Local Land Ownership and the American Dream

imageThree years ago Paula and I became first time homeowners and landlords when we purchased our central Austin duplex. Despite all the paperwork (I never knew I could sign my name so many times), it was all pretty thrilling. But looking back at it now, I can see more clearly than ever that this process, more than anything else we have done so far, helped us better secure our financial footing by giving us the ability to make payments as if we were renting, but build equity in the process. And of course, it gave us a sense of ownership and control over our own little piece of the American Dream. Continue reading

A Field Trip to the Schumacher Center for a New Economics

imageIn his 1973 book, Small is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered, E.F. Schumacher challenges our economic assumptions that more is better and bigger is more efficient. It has now been 42 years since Schumacher wrote his book and while there’s increased awareness of some of the issues he raised – inequality and environmental degradation among them – there seems to be no indication that these trends are going to reverse themselves anytime soon. To say that there’s still plenty of work to do is an understatement. Fortunately, there are some amazing people leading the way.

While in Connecticut visiting my family for the Christmas holiday, we took an economic pilgrimage to the nearby Schumacher Center for a New Economics located in the Berkshire Mountains. Continue reading