Monthly Archives: February 2014

Visualizing Our Future Economy

NEMIT Word Cloud

What do we think of when we hear “new economy?” At our February kickoff meeting we spent a portion of the time generating short answers to this question. Specifically, we asked ourselves: What does our ideal future economy look like? We then took our thirty or so responses (e.g. “even geography of opportunity”; “inclusive of the ‘multitude'”), and plugged them into this word cloud generator, yielding the following results.

Any way you look at it, it represents our conversation and priorities pretty well:

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wordcloud1 wordcloud2

Fossil Free MIT Climate Change Speaker Series


Fossil Free MIT has an impressive lineup of scientists and policy-makers speaking this semester.

For our inaugural event, we are delighted to welcome MIT Professor of Atmospheric Science, Kerry Emanuel. Emanuel is widely regarded as one of the world’s foremost experts on the climate science of tropical cyclones. He was named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people of 2006 and is the author of Divine Wind: The History and Science of Hurricanes and of What We Know About Climate Change.

Emanuel will be speaking on February 26th, 6 pm – 7:30 in 4-237.

World famous former NASA scientist James Hansen will be speaking on April 15th.

Check out their website for more updates.


February 27th: Bhaskar Sunkara, Editor of Jacobin Magazine

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New Economy @ MIT is pleased to sponsor a talk by Bhaskar Sunkara, founding editor of Jacobin Magazine, on February 27th at 6 pm in Long Lounge (room 7-429) MIT.

Jacobin is a leading voice of the American left, offering socialist perspectives on politics, economics, and culture. The print magazine is released quarterly and reaches over 5,000 subscribers, in addition to a web audience of 300,000 a month.


And they have amazing graphic design to boot! Check out their latest issue, or read an interview with Sunkara.

Please feel free to circulate the event flier (below)!


Feb 11-12th: Presencing Institute’s Global Forum | Web Streaming


The Presensing Institute’s Global Forum is closed, but it will be live streamed!

On 11-12th February 2014, the plenary sessions of the Global Forum will be live streamed free of charge. For more information regarding which sessions will be broadcast, please see the schedule below.

To watch the live stream, CLICK HERE: Please bookmark this page.

Forum Intention

The 2014 Global Forum will showcase living examples and initiatives that generate profound change in social systems by shifting the awareness of people within these systems from what we call ego-system awareness, to eco-system awareness.

We see this event as an important step toward convening a global movement that aims at shifting the economic discourse. The living examples showcased at the forum will offer insight into how we might shift from a focus merely on GDP to a focus on well-being, from scarcity to abundance, from exclusion to inclusion, from competition to co-creation, from reducing negative to generating positive impact, from transactional to transformative relationships, and from exploitation to shared ecosystem prosperity.

For more information, including a list of speakers and schedule of events, please click here.

Three Ways to Participate Virtually

We will offer three different ways to participate virtually in the 2014 Global Forum.

  1. Watch live
  2. Watch live + join the conversation on our dedicated 2014 Global Forum Online Community Group
  3. Watch live + join the conversation + organize a small group of friends or colleagues and use our Global Forum Toolkit to host your own sessions at home in parallel with the live events in Cambridge, MA

Watch Live

Simply click the link and watch the video stream. During the event, submit your questions and insights via email ( or join the conversation on twitter using the hashtag #ego2eco

Watch Live + Join the Conversation

Create a profile (free) or log in. Join the group, where you can post comments, chat with other online participants from around the globe, and share links, documents, photos and video – all leading up to, during, and after the Global Forum.

During the event, we encourage you to submit your questions and insights via email ( or join the conversation on twitter using the hashtag #ego2eco

Watch Live + Join the Conversation + Organize a Parallel Forum

Create a profile (free) or log in. Join the group, where you will find a free copy of the Global Forum Toolkit, designed specifically for this year’s event. In the Toolkit you will a variety of methods and suggestions that will help you run a parallel event with a small group of friends, wherever you are in the world.

We also encourage you to join the online conversation where you can post comments, chat with other online participants from around the globe, and share links, documents, photos and video – all leading up to, during, and after the Global Forum.

During the event, we encourage you to submit your questions and insights via email ( or join the conversation on twitter using the hashtag #ego2eco

Live Stream Schedule
(Full in-person program available here)

Tuesday 11 February

08:30 Opening
          Arawana Hayashi, Stan Strickland, Dayna Cunningham, Otto Scharmer, Marian Goodman
08:45 The Three Divides
Otto Scharmer
09:15 Invitation to Deeper Listening
Arthur Zajonc
09:30 Innovating Across the Three Divides
          Michelle Long, Phil Thompson, Dayna Cunningham
10:30 Break
11:00 Stories from the Field
   Otto Scharmer, Kang Yoto, Cylvia Hayes
12:00 Dialogue & Reflective Remarks
Peter Senge, Arthur Zajonc
13:00 End of Live Stream

Wednesday 12 February

08:20 Warming the Space: Sound & Music
Stan Strickland
08:30 Labs: Check-in Reflection
09:00 Sparks of the Future

          Peter Senge, Lew Daly, Juliet Schor, Eileen Fisher, Sofia Campos
10:30 Break
11:00 Invitation to Presencing Practice
Otto Scharmer, Marian Goodman
11:30 Clusters of Connection
12:15 Invitation to Prototyping
Ela Ben-Ur
12:25 End of Live Stream

Note: All times displayed are in EST (Eastern Standard Time).


Firewalls and Network Permissions
Some organizations require network permission. Check with your organization and ensure that you get the necessary approvals if you plan to connect via a company network.

Technical Requirements
Please ensure that your equipment meets the following requirements:

  • Access to high-speed Internet or (minimum) 56K dial-up
  • Email account
  • PDF reader (free software)

Flash and Windows Media Technical Support
For troubleshooting any issues related to viewing the live lectures, telephone help-desk support will be available to all participants (Windows and Mac users). The help desk will be open during all testing periods. In addition, support will be available starting one hour prior and during the first day of the Forum, February 11 (7:30 AM – 6:00 PM EST).

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What if I miss the Forum?
You have the option to watch the live session or the taped broadcast. We usually post the broadcast within 24 hours after a session and keep it available for 6 months online.

How do I send in my questions during the session?
You will receive an email address for where you can send your questions. You can also post questions to our 2014 Global Forum Online Community Group, or post to twitter using the hashtag #ego2eco.

What if I run into technical problems?
We offer technical support during the testing day and on the first day of the forum.

Food Justice Initiatives of Dudley Square, Boston


On Friday November 15th, the new economy student group at Tufts led a tour of the slew of successful neighborhood initiatives in Dudley Square, Boston. These projects include land trusts, urban farming, job training, youth empowerment, guerrilla art and much more.

New Economy @ MIT was psyched to be in attendance, and hear from representatives of The Food ProjectDudley Street Neighborhood InitiativeAlternatives for Community and EnvironmentHaley House Bakery Cafe, and Boston Day and Evening Academy and see the work they are doing around the neighborhood.

Student Research Series


In the fall of 2013, New Economy @ MIT invited students engaged in research or practice focused on alternative economic models to present and discuss their research among peers. Twice a month, over lunch, two graduate students from a range of MIT programs would present their work to an equally diverse audience of students, faculty, and community members.

Session 1: Rodrigo Davies on civic crowd funding and Jonathan Krones on industrial ecology

Session 2: Denise Cheng on the peer economy and Caroline Howe on civic consumption

Session 3: Eduardo Marisca on the video game industry in Peru and Zahir Dossa on sustainable business development

Session 4: Travis Sheehan on the future of micro grids


NOVEMBER 12 | 2013

Rodrigo Davies, Comparative Media Studies, on Civic Crowdfunding: Participatory Communities or Frontier Entrepreneurs?

Crowdfunding, the raising of capital from a large and diverse pool of donors via online platforms, has grown exponentially in the past five years, and is beginning to expand into the realm of civic and public space projects. This growth has led to the rise of specialist platforms, some of which explicitly solicit the involvement of government alongside citizens. While these new platforms and associations create new opportunities for civic organization, their emergence also raises important questions about the role of public institutions and public goods. Rodrigo will be discussing the historical context and intellectual paradigms within which civic crowdfunding can be located, and giving an overview of four case studies he’s studying in the US, UK and Brazil.

Jonathan Krones, Engineering Systems Division, on Closed-loop Economies in Industrial Ecology.

Industrial ecology is the study of the material and energy flows that underpin human activities. One evocative vision of sustainability promoted by many industrial ecologists is that of a closed-loop economy, in which a limited stock of material resources is cycled repeatedly through the economy, allowing a material-intensive standard of living while avoiding the significant environmental damages associated with large extractions of raw materials from and emissions of wastes and pollution to the environment. Jonathan will be discussing his work assessing the potential for closing material loops through the large-scale reuse and recycling of the billions of tons of non-hazardous industrial waste generated each year by the various manufacturing industries in the United States.

NOVEMBER 19 | 2013

Denise Cheng, Comparative Media Studies, on The Past, Present and Future of Work in the Peer Economy.

Since the 1950s, the American Dream has been tied to salaried, full-time jobs with benefits. But in light of changing company-employee relationships, the recession, unshakeable college debt and a jobless recovery of the economy, Americans have had to consider pursuing other work options with equal zeal.There has been a proliferation of peer economy platforms—companies that enable people to monetize their existing skills and assets. Yet, the peer economy (or sharing economy, to be broader) cannot sidestep issues that less visible movements have pursued for decades. When independent workers build a company’s brand, who deserves equity? How does camaraderie grow organically among independent workers, who are vulnerable to isolation? Does there need to be a workers’ bill of rights (hint: look to the National Day Laborer Organizing Network and the National Domestic Workers Alliance)? Who is responsible for liability insurance? How do full-time indy hustlers secure health insurance?

 Caroline Howe, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, on Civic Consumption: Increasing Access by Leveraging Demand

Caroline Howe is a Senior Fellow at Groundswell, a DC-based social enterprise that aggregates community electricity demand from residents and community organizations to be able to provide renewable energy at rates lower than conventional electricity. This model of civic consumption has been used in many different sectors — from health care to school books, from local food to home broadband — and Caroline will be sharing her research on how the model works, what direct and indirect co-benefits it creates, and how it could be used to create a more inclusive new economy.

NOVEMBER 26 | 2013

Eduardo Marisca, Comparative Media Studies, on Making Games in Peru: Lessons for Creative Industries in Developing Economies.

Based on field work with the Peruvian video game industry, this research looks at some of the main challenges this industry has faced over its two decade-long history and the lessons learnt that might be relevant to other emerging creative industries in developing countries. The Peruvian game industry has been able to evolve and grow for over two decades with barely any recognition from the local market or government, and it has come to a point where it is now growing self-aware of its own challenges and opportunities. The session will focus around the perception of risk around the industry, which affects the recognition and support it receives from government, interest from investors and clients, and willingness from young professionals to go into the industry and build a career. Digital creative industries offer new opportunities for developing economies to diversify into more knowledge-based economic activities; and because many of these industries are driven by creative communities, the incentives to develop the skills they need is often social and cultural, and not economic. Communities such as game developers are then introducing innovative skills that can be leveraged into larger industries; and gaming in particular offers a series of affordances that lend themselves especially well towards the strengthening of a local technology base.

Zahir Dossa, PhD ’13 from Department of Urban Studies and Planning, on The Argan Tree: A Sustainable Business Model.

The Argan Tree sells all-natural beauty products infused with argan oil that it sources from a 60-woman cooperative it founded in Morocco. The goal of The Argan Tree is to return profits to those that matter– its stakeholders, focusing on its producers and their communities. As part of his doctoral research, Zahir studied the argan oil cooperative movement in southwestern Morocco and decided to make a new business model that connected producers directly to customers through E-Commerce and espouse transparency to show customers where their money went.

DECEMBER 3 | 2013

Travis Sheehan, Department of Urban Studies and Planning ’13, on Resilient Cities via District Energy: A New Grid Paradigm.

The energy industry is experiencing a paradigm shift from a top down system to shared, local networks of cooperatively owned energy centers. District Energy is a mature technology and concept that enables peer-to-peer production and consumption of energy, enhances climate-preparedness, and enables innovative clean-technology development. There are monumental regulatory barriers that restrict its widespread deployment. Travis will present the City of Boston’s District Energy strategy and the political and regulatory context for shared energy networks in North America.