April 11, 2013

New Sprouts On The Ashes Of Spain's Crisis-Stricken Economy

"Barcelona is a laboratory for such experimenting with alternative, solidarity-based forms of economy. While many of the city’s businesses are closing, hundreds of cooperatives are being launched there. At the same time, initiatives to recycle equipment and materials are blossoming. In courses financed by the municipal administration, people are learning to sew, restore furniture, and repair household appliances. Neighbours cooperate in urban gardens to raise vegetables for their own consumption. Forms of collaborative consumption are also on the rise. Car sharing is very popular; people are bartering goods and services and jointly organizing children’s day care. Consumers are joining forces to buy directly from farmers in the region, bypassing middlemen. The growing popularity of this "consumo de proximidad (regional consumption) supports organic agriculture at the regional level. The crisis seems to have brought about a new awareness – a growing appreciation of raw materials and resources. But that is not all: the need for structures of solidarity and a fundamental social transformation is on the rise."

Forest fires renew the land, they say. Maybe the collapse of the global system based on consumerism brings a new era of vivid local communities? Spanish society shows signs that could very hardly be described as... decline, desolation, disintegration... much rather like, say, renewal?

Read the full article at the Böll Foundation's website, here. 

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