The Civic Synergist's Toolkit

This page will feature resources that trimtab practitioners around the world have found helpful in their efforts to bring about positive systemic change including tools, technologies, books, music, performing and visual arts, workshops, films, videos , etc. Suggestions are welcomed.

A Thousand Years of Nonlinear History

A Thousand Years of Nonlinear History sketches the outlines of a renewed materialist philosophy of history in the tradition of Fernand Braudel, Gilles Deleuze, and Félix Guattari, while also engaging the critical new understanding of material processes derived from the sciences of dynamics. Working against prevailing attitudes that see history as an arena of texts, discourses, ideologies, and metaphors, De Landa traces the concrete movements and interplays of matter and energy through human populations in the last millennium.De Landa attacks three domains that have given shape to human societies: economics, biology, and linguistics.

City Power: Urban Governance in a Global Age

In the past decade, city leaders have raised the minimum wage, expanded social services and engaged in social welfare redistribution. These cities have not suffered capital flight. In fact, many are experiencing an economic renaissance.

City Power shows how cities can govern despite constitutional limitations - and why we should want them to. In an era of global capital, municipal power is more relevant than ever to citizen well-being. A dynamic vision of city politics for the new urban age, City Power demonstrates that the city should be at the very center of our economic, legal, and political thinking.

 


The Art of Not Being Governed

For two thousand years the disparate groups that now reside in Zomia (a mountainous region the size of Europe that consists of portions of seven Asian countries) have fled the projects of the organized state societies that surround them—slavery, conscription, taxes, corvée labor, epidemics, and warfare. This book, essentially an “anarchist history,” is the first-ever examination of the huge literature on state-making whose author evaluates why people would deliberately and reactively remain stateless. Among the strategies employed by the people of Zomia to remain stateless are physical dispersion in rugged terrain; agricultural practices that enhance mobility; pliable ethnic identities; devotion to prophetic, millenarian leaders; and maintenance of a largely oral culture that allows them to reinvent their histories and genealogies as they move between and around states.

 

System

A system can describe what we see (the solar system), operate a computer (Windows 10), or be made on a page (the fourteen engineered lines of a sonnet). In this book, Clifford Siskin shows that system is best understood as a genre—a form that works physically in the world to mediate our efforts to understand it. Indeed, many Enlightenment authors published works they called “system” to compete with the essay and the treatise. Drawing on the history of system from Galileo’s “message from the stars” and Newton’s “system of the world” to today’s “computational universe,” Siskin illuminates the role that the genre of system has played in the shaping and reshaping of modern knowledge.

THE FULLER CHALLENGE


Launched in 2007, the Fuller Challenge has defined an emerging field of practice: the whole systems approach to understanding and intervening in complex and interrelated crises for wide-scale social and environmental impact. The entry criteria have established a new framework through which to identify and measure effective, enduring solutions to global sustainability’s most entrenched challenges. The rigorous selection process has set a unique standard, gaining renown as "Socially-Responsible Design's Highest Award."

THE COST OF COOPERATION

I'm most interested in understanding cooperation, that is to say, why people are willing to act for the greater good rather than their narrow self-interest. In thinking about that question, there's both a scientific part of understanding how the selfish process of natural selection and strategic reasoning could give rise to this cooperative behavior, and also the practical question of what we can do to make people more cooperative in real-world settings.      

LOCAL CURRENCIES

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BerkShares are a local currency for the Berkshire region of Massachusetts. Dubbed a "great economic experiment" by the New York Times, BerkShares are a tool for community empowerment, enabling merchants and consumers to plant the seeds for an alternative economic future for their communities. Launched in the fall of 2006, over seven million BerkShares have circulated in the Berkshire region. Federal currency is exchanged for BerkShares at eight branch offices of three local banks and spent at 400 locally owned participating businesses. The circulation of BerkShares encourages capital to remain within the region, building a greater affinity between the local business community and its citizens.

FRUIT AND VEGETABLE PRESCRIPTION PROGRAM

The Wholesome Wave Fruit and Vegetable Prescription (FVRx®) Program® helps healthcare providers give families innovative prescriptions that can be spent on fruits and vegetables at grocery stores, farmers markets, and other healthy food retailers. To view FVRx resources, like factsheets and reports, click here.