Peter Block

Commentary & Blog Posts by Peter Block

The Politics of a Dollar
The Politics of a Dollar

by Peter Block on July 16, 2014 ()

The way we spend our dollars, or don't spend them, regardless of how many we have, fundamentally determines the ownership and distribution of wealth. This power is in our hands.… read more »

Deepening Community
Deepening Community

by Peter Block on April 7, 2014 ()

Peter's foreword to "Deepening Community," the new book by Tamarack Institute co-founder and president Paul Born.… read more »

Freedom at Work
Freedom at Work

by Peter Block on January 9, 2014 ()

"Who will care for the common good" is a question that most businesses aren't ready to deal with. In a wide-ranging interview with Tami Simon of "Insights on the Edge," Peter talks about the signals he sees of a shift in consciousness in the business world ... and much more.… read more »

Measuring and Evaluating Community Initiatives
Measuring and Evaluating Community Initiatives

by Peter Block, Tom Dewar on April 22, 2013 ()

Highlights from Peter's April 16 online/dial-up conversation with Tom Dewar, co-director of the Aspen Institute’s Roundtable on Community Change and long-time member of the Asset-Based Community Development Institute.… read more »

Safety and Security: A Neighborhood Necessity
Safety and Security: A Neighborhood Necessity

by John McKnight, Peter Block on January 7, 2013 ()

An excerpt on safety and security from John and Peter's book. They say that safety and security, health, the well-being of children, the environment and the land, an enterprising economy, food and care for those on the margin are the seven neighborhood necessities that are fulfilled not by acting as consumers but as citizens of an abundant community creating our own future with our neighbors.… read more »

Life-Giving Journalism
Life-Giving Journalism

by Peter Block on December 17, 2012 ()

Peter explores with Peter Pula of Axiom News how Axiom is remaking journalism by looking for stories that have the capacity to give the community life.… read more »

Government Is Not the Problem
Government Is Not the Problem

by John McKnight, Peter Block on November 6, 2012 ()

John and Peter reflect on how all the talk that government is the problem actually deflects our attention from the privatization that now runs our culture.… read more »

The Future Right Now

by Peter Block on May 23, 2012 ()

Convening citizens to care for their community goes against a culture that worships individualism, self-interest and competition. Something new is required, and the future of leadership exists where people like Mike Butler are reconstructing the role of traditional systems.… read more »

Less Leadership and More in the Name of Sophia

by Peter Block on May 17, 2012 ()

Suppose that instead of focusing on the functions and actions of leaders, we reconstruct our basic notion of leadership? Suppose we drew more on Sophia, the Old Testament model of wisdom and gifts of the feminine? The emerging form of leadership for the common good may be to have as little leadership as possible and to be more interested in the actions and role of ordinary people.… read more »

Community Abundance Is Its Gifts

by John McKnight, Peter Block on April 26, 2012 ()

In sharing our gifts in associational life, we have the power to produce the future we envision. We are not consumers. We are not clients. We are citizens with the power to make powerful communities.… read more »

The Club Is Not the Club

by Peter Block on April 19, 2012 ()

There's more to your local book club, dog club or poker club than books, dogs or cards. Peter reminds us of the power such associations can bring into neighborhood life. All we have to do is ask.… read more »

The Point Is the Place

by Peter Block on March 23, 2012 ()

The more we know and care about the place where we are, the more likely we are to do the functions that neighborhoods are meant to do.… read more »

Fallibility: The Value of Imperfection

by John McKnight, Peter Block on January 31, 2012 ()

The capacities of an abundant community are the core elements that need to be visible and manifest to create functional families and neighborhoods. One of the capacities of an abundant community is the ability to accept people’s fallibility.… read more »

More Health, Less Management, Please

by Peter Block on December 2, 2011 ()

Industry solutions to a health care system that already suffers from over–management suggest we provide even more management. True health care reform will occur when we acknowledge that 85% of our health is in the hands of the individual and the community.… read more »

Comment: How Wall Street Occupied America by Bill Moyers

by Peter Block on November 11, 2011 ()

The Gilded Age is back with a vengeance, Bill Moyers says in a post drawn from his November 21 article for The Nation.… read more »

The Fall of JoePa and a Return to Common Sense

by Peter Block on November 11, 2011 ()

There are three ways for us to respond to the Joe Paterno story: blame the individual, blame the institution, or seek community. The costs of the competitive culture we have created are not only that we have let the winners get away with too much for too long; we also have marginalized the commons and devalued the benefits of cooperation in providing for our community's health, education, and well-being.… read more »

The Economy Is in Our Hands, We Just Don’t Know It

by Peter Block on November 2, 2011 ()

Six things we can do to reclaim the economy and put it into our own hands.… read more »

Is There Too Much Parenting?

by Peter Block on September 8, 2011 ()

Is "positive parenting" all that useful, or could it be more beneficial to back off our efforts to be such active managers of our children's future?… read more »

What in the Name of Reform

by Peter Block on August 8, 2011 ()

Most of our current efforts at reform are at best efforts to make things a little better. Serious reform -- in education, health care, government or the economy -- requires shifts in the way neighbors and families relate to and engage with one another… read more »

Six Conversations That Matter: A Quick Review
Six Conversations That Matter: A Quick Review

by Peter Block on July 5, 2011 ()

Six conversations designed to open the community to an alternative future… read more »

Like-mindedness, Technology and the Risk to Community

by Peter Block on June 30, 2011 ()

Our technological quest for the like-minded and familiar keeps us from experiencing real community and caring for the common good.… read more »

Enterprising Economy

by John McKnight, Peter Block on June 23, 2011 ()

A connected and competent community has a vision, culture and commitment that can uniquely assure our sense of well-being and happiness. This source of satisfaction is complete in and of itself — it is not dependent on systems or our next purchase.… read more »

5 Questions to Awaken Your Functional Family

by Peter Block, John McKnight on June 9, 2011 ()

Taken to heart, these five questions build community, develop neighborhood competence and give us tools that cannot be purchased from professional service providers.… read more »

The Good Life? It’s Close to Home

by Peter Block, John McKnight on June 8, 2011 ()

Rebuilding families and neighborhoods around the gifts each of us offers… read more »

Peter Block Review: Agenda for a New Economy

by Peter Block on June 3, 2011 ()

David Korten's "Agenda for a New Economy" is a powerful antidote to the conventional wisdom that has us convinced that what ails us is good for us.… read more »

The Economics of Neighborliness

by Peter Block on May 25, 2011 ()

"There is no wealth but life," said Victorian philosopher and artist John Ruskin, foreshadowing the growing movement to have economics concerned with abundance and serving the interests of local communities.… read more »

Faster Than a Speeding Byte

by Peter Block on May 20, 2011 ()

The movie "The Social Network" strikes a chord in all of us who long to feel less powerless and more connected to human communities in the Digital Age… read more »

The Bin Laden Effect: In Praise of Our Government

by Peter Block on May 2, 2011 ()

The death of Osama bin Laden inspires a moment of gratitude for those who serve the public.… read more »

Our Abundant Communities
Our Abundant Communities

by John McKnight, Peter Block, Walter Brueggemann on April 25, 2011 ()

John, Peter and Old Testament scholar Walter Brueggemann explore themes of power and patriarchy; human fallibility and gifts; and accumulation and abundance in building and sustaining community in these uncut videos from their two days at Trinity University, San Antonio, for the 2011 Willson Lectures.… read more »

A Future for Journalism: The Story of What’s Working

by Peter Block on April 11, 2011 ()

An encouraging sign that a "new" journalism can speak to the possibilities held by our urban centers.… read more »

The Latest Executive Tool: The Weed Whacking Golf Driver

by Peter Block on March 28, 2011 ()

The private sector is good at certain things, and we need those systems for that. Let us just not be lulled into believing that democracy and care for the commons, including our neighbors and neighborhood, are safe in those same hands.… read more »

Biding My Time

by Peter Block on March 14, 2011 ()

No time. This common argument against neighborhood building should not be taken at face value.… read more »

The Nervous American Empire or Raise Your Hands Over Your Head and Don’t Move

by Peter Block on February 10, 2011 ()

America is more vulnerable since 9/11, and not for the reasons you might think.… read more »

A Real Community Learning Center

by Peter Block on January 25, 2011 ()

With a little local help, schools could be the place for building neighborhood relationships and be center for children and neighbors to become more useful to each other.… read more »

Seeing Ahead

by Peter Block on January 4, 2011 ()

Social invention pioneer Al Etmanski asked me this question recently: What would you like to see made visible in 2011?… read more »

Home Economics Redux

by Peter Block on November 15, 2010 ()

We now use the term “dysfunctional family” for a reason. In the evolution of the consumer society, the family has lost much of its use or function.… read more »

The Wrong Conversation about Health Care

by Peter Block on October 13, 2010 ()

The current health care debate is a conversation that is not going to make us any healthier. It is the wrong conversation.… read more »

If You're Not Fast You're Food

by Peter Block on September 20, 2010 ()

Modernist beliefs have reached their limits. What we are seeking and discovering is a new identity for ourselves, one that replaces the assumptions of modernism with a worldview that values cooperation, abundance and measures of well being that have nothing to do with material wealth.… read more »

The Future of Community

by Peter Block on August 30, 2010 ()

What is the relationship between electronic technology and community? Does the technology build community and relationships or become a substitute for them?… read more »

Kibble and Grist

by Peter Block on August 14, 2010 ()

Thoughts from and to the community-minded… read more »

Art in Community

by Peter Block on July 26, 2010 ()

The most businesslike, intellectual or problem solving gathering needs an open mind, an open heart and a trusting network of relationships to achieve its purpose. Participating in art does this. It engages us in our humanity and is essential to creating any alternative future we have in mind.… read more »

New Measures of Better Off

by Peter Block on July 12, 2010 ()

Our children will be better off than we are, but not because they will make more money.… read more »

News to Us

by Peter Block on July 1, 2010 ()

What’s news? Peter invites us to reconstruct our thinking about what is newsworthy. News that is worthy builds community.… read more »

The Power of Positive Deviance: Jerry Sternin, Monique Sternin, Richard Pascale

by Peter Block on July 1, 2010 ()

The Power of Positive Deviance describes a way of thinking and acting that has relevance for anyone who cares about their community and its gifts and capacities.… read more »

Win, Lose or Draw

by Peter Block on June 24, 2010 ()

A life of satisfaction starts with understanding how our love of competition feeds our dissatisfaction. We have romanticized competition as the natural state. We treat cooperation as the exception. Cooperation is not a denial of the toughness of the real world, it just reframes our effort. All we need to do is lose interest in competition and declare that cooperation is the natural state.… read more »