Agriculture is the foundation of all sustainable wealth. Even today, when agriculture plays a diminishing role, the productivity of the soil and the health of farmers are still a fundamental concern. This section of the New Rules offers information on agricultural policies and a library of local, state, national and international rules that nurture vibrant and diversified rural communities.
The delinking of money from place and productive investment is not the inevitable result of technological advances or economic evolution. Money is a human invention and the rules that control its dynamic are also a human invention. The rules we have fashioned favor mobility over community, speculation over productive investment, volatility over permanence. This section contains rules that reconnect capital and community, with a special emphasis on those parts of the community that traditionally have been left behind.
Energy is the force of industrial economies, both literally and figuratively. We named this section Democratic Energy and we report on the rapidly growing movement by households, businesses, and local and state governments to democratize the energy system. We offer actual rules, from statutes and zoning codes to utility tariffs, that encourage technologies and ownership forms and systems that decentralize power and energy production and energy policy decisionmaking.
Without responsibility, authority will be exercised in shortsighted ways. This section of the web site identifies rules that encourage communities to adopt a longer perspective and embrace policies that are responsible to the next generation. The most enduring way to reduce pollution is to extract the maximum value from local resources. The higher the efficiency, the lower the waste, the lower the pollution.
This section identifies rules that encourage communities to accept responsibility in two areas: towards their own less fortunate members and less fortunate members in other communities, and towards members of the next generation. Among the topics are education, health care and living wage.
Governance works best when those who feel the impact of the decisions are those involved in making the decisions. That principle works as well in the private sector as the public sector. This section of the web site focuses largely on process. It examines the mechanisms and rules that encourage the most democratic and socially responsible kinds of decisionmaking.
Information economies are inherently global in reach. Yet the information economy also holds great promise for dramatically decentralizing the production and dissemination of information in all its forms (e.g. print, video, radio, online). This section explores policies that cities, states, nations, and international bodies are developing to encourage a sense of place and individual autonomy and security in an age of global information systems. There is a heavy focus on telecommunications networks.
Retail is where business meets household, where enterprise meets community, where the value-added of the extraction, processing, manufacturing, wholesaling and distribution chain culminates with sales to the final customer. We named this section the Hometown Advantage and we cover news and rules that communities are using to foster local ownership of retail and a more intimate link between commerce and place.
Taxation is the most visible and perhaps the most important issue to voters and policymakers around the world. In this section we will be gathering the tax rules from across all sectors and presenting them here. Taxation, often criticized as excessive government, can be an important policy tool to meet community goals. Taxes can be used to level the playing field, to limit size or sprawl, to protect the environment, and to encourage local ownership and production.