Deconstructing Wall St. / Reconstructing Main St.: Transformative Finance for Community-based Economies


Special topics in Adult Education AEC1131 HS

Tuesday & Thursday 2 to 5 pm July 3 to August 9, 2012

Room 7-192

instructor: Brian Milani, author of Designing the Green Economy


Wall St. is appropriately the centre of attention for those interested in making positive social change. Occupy1.jpgOver the last three decades a power shift has taken place within capitalism, from manufacturing to financial capital. This course will look at the nature of this change, especially the transition from investment to speculation—and the dramatic redistribution of wealth from the poor and middle-class to the "One percent." It will also examine the alternatives to what's referred to as the Casino Economy and transitional strategies for redirecting financial and material resources from Wall St. to Main St. community economic development. Particular focus will be on the role of emerging information technologies—both their unhealthy channelling into Wall St. speculation, and their appropriate application in various forms of community investment—including locavesting, pension fund SRI, green micro-finance, local stock exchanges, crowdfunding, the "Slow Money" movement, and the movement for basic income guarantees.

The course is open to all grad students and requires no prior background in economics or political-economy. wall st pirates.jpgStudents will be expected, however, to grapple with issues of theory as well as practice, to be able to appreciate distinctions between "real" and "financial" wealth. An underlying theme of the course is the strategic importance of emerging green and human potentials. This is because these potentials represent a threat to established power relationships, and because directly moving to actualize these positive capacities is the best way to achieve justice and equality as well. The solution to Wall St. destruction is not a return to regulatory and manufacturing models of a past era, but new forms of positive investment in creative and regenerative development. We will survey key needs in various sectors for self-reliant community development, as well as the grassroots revolution taking place in alternative finance that can ultimately transform our world. From this perspective, "community development" is not seen as a supplement to 'larger' economic development but the very essence of sustainable economics.

Besides class participation, primary student work will involve a mid-term mini-review, a collaborative class presentation, and a final term paper.


The course will consist of 12 classes, beginning July 3, held on each Tuesday and Thursday afternoon. The final two sessions, Aug. 7 and 9, will feature class presentations by students (2 or 3 students collaborating on a topic of their choice). Presentation topics can be (or not, as preferred) the same as that of individual student final papers.

Consult this page regularly for more details, including specific readings for the course.


Topics / Schedule:

Tuesday July 3 Overview/Introductions


Part 1: Casino Capitalism: Why Occupy Finance?


Thursday July 5 Money, Finance, Debt & Economic Development


·        Brian Milani, "What is Green Economics?", Race, Poverty & the Environment: A journal for social and environmental justice, Vol. 13 No. 1, Summer 2006 Capitalizing_on_Crisis.jpg

·        David Korten, "Beyond the Bubble Economy," Yes! magazine, Feb. 2012

·        Tom Greco, "The World's Ominous Reckoning," Carolyn, Jan. 2011

·        John Bellamy Foster and Hannah Holleman, "The Financial Power Elite," Monthly Review, vol. 62, issue 1, May 2010

·        CCPA, Canada's Richest 1% Income Shares at Historic High, CCPA news release.


·        Armine Yalnizyan, The Rise of Canada's Richest 1%, CCPA report, Dec. 2010

·        Jeff Fraser, Canada Income Inequality: An Infographic, Huffington Post, May 27, 2012

·        Ellen Brown, "From Matriarchies of Abundance to Patriarchies of Debt," Chapter 5 of The Web of Debt, 2009

·        Sheila Block, The Role of Race and Gender in Ontario's Growing Gap, CCPA report, June 2010

Class Video: Money as Debt: How money is created

Powerpoint Presentation: Phantom Wealth


Tuesday July 10 The Nature and History of Financialization


·        Les Leopold, "The Iron Law of Fantasy Finance," excerpt from The Looting of America: How Wall Street's Game of Fantasy Finance Destroyed Our Jobs, Pensions, and Prosperity—and What We Can Do About It, Chelsea Green publishers, 2010

·        David Harvey, "Their Crisis, Our Challenge," interview with Marco Berlinguer and Hilary Wainwright, Red Pepper, March 2009

·        Ellen Russell, "Should Canadians Worry about a Banking Crisis?", Toronto Star, June 23, 2012Thieves of Bay St..png

§  Optional: Ellen Russell, No More Swimming Naked: The need for modesty in Canadian banking, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives report, June 2012

·        Simon Johnson, "The Canadian Banking Fallacy," The Baseline Scenario, March 25, 2010

§  Optional: Rachel Mendleson, interview with Bruce Livesey, author of Thieves of Bay St.: How banks, brokerages and the wealthy steal billions from Canadians, Huffington Post, April 18, 2012

·        Matt Taibbi, "How Wall St. Killed Financial Reform," Rolling Stone magazine, May 24th, 2012

·        Jim Stanford, "The Global Economic Crisis, Part 1," CD Roundtable interview, Canadian Dimension magazine, January 2012

§  Optional: Parts 2 (Majorie Cohen) and 3 (Sam Ginden) of the roundtable



·        John Bellamy Foster, The Financialization of Capitalism, Monthly Review 58, 11 (April 2007); reprinted as chapter 4 of Foster and Magdoff's The Great Financial Crisis: Causes and consequences, NY: Monthly Review Press, 2009

·        Andy Coghlan and Debora MacKenzie, "Revealed: The capitalist network that runs the world," New Scientist, Oct. 24,2011

·        CCPA, Canada's Secret Bank Bailout Revealed, press release April 30, 2012

·        full report: David Mcdonald, The Big Banks Big Secret: Estimating government support for Canadian banks during the financial crisis, CCPA report, April 2012

·        Paul Bowles, Keely Dempsey, Trevor Shaw, "The Local Financial Crisis: Exorbitant interest on payday loans hurt many Canadians," CCPA Monitor, Feb. 1,2011

Class Video: David Harvey: The Crisis of Capitalism, RSA Animate

Money, Power & Wall St., part 1,


Thursday July 12 Information, Finance and Power


·        David Forrest, review of Kurtzman's The Death of Money, note the definition of Megabyte Money.Benkler1.jpg

·        Satyajit Das on Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Finance, Naked Capitalism website

·        Yochai Benkler, A Moment of Opportunity and Challenge, Chapter 1 of The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom, Yale U. Press, 2005

·        Laurence Lessig, “Some Like It Hot: Piracy & culture,” Wired magazine, Issue 12.03 (March 2004)


·        James Boyle, "A Manifesto on WIPO and the Future of Intellectual Property," Duke Law and Technology Review, August 2004

·        David Morris, "Why is Multi-Billion-Dollar Telecom Time Warner fretting over a small city in North Carolina?", Alternet, June 27, 2011

ATTENTION: also watch what you can of this film before class: RiP: A Remix Manifesto

Class Video:

·        Yochai Benkler: Open-source Economics, TED talk

·        Laurence Lessig: How Creativity is Being Strangled by the Law, TED talk

Powerpoint Presentation: Information, Finance & Power


Tuesday July 17 Adventures in Casino Capitalism


·        Jim Stanford, "Canada: Land of Mines and Banks," Progressive Economics Forum, July 2, 2012

·        Paul Weinburg, "Canadian Bank Meltdown Still Possible," Straightgoods, June 5, 2012

·        Ellen Brown, "Canada’s 2012 Budget: Imposing Austerity on the World’s Most Resource-rich Country," Common Dreams, April 1, 2012

·        Robert Reich, "Libor: The Wall St. Scandal of All Scandals," AlterNet, July 7, 2012

·        Optional: Robert Scheer, "Crime of the Century," Truthdig, July 6, 2012 Fools-Gold-by-Gillian-Tet-001.jpg

·        Michael Hudson, "Learning from the Eurocrisis," interviewed by Paul Jay of the Real News Network, May 10, 2012

·        Justin Elliott, "The 20 Worst Wall St. Banks Funding Our Filthiest Polluters," AlterNet, Dec. 13, 2011

·        Optional: Rainforest Action Network, Financing Global Warming: Canadian Banks and Fossil Fuels, Climate-Friendly Banking website, 2008

·        Jim Hightower, "How the Monsters at Goldman Sachs Caused a Greek Tragedy," AlterNet, March 4, 2010

·        video (6 min.): Cenk Uygur: What We Can Learn from Iceland, June 16, 2012

·        Optional: Ben Chu, "Iceland: The broken economy that got out of jail," The Independent, Sept. 6, 2011


·        Will Hutton, "Let's End this Rotten Culture that Only Rewards Rogues," The Observer, June 30, 2012

·        Matt Taibbi, "Austerity Can't Be Just for Regular People," RS May 8, 2012


·        clips from Inside Job

·        Taming the Vampire Squid: Take back our banks





Part 2: Alternative Finance for Community Development


Thursday July 19 Real Life Economics ECONOF~2.jpg


·        John Talberth, “A New Bottom Line for Progress,” Chapter 2, The State of the World 2008, NY/Washington: Worldwatch Institute, 2008

·        David Korten, "When Bankers Rule the World: How we can call out the myths, restructure the banking system, shut down the con game, and take back America," Yes! magazine, March 2012

·        American Independent Business Alliance, The Multiplier Effect of Local Independent Business Ownership

·        Jayati Ghosh, "Financial Crises and the Impact on Women," Development (2010) 53(3), 381–385.

·        Seth Wessler and Dominique Apollon, "Shut Out of Wealth: Foreclosures Mean Setbacks in the Battle for Gender and Racial Equity," Economica website, 2010.

·        Optional: Inequality Data & Statistics,

·        Canadian Index of Wellbeing. How are Canadians Really Doing? Highlights: Canadian Index of Wellbeing 1.0. Waterloo, ON: Canadian Index of Wellbeing and University of Waterloo, October 2011 [skim]

·        Toronto's Vital Signs 2011, community indicators report summary in Toronto Star, Oct. 4, 2011. (Especially note capsule summaries on p.4)

·        Optional: full report


·        Brian Milani, "Mindful Markets, Value Revolution and the Green Economy: EPR, Certification and the New Regulation", 2009

·        Linda Pannozzo and Ronald Colman, New Policy Directions for Nova Scotia: Using the Genuine Progress Index to Count What Matters, GPI Atlantic report, July 2009 [skim pages 1-22]womanand_giftcover.jpg

·        Garrett Martin and Amar Patel, Going Local: Quantifying the Economic Impacts of Buying from Locally Owned Businesses in Portland, Maine , Maine Center for Economic Policy report, December 2011

·        Dan Houston and Dana Eness, Thinking Outside the Box: A report on independent merchants and the New Orleans economy, Civic Economics report in collaboration with the New Orleans Urban Conservancy, 2009

·        Ecological Footprint for Finance, Global Footprint Network initiative

·        Sustainable Seattle:

·        Seattle Area Happiness Initiative

·        Sustainable Community Indicators

·        Viki Sonntag, Why Local Linkages Matter: Findings from the Local Food Economy Study, report for Sustainable Seattle, February 2008

·        Jason McLennan, "A 'Living' Built-Environment: the Living Building Challenge certification program," Yes! magazine, Nov. 16,2009

·        Happy Planet Index (browse)EcFtLogo_LowResfinal.gif

·        Christine MacDonald, "What GIS Mapping Technology Can Tell You About the Health of Your Neighbourhood and Your Risk for Illness," AlterNet July 4, 2012

·        Maureen Hart et al, Sustainability Indicators, Sustainable Measures website (browse)

·        (French) Commission on Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress: Commission Report , 2009


What is the Genuine Progress Index?

What is Gross National Happiness?

Keeping Austin Weird on Local Multipliers


Tuesday July 24 Qualitative Development

and Alternative Financial Strategies


·        David Korten, "How to Liberate America from Wall Street Rule," Introduction to report from The New Economy Working Group.

·        Optional: full report

·        Gar Alperovitz, "Occupy the Banks: Strategies for Transformation," Yes! magazine, October 2011

·        Stacy Mitchell, "Banking for the Rest of Us," Sojourners magazine, April 1, 2012

·        Michael Shuman, , "Ten Reasons for Financial Optimism (If you invest locally)," BALLE blog, January 2012



·       Robert Pollin, A US Financial Transactions Tax: How Wall St. can pay for its mess, New Labor Forum 21(2): 96-99, Spring 2012

·       Ellen Brown, "Greece and the Euro: 50 ways to leave your lover," June 4, 2012

·       Paul Weinberg, "Self-financing Toronto: City could ease cash crisis if it put revenues in a bank of its own," Straight Goods, May 14, 2012

·       Carne Ross, Revolution Through Banking? The Nation, December 11, 2011


·        Josh Harkinson, "Meet the Financial Wizards Working with Occupy Wall St.," Mother Jones, Dec. 13, 2011

·        Josh Harkinson, "In a 325-page SEC letter, Occupy's Finance Gurus Take on Wall St. Lobbyists," Mother Jones mag, Feb. 14, 2012

·        Gar Alperovitz, "The Rise of the New Economy Movement," AlterNet, May 20, 2012

·        Woody Tasch, excerpts from Slow Money: Investing as if Food, Farms, and Fertility Mattered, Chelsea Green Publishers, 2008

·        Neva Goodwin, "A New Economics for the 21st Century," New Economics Institute, 2012

·        New Economics Foundation (UK), A Green New Deal: Joined-up policies to solve the triple crunch of the credit crisis, climate change and high oil prices, executive summary, NEF report, July 2008

·        Feminism, Finance and the Future of #Occupy - An interview with Silvia Federici,, Nov. 27, 2011


·        Michael Shuman on local investing

·        Ann Pettifor:  On Financing the Green Transition   and  Let Them Default

·        Victoria Grant, 12, on the nature of Canadian banking


Thursday July 26 Tools for Occupying Finance


·        Michael Shuman, "Put Your Money Where Your Life Is: Americans want to invest locally. What's stopping them?," Yes! Summer 2009MostInterestingMan.jpg

·        Miriam Axel-Lute, John Emmeus Davis, and Harold Simon, "Cheaper Together: How neighbors invest in community," Yes! magazine, Summer 2012

·        Majorie Kelly, Can There be "Good" Corporations? When companies are owned by workers and the community–instead of Wall St. financiers—everything changes, Yes! magazine Spring 2012

·        Ellen Brown, "Cooperative Banking, the Exciting Wave of the Future," Huffington Post, May 23, 2012

·        Amy Cortese, "In Defence of Crowdfunding," Locavesting blog, March 16, 2012

·        Jessica Freireich, Investing for Social and Environmental Impact: A design for catalyzing an entire industry, Executive Summary of report for the Monitor Institute, Jan. 2009

·        SolarShare: FAQ

·        Vanessa Lu, "Goodbye Quick Buck, Hello Slow Money," Toronto Star, Sept. 22, 2011

·        Mark Garland, "The Next Money: As the big economies falter, micro-currencies rise,"  The Atlantic, May 16, 2012


Christine Dobby, "A Case for Crowdfunding,"  Financial Post, April 18, 2012BALLE_crowdfunding_infographic.jpg

·        Credibles: a Slow Money crowdfund for NY and California.

·        Mark Maynard, report on the Accelerating Community Capital workshop at the 2012 BALLE conference, featuring Don Shaffer, Michael Shuman, Cathy Berry, Michelle Long, John Fullerton and others, May 17, 2012

·        Tyler Hamilton, "Province Proposes New Path for Financing Energy, Water Conservation," Toronto Star, May 22, 2012

               Sonja Persram, original studies of PAPER program.

·        Shann Turnbull, "How Might Cell Phone Money Change the Financial System," Journal of Financial Transformation, Vol. 30, pp.-32-42, 2010

·        Gar Alperovitz, "Our Co-Owned Future: From health care to job to community development, why the future will be cooperative,", March 2, 2012



·       Ellen Brown: From Scarcity to Abundance: Reimagining money

·       Fixing the Future,  NOW on PBS documentary, excerpts

·       SolarShare Toronto


Tuesday July 31, 2012  The Network Economy and Commons Renaissance


·        Jay Walljasper, "What is the Commons," chapter 1 of All That We Share: A field guide to the Commons, NY: The New Press, 2010

·        Clay Shirky, "Does the Internet Make You Smarter?", Wall St. Journal, June 4, 2010

·        "Weblogs and the Mass Amateurization of Publishing," blog, Oct. 3, 2002

·        Christopher Mitchell and David Morris, "The Battle is Raging for Control of the Internet—and Big Corporations May Come Out on the Losing Side,"  AlterNet, June 21, 2010.

·        Michael Geist, "Supreme Court Shakes Foundations of Copyright Law,"  Toronto Star, July 15, 2012

·        Tapscott and Williams, Chapter One of Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything

Optional: "Controversial copyright Rules Threaten Canada-European Trade Deal," Toronto Star,       July 7, 2012


Thursday August 2, 2012  New Forms of Economic Security


·        Peter Barnes, "Economic Security Beyond Jobs: Let's pay dividends to everyone from our common wealth," On the Commons, Feb. 16, 2012

·        Genevieve Vaughan, "The Maternal Gift Economy: An Alternative Economic Model,"  Community Voice essay, Economica: Women and the Global Economy website, 2010

·        Eli Gothill, "The Future of Money is Abundance," Webisteme blog, May 15, 2011

·        Chandra Pasma and Jim Mulvale, Income Security for All Canadians: Understanding Guaranteed Income, BIEN Canada study, 2011

·        James Robertson, "Sharing the Value of Common Resources: Citizen's Income in a Wider Context," Basic Income Studies journal, Dec. 2009

·        Stanislas Jourdan, "Free Culture and Basic Income: same fight!"  Boiling Frogs, June 28, 2012



·        Optional: Charles Eisenstein, "Can Gift Exchange Fix the Problems of Capitalism and Rebuild our Lost Community?"  AlterNet, January 1, 2012

·        Eli Gothill, "The Special Logic of Gift Economies," Webisteme blog, May 1, 2011


Thursday August 7, 2012  Student Presentations


Thursday August 9, 2012  Student Presentations


Papers: approximately 15 pages, double-spaced, on a topic of your choice; due date August 20

Review: of one of the readings, about 3 pages, due July 31.

Presentations: teams of 2 or 3 on a topic of your choice, 15-20 min.

Grades: Attendance/Participation 10%;  Review 10%;  Presentation 15%;  Term paper 65%.



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