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Communities Building Their Own Economies

Steve Dubb
Stanford Social Innovation Review

Steve Dubb writes for the Stanford Social Innovation Review on the importance of having access to tools that educate and empower low-income communities to shape their economic future.

Empowering communities to take control of economic development is slow, patient work—and people funding or supporting it need to take this into account when assessing success. Long-term, place-based commitments are critical; parachuting in and out does little to build local capacity. And the metrics we use need to take into account the often intangible relationship-building that weaves together a truly empowered community; shortcuts and quick fixes can cause real damage.

The stage is set for an unusual political and economic experiment in Jackson, Mississippi

Information

Mississippi's poor capital Jackson will be in the next four years subject to an economic experiment led by black activists and a newly elected progressive mayor. The plan is to introduce a barter economy, start worker cooperatives and build affordable rental housing in cooperation with the City. Tea Party Republicans and the white business community are expected to resist

International coverage of Cooperation Jackson...read more 

Colorado Impact Report: Will Denver Become America’s First ‘Community Wealth’ City?

Ted Howard
Cornerstone Capital Group

In cities across America, a new form of local economy is emerging. Many call this growing movement “Community Wealth Building,” a framework for economic development built on principles of democratizing wealth, broadening ownership over capital, leveraging existing institutional assets to benefit place, and preventing money from leaking out of our communities. The goal is to reinforce core values such as equity, inclusion, local stability, and sustainability. A range of corporate and institutional forms, involving millions of Americans as owners and consumers, are part of this movement, including cooperatives, employee-owned companies, community financial institutions, land trusts, municipal and state ownership, impact investing, and social enterprise.

Ted Howard in Cornerstonecapinc.com writes about Colorado Impact Report... read more 

Inequality is Murder

Murshed Zaheed
We Act Radio

Gar Alperovitz, author of What Then Must We Do? Straight Talk About the Next American Revolution, is co-founder of The Democracy Collaborative and co-chair of its Next System Project. He is also the author of two major studies of the Hiroshima decision: Atomic Diplomacy: Hiroshima and Potsdam and The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb...listen here 

How radical co-ops are leading the way to a new, democratic political economy

Miles Hadfield
Coop News

Organisations like Cleveland’s Evergreen Co-operatives are creating opportunities for co-ops in poor urban communities and helping to decentralise planning

Coop news cover's Gar Alperovitz Principles of a Pluralist Commonwealth highlighting the link between The Democracy Collaborative work with hospitals and the long term vision of a new socierty with The Next Sytem Project... read more 

 

New Report: Opportunities for Impact Investing in Employee Ownership

Fifty By Fifty

With income inequality in the United States at record high levels, employee ownership is increasingly being lauded as a potential solution to spreading wealth more broadly. Most recently, research from the National Center for Employee Ownership released in May shows that employee owners have a household net worth that is 92 percent higher than non-employee owners. They also make 33 percent higher wages, and are far less likely to be laid off...read more

The Preston model: UK takes lessons in recovery from rust-belt Cleveland

Hazel Sheffield
The Guardian

Ted Howard looks out on a group of people drinking tea from styrofoam cups at Preston town hall on a Monday afternoon in March. The social entrepreneur and author from Cleveland, Ohio, is the special guest at the city’s monthly social forum. “What’s happening in this community is historic – it blows my mind,” he tells the city councillors and local business owners. “We’re working out how to build an inclusive economy.”...Read More 

Amid “Constitutional Crisis,” Bernie Sanders Urges Workers To Seize Means of Production

Kate Arnoff
In These Times

The last few days have been a bit of a whirlwind, politically speaking. Most of it has to do with the onslaught of chaos that followed Donald Trump’s abrupt firing of FBI Director James Comey—a move political scientists agree is off the spectrum of normalcy in the history of the American presidency. Before his termination, Comey was leading an investigation into the Trump team’s alleged ties to the Russian government. Keith Ellison, deputy chairman of the Democratic National Committee, has said “we are witnessing a constitutional crisis.” Calls for impeachment are in the air, along with a good deal of conspiracy theorizing...read more

Embracing the Economy as a Design Challenge

Jennifer Atlee
Building Green

The consulting engineers at Integral Group are accustomed to working with clients early in an integrated design process. Working with Kevin Bates, president of Sharp Development Company, was different, however. “The first meeting wasn’t a design meeting—it was a financial meeting,” said John Andary of Integral Group, of a recent project with Bates. “As long as [Bates] was meeting his ROI [return on investment] and capitalization rate he was willing to spend whatever money, even if he was planning to sell the building.”...read more

The Hidden Threat of Tax Cuts to Equitable Economic Development

Rooflines

Although the Trump administration’s recent budget proposal offers only a look at expenses, with no numbers on revenue, it won’t be long before massive cuts to corporate taxes are on the agenda, as Trump has promised. Before the noise machine ramps up on that issue, it’s an apt time to stop and consider the unintended consequences such tax breaks could have. The hidden danger in broad cuts to the corporate tax rate is this: these cuts would blunt the effectiveness of key policies designed to support communities and an inclusive economy...read more

The Possibility of a Pluralist Commonwealth Evolutionary Reconstruction Toward a Caring and Just Political Economy

Gar Alperovitz
UMN

Abstract

New developments at various level of the political-economic system suggest possible institutional trajectories supportive of community, and a longer term systemic design more supportive of strong democracy and a caring culture. An integration of institutional elements also offers possibilities more productive of equality and ecologically sustainable outcomes. The “Pluralist Commonwealth” is both pluralist in its institutional characteristics and supportive of such “commonwealth” institutions as co-operatives, neighborhood land trusts and community corporations, municipal utilities and a range of other larger scale ownership forms. An “evolutionary reconstructive” institutional, political, and cultural path is projected as a longer term transformative process different from both traditional reform and traditional ideas of revolution. Such a path inherently seeks to maximize the development of a caring community as it builds.

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