the world comes together to face the climate crisis, we will not stop fighting. That’s Nnimmo Bassey’s message to the world. Nnimmo is an environmental and human rights activist working out of Nigeria. He has been involved with countless environmental advocacy groups, including Friends of the Earth International, Environmental Rights Action, and the Health of Mother Earth Foundation. In this episode, he shares his vision of a world that dances to a new beat.
How does our prevailing money system drive growth? Through the creation of debt. In this episode, André Peters, a former analyst at the National Bank of Belgium, shares everything you need to know about the creation of money and how its design is damaging to our planet.
Dr. Marcia Chatelain is a historian and professor at Georgetown University specializing in African-American life and culture. Her latest book, Franchise, investigates the relationship that grew between McDonald’s and black communities across America following the Civil Rights movement. What does black wealth look like under American capitalism? And is true equality ever possible?
It’s been a man’s man’s man’s world. Now it’s time to lift up the women who will save it. In this episode: our interview with Osprey Orielle Lake, founder and executive director of the Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) International, and the impact women are making worldwide for climate justice.
Monopoly is one of the world’s most popular board games. But who invented it? And why? Tom Forsyth, a game aficionado and special expert on the game Monopoly, reveals the unexpected background of the world’s most popular money game and its unique influence on our lives.
How can we tackle both climate change and income inequality? Stephen DeMeulenaere thinks economic redesign through complimentary currencies could be the answer. Complimentary currencies introduce new paths of exchange that can support community resilience, encourage sustainable behavior, and decentralize wealth. Stephen explains why a diversity of currencies–some as complex as Bitcoin, others as simple as a babysitting circle–is essential for a resilient and equitable future.
What if we could turn back the clock on climate change? True Carbon, a start-up founded by Sebastian and Lars Graf, is trying to do just that. By creating a marketplace to incentivize the use of ‘carbon negative’ farming techniques, True Carbon could lead the way in storing greenhouse gases in the Earth’s topsoil and reversing the damage we’ve done to our atmosphere.
Where does our food come from? For Krishna McKenzie, the answer to that question says a lot about our relationship with nature. Krishna is a farmer in the universal township of Auroville working to educate people about the importance of consuming local, indigenous foods. Krishna believes that moving away from globalized food sources is the most important step to achieving a healthier lifestyle for people and planet.
What is life? Ask a biologist, a philosopher, and a priest and you’ll get three different answers. That’s why Dr. Luigi Luisi founded the Cortona Week, an interdisciplinary summer program where students and young leaders from all over the world and from all disciplines can come into contact and exchange ideas. In Luigi’s view, the expansion of the mind and heart offered at Cortona is vital to create leaders that can tackle the multifaceted problems we face today.
Joseph Bonasia and Gary Robbins have a unique approach to protecting our environment: they are working to secure legal rights for rivers and other bodies of water in Florida. Securing the “rights of nature” would give citizens and municipalities the authority to sue polluters on behalf of natural resources and the people who share them. Joe and Gary emphasize that as humans, we are not separate from nature, but an interdependent part of global ecosystems. They want our legal system to reflect that interdependence.
Chuck Collins, a program director at the Institute for Policy Studies and co-editor of inequality.org, shares the story of waking up to his own privilege and the racist systems that granted his family generational wealth while stripping it from others. Since that discovery, Chuck has dedicated his life to spreading awareness about wealth inequality and working toward a more equitable economic system. If we’re going to mend the damage done by the ‘extraction economy’, we must first tell the true story of how we got to where we are.
Does more money lead to greater happiness? In Rivera Sun’s novel, Billionaire Buddha, inspired by the life of Dariel Garner, true happiness doesn’t come until immense wealth is given away. In our 20th episode, Mel and Steff chat with Rivera and Dariel about income inequality, the immense damage being done to people and planet in the name of wealth accumulation, and the importance of reexamining our values to build a more collaborative and equitable future.
This is like no weaving you’ve seen before. In place of threads and looms, Ross Hall and the Weaving Lab employ collaboration and experiential learning to empower communities and promote universal wellbeing.
What if you could pick up a book and learn how to transform your entire community in a single hour? That’s what Faye Cox is working on with her startup called Hourbooks. She’s on a mission to empower people to live more inclusive, resilient, and sustainable lifestyles. Hourbooks is the gateway.
Gwendolyn Hallsmith, founder of the Headwaters Garden and Learning Center ecovillage, talks about how our money system has gotten out of balance and what it will take to get our world back on track. Bonus: she sings!
Meet Jean Rossiaud, one of the masterminds behind Monnaie Léman, a new complimentary currency for the regions of Switzerland and France surrounding Lake Geneva. Listen as he talks through the benefits complimentary currencies can have for local economies and the planet.
What will it take to make air pollution a thing of the past? According to Kristian Lande, it’s all about decentralizing data. His start up, AirVeraCity, aims to give people direct access to the information they need to take local action on air quality.
Through the isolation of a pandemic, they found a way to bring the world together. The coronavirus pandemic put the whole world on pause. Abigail Tisch, Ellie Gravitte, and Martha Epstein are taking that pause and turning it into an opportunity for global connection. Listen in to hear about the project they call the International Zoom Room and the learnings they’ve gathered so far from hosting conversations with strangers around the world.
For folks in New York City’s public housing, the cost of living through a pandemic can be incredibly high. We got curious about how COVID-19 is impacting New York’s vulnerable residents and what communities are doing to come together and support one another in the face of the pandemic.
What does it look like to put community participation at the center of sustainable development? Anna Cowen and John Ziniades talk through FLOW, a project that empowered underemployed youth in South Africa to map their community’s needs and assets, connect them through complimentary currencies, and unleash their creative power.
Declan Kennedy is one of the early founders of the Global Ecovillage Network, empowering communities to grow in harmony with nature.
Two preschool teachers share their experience as part of the Red for Ed statewide walkout in Arizona, where teachers had been underpaid and undervalued.
A functioning economy should allow human life AND our planet to flourish, shouldn’t it? Take a bite out of Kate Raworth’s Doughnut Economics as she walks Mel and Steff through her vision of a balanced economic model.
Mel and Steff interview Clarissa da Costa, an expert in infectious diseases, and Xinjing Jiang, a student from Wuhan, to discuss the potential fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Inez Aponte and Ben Brangwyn live in Totnes, England, a town that has reimagined their local economy to support greater sustainability, engagement, and happiness for all.
In this episode, Mel and Steff chat with Enno Schmidt and Marjukka Turunen, two experts on the practice of Universal Basic Income (UBI).
Polly Spain is president of her tenant association in a public housing development in New York’s Upper West Side. Join Mel and Stef as they step into Polly’s world and learn about the mechanisms that keep urban communities poor.
As part of her lifestyle, Nobel nominee Dr. Evelin Lindner tries to live without money as much as she possibly can. Mel and Steff got curious about that choice and how it helps her spread her message of love.
Pod of Gold host, Stefanie Overbeck, shares the story of building a sustainable ‘Swiss mountain’ in the Dubai desert only to watch the foundation crumble underneath her. Hear how she was able to start to rebuild.
Pod of Gold host, Mel Wymore, takes us through 30 years of community activism in New York City that led him to an important realization about making a more lasting impact: tackling societal structures, especially our money system.
Worried about climate chaos, inequality, and conflict? Podcast hosts, Mel Wymore and Stefanie Overbeck, want to introduce you to the people out there who are making a difference.