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Jenny Stefanotti

How might we envision a society that is more equitable, caring, and regenerative? And if we could envision such a future, how might we transition from where we are today? The Becoming Denizen podcast explores these big questions. Our conversations span six themes: economics, politics, technology, culture, justice, and consciousness.


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12/28/22 • 57 min

In this episode, Marta Ceroni joins us to discuss systems thinking. The focus of our conversation is the life and work of Donella Meadows, a distinguished systems and environmental thinker in the mid-late 20th century. Ceroni stewards Meadows' archives and furthers her work as co-director at the Academy for Systems Change.

In our conversation, Marta and Jenny discuss Meadow's life, the key attributes of complex systems, and some of the leverage points to influence the outcomes of a system. They talk about the importance of information flows, being conscious of paradigms, and how we can move out of our heads and into our bodies to inform systems change.

  • "We can't control systems or figure them out, but we can dance with them" [3:30]
  • Marta's background [5:35]
  • Meadows' background, education, and travels abroad [9:22]
  • Key attributes of a system [15:26]
  • Leverage points to change a system [22:00]
  • Importance and power dynamics of information flows [22:24]
  • Meadows' highest-ranked leverage points [24:11]
  • Realizing the paradigm that there are paradigms [30:21]
  • Moving beyond the intellect to the embodied aspects of systems thinking [32:45]
  • The impacts of trauma and trauma-healing in a system [37:52]
  • Meadows' envisioning talk and guided practice [40:49]
  • Meadows' ecovillage [43:26]
  • About the Academy for Systems Change [49:41]


Notable writings and talks from Donella Meadows:

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We all know about all the things that are wrong with social media as we know it. It's a model where everything is centralized and the market dynamics foster very few competitors who just get bigger and have more power. Who builds? Who governs? Who owns? Where are the servers? Where do the applications sit? Where does the data live? It's largely in just a few companies that in many cases have walled gardens of content. This dominant model yields a tremendous centralization of power for tech executives who are incentivized by market dynamics, to grow and to extract and to capture more and more of our attention. So, how do we get ourselves out of this mess? Does the answer lie in decentralized social media?

Our guest for this episode is Evan Henshaw-Plath, veteran Silicon Valley engineer and CEO of Planetary, a decentralized social network.

In this episode we cover all things decentralized social media, including:

  • The story of Twitter's "original sin" where it abandoned a federated model for a centralized one [4:14]
  • A framework to think about decentralization across the Internet and social media [12:22]
  • Distinctions between web3 and the dWeb (decentralized web) [15:18]
  • What a protocol is, why it’s a core element of decentralized social media, and the current landscape of protocols [15:33, 23:37]
  • Architecture and design considerations at protocol vs. app levels [28:39]
  • Big debates in the decentralized social media space [31:31]
  • Issues with blockchain based solutions [36:28]
  • Evan’s vision for decent social media and what he’s up to with his startup, Planetary [38:56]


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12/06/22 • 40 min

Charles is the author of several books, including The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible and Sacred Economics. His work spans multiple pillars of the Denizen Inquiry, including economics, culture, and consciousness.

In this episode, Charles and Jenny discuss gift economics, a very different model of exchange than capitalism. In a gift economy, goods and services are given away as gifts without an explicit agreement on giving anything in return. This does not mean there is no financial exchange -- in many cases, the consumer opts into paying an amount that is determined at their discretion after the good or service has been received.

Gift economies are moderated by social norms and were the dominant form of exchange in many indigenous cultures. Critically, gift economies are circular and relational as opposed to a transactional, and thus present a compelling example of a non-extractive economic model that is more aligned with natural law.

This episode covers:

  • Why gift models more aligned with human nature [4:40]
  • How gift economies induce gratitude and reciprocity [7:21]
  • The essential cultural component of gift economies [12:06]
  • Why the gift is a natural model for digital goods[13:24]
  • How gift economies engender circularity vs. hoarding [15:38]
  • Intellectual property and the collective inheritance of humanity [22:00]
  • Charles' experience stepping into a gift model in his own work [26:20]
  • Implementing a gift model [29:53]
  • The circular, relational vs. transactional nature of gift economies [32:00]
  • How the circularity of gift economies mimic nature [32:47]
  • Navigating boundaries between gift and market economies [34:18]
  • Synchronicity and the gift [36:50]


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Steward ownership is one of the single most important concepts to understand for those interested in reforming capitalism. Whereas all other models of corporate governance that seek to integrate purpose co-ops, public benefit corporations, B Corps, and PBLLCs leave intact a fundamental tension between purpose and profit, steward ownership instantiates profit in service of purpose in a way that is legally binding. Steward ownership is where the keys to the castle lie if we are interested in market economy that addresses the fatal flaws of capitalism as we know it.

Our guest for this episode are Derek Razo and Camille Canon, co-founders of Purpose US, a consultancy supporting companies looking to adopt steward owned governance models.

In this conversation Jenny, Derek, and Camille discuss:

  • What is steward ownership? [4:41]
  • Steward ownership vs. other familiar corporate governance models [6:50]
  • Channels for profit in steward owned and other governance models [10:29]
  • Importance of legally binding structures in reforming the economy [11:27]
  • Value clarifying purpose amongst stakeholders [12:10]
  • Steward ownership and securing purpose across multiple generations of leaders / protecting purpose against capture by any particular group's interests [13:01]
  • Rethinking the definition of ownership [16:05]
  • How steward ownership binds governance rights to purpose [18:37]
  • Checks and balances to limit extraction with steward ownership [20:30]
  • Legacy of steward owned models around the world [22:43]
  • Camille and Derek's ladder of legal security for purpose driven governance [24:16]
  • Entity types and legal forms for steward ownership [31:15]
  • Steward ownership models vs. non-profits [33:29]
  • Challenges accessing finance [35:13]
  • Overcoming the growth stage financing gap without losing control [38:00]
  • Innovative financing models [39:02]
  • Founder leverage and alternative deal structures [40:24]
  • The Purpose Futures Fellowship for fund managers [42:52]
  • Steward ownership and DAOs [49:48]
  • Web3 and new sources of liquidity [52:58]
  • Current state of steward ownership interest and adoption [54:54]


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This conversation investigates the fundamental challenges of a capitalism and outlines a vision for a post-growth economy that better achieves a just, sustainable society. Our guest, Donnie MacLurcan, is the founder and Executive Director of the Post Growth Institute. He's one of the most brilliant thinkers we've met on new economics.

In this episode Jenny and Donnie discuss:

  • Defining post-growth economics [2:23]
  • Distinction between capitalism and market economies [6:23]
  • Capitalism, accumulation, and debt [7:32]
  • Debt and money creation [10:04]
  • Capitalism and debt accumulation [17:51]
  • One planet lifestyles [20:31]
  • Ecological limits, technology and Jevon's Paradox [22:23]
  • Manfred Max-Neef, Maslow's heirarchy and universal needs [24:24]
  • Defining a full circle economy [26:40]
  • Circularity and indigenous cultures [27:43]
  • Nonprofits vs. not-for profit [29:30]
  • Prevalance of not-for-profit enterprise around the world [31:27]
  • Industrial foundations [36:34]
  • The problem with co-ops [38:18]
  • Transitioning to a post-growth economy [40:28]
  • Asset based community development [41:01]
  • Post-growth economics and geopolitics [45:43]
  • Sources for hope [49:32]

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03/15/23 • 58 min

Our guest for this episode is Carla Fernandez, co-founder of The Dinner Party, a platform for young adults who have lost someone close to them. The Dinner Party now operates in over 100 cities around the world and has been featured in media outlets such as NPR, CNN, and the New York Times. Carla is also a designer, facilitator, and strategist whose work brings creativity, joy, and connection to the roots of our most intractable problems. She is also currently writing a book called Renegade Grief.

In this episode Jenny and Carla discuss:

  • Carla's experience losing her father [4:53]
  • Jenny's reflections on losing her parents [8:37]
  • Grief, public heath, and policy [13:43]
  • Grief vs. trauma when someone close to you dies [16:00]
  • Lessons in self-compassion [18:23]
  • The impact of the decline of religion on grieving [21:34]
  • Death and forgiveness [22:06]
  • The Dinner Party and its learnings [25:44]
  • The importance of community and relationships as a foundation for systems change [33:20]
  • Grief and growth [38:36]
  • Accepting death and living intentionally [41:46]
  • Discomfort with difficult emotional experiences [46:29]
  • Interconnection and grief [47:17]
  • Carla's upcoming book, Renegade Grief [53:22]


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Universal basic income has gotten a lot of attention in the past five years. What is universal basic income, and why might it be a compelling component of a just society? How did the pandemic accelerate the possibility to adopting cash assistance in various forms?

Our guests for this episode are Natalie Foster and Dorian Warren, co-founders of the Economic Security Project which has spearheaded some tremendously impactful work around guaranteed income in the United States over the past few years.

In this episode, we do a deep dive on universal basic income and guaranteed income, including:

  • What universal basic income (UBI) is [2:15]
  • Its funding sources and costs [3:42, 34:31]
  • Four arguments for it from a political theory perspective [3:44]
  • Practical arguments from the macro and microeconomic points of view [8:24]
  • Distinguishing "guaranteed income" from UBI [11:14]
  • Historical influences and the movement of poverty abolitionism [16:03]
  • Valuing the care economy [19:24]
  • Complementary views from Buckminster Fuller, Milton Friedman, and Charles Eisenstein [20:42]
  • Incorporating solidarity economics [21:39]
  • Policy experiments, especially in Stockton, California [23:24]
  • How recipients spent the money and were affected [26:00]
  • Mayors for Guaranteed Income and pilots currently underway around the United States [32:17]
  • Going behind the scenes of social change work [35:42]
  • The narrative, cultural and political elements of power [39:00]
  • Similarities to social security [41:13]
  • Sources of excitement and hope [46:06]


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What might a socio-economic system look like that yields human flourishing in harmony with the rest of life on Earth? And, how might we implement strategies to transition from where we are today to such a system? These are the two questions at the center of the Becoming Denizen podcast. This introduction gives additional context on the scope of the podcast and the six pillars we explore: economics, politics, technology, culture, consciousness, and justice.
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01/04/23 • 69 min

In this episode, Jenny and Jordan Hall discuss their experiences and systemic perspectives as parents in modern society.

This conversation covers:

  • Unraveling the meaningfulness of becoming a parent [3:01]
  • Exploring interrelationships between parents, kids, extended family, and community [7:15]
  • "Stewarding the soul of another human being" [9:55]
  • Some historical and cultural contexts of parenting today (Game A) [11:55]
  • Riane Eisler's work on Partnerism [22:23]
  • Elaborating the concept of Game A parenting [24:33]
  • How preschools can help us be better parents [35:24]
  • Exploring the ideals and constraints of Game B parenting [36:47]
  • Finding the right relationship between parenting and professional identities [56:00]
  • Prioritizing both parents in the next wave of feminism [58:37]
  • Framing a design question for evolving the interconnected systems of parenting [1:04:24]
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In this episode we do a deep dive on Modern Monetary Theory (MMT). MMT stems from an alternative story of money which has significant implications for governments in countries that have sovereignty over the currency it issues. Under MMT, spending does not face financial constraints, taxes and bonds do not fund government budgets, federal deficits and debt are not problematic, and the lines between fiscal and monetary policy blur completely.

We were fortunate to be joined by Andres Bernal, leading MMT proponent and former advisor to help us understand the essential topic.

In this conversation Jenny and Andres cover:

  • Two stories of the origin of money [3:04]
  • Money as a social construct [9:58]
  • MMT defined [12:46]
  • Currency issuers vs. currency users [15:15]
  • Spending and its relationship to taxes [16:00]
  • Reconsidering federal deficits[16:44]
  • Monetary sovereignty and MMT [17:21]
  • Hyperinflation and productive capacity [20:15]
  • MMT and the role of taxation [23:36]
  • MMT and bonds [26:41]
  • MMT and monetary policy [30:15]
  • Rejecting the monetarist view of the inverse relationship between unemployment and inflation [33:43]
  • MMT and inflation [35:55]
  • Drivers of today's high inflation rates [41:55]
  • MMT and a Job Guarantee [50:17]
  • Job guarantee vs. guaranteed income [55:04]
  • De-growth vs. post-growth [59:39]
  • Current MMT landscape [1:01:53]
  • Common misconceptions about MMT [1:03:14]


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How many episodes does Denizen have?

Denizen currently has 21 episodes available.

What topics does Denizen cover?

The podcast is about Economics, Society & Culture, Technology and Politics.

What is the most popular episode on Denizen?

The episode title 'Systems Thinking with Marta Ceroni' is the most popular with 1 listens and 1 ratings.

What is the average episode length on Denizen?

The average episode length on Denizen is 54 minutes.

How often are episodes of Denizen released?

Episodes of Denizen are typically released every 7 days.

When was the first episode of Denizen?

The first episode of Denizen was released on Dec 2, 2022.

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