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The Case for Community Wealth Building

Joe Guinan and Martin O'Neill

Our broken economic model drives inequality and disempowerment, lining the pockets of corporations while extracting wealth from local communities. How can we reverse this?

Joe Guinan and Martin O’Neill argue for an approach that uses the power of democratic participation to drive equitable development and ensure that wealth is widely shared. They show how this model – Community Wealth Building – can transform our economic system by creating a web of collaborative institutions, from worker cooperatives to community land trusts and public banks, that empower and enrich the many, not the few.

This book is essential reading for everyone interested in building more equal, inclusive, and democratic societies.

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Joe Guinan is Vice President of Theory, Research, and Policy at The Democracy Collaborative and Executive Director of the Next System Project.

Martin O’Neill is Senior Lecturer in Political Philosophy at the University of York.


‘A new approach to economics is needed to tackle grotesque inequalities of wealth and power. Community Wealth Building offers a way for communities to confront corporate power and build a more equal and democratic economy. In this book Joe Guinan and Martin O’Neill show what inspiring action is already happening on the ground and point beyond to what is possible.’ —Jeremy Corbyn MP, Leader of the Labour Party

‘Change is coming, and another world is not just possible but already within reach. Joe Guinan and Martin O’Neill show how Community Wealth Building approaches can allow every community in the country to play their part in building a new economy from the ground up.’ —John McDonnell MP, Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer

‘Joe Guinan and Martin O’Neill present a compelling vision of a more just, democratic economy in which wealth and power are more fairly shared. This book should be read by anyone who believes that a different economic order is possible and wants to know how we start to make it happen.’ —Ed Miliband, MP for Doncaster North and former Leader of the Labour Party 

‘If you want to make the city where you live more equal and more democratic, this is the book for you. It shows what local government, institutions, and people can do to create a better world – even without the support of central government. It is at once both practical and inspiring.’ —Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, authors of The Spirit Level and The Inner Level 

The Case for Community Wealth Building is an essential guide to a new and devolved economic movement that challenges forty years of neoliberalism and austerity. It articulates real progress towards a transformed and democratic economy.’ —Councillor Matthew Brown, Leader of Preston City Council