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Observations on attending the Living Economies Expo in Lyttelton
31 Mar 2017 Post by: Steven Moe

Was able to attend some of the Living Economies Expo held in Lyttelton.  They had an interesting line up of speakers and topics for the three day event.  Information about it can be accessed here.

Because 31 March was financial year end I was in the office most of the day trying to get a major business sale completed but that's the way things go sometimes!  However I was able to get out for the panel discussion and have dinner.

The model for the event itself is worth commenting on as it was pitched as a "co-created event" - one example of that was we were asked to bring our own plates and cutlery.  Volunteers ran it and the amount they paid to attend could reflect the contribution they had made in non-monetary terms.  This is an interesting model in an era of corporate events and made the entire thing feel very "grass roots" - in a good way.  It also fit in very well with some of the concepts discussed and being looked at by those attending such as alternative currencies that complement money (eg the Lyttelton Time Bank).

There was a wide range of ages and stages represented and it was really good to see the exchange of ideas taking place across generations.  The pitch for it was: "Imagine a country which respects the living planet; whose people enjoy fair land tenure, good housing, good health, wholesome food, a rewarding livelihood, free education, a compassionate justice system, and an adequate income: a country with an inclusive democracy grounded in vibrant communities. This could be Aotearoa New Zealand – together, we can make this vision a reality."

The panel discussion featured Nicole Foss, Phil Stevens, Raf Manji and Daryl Taylor on "Policies that encourage and facilitate" (bios are on the website here) - it was an interesting discussion about many topics including the future and need to develop systems and ways of operating that are an alternative to the "standard way" that things are done now.  As an example, over dinner I chatted with some people who were involved in savings pools where many people deposit money and it can then be accessed by others for different purposes (rather than needing to go to a traditional bank and obtain a loan) - more on that can be accessed here.

I enjoyed attending and learning about some of the thinking that is going on in this area.  For more info on the organisers of this and some of the concepts that are being explored have a look here.

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