Oakland 2016: The Recession Generation Unconference



by Alodia Arnold

After the Detroit Conference last August, I was inspired to stay involved with the Georgist movement. Detroit was a wakeup call to reality for me — to the existence of a movement with promise and real opportunity to make the world a better place.  It was important to me to follow through with what I challenged the group in Detroit to do, to pick one project to work on during the year and to give it your all.

When Jacob Shwartz-Lucas asked if I would be interested in attending the skills-sharing conference that he was planning, I immediately expressed my enthusiasm and asked him to please share the details with me. I was excited to have an opportunity to learn how  I could find an effective georgist career and this conference seemed like the perfect platform to achieve this goal. I wanted to find out how to become an assessor and what that might look like as career for a young female georgist.

Jacob Shwartz-Licas, as the light dawns

Jacob Shwartz-Lucas, as the light dawns

The original idea of the Recession Generation Conference was to connect young georgists with older georgists in a skills-sharing initiative. I had observed the very real need in Detroit for a fresh style of georgist outreach, one that would connect the young with the old. And the Recession Generation Conference was an important step toward achieving this very important goal. As the planning process moved forward, the idea of the conference evolved and additional partnerships were formed that allowed the event to grow into a much more diverse and far-reaching initiative.

aagalzBIL Oakland 2016: Recession Generation formed partnerships with BIL Conference (see sidebar, p. 6) and with Cohousing California. These partnerships allowed for interesting dialogues on a variety of topics from Artificial Intelligence to using Shipping Containers as building blocks in housing the homeless. Individuals from all walks of life had the opportunity to connect and share ideas and form friendships that will last a lifetime. It also gave georgists the opportunity to talk about the Land Value Tax movement to a new audience in a cross-pollination technique. Many of the 140 attendees had never heard of LVT before. However, because of their similar interests, they were amenable to georgist ideas. We’ve been excited by all of the post-event research they’ve done on George and LVT. Many have started reading Progress and Poverty, as well as Land: A New Paradigm for a Thriving World. It’s apparent that there are many people out there who are georgists in the making, if only we can continue to actively  reach out to them.

aapianodudueThe list of speakers included LVT proponent Chuck Marohn from Strong Towns; Julia Bossman, president of the Foresight Institute: Christine Peterson, the Foresight Institute’s Founder; Brian Wang of Next Big Future; Chelsea Roff, founder of Eat, Breathe, Thrive; Robin Hanson, associate Professor of Economics at George Mason University; Eden Bernardy, founder of Stanley Street; Heather VanCura, Director of the Java Community Process Program and Yoram Bauman, the “Standup Economist.”

The final address was given by Kim-Mai Cutler of Tech-Crunch. Her speech was particularly impressive. She is quickly becoming a renowned authority on housing in the Bay Area and beyond. She has the following to spur a lot of popular interest in georgism, writing for a large publication and having many stage appearances with political leaders like NYC mayor Bill de Blasio. Other influential members of the audience visibly became enthusiastic about LVT when Cutler clearly and carefully endorsed it with figures and graphs.

aadudezPanel discussion topics included: Optimal Taxation Techniques, Will Robots Take our Jobs?, Surviving the Housing Crisis, Building a Better Economy, and Impactful Careers.

Over the next few months, each of the talks and Panel Discussions will be made available for viewing via Earthsharing.org — so stay tuned as each one of these exciting and enlightening discussions are revealed.

As a group, we learned that there are many who are thirsting for a solution from within the distinctive mindset of many millennials — which has moved away from a capitalistic society that prioritizes obtaining more wealth to one of living a conscious life, valuing friendship, family, community and the environment over material goods and objects. This was particularly displayed at the conference by the panelists, who all emphasized these values in building a more positive future.

aagofrankAs Georgists our message must be loud and clear: “The Earth is everyone’s birthright!” Access to land and taxing the rent — the unearned payment taken by landlords for allowing others to use land — is the fairest way to make sure every human being has access to his or her equal land right to the earth.

The conference was in the style of an unconference — an evolving, dynamic process that allows the participants to choose the direction of the conference. This insured that the attendees’ attention was held throughout the day by dialogues that constantly spoke to their needs and wants. This ultimately resulted in more awareness and support for LVT. It was an exciting format — it allowed for the team come together and work in a synergistic mode that was truly inspiring. Everyone stepped up to the plate and went above and beyond what was asked. This was a true team-building experience and a great chapter in the EarthSharing story.

aarainbowgalThe Recession Generation Team worked tirelessly to bring this all together: Alodia Arnold, David Giesen, Alex Lough, Raines Cohen, Joshua Vincent, Quisa Gonzalez, Andrea Mok, Frank M. Ortiz, Edward Miller, Ashley Downs, Lawrence Bosek, Christy Fair, Patricia Mikkelson, Sergio M.L. Tarrero, Tamara Chacon, Chelsea Roff, Betsy Morris, and Jacob Shwartz-Lucas.

We look forward to planning BIL Oakland 2017 – if you’d like to participate as a speaker, volunteer, or sponsor then please connect with the Earthsharing team via the website www.earthsharing.org

Many thanks must be given to the volunteers who worked diligently on the details and setup of the conference. They played many roles, as panelists or in the logistics of the day — all contributions were equally vital and important to the success of the event.
Of course the conference would not have been possible without the generous support of our sponsors, The Robert Schalkenbach Foundation and Cohousing California.

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