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  • Featured Publications
November 25, 2019

Featured Publications

On this page, we feature some of our publications, including reports and books, that detail how we’re building a more democratic economy.

An array of prescription medications on shelves

Medicine For All: The case for a public option in the pharmaceutical industry

Democratic, public ownership of pharmaceutical development, production, and distribution in the U.S. is necessary to combat the increasingly harmful impacts of Big Pharma which decades of regulation have failed to counteract.

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The book cover for The Making of a Democratic Economy, on a field of raised hands

The Making of a Democratic Economy

The Making of a Democratic Economy is a clarion call for a movement ready to get serious about transforming our economic system. Illuminating the principles of a democratic economy through the stories of on-the-ground community wealth builders and their unlikely accomplices in the halls of institutional power, this book is a must read for everyone concerned with how we win the fight for an economy that’s equitable, not extractive.

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Banking on the People Screenshot

Banking on the People: Democratizing Money in the Digital Age

This book takes the reader step by step through modern money creation, explores improvements made possible by advances in digital technology, and proposes upgrades that could transform our outmoded 19th century system into one that is democratic, sustainable, and serves the needs of the 21st century.

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Decorative image of a bridge span

Anchor Collaboratives: Building bridges with place-based partnerships and anchor institutions

How anchor institutions can collaborate locally, leveraging the power of their economic assets to address social and economic disparities and to revitalize their communities.

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Mission-led employee-owned firms screenshot

Mission-led employee-owned firms: The Best of the Best

Mission-led employee-owned firms embody a powerful model of enterprise design for a new era of environmental sustainability and social equity. This report shares the story of this emerging model, embodied in 50-plus firms that are employee-owned B Corporations and benefit corporations, plus dozens

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Right to own

Right To Own: A Policy Framework to Catalyze Worker Ownership Transitions

Our new report explores the “right to own”—giving workers the right of first refusal anytime their workplace is up for sale—as a strategy to massively scale up employee ownership in the economy. We outline the major provisions and legal changes necessary to enact this right, and the ecosystem of

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Green infrastructure Verde

Building Resiliency through Green Infrastructure: A Community Wealth Building Approach

How investments in the green infrastructure needed for climate resiliency can be leveraged to build community wealth with worker cooperatives and social enterprises.

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Urban and Metropolitan Universities: The Transformative Power of Anchor Institutions

This report focuses on the role of urban and metropolitan universities as anchor institutions in their community to address long standing inequities.

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Our Common Wealth cover

Our Common Wealth: The return of public ownership in the United States

This book is the most comprehensive and up-to-date analysis of the scope and scale of U.S. public ownership, debunking frequent misconceptions about the alleged inefficiency and underperformance of public ownership and arguing that it offers powerful, flexible solutions to current inequalities.

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An Indigenous Approach to Community Wealth Building screenshot

An Indigenous Approach to Community Wealth Building: A Lakota Translation

Drawing on the work done in the Learning/Action Lab for Community Wealth Building, Stephanie Gutierrez explores how a systemic approach to inclusive local economic development needs a process of active translation to resonate with the traditional values at the core of Native communities.

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Community control of land and housing

Community Control of Land and Housing: Exploring strategies for combating displacement, expanding ownership, and building community wealth

This report seeks to broaden awareness, discourse, and adoption of community control of land and housing strategies among various stakeholders who have a genuine desire to see stable, healthy, equitable, and sustainable local communities flourish.

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Embracing an Anchor Mission screenshot

Embracing an Anchor Mission: ProMedica’s all-in strategy

This report offers an in-depth look at how the Toledo, Ohio based health system ProMedica (a member of the Healthcare Anchor Network) aligned its institutional operations and clinical practice to better tackle the social determinants of health, and serves a useful guide for hospitals and health systems embarking on similar shifts.

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Wealth inequality

Democratising ownership to address wealth inequality

The Democracy Collaborative’s testimony to the U.K.’s leading progressive think tank on how to bring about a thoroughgoing democratization of our political economy. In the fall of 2017, Institute for Public Policy Research reached out to The Democracy Collaborative requesting evidence from the U.S. on broad-based ownership strategies and recommendations for how wealth can be generated and shared more equally.

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Anchor Dashboard report

Higher Education’s Anchor Mission: Measuring place-based engagement

This report examines how an ongoing — and expanding — effort to track the impact of colleges and universities on the financial and social well-being of their surrounding neighborhoods is helping these anchor institutions align their resources to build stronger community partnerships and create more inclusive local economies.

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The Anchor Mission Playbook screenshot

The Anchor Mission Playbook

Anchor institutions can play a key role in helping the low-income communities they serve by better aligning their institutional resources — like hiring, purchasing, investment, and volunteer base — with the needs of those of communities. The recommendations in this “playbook,” drawn from research carried out to help Rush University Medical Center (RUMC) align around its Anchor Mission, are being published to help other hospitals and health systems accelerate their own efforts to drive institutional alignment with community needs.

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Impact investing and employee ownership screenshot

Impact investing and employee ownership: Making employee-owned enterprises part of the income inequality solution

This report by Mary Ann Beyster, president and trustee of the Foundation for Enterprise Development (FED), discusses the investing landscape for potential opportunities in employee ownership.

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An abstract depiction of a local economic system

Principles of a Pluralist Commonwealth

In this book by The Democracy Collaborative’s co-founder, Gar Alperovitz lays out his vision for a next system. The approach and model outlined — the Pluralist Commonwealth — offers a trajectory and pattern for wide-ranging institutional change towards real democracy over the long haul, guided by a transformative vision beyond both corporate capitalism and traditional state socialism.

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Policy Brief: Rebuilding America's Infrastructure

In The Next System Project’s first policy brief, Democracy Collaborative Fellow Ellen Brown, founder and president emeritus of the Public Banking Institute, explores what’s wrong with President Trump’s approach to infrastructure. Brown also identifies an even bolder approach that could bring the costs of investment in infrastructure down to zero.

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Towards Gender Liberation

In this working paper, the Next System Project’s Cecilia Gingerich focuses on gender-based oppression, since it is both one of the fundamental characteristics of the current system and one that must be eliminated from any desirable alternative future system. The first section provides working definitions for key terms, while the second half turns to visions for the future.

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Advancing the Anchor Mission of Healthcare screenshot

Advancing the Anchor Mission of Healthcare

In 2016, leaders from 40 health systems gathered in Washington, DC to explore the potential to more fully harness their economic power to inclusively and sustainably benefit the long-term well-being of American communities. This report summarizes the events of that convening and next steps, inviting your hospital or health system to join the network and help advance the Anchor Mission of healthcare in your institution, in your community, and nationally.

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Jacksonville’s Community Wealth Building Roundtable screenshot

Jacksonville’s community wealth building roundtable: Local government convenes to seed a new idea for community development

In this report, Michelle Barth, the Mayor’s Deputy Chief of Staff in Jacksonville, Florida, looks at how a municipal government can plan and carry out a successful community wealth building roundtable.

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The role of impact investors in taking employee ownership to scale

While employee-owned businesses have historically used a wide range of financial tools, the role of private equity and impact investors has been limited to date. In a meeting convened by the Fifty by Fifty Initiative, the Foundation for Enterprise Development, and the Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations, participants took a deeper look at barriers, opportunities and resources for connecting the gaps between investors and employee-owned firms.

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Sparking the conversation in your community screenshot

Sparking the conversation in your community: A DIY guide to planning your own community wealth building summit

In this Community Wealth Innovators Series whitepaper, Justine Porter maps out how she and her grassroots team pulled together a community wealth building summit in Poughkeepsie, New York — and highlights the lessons learned so that you can benefit from their experience in planning your own community wealth building summit in your community.

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Hospitals Aligned for Healthy Communities sourcing screenshot

Hospitals aligned for healthy communities: Inclusive, local sourcing

This toolkit on local and diverse purchasing showcases examples of how hospitals and health systems are reevaluating their roles as their community’s largest purchasers, understanding that a thriving local economy is fundamental to a healthy community.

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Strategies for Financing the Inclusive Economy screenshot

Strategies for financing the inclusive economy

This report from The Democracy Collaborative explores ways in which impact investors can help build an inclusive economy by accelerating the growth of broad-based ownership models — worker cooperatives, social enterprises, employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs), hybrid enterprises, and municipal enterprise.

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Hospitals Aligned for Healthy Communities hiring screenshot

Hospitals aligned for healthy communities: Inclusive, local hiring

Establishing a local and inclusive hiring strategy is an important first step towards rethinking your health system’s role in the community. This toolkit can help you get started.

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Conversations on Community Wealth Building screenshot

Conversations on Community Wealth Building

Drawing on a decade’s worth of conversations with key leaders in the growing field, from cooperative developers and community activists to impact investors and social enterprise innovators, this book of interviews from the Democracy Collaborative dives into the front lines of the movement to build community wealth.

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Taking Employee Ownership to Scale screenshot

Taking employee ownership to scale: Learning + design session

On June 13 and 14, 2016 in Washington, DC, many of the nation’s leading experts in employee ownership, sustainable business and finance, community and economic development, and philanthropy came together in a Learning + Design session. The purpose of the session was to discuss how to achieve unprecedented scale of employee ownership by focusing on achieving an audacious goal: 50 million U.S. employee-owners by 2050. This report summarizes and expands upon the meeting.

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Cleveland’s Greater University Circle Initiative screenshot

Cleveland’s Greater University Circle Initiative: An anchor-based strategy for change

Cities are increasingly turning to their “anchor” institutions as drivers of economic development, harnessing the power of these major economic players to benefit the neighborhoods where they are rooted. This case study shows how the Greater University Circle Initiative achieved this coordination among three large anchor institutions located in Cleveland’s park-like University Circle area—almost one-square mile of world-class educational, cultural, and health institutions.

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Rochester’s Market Driven Community Cooperatives Corporation screenshot

Rochester’s Market Driven Community Cooperatives Corporation: A feasibility analysis and implementation plan

The City of Rochester’s Office of Innovation has been coordinating a project to develop worker-owned cooperative businesses as part of a comprehensive wealth building strategy for Rochester, New York. The Democracy Collaborative completed this study in February 2016, which documented the incredible potential for the project, a high degree of community support including local Anchor Institution buy-in, as well as several potential business niches for future worker-owned businesses.

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Can Hospitals Heal America's Communities? screenshot

Can hospitals heal America's communities?

Can hospitals and health systems heal America’s communities? This paper illuminates the possibilities and explores how “all in for mission” is the emerging healthcare model.

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Cities Building Community Wealth

In an era of persistent urban inequality and chronic unemployment disproportionately impacting historically marginalized communities and communities of color, new alternatives to the traditional economic development strategies are clearly needed. This report responds to this challenge by highlighting best practices in inclusive innovation from twenty cities across the country, and offering a unified vision of the underlying new paradigm of community focused economic development.

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Getting to the Next System screenshot

Getting to the Next System: Guideposts on the way to a new political economy

In the Next System Project’s second official report, project co-chair James Gustave Speth details the steps that must be taken to change the status quo of the political-economic system.

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Educate and Empower screenshot

Educate and Empower: Tools for Building Community Wealth

Low-income communities and communities of color, in challenging structural economic and social inequality, have historically grappled with tensions inherent to development. Who participates in, directs, and ultimately owns the economic-development process? This report draws on case studies of 11 different community economic development initiatives from across the U.S. to highlight a diverse set of powerful answers to this and other critical questions.

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The Next System Project screenshot

The Next System Project: New political-economic possibilities for the 21st century

An overview of The Next System Project and the need for systemic solutions for systemic crisis.

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Healthcare Small Business Gap Analysis

Healthcare Small Business Gap Analysis

This report, prepared in partnership with New Orleans-based DMM & Associates on behalf of the New Orleans Business Alliance (NOLABA), outlines procurement practices and supply chain needs of New Orleans healthcare institutions and the capacity local business to fulfill those needs.

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The Democracy Collaborative: 2014 Impact Report

The Democracy Collaborative: 2014 Impact Report

Our 2014 Impact Report highlights the work we’ve done across the country in 2014 to advance community wealth building and systemic transformation.

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Cooperation Jackson

Community Wealth Building in Jackson, Mississippi: Strategic considerations

This report, prepared by The Democracy Collaborative and submitted to Cooperation Jackson, highlights opportunities to build a cooperative economy in Jackson, Mississippi linked to anchor institution procurement.

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A New Anchor Mission for a New Century: Community foundations deploying all resources to build community wealth

This report offers an overview of how 30 representative community foundations, large and small, urban and rural, are working toward adopting this new anchor mission.

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Policies for Community Wealth Building: Leveraging State and Local Resources

This report showcases some key emerging best practices in state and local policy-making to support community wealth building — designed to support economic inclusion goals, create quality jobs with family-supporting wages, address generational poverty, stabilize communities and the environment, and address growing wealth inequality.

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Scaling Up the Cooperative Movement screenshot

Scaling Up the Cooperative Movement

How can we scale up the cooperative movement without losing our cooperative values? That is the question contributors seek to answer in this collection of essays. Contributors include Hilary Abell, Michael Johnson, Joe Guinan and Caitlin Quigley, along with contributing editors Thomas Hanna, Andrew McLeod and Len Krimerman.

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Worker Cooperatives: Pathways to Scale screenshot

Worker Cooperatives: Pathways to Scale

This paper aims to help build the field of U.S. worker co-op development by providing a current view of the cooperative landscape and by analyzing factors that inhibit or promote cooperative development. Although informed by the cooperative giants in Europe, this analysis highlights lessons learned through the development and growth of worker co-ops in the U.S.

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Action plan Jacksonville

Building Community Wealth: An Action Plan for Northwest Jacksonville

This report, prepared by the Democracy Collaborative and submitted to the City of Jacksonville, Florida, highlights key strategic opportunities to leverage existing assets to build wealth in a neighborhood facing concentrated poverty and disinvestment.

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Economic Democracy

Democracy Collaborative Research Director Steve Dubb along with Executive Director Ted Howard and Research Associate Sarah McKinley contributed the chapter “Economic Democracy” to the two-volume encyclopedia, Achieving Sustainability, now available courtesy of Gale Publishing. They outline the history of the economic democracy movement, highlighting community wealth building strategies such as community development finance institutions and cooperatives.

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What Then Can I Do? screenshot

What Then Can I Do?: Ten ways to democratize the economy

Democracy Collaborative co-founder Gar Alperovitz and community development associate Keane Bhatt provide 10 concrete action steps that individuals and groups can take to foster democratic economies and build community wealth. Using on-the-ground examples, they show how to engage credit unions, build employee-ownership structures, work with hospitals and universities to forge community partnerships and more.

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Achieving the Anchor Promise dashboard

Achieving The Anchor Promise: Improving outcomes for low-income children, families and communities

This report presents research to assist anchor institutions in measuring their community impact.

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The Anchor Dashboard: Aligning institutional practice to meet low-income community needs

This study introduces a framework to assist anchor institutions in understanding their impact on the community and, in particular, their impact on the welfare of low-income children and families in those communities.

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The Possibility of a Pluralist Commonwealth and a Community Sustaining Economy

This essay by Democracy Collaborative co-founder Gar Alperovitz and Research Director Steve Dubb opens the academic symposium journal issue on “Alternatives to Capitalism.”

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Raising Student Voices: Student Action for University Community Investment

This report connects struggling communities to local institutional wealth through engaging student activism, profiling 3 administration-led initiatives and 3 student-led initiatives, as well as 5 potential future partnerships.

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What Then Must We Do? Straight Talk About the Next American Revolution

This book from political economist and historian Gar Alperovitz, the co-founder of the Democracy Collaborative, outlines how we can democratize wealth and build a community sustaining economy from the ground up.

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Hospitals Building Healthier Communities: Embracing the Anchor Mission

This report provides an in-depth look at six hospitals in five cities that are rethinking their economic and community engagement strategies.

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The New Alliance: Organizing for Economic Justice, Building a New Economy

This working paper by Gar Alperovitz and Steve Dubb examines how “new strategies of worker ownership within a community framework can function as the linchpin of an approach capable of uniting economic justice organizers, progressives, labor, and environmental activists.”

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The Anchor Mission screenshot

The Anchor Mission: Leveraging the Power of Anchor Institutions to Build Community Wealth

This report from The Democracy Collaborative and the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at M.I.T. focuses on the path-breaking Vision 2010 Program implemented in Cleveland and Northeast Ohio by University Hospitals System.

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Owning Our Future screenshot

Owning Our Future: The Emerging Ownership Revolution

To understand emerging ownership alternatives, Marjorie Kelly reports from a community-owned wind facility in Massachusetts, a lobster cooperative in Maine, a multibillion-dollar employee-owned department-store chain in London, a foundation-owned pharmaceutical in Denmark, and other places where a hopeful new economy is being built. Along the way, she finds the five essential patterns of ownership design that make these models work.

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The Road Half Traveled: University Engagement at a Crossroads

Authored by Rita Axelroth Hodges and Steve Dubb as part of Michigan State University Press’ series on Transformations in Higher Education, the book features ten in-depth cases and examines how universities, by pursuing an anchor institution mission to improve surrounding communities in cooperation

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Leveraging Anchor Institutions for Local Job Creation and Wealth Building

Co-published by two research centers of the University of California, Berkeley, this paper from the Democracy Collaborative explores the impact of anchor institutions on wealth building and job creation in low-income communities.

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America Beyond Capitalism

How thousands of co-ops, worker-owned businesses, land trusts, and municipal enterprises are beginning to democratize the deep substructure of the American economy, with a new introduction by the author, Gar Alperovitz, and a new foreword by James Gustave Speth. More info and ordering at www

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Climate Change, Community Stability, and the Next 150 Million Americans screenshot

Climate Change, Community Stability, and the Next 150 Million Americans

Putting forth a vision of green community wealth building, in which community-anchored enterprises, linked to sophisticated and decentralized planning, support stable and sustainable local economies, this study outlines how truly integrated approaches can help America meet the sustainability challenge.

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Growing a Green Economy for All: From Green Jobs to Green Ownership

This report provides the first comprehensive survey of community wealth building institutions in the green economy. Featuring ten cases, the report identifies how policy and philanthropy can build on these examples to create “green jobs you can own.”

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Rebuilding America's Communities: A Comprehensive Community Wealth Building Federal Policy Proposal

This report draws upon practical experience accumulated over the years in many areas and proposes a strategic approach to integrate, expand, and coordinate a powerful array of activities focused on promoting community wealth building in the nation’s distressed communities. Or, to put it more simply

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Linking Colleges to Communities: Engaging the University for Community Development

How can universities leverage their resources for community benefit? This report from The Democracy Collaborative outlines a comprehensive strategy to meet that goal.

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Building Wealth screenshot

Building Wealth: The New Asset-Based Approach to Solving Social and Economic Problems

The first across-the-board survey of innovative, asset-based strategies that are advancing social purposes.

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