Monthly Archives: December 2017

Building a Healthy Economy from the Bottom Up

Building a Healthy Economy from the Bottom Up: Harnessing Real-World Experience for Transformative Change by Anthony Flaccavento (University Press of Kentucky, 2016)

Anthony Flaccavento is not just another progressive author writing about alternatives to global capitalism; he is an organic farmer and consultant with a lifetime of real world experience in Appalachia. In this book he shares what he has learned about building local economies from his region of the United States and from others all over the country. Flaccavento understands the challenges facing places that have been dependent on a few industries or products for many generations (in Appalachia, coal and tobacco) and need to rebuild their local economy from scratch. His examples are practical and inspiring, his analysis of why some solutions work better than others are evidence based, and his public policy recommendations are spot on.

Flaccavento doesn’t hesitate to call out the global capitalists and their schemes to suck the money out of local communities and strong-arm governments into costly tax incentives. If you’re already on board with the necessity of transition to local economies, this book will provide you with lots of ammunition for your next fight; if you’re open minded but unfamiliar with the topic, this book will convince you.


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Filed under Environment, Politics

The Rules of Magic

The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman (Simon and Schuster, 2017)

Although Hoffman has apparently written many Young Adult (teen) novels, which I have not read, this one is for adults. I am not sure how I feel about it. It did have quite a large amount of tragedy, mainly untimely deaths. You might even say that was the theme. The plot concept is clever – how the descendants of witches killed in the Salem witch trials fare in a 20th century world that is not quite as hostile to witches, but doesn’t exactly accept them either. This book takes place in the 1960s, mainly in Manhattan and Boston but also in Paris and San Francisco (I suppose because there is plenty of historical information available on those places in the 1960s). The concept of witches not being able to swim underwater without immediately floating up is not only portrayed as scientific fact, but is a major plot point (because it keeps them from saving others from drowning). So, interesting book, a little weird, lots of death – the main characters spend most of the book trying to avoid the curse that anyone they love gets killed. It doesn’t go that well for them.

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Filed under Fantasy, Fiction