Two Raging Grannies is a film about two Seattleite grannies, Hinda Kipnis and Shirley Morrison, who are asking the same questions we are about our current obsession with growing the economy at all costs. The documentary film follows them on their journey from Seattle all the way to Wall Street as they question economic experts and big company CEO’s on our preoccupation with economic growth. The responses that Hinda and Shirley received were very interesting and in some cases even appalling. I found the film to be very inspirational as these two grannies confront the big economic issue we should all be worried about and show us that no matter what age, it’s never too late to stand up for what you believe in.
One of the people Hinda and Shirley talk to in the film is Joshua Farley, an ecological economist from the University of Vermont. As an ecological economist Farley offered some solutions to our current economic predicament. Ecological economists work on finding ways to adapt our economic system to the ecological and physical constraints of our finite planet. One interesting point Farley makes in the film is that we must make a shift away from our focus on quantity to a focus on quality instead. Farley believes there are three crucial things we must do in order to achieve a satisfactory quality of life for our generation and future generations to come: ecological sustainability, just resource distribution, and efficient use of resources.
I was able to partake in a question and answer session with Hinda and Shirley after the film and got to learn a little bit more about them. Hinda and Shirley are part of the Raging Grannies of Seattle. The Raging Grannies are an international activist group that promote peace, justice, and social and economic equality. The Seattle Grannies are currently working with WAmend to help Washington get Initiative 1329, also known as the “We the People Act”, on the ballot; Initiative 1329 calls for an amendment to the Constitution. The direct language about the intent of the initiative is as follows:
This act declares that the people of Washington State support amending the US Constitution to reduce the influence of money on elections and government policy. The amendment would overturn all U.S. Supreme Court decisions granting constitutional rights to corporations and other special interests, and would provide for regulation and disclosure of political contributions and spending, in order to ensure that no person or artificial legal entity gains undue influence over government as a result of money.
The amendment to the US Constitution that I-1329 calls for would clarify that:
1. The rights of people protected by the Constitution of the United States are the rights of human beings only.
2. All citizens should have equal voice in the political process, and no person or artificial legal entity should gain undue influence over government as a result of financial resources. To meet this goal, federal, state, and local governments shall be fully empowered to regulate all political contributions and expenditures.
3. All political contributions and expenditures shall be publicly disclosed in a full and timely manner.
Shirley and Hilda also passed out a recommended reading list for anyone who is interested in learning more about our problem with economic growth:
Prosperity Without Growth, Tim Jackson
Bridge at the Edge of the World, James Gustave Speth
Ecological Economics, Herman Daly and Joshua Farley
Limits to Growth Update, Donella and Dennis Meados, J. Randers
Agenda for a New Economy Update, David Korten
The Great Disruption, Paul Gilding
The Future of Money, Bernard Lietaer
Sacred Economics, Charles Einstein
Deep Economy, Bill McKibben
The Great Turning, David Korten
The End of Work, Jeremy Rifkin
Democracy at Work, Richard Wolff