Building A Healthy Economy From Ground Up

The keys to building a just, sustainable economy from the bottom up were the focus of the discussion led last week on campus by organic farmer and author Anthony Flaccavento.

Flaccavento’s talk focused first on the issues that have recently emerged in the modern economy before pivoting to his key transitions to remedy this situation, which come from his recent book “Building a Healthy Economy from the Bottom Up: Harnessing Real World Experience for Transformative Change.”

“It’s just my opinion, but it’s the word of God,” was a humorously quoted statement Flaccavento used to set the mood of the night, which remained optimistic throughout.

Flaccavento talked a lot about what he called “Phantom Wealth versus Real Wealth,” demonstrating how some economic gains that relied too heavily on 1 to 3 industries or businesses were both dangerous to a healthy economy and led to greater income inequality and poorer housing conditions.

“Thanks to Bernie [Sanders], we know about a lot of these issues now and talk about them,” stated Flaccavento, before delving into his six key transitions to building a healthy economy from the bottom up.

Each of his key transitions, which are outlined in detail in his book, come with recommended support policies from local, state and federal levels of government, highlighting Flaccavento’s key awareness of the need for the private and public sectors to work together.

Flaccavento also highlighted many case studies and examples of organizations and governments carrying out parts of his key transitions and policies, such as farmers markets, tool libraries and community gardens.

The event, which was hosted by the Philosophy Club at Uva-Wise, ended with a very engaged group asking many questions of Flaccavento.

“We wanted to host this event because one of our goals is to facilitate discussion and thought about matters that are central to this area,” stated Philosophy Club President Kevin Dotson. “As philosophy students, we have spent a fair time studying the philosophical concepts behind environmental ethics and relating them to the economic and environmental issues facing this area. This talk gives us, the club and the community here a chance to see these concepts in practice.”

The discussion seemed to end with the type of open discussion that Flaccavento and Dotson advocated for. As Flaccavento signed copies of his book, many attendees lingered and talked amongst one another, leading to a room full of dialogue, laughter and a sharing of ideas.

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