If People Counted June 2013

Everyone is talking and worrying about the economy. So many people have different opinions and it is not always clear who a reliable source is. So what does it all mean?

Catalyst is interested in having a conversation with you about the economy. We would like to dialogue with you about the possibilities of what an economy would look like if people really counted. That conversation could possibly take years.

Instead of being daunted by how big the task could be, we are going to start with a conversation and a workshop. We are in the process of booking space and speakers for mid-June. Our plan is to have an evening panel discussion with people who can share a little of their insights on how the economy works or could work followed by a world cafe.

The next day we will have a workshop on popular economics. This will be a daylong participatory workshop where we will start to unpack concepts around the economy and you can also learn some great tools to use in your own communities.

We will keep posting updates here as we confirm details so keep coming back!

For now, let’s start a discussion.

What is Popular Economics?

Economics is usually spoken of as something only experts can understand. We all have an enormous amount of experience with economics.   We may lack the jargon of the field of economics but that doesn’t mean we don’t know how things work.
Popular economics looks at some of the jargon, the history, the policies and the practices of how economics fits in our lives. It looks at both the everyday level and the more public and political levels.  While economics does have a lot to do with numbers, it has much more to do with politics and public policy than you might think.

Economic Literacy is part of understanding popular economics. This means we need to learn what the terms mean – how to “read” economics, develop some understanding of what the mainstream thinking in economics includes:

Debunking Economics: the field of economics wants us to believe that it is a rational science that makes rational decisions. This is not always the case. Dominant economics also believes that only experts can understand all the complexities of the field. This course will expose some of the contradictions and lies of dominant economics.

Demystifying Economics: similar to debunking, this term refers to making something less mysterious. Economics is often portrayed as so complex and mysterious that only a highly trained expert is capable of knowing what is going. Demystifying is process of exposing this “mystery” and showing how this notion of mystery serves the interests of the powerful.

Imagining Other Economic Relationships: part of any process of critical dialogue and learning needs to include imagining and discussing alternatives. It is not enough simply to acquire new knowledge, we must apply it.

Popular Economics: this refers to all of the above-mentioned approaches combined together. Popular economics (as with popular education) recognizes the power of the participants to make new knowledge and take action to change their world for the better.

What do you think?

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4 Responses to If People Counted June 2013

  1. Helen Armstrong says:

    Sounds good. Keep me posted.

  2. Gerry says:

    If this is another Trot front-group, I’ll scream.

    Are you into “Participatory Budget”?

    Let me know when you re-schedule.

    • deborah says:

      Yes Jerry. We are.

      One of our members just attended a conference on participatory budgeting in the states. You can read some of his thoughts on that on our facebook page.

      One of the panelists that were to be at the event is involved in some participatory budgeting in Hamilton.

      What is your connection/interest with participatory budgeting?

      Would you like to sign up for Catalyst newsletter?


    • deborah says:

      I am curious about a lot of things. In particular processes that are or could be democratic get my attention. How do you feel about participatory budgeting?

      Are you asking if the Catalyst Centre is another Trot front-group? Or the conference?

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