Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Microloans and Remixes

[Photo: Courtesy of Pro Mujer]

I've read so many accounts of students -- and know so many people -- who've bounced checks, that it makes me wonder. Turns out commercial banks are not often a friend of the typical small account holder. In fact, many banks and credit companies count on defaults, bounces, insufficient funds fees, overdraft charges, and "courtesy protection" to make money. Break the backs of the poor or the down-and-out via a daisy chain of defaults, a nightmarish domino effect, in order to give profits to the big investors. This is a predatory practice. More people should band together to fend off getting the shaft of late fees and overdraft fees and over-the-limit fees. And those who need a small investment loan to get something going should be able to get it without getting screwed by high interest rates.

And there is a way around conventional practices: Microloans. And credit unions. Bartering. Swapping. Individual loans. Built on trust and human relationships. And for those who are short on rent money or other bills, why not bring back the Rent Party? No need to feel embarrassed. Invite people over, ask for a small contribution in food, drink, cash. Have a party! John Lee Hooker may no longer be available, but maybe someone of talent could help in the entertainment department. Better than feeling abused or considering suicide, certainly. All aboard for fun time!

Another thing to explore is how copyright and remixing intersect. Lawrence Lessig's Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy is an excellent place to start. Give full credit where one can, and proceed cheerfully and creatively. It's a whole new world and at this point all bets are off.

Today's Rune: Defense.


the walking man said...

I suppose the train ride would get boring if it were all flat land eh?

The thing is with culture as a whole, world wide the way it is, are we as a group able to form a collective anymore? Are there enough people with the talent and skill of the last great troubled times around who would share that information and learning.

I like most people who grew up in the urban environment know that any kind of food garden is a nest for rats and a feed bag for squirrels. But there is hydroponics, which I never considered before. *sigh* a whole new skills set is going to have to be learned and taught.

Distributorcap said...

trust, what a novel idea

Anonymous said...

Rick McHugh, a lawyer who focuses on Michigan for the National Employment Law Project, an advocacy group for low-wage workers, has even seen his job change. “A year ago, I felt like I could help people, give people advice or send them to a program that would help them,” Mr. McHugh said.

“Now, I say, ‘I hope you have a relative with a house that’s paid off so you’ll have a place to live.’ ”

JR's Thumbprints said...

I've always believed in a pay as you go mentality--on everything, except my house. These next few years will be interesting, especially in Michigan with the plight of the auto-workers.

Johnny Yen said...

The Chicago neighborhood I grew up in, Albany Park, has developed a large Korean community in the last 30 years. The more established Korean immigrants pool their money together and loan it out to more recent immigrants to form businesses with. Seems like a good model for any community.