Benjamin Franklin (January 17, 1706 [O.S. January 6, 1705] – April 17, 1790) was an American polymath and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. Franklin was a leading writer, printer, political philosopher, politician, Freemason, postmaster, scientist, inventor, humorist, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat. As a scientist, he was a major figure in the American Enlightenment and the history of physics for his discoveries and theories regarding electricity. As an inventor, he is known for the lightning rod, bifocals, and the Franklin stove, among other inventions. He founded many civic organizations, including the Library Company, Philadelphia's first fire department and the University of Pennsylvania.
Franklin earned the title of "The First American" for his early and indefatigable campaigning for colonial unity, initially as an author and spokesman in London for several colonies. As the first United States Ambassador to France, he exemplified the emerging American nation. Franklin was foundational in defining the American ethos as a marriage of the practical values of thrift, hard work, education, community spirit, self-governing institutions, and opposition to authoritarianism both political and religious, with the scientific and tolerant values of the Enlightenment. In the words of historian Henry Steele Commager, "In a Franklin could be merged the virtues of Puritanism without its defects, the illumination of the Enlightenment without its heat." To Walter Isaacson, this makes Franklin "the most accomplished American of his age and the most influential in inventing the type of society America would become."
Franklin became a successful newspaper editor and printer in Philadelphia, the leading city in the colonies, publishing the Pennsylvania Gazette at the age of 23. He became wealthy publishing this and Poor Richard's Almanack, which he authored under the pseudonym "Richard Saunders". After 1767, he was associated with the Pennsylvania Chronicle, a newspaper that was known for its revolutionary sentiments and criticisms of British policies.
He pioneered and was the first president of Academy and College of Philadelphia which opened in 1751 and later became the University of Pennsylvania. He organized and was the first secretary of the American Philosophical Society and was elected president in 1769. Franklin became a national hero in America as an agent for several colonies when he spearheaded an effort in London to have the Parliament of Great Britain repeal the unpopular Stamp Act. An accomplished diplomat, he was widely admired among the French as American minister to Paris and was a major figure in the development of positive Franco-American relations. His efforts proved vital for the American Revolution in securing shipments of crucial munitions from France.
He was promoted to deputy postmaster-general for the British colonies in 1753, having been Philadelphia postmaster for many years, and this enabled him to set up the first national communications network. During the revolution, he became the first United States Postmaster General. He was active in community affairs and colonial and state politics, as well as national and international affairs. From 1785 to 1788, he served as governor of Pennsylvania. He initially owned and dealt in slaves but, by the late 1750s, he began arguing against slavery and became an abolitionist.
His life and legacy of scientific and political achievement, and his status as one of America's most influential Founding Fathers, have seen Franklin honored more than two centuries after his death on coinage and the $100 bill, warships, and the names of many towns, counties, educational institutions, and corporations, as well as countless cultural references.
- "Benjamin Franklin's 13 virtues" | 2012-09-04 | 101 Upvotes 73 Comments
Distributism is an economic theory asserting that the world's productive assets should be widely owned rather than concentrated.
Developed in Europe in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, distributism was based upon the principles of Catholic social teaching, especially the teachings of Pope Leo XIII in his encyclical Rerum novarum (1891) and Pope Pius XI in Quadragesimo anno (1931). It views both capitalism and socialism as equally flawed and exploitative, and it favors economic mechanisms such as cooperatives and member-owned mutual organizations as well as small businesses, and large-scale antitrust regulations.
Some Christian democratic political parties have advocated distributism in their economic policies.
- "Distributism" | 2019-04-01 | 209 Upvotes 113 Comments
The Mondragon Corporation is a corporation and federation of worker cooperatives based in the Basque region of Spain. It was founded in the town of Mondragon in 1956 by graduates of a local technical college. Its first product was paraffin heaters. It is the tenth-largest Spanish company in terms of asset turnover and the leading business group in the Basque Country. At the end of 2014, it employed 74,117 people in 257 companies and organizations in four areas of activity: finance, industry, retail and knowledge. By 2015, 74,335 people were employed. Mondragon cooperatives operate in accordance with the Statement on the Co-operative Identity maintained by the International Co-operative Alliance.
- "Mondragon Corporation" | 2020-02-10 | 442 Upvotes 283 Comments
The Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ or the Zone), also known as Free Capitol Hill, is a self-declared intentional community and commune of around 200 residents, covering about six city blocks in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle, Washington. The zone was established on June 8, 2020 after the East Precinct was abandoned by the Seattle Police Department.
Indian Coffee House is a restaurant chain in India, run by a series of worker co-operative societies. It has strong presence across India with nearly 400 coffee houses. It has been a hub for Communist, Socialist and liberal movements for generations. Thus it has played a very important role in Geopolitics of India as most successful political movements began from here. Many governments have been formed by the people who regularly visited here.
- "Indian Coffee House" | 2020-11-30 | 16 Upvotes 1 Comments
A kibbutz (Hebrew: קִבּוּץ / קיבוץ, lit. "gathering, clustering"; plural: kibbutzim קִבּוּצִים / קיבוצים) is a collective community in Israel that was traditionally based on agriculture. The first kibbutz, established in 1909, was Degania. Today, farming has been partly supplanted by other economic branches, including industrial plants and high-tech enterprises. Kibbutzim began as utopian communities, a combination of socialism and Zionism. In recent decades, some kibbutzim have been privatized and changes have been made in the communal lifestyle. A member of a kibbutz is called a kibbutznik (Hebrew: קִבּוּצְנִיק / קיבוצניק; plural kibbutznikim or kibbutzniks).
In 2010, there were 270 kibbutzim in Israel. Their factories and farms account for 9% of Israel's industrial output, worth US$8 billion, and 40% of its agricultural output, worth over $1.7 billion. Some kibbutzim had also developed substantial high-tech and military industries. For example, in 2010, Kibbutz Sasa, containing some 200 members, generated $850 million in annual revenue from its military-plastics industry.
Currently the kibbutzim are organised in the secular Kibbutz Movement with some 230 kibbutzim, the Religious Kibbutz Movement with 16 kibbutzim and the much smaller religious Poalei Agudat Yisrael with two kibbutzim, all part of the wider communal settlement movement.
- "Kibbutz" | 2021-05-08 | 68 Upvotes 35 Comments
A credit union, a type of financial institution similar to a commercial bank, is a member-owned nonprofit financial cooperative. Credit unions generally provide services to members similar to retail banks, including deposit accounts, provision of credit, and other financial services. In several African countries, credit unions are commonly referred to as SACCOs (Savings and Credit Co-Operatives).
Worldwide, credit union systems vary significantly in their total assets and average institution asset size, ranging from volunteer operations with a handful of members to institutions with hundreds of thousands of members and assets worth billions of US dollars. In 2018, the number of members in credit unions worldwide was 274 million, with nearly 40 million members having been added since 2016.
Leading up to the financial crisis of 2007–2008, commercial banks engaged in approximately five times more subprime lending relative to credit unions and were two and a half times more likely to fail during the crisis. American credit unions more than doubled lending to small businesses between 2008 and 2016, from $30 billion to $60 billion, while lending to small businesses overall during the same period declined by around $100 billion. In the US, public trust in credit unions stands at 60%, compared to 30% for big banks. Furthermore, small businesses are 80% less likely to be dissatisfied with a credit union than with a big bank.
"Natural-person credit unions" (also called "retail credit unions" or "consumer credit unions") serve individuals, as distinguished from "corporate credit unions", which serve other credit unions.
- "Credit Unions" | 2023-03-12 | 102 Upvotes 61 Comments