In our current environment of financial upheaval and fundamental economic reconstruction and reconsideration, it is paramount that previously overlooked models and means of operation are addressed and explored thoroughly in an attempt to find a more stable, productive, and balanced system within which to build a new economic base. Since the most recent collapse of the global financial system - operating mainly under the ideologies of free-market capitalism - many scholars and experts in economic and anthropological fields have begun to place emphasis on the merits of local economies and community value systems. Then the question becomes: as the fundamental ideologies of the rational individual and the self-regulating free market - viewed as normative within economics over the last century - are shaken and questioned, how can we reconstitute the necessary community values and cultural structures into the landscape of market economy in order to provide a new base focused on mutual stability and sustainability? In an attempt to provide a set of models by which to explore these alternative economic systems, I have spent the last eight months researching two dialectic models of economy with quite different philosophies and value systems. 89.3 The Current, a radio station operating under Minnesota Public Radio, is a member-supported station with a mission statement to share music without commercial advertisement, and to
support and strengthen the culture of local music in Minneapolis. Clear Channel is an expansive and commercially-supported for-profit corporation in the business of radio, with a mission statement to provide maximum returns for shareholders. Between these institutions is born a dialogue through which we may explore the responsibilities, successes, shortfallings, and concerns of two existent economic systems. Both are fallible and lend themselves to academic criticism. However, I hypothesize that considering what we have learned of the structural failings and reckless expansionism of private corporations with dominantly financial motives, a locally-invested and multi-faceted communal institution such as the Current will prove to be more stable and sustainable through changing economic environments.