Category Archives: activism

Ethics Pledge at Harvard BS

A Promise to Be Ethical in an Era of Immorality – NYTimes.com
What happened to making money?

I should write more, but a few issues come to mind.  First, it is a student-led program to take an ethics pledge.  Maybe this is a furhter data point of a generational value shift from Gen Xers to Millenials.  Second, surely it has the backing of faculty and administration, so Paris 1968 it is not.    Third, while I agree business should be couched in alrger discussions of common goods and shared prosperity, I am unsure how much tnagible difference a pledge makes.  Is there accountability?  Is there a community of conversation about what it means to enact this pledge to not advance “narrow” self interests?  I have the sense that it adances  a notion of ethical behavior as noble choices to choose rightly between A and B, where A helps starving orphaned baby seals and B is to make $100,000 for the shareholders and $10,000 for ego.

If you want to work to avoid narrow self interests in your company, rather than wiat for forced choices between altruism and enrichment, why not work to change the mission, compensation system, and culture of openness about how to make decisions?

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Filed under activism, Business, higher education

Social Entrepreneurs, Networks, and Technology

I am revising a draft of a paper about social entrepreneurs to give at EGOS.

Here is the core idea:

Broadly, I am trying to connect what is known about the research into new forms of organizing with internet with innovation and networks studies

Some baseline assumptions:

1) Innovators and entrepreneurs of any flavor are in a brokerage position and they engage in brokering behavior.   (Research by Burt, Obstfeld, Gargiulo, Hargadon comes to mind… I need to find others).

2) New ICT changes make #1 different.  Easier in some ways, harder in others.

3) Social entrepreneurs face special circumstances due to value orientation they use.  Social entrepreneurs solve social problems or market failures.  They move towards a new equilibrium.  The “social” of what they do emerges from social change processes unfolding in networks organizations, and institutions of contested agendas (or, formerly contested and now newly legitimate.  These include poverty reduction, public health, green design, education access, rural development, climate change, and so on.  Looks like usual suspects of civil society concerns.  But of course, it should.)

4) The process is usually gradual (uniform)- incremental innovations and experiments accumulate into profound change.  The initial recognition can then lead to rapid scaling and diffusion.

5)  To fully conceptualize the problem, we need to draw on four research streams: 1) entrepreneurship, 2) networks and innovation, 3) social movements, and 4) technology and socity.

6) A research agenda based on the assumptions and findings includes three questions:

  • 1) Do new technologies, by lowering search and coordination costs for actors, spawn more emerging or possible social entrepreneurs (as in, that is their intention)?
  • 2) Do technologies, through their ability to foster relations and community, create new value propositions?  Transparency, memory, search, and interactivity mean that thick webs of relations, which people value, can create new opportunities for social innovation or entrepreneurship.
  • 3) The same properties that create more potential social entrepreneurs and opportunities will also pose new start-up challenges because soc entrepreneurswill be more tied to the necessary networks and institutions that create legitimacy for the social of social entrepreneurs.

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Filed under activism, innovation, organization studies, organization theory, participatory technology, social innovation, Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship [SiSe], technology

Local Health Care Forum

Helping to Publicize…

On behalf of the Central Susquehanna Citizen’s Coalition, I would like to
invite you to a forum entitled

“Re-Imagining Healthcare in Pennsylvania: The Next Five Years and Beyond”

to be held next Thursday, May 7, at 7:00pm, in the Union County Government
Center at 155 N 15th St, Lewisburg.

A panel of five healthcare professionals will discuss the current state of
healthcare in PA and proposed solutions for the future, to be followed by a
interactive discussion with the audience.  The panelists are

* Allison Clark, ACTION Health
* Jill Fecker, A Community Clinic, Inc.
* Chuck Pennacchio, Healthcare for All Pennsylvania
* Andrew Sandusky, Pennsylvania Academy of Family Physicians
* Amy Wolaver, Dept of Economics, Bucknell University

Healthcare reform is coming in 2009.  This is a crucial time for all to
become informed and engaged in the issue.  This event is hosted by CSCC, an
all-volunteer grassroots organization that reaches out to connect, inform,
and encourage the Central Susquehanna Valley to participate in the
democratic process.

Please share this information with anyone who may be interested.  For more
information, visit our website at http://www.csccnow.org.

–Ben Vollmayr-Lee

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Filed under activism, lewisburg, Politics, Power, Activism

Monkey-wrenching Land Grabs in Utah

A dailyKos diarist put me on to this new form of civil disobedience.

Reminds me of Saul Alinsky and Kodak or Ralph NAder and GM in the 1960s and the birth of shareholder activism.

He didn’t pour sugar into a bulldozer’s gas tank. He didn’t spike a tree or set a billboard on fire. But wielding only a bidder’s paddle, a University of Utah student just as surely monkey-wrenched a federal oil- and gas-lease sale Friday, ensuring that thousands of acres near two southern Utah national parks won’t be opened to drilling anytime soon.

Tim DeChristopher, 27, faces possible federal charges after winning bids totaling about $1.8 million on more than 10 lease parcels that he admits he has neither the intention nor the money to buy — and he’s not sorry.

“I decided I could be much more effective by an act of civil disobedience,” he said during an impromptu streetside news conference during an afternoon blizzard. “There comes a time to take a stand.”

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Filed under activism, Protest

No blank check for Wall Street.

No blank check for Wall Street.
This is worse than a bad deal – this isn’t a deal at all. This is a blank check to some of the richest companies in the world.

This is a blog post with a petition linked to  it.  I may not agree with all the language, but this is not the time to let the desire for the perfect trump the reality of present action.

We should express our concerns as citizens about the parameters fo this extraordianry action, even if we don’t get to write the legislation.

Krugman on “Cash for Trash.

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Filed under activism, Banking, economics, macroeconomics, policy, Political Economy, Politics, Power, Activism

Climate Change Song- “Get Down Into It”

YouTube – Get Down Into It

Local musicians and citizens raising awareness fueled by digital and living web technologies.  Look for me and Thea in early part.

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Filed under activism, climate change, lewisburg, life, Media, participatory technology, technology

Chain letters explained…

nsf.gov – News – How Did That Chain Letter Get To My Inbox? – US National Science Foundation NSF
Everyone who has an e-mail account has probably received a forwarded chain letter promising good luck if the message is forwarded on to others–or terrible misfortune if it isnt. The sheer volume of forwarded messages such as chain letters, online petitions, jokes and other materials leads to a simple question–how do these messages reach so many people so quickly?

The NSF research by Jon Kleinberg (From Six Degrees book) and David Liben-Nowell (from Carleton!) has an interesting answer.  It seems that online petitions follow quite circuitous routes and do not spread virally (each recipient spawning new ones) at all.  Key nodes are critical making the whole process quite resistant to prediction and intervention.  Bad news for people selling you the Dummies Guide to Viral Marketing.

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Filed under activism, Marketing, Network Dynamics, Networks, Research

Last Chance to Apply to Be an Obama Organizing Fellow!

Maybe some current or former students check in…

Maybe this campaign is going to be a case study in managerialism in politics married to netroots.  Centrally controlled message and tight finances (managerialism) with people2peole tools and emergent organizing on the ground (netroots).  so, this counts as an OT post also.  :<)

Barack Obama : : Change We Can Believe In | Sam Graham-Felsen’s Blog: Last Chance to Apply to Be an Obama Organizing Fellow!
Today is your last chance to apply to be an Obama Organizing Fellow this summer. This is your opportunity to be on the frontlines of this movement for change, bringing Obama’s message to voters across America, precinct by precinct, block by block…

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Filed under activism, management, Org Design, Orgs Stuff (theory, science, studies), Politics, Power, Activism, Social Networks

Obama Everywhere in PA (song)

Lewisburg, thanks to Earl Pickens, punches above its weight…

And, yes, they are all real towns in PA.

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Filed under activism, participatory technology, Politics, Power, Activism

Oil and Politics Visualization

Just started playing with this nifty tool that allows one to visualize relational patterns of oil sector employees’ contributions to federal politicians.

Price for oil.

I didn’t notice a difference between PAC money and individual contribution.  It seems a stretch to me to say that because an employee of Chevron gave $1,500 to Obama, Obama is in the pocket of big oil the way Bush or Cheney are.   One interesting thing to look at is how many people max out to all candidates.  That would seem a prxoy for people buying access versus supporting the politician they actually prefer (for better or for worse).

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Filed under activism, Network Visuals, Political Economy, Politics, Power, Activism