Interesting piece in The Christian Science Monitor looking at how the ideals of the collaborative economy are being embraced by those in Spain looking to find a way away from their economic woes. Spaniards turn to barter, alternative banks to alleviate economic pain includes lots of practical examples of the types of measures people are taking, including some that will feel familiar to those in the U.S. The most interesting part of the piece for me, though, is that regular people are waking up to the ramifications of the shenanigans taken by nameless, faceless bankers and financial types, and are taking action. As Jaime Pastor of the Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia comments in the piece: “Spanish and European institutions and the market in general fueled the idea that everyone could buy anything with cheap credit. It created the illusion of popular capitalism and a real estate bubble, and the crisis showed us it wasn’t real.” This in itself is a big deal, but the idea that a result of this awakening will be the rise of the cooperative economy is even more tantalizing.
[Photograph of Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia by Lukasz Dzierzanowski. Mainly because right now and despite the woes of the nation, I’d really like to be in Barcelona.]