Talk 2013-09: Islamic Banking

Café Economique talk given by Bushra Merghani
When: Thursday 26th September 2013, 7:30-9:30pm
Where: City Gallery, 14a Long Row East, Oriel Chambers Courtyard NG1 2DH

Copy of talk: Islamic Banking

Does Islamic Banking offer a solution to the problems that have blighted western banks in recent times?

A growing number of Islamic, state-owned and private banks in Asia, Middle East and Africa are offering a range of ‘sharia-compliant’ financial products (business loans, mortgages and hire-purchase finance) without charging interest or up-front fees and are still making huge profits. Deposits into these banks have been growing at the rate of 30% per annum. Currently, it’s estimated that almost $200 billion transactions take place through these banks every year.

This talk by Bushra Merghani will discuss the benefits and limitations of Islamic banking and to what extent western banks can benefit from their experience.

2013-07: Keep the Parasitic Banking Sector Alive and the Economy Dies

When: Thursday 18th July 2013, 7:30-9:30pm
Where: Upstairs room at the Peacock, 11 Mansfield Road, Nottingham, NG1 3FB
Attendance is free although a voluntary collection will be taken to help with the group’s future expenses

This will be a facilitated discussion around an interview given by Australian economist Steve Keen in June 2012. Keen was one of the few economists to predict, and explain, the financial crisis before it happened. We will start with a recording of the half hour interview by Paul Mason with a live audience at the London School of Economics.

Issues raised include:

  • Economists’ models ignore the impact of money, banks and debt. This is only valid in a world where there is no credit, no debt and no banks.
  • Banks profit from creating debt – until the mountain of debt becomes unsustainable. Reducing the debt reduces GDP and causes austerity.
  • An alternative to austerity is a ‘Modern Debt Jubilee’ – putting money into people’s bank accounts to write down debt: quantitative easing for people not banks.

This discussion was proposed in an earlier post, Summary of a radio interview with Australian economist Steve Keen, which goes into much more detail about Steve Keen’s opinions and further reading on the subject.

The radio interview is at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01j5h51

Facebook event page: http://www.facebook.com/events/359546250817715/

 

2013-06: What is ‘alternative economics’ anyways?

Café Economique open discussion

When: Thursday, 20th June, 7:30 to 9:39 p.m.
Where: Upstairs at The Peacock, 11 Mansfield Road, Nottingham, NG1 3FB
Attendance is free although a voluntary contribution will be taken to help with the group’s future expenses.
Facebook event: http://www.facebook.com/events/281599081974242/

Our discussion will be based on close reading of a document called ‘PRINCIPLES FOR A NEW ECONOMY’ that can be freely downloaded here: http://ase.tufts.edu/gdae/advancing_theory/principlesforaneweconomy.pdf

This, of course, is not the only document available that tries to articulate the ‘principles’ for what some would called an alternative economic order. We think, however, this acts as a good representative of the field.

If you get a chance, you could download this 3-page document beforehand and bring it along to the session.

A member of the Café Economic organising committee will act as a facilitator for the discussion.

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Talk 2013-05: Skills Exchange and Time Banking

The Skills Exchange - helping handsCafé Economique talk given by Helen Rigby of the Partnership Council Skills Exchange
When: Thursday 16th May 2013, 7:30-9:30pm
Where: Upstairs room at the Peacock, 11 Mansfield Road, Nottingham, NG1 3FB
Attendance is free although a voluntary collection will be taken to help with the group’s future expenses
Facebook event page: http://www.facebook.com/events/551430484877185/

Helen Rigby, with the assistance of members of the Skills Exchange, will explain what it is, what it does, and how people benefit from it.

Skills Exchange is a Time Bank. The principle behind Time Banking is very simple, for every hour that you help someone else you will receive one time credit, you can then go on to swap these time credits when you want something doing for you. One hour’s work equals one time credit no matter what skills are used. All skills have equal value.

It does what it says on the tin. It is a chance for people in the community to swap skills with each other.

From the Skills Exchange Weblog

This Skills Exchange has been going almost 6 years now. There is a network of Time Banks, there are other such schemes around including one in West Bridgford, and the ‘LETS’ principle is a similar one: enable members to provide services for each other without the need for money. This is particularly useful for people on lower incomes or during times of hardship. These schemes also encourage community cohesion and neighbourliness at a time when people often feel distanced from each other. There are frequent socials, trips and outings, craft sessions and fundraising drives such as the recent Spring Bazaar.

Come and hear testimony from those who run and use the Skills Exchange on how well it works for them.

Talk 2013-03-21: ParEcon – Participatory Economics

Book on ParEcon by Michael AlbertCafé Economique talk given by Jason Chrysostomou of IOPS
When: Thursday 21st March 2013, 7:30-9:30pm
Where: Upstairs room at the Peacock, 11 Mansfield Road, Nottingham, NG1 3FB
Attendance is free although a voluntary collection will be taken to help with the group’s future expenses

As discontent for current forms of socio-economic organisation grows around the world, the pressing question arises, what do we want as an alternative?

Participatory Economics, or ‘Parecon’, is an economic model developed by Robin Hahnel and Michael Albert that seeks to address this question. The model describes how workers and consumers can co-operatively, equitably and efficiently plan a complex modern economy themselves and in a way that produces more desirable humanitarian and ecological outcomes.

This session will present the goals, key institutions and strategic implications of the participatory economics model, followed by a Q&A session.

Some quotes on Parecon:

“It merits close attention, debate and action” – Noam Chomsky

“an imaginative, carefully reasoned description, persistently provocative, of how we might live free from economic injustice” – Howard Zinn

“Parecon is a brave argument … for a much needed, more equitable, democratic, participatory alternative economic vision” – Arundhati Roy

Facebook event page: http://www.facebook.com/events/492916110745554/

Talk 2013-04-18: “Workers of the world, unite?” Globalisation and the quest for transnational solidarity

Café Economique talk on Thursday, 18 April 2013
Time: 7:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
Where:  Upstairs room at the Peacock, 11 Mansfield Road, NG1 3FB
(Attendance is free although a voluntary collection will be taken to help with the group’s future expenses)

Our speaker will be Andreas Bieler, Professor of Political Economy, School of Politics and International Relations, University of Nottingham, http://andreasbieler.net

From a 1911 issue of the Industrial Worker, newspaper of the International Workers’ of the World

From a 1911 issue of the Industrial Worker, newspaper of the International Workers’ of the World

Against the background of globalisation, trade unions have found it increasingly difficult to represent the interests of their members and wider society. And yet, they are not powerless. Two main strategies of transnational solidarity initiated within the World Social Forum spaces will be explored:

a) The approach of  ‘Decent Work, Decent Life’ headed by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and related organisations and focusing on side agreements to free trade treaties;
b) Initiatives by the Labour and Globalisation Network to increase co-operation with social movements.

Facebook event: http://www.facebook.com/events/153407088147503/

Talk 2013-02-21: Living on Benefits

Café Economique talk by Matthew McVeagh (group member)
When: Thursday 21st February 2013, 7:30pm – 9:30pm
Where: Upstairs room at the Peacock, 11 Mansfield Road, Nottingham, NG1 3FB
Attendance is free although a voluntary collection will be taken to help with the group’s future expenses

Matthew McVeagh, who has extensive experience of living on social security benefits in the UK, will give a talk on what it is like and how it affects your life and involvement in society. Areas covered will include how come we have a benefits system at all, how the system works and how it treats claimants, practical day-to-day living, psychological effects and self-identity, relations between claimants and the rest of society, coming changes, help, resistance and prospects for a better situation.

Matthew welcomes contribution to this talk from others, especially those with similar first-hand experience; please get in touch and we can arrange a sharing of time. The talk will be 45 minutes and after a break there will be 45 minutes for question and answer and discussion. Discussion will also probably continue later into the evening.

Facebook event page: http://www.facebook.com/events/287125941413008/

Dole Street
Report on the talk

This talk went well and was well received by the 20 or so attendees. I would like to expand the material to create a better future talk and one with attractive visual aids such as a projected presentation rather than just text read put and expanded upon. Several attendees said they had learnt quite a lot from the talk and the discussion afterwards was lively. It could be useful to repeat it and encourage others to do similarly. There were no immediate practical steps towards organising Nottingham benefit claimants.

Matthew