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  • About The Democracy Collaborative
February 21, 2020

About The Democracy Collaborative

The Democracy Collaborative is a research and development lab for the democratic economy.

The Democracy Collaborative’s mission is to demonstrate in theory and in practice the principles of a democratic economy, offering a vision of what that economy can be, designing models that demonstrate how it operates, and building in coalition with others the pathways to a new reality. By making the democratic economy conceivable, visible, and practical, we open minds, ignite hope, and inspire action. 

◼ Learn more about our history.

◼ Read our statement of values and theory of change.

Explore how we are building the democratic economy.

At the heart of today’s multiplying and intersecting crises is an extractive economy. By its fundamental design, today’s corporate capitalist system takes wealth that would otherwise reside in local communities and concentrates it in the hands of a small elite, while depleting the planet, entrenching systemic racism, and shredding our social fabric. 

We believe this system must be replaced with a democratic economy—a system that, in its fundamental design, aims to meet the essential needs of all of us; balances human consumption with the regenerative capacity of the earth; repairs legacies of oppression, bias, and harm;  and shares prosperity and power without regard to race, gender, national origin, or economic status.  

Our vision begins and ends with community. It is through community wealth building—a bottom-up approach to economic development based on greater democratic ownership, participation, and control—that we can begin to develop and scale the democratic economy and displace the extractive economy. 

Making democracy the operating system of a new equitable and just economy that honors planetary boundaries requires the redesign of basic institutions and activities—companies, investments, economic development, land, employment, purchasing, banking, commons management, resource use, and so much more—so that the core purpose of the economy is to serve the common good. There are already models of such transformations, some highly advanced and often outside the contours of ideological frameworks, partisan platforms, or academic orthodoxies. Our work lifts up and finds ways to replicate these models as rebukes to status quo thinking and the myths that sustain it.

Our task at The Democracy Collaborative is to make the democratic economy, and the ownership transition that underpins it, a new common sense, an idea whose time has come.


Explore how we are building the democratic economy:

A view of the US Capitol

Theory and policy for a next system

We advance bold and transformative policy interventions that move the US and global political economy decisively toward systemic change through democratic ownership and control. read more
A joint event podium for the Cleveland Clinic and Evergreen Energy Solutions

Anchor institution connections

We are creating a national movement of anchor institutions—place-based nonprofits like universities and hospitals—working together to build community wealth. read more
A raised Black fist in front of a city street

Racial equity and reparative justice

We confront the systemic racism that is deeply embedded in our political economy and work to ensure that the democratic economy we build is reparative and antiracist at its core. read more
An aerial photo of an urban community

A community wealth building movement

We promote policies and practices that transform local economic development strategies so that wealth stays rooted in communities and is democratically controlled to benefit all residents. read more
Hands working with fabric

Next-generation enterprise design

We envision an entirely new concept of the company and a redefined role for capital and its institutions that are based on a new mandate to serve broad well-being and the public good. read more
A community celebrating a solar array

Climate justice and energy democracy

In our push for a fossil-fuel-free future, we focus on structural issues of ownership, control, finance, and equity, underscoring how a just transition and a democratic economy go hand in hand. read more