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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.

Civic Engagement School #3: How To Build Community Wealth

Sarah Al-Khayyal
1812

Writing for 1812, Sarah Al-Khayyal writes an introductary article on Community Wealth development. In 1812, this article highlights the different stratgies proposed by the Democracy Collaborative: 

Community wealth building is “a systems approach to economic development that creates an inclusive, sustainable economy built on locally rooted and broadly held ownership.” The term was coined in 2005 by The Democracy Collaborative to describe a range of strategies that help anchor jobs in a community, democratize wealth and asset ownership, and make communities more economically stable.

Read more in 1812

How 6 Universities Are Keeping Promise of Being a Good Neighbor

Oscar Perry Abello
Next City

Writing for Next City, Oscar Perry Abello highlights the partnership between university and The Democracy Collaborative. In this article, Abello writes about the anchor work by different universities, like Buffalo State College small business center supporting women and minority owned businesses.  

Two years ago, Buffalo State College, University of Missouri–St. Louis, Rutgers University–Newark, Cleveland State University, Drexel University, and Virginia Commonwealth University each made a commitment to investing, hiring and purchasing locally. Now, a new reportfrom the Democracy Collaborative by Emily Sladek illustrates how they take seriously their role as “anchor institutions” when it comes to economic impact on their local economies.

Read more at Next City

How Cleveland’s cooperatives are giving ex-offenders a fresh start

Apolitical
Apolitical

Apolitical writes about The Evergreen Cooperatives that were founded by the Democracy Collaborative. Apolitical writes about the challenges, how they were started and results and impact of Evergreen Cooperatives. 

The project was designed by the non-profit Democracy Collaborative and established in collaboration with the Cleveland Foundation, a private charitable trust, and the City of Cleveland. The co-ops, which consist of a laundry company, an energy efficiency contractor, and America’s largest urban farm, were grown with the help of procurement contracts with Cleveland's biggest schools and universities. All three use green technologies to reduce their carbon footprint, and can also save businesses money: for example, buying solar power from Evergreen Energy Solutions makes firms eligible for tax credits. After a year of work, employees at the co-ops can buy a $3,000 stake in their company through payroll deductions over a course of years, and also have a say in how it operates.

Read more about it here 

Black Monday, ’77, When the Mill Shutdown in Youngstown Gave Birth to the Rust Belt

Gar Alperovitz
Moyers & Company

Co-founder of the Democracy Collaborative Gar Alperovitz writes for Moyers & Company  about the first steel mill in Youngstown, Ohio, and how the effort to save the mill through worker/community ownership helped lay the seeds for today's movement for a democratized economy.

On Sept. 19, 1977 — a day remembered locally as “Black Monday” — the corporate owners of the Campbell Works in Youngstown, Ohio, abruptly shuttered the giant steel mill’s doors. Instantly, 5,000 workers lost their jobs, their livelihoods and their futures. The mill’s closing was national news, one of the first major blows in the era of deindustrialization, offshoring and “free trade” that has since made mass layoffs commonplace.

Read more about it here 

Unleashing the Transformative Potential of an Equitable Economy

Dharna Noor
The Real News Network

In this video, Dharna Noor interviews Chuck Collins for the Real News Network, about the policy proposals put together by The Next System Project and Institute for Policy Studies in Reversing Inequality: Unleashing the Transformative Potential of an Equitable Economy

Chuck Collins is a senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies where he directs the Program on Inequality and co-edits Inequality.org. His newest book is Born on Third Base: A One Percenter Makes the Case for Tackling Inequality, Bringing Wealth Home, and Committing to the Common Good (Chelsea Green, 2016). He is co-author, with Bill Gates Sr., of Wealth and Our Commonwealth: Why American Should Tax Accumulated Fortunes. He is co-author with Mary Wright of The Moral Measure of the Economy (Orbis 2008), about Christian ethics and economic life. His previous books include, 99 to 1: How Wealth Inequality is Wrecking the World and What We Can Do About It. He is also cofounder of Wealth for the Common Good that has merged with the Patriotic Millionaires, two efforts to organize members of the 1 percent to advocate for fair tax policy. He is coauthor of the August 2016 report, Ever Growing Gap, about the racial wealth divide and author of Gilded Giving: Top Heavy Philanthropy in an Age of Extreme Inequality, a November 2016 report on the impact of inequality on philanthropy.

Watch more here

Author David Ansell Exposes Inequality's Deadly Influence

Martha Jablow
AAMCNews

Writing for AAMCNews Martha Jablow writes about the deadly affect of poverty and inequality and how the work of the Democracy Collaborative through the Healthcare Anchor Network could be vital in tackling health inequality: 

There is a new national collaborative, called the Healthcare Anchor Network, that is bringing new focus to the role of health systems in bringing economic vitality to these high-poverty neighborhoods.

Read more in AAMCNews

Bottom Up Economic Development

Phil Anderson
Reader

Phil Anderson writes for Reader in Deluth, MN about the alternatives to top-down strategies for revitalization. Reader highlights the work of The Democracy Collaborative work in different neighborhoods and communities which aims to build community wealth instead of policies that "favor big buisness:" 

Democracy Collaborative is another organization “building community wealth.” Their publication, Cities Building Community Wealth, lists 20 cities with successful local initiatives (including Madison and Minneapolis). These cover a wide range of activities to increase local ownership, create affordable housing, help small business, increase minority businesses, revitalize neighborhoods and expand renewable energy use. 

More in Reader 

Don’t Be Scared About The End Of Capitalism—Be Excited To Build What Comes Next

Jason Hickel and Martin Kirk
Fast Company

Jason Hickel and Martin Kirk write for the publication Fast Company, in this article, they highlight the work of the Democracy Collaborative through the Next System Project. Speifically looking at the innovative ideas proposed at the Next System Project. 

Fortunately, there is already a wealth of language and ideas out there that stretch well beyond these dusty old binaries. They are driven by a hugely diverse community of thinkers, innovators, and practitioners. There are organizations like the P2P (Peer to Peer) FoundationEvonomicsThe Next System Project, and the Institute for New Economic Thinking reimagining the global economy. The proposed models are even more varied: from complexity, to post-growthde-growthland-basedregenerativecircular, and even the deliciously named donut economics.

Read more about it Fast Company

 

Policy Brief: Rebuilding America's Infrastructure

Ellen Brown
The Democracy Collaborative

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. By focusing on private investment and public-private partnerships (PPPs) to come up with the capital to invest in repairing and upgrading our infrastructure, his plan will accelerate (partial) privatization of public assets and impose huge costs upon local residents, to be repaid through local taxes and extractive and regressive user fees like tolls.

Drawing on the historical precedents of both Lincoln’s investments in railroad infrastructure and FDR’s financing strategies for the New Deal, Brown shows how public strategies for investing in infrastructure make far more sense than what Trump is likely to put on the table. She estimates that an approach grounded in the use of public depository banks, either at the federal level or spread across a state-by-state network, could cut the $1.18 Trillion financing costs associated with a $1 Trillion investment in infrastructure in the Trump plan, once the returns demanded by private investors are factored in, to a mere $200 Billion. Not only would such public banks be able to lend money for infrastructure projects at a far lower rate, the interest earned on such loans would return to the public coffers.

Brown also identifies an even bolder approach that could bring the costs of investment in infrastructure down to zero. By embracing its power to create money for the public good using an innovative “qualitative easing” approach to inject new money into the real economy, the federal government could directly cover the costs of the pressing upgrades and repairs to our nation’s roads, bridges, dams, water supplies, electrical grid, and transit lines without the need to borrow any money at all.

As US Inequality Breeds Oligarchy, New Report Details Pathway to Equity

Jake Johnson
Common Dreams

Jake Johnson writes in Common Dreams about the Inequality Report released by The Next System Project and Insitute For Policy Study

That is the conclusion of a new report published Monday by the Next System Project and the Institute for Policy Studies. Their analysis makes overwhelmingly clear that despite the Trump administration's self-serving celebrations of the stock market boom and recent monthly job data, the vast majority of Americans remain locked out of America's tremendous wealth.

Read more at Common Dreams 

 

Could Preston provide a new economic model for Britain’s cities?

Justin Renolds
City Metric

Justin Renolds writes in City Metric about the Democracy Collaborative work with the city of Priston. The Democracy Collaborative along with other organizations are looking at ways worker coops could have positive affects in the Priston. 

The council worked with the Democracy Collaborative, a US consultancy closely associated with Cleveland’s reconstruction, and British think-tank the Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES) to identify anchors capable of bootstrapping Preston’s economy.

Read more about it in City Metric 

Single-Payer Would Be a Good Start, but Real Health Equity Means Tackling Economic Disparities

Dana Brown
Truthout

Dana Brown, of the Democracy Collaborative, writes for Truthout about tackling the healthcare gap by addressing economic inequality. 

The horrifying specter of Trumpcare, the shortfalls of Obamacare and the continued rise in overall health care costs in the United States have provided an important opening for proponents to put single-payer back on the table. Attempts at creating a national health insurance scheme have come close but failed several times before in US history. However, while it is imperative to ensure that every American has equal access to quality care, single-payer is insufficient when it comes to ensuring our right to health and well-being.

Read more in Truthout 

Newark's renaissance will be short-lived if companies don't hire locally

Kimberly McLain
Star-Ledger

Kimberly McLain writes for the Star-Ledger about the revitizaltion of Newark, NJ and makes an arguement about hiring locally:

[T]here are direct financial benefits to anchor institutions and businesses - hiring locally lowers recruiting costs, increases diversity and inclusiveness, strengthens employee commitment and loyalty, and reduces outsourcing costs.

You can read more here at the Star-Ledger...

Pluralism vs. Authoritarianism: Gar Alperovitz with Laura Flanders

Laura Flanders
The Laura Flanders Show

Reflecting and Planning Using a Community Wealth Building Lens

Brent Kakesako
Shelterforce

Writing for Shelterforce, Brent Kakesako takes a look at the 25th annivisary of the community wealth building field:

Our growing community wealth building field has the goal of building 'a new economic system where shared ownership and control creates more equitable and inclusive outcomes, fosters ecological sustainability, and promotes flourishing democratic and community life.'

Read more about the history of community wealth building in in Shelterforce ...

Will Impact Investors Embrace Employee-Owned Companies?

Anne Field
Forbes

Writing for Forbes, Anne Field takes a look at our new report exploring the impact investing landscape for employee ownership:

For social entrepreneurs concerned about growing income inequality in the U.S. and around the world, one way to spread the wealth is through employee ownership. With that in mind, you’d think impact investors would be clamoring to invest in such companies....

Read more about Fifty By Fifty's new report in Forbes...

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 

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