It is easy to be distracted by what passes for economic news these days, focused as it is on short-term fluctuations and assurances of recovery and revitalization. The simple truth, however, is that year by year, decade by decade, life in the United States is steadily growing ever more unequal.
New State & Local Policies
Communities across the country are recognizing the tremendous resources nonprofit anchor institutions—such as hospitals and universities—can provide as engines of inclusive and equitable economic development. Increasingly, cities—often led by Mayors—are launching comprehensive strategies to leverage these institutions to address challenging problems of unemployment, poverty, and disinvestment. In 2014, several cities, including Chicago, Baltimore and New Orleans, have launched community building and job creation strategies that revolve around anchor institutions; and in Cleveland, a decade old collaboration of philanthropy, anchor institutions, and the municipal government continues to rebuild economies in some of the poorest neighborhoods in the city.
Last week, the Nevada legislature approved $1.25 billion in tax breaks for Tesla Motors to establish a lithium battery "Gigafatory” for electric cars. Read more about Clandestine Corporate Subsidies Undermine Community Participation in Local Economic Development...
Fostering resilient communities and building wealth in today’s local economies is necessary to achieve individual, regional, and national economic security. A community wealth building strategy employs a range of forms of community ownership and asset building strategies to build wealth in low-income communities. In so doing, community wealth building bolsters the ability of communities and individuals to increase asset ownership, anchor jobs locally, expand the provision of public services, and ensure local economic stability.
The problem is simple, surprising, and quite honestly disgusting: Our nation’s older cities depend largely on sewage treatment systems that overflow when it rains, dumping 860 billion gallons of raw sewage a year into “fresh” water across the country—enough to cover the entire state of Pennsylvania an inch deep.
But the stormwater crisis is also a tremendous opportunity to move in the direction of a new, community sustaining local economy.
In These Times talks to Hilary Abell, author of the Democracy Collaborative report "Worker Cooperatives: Pathways to Scale," about New York City's move to invest $1.2 million in worker cooperatives.
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.
In this piece, crossposted from Grassroots Economic Organizing, Hilary Abell summarizes the key conclusions of her recent Democracy Collaborative report, Worker Cooperatives: Pathways to Scale, and discusses how her new initiative, Project Equity, will be working within the strategic framework advanced in the report to build support for worker cooperative economic development in the San Francisco Bay Area. Read more about Seizing the Moment...
Democracy Collaborative co-founder Gar Alperovitz discussed the contradiction between unending economic growth and ecological sustainability.
"A group of Jacksonville leaders trekked to snowy Cleveland in February to check out an economic initiative they hope to use as a model for the struggling northwest part of the city. The people behind that Cleveland initiative, a University of Maryland-based nonprofit called The Democracy Collaborative, held a roundtable in Jacksonville on Thursday and Friday to show a larger leadership group what is working in other cities. Local leaders collectively said they intend to follow through for Northwest Jacksonville, where unemployment is more than double that of the citywide rate."
Democracy Collaborative co-founder Gar Alperovitz and Senior Researcher Thomas Hanna discuss the challenge of sustaining and building participatory decision-making structures and organizations within a corporate capitalist system. They note the recent bankruptcy filing of Fagor Electrodomésticos Group, the principle company of the Mondragon Corporation, as an impetus to confront the institutional incompatibilities between the free market and cooperative forms.
Crossposted from Policy Network, and later published on the London School of Economics website, this blog is part of a debate event hosted by Policy Network in London, UK, that was reviewed in OurKingdom by grassroots activist James Doran:
Five years after the financial crisis economic inequality in the United States is spiraling to levels not seen since the Gilded Age. While most Americans are experiencing a recovery-less recovery, the top one per cent of earners last year claimed 19.3 per cent of household income, their largest share since 1928. Moreover, income distribution looks positively egalitarian when compared to wealth ownership.
Can a hospital’s economic development strategy do more to heal a city than its emergency room? This question was at the core of a MIT-University of Maryland (UMCP) case study of University Hospitals’ (UH) Vision 2010 program in Cleveland, Ohio.
While the two major party presidential candidates had many differences, both agreed on the primacy of free enterprise. Mitt Romney in his speech six weeks ago to the Clinton Global Initiative said, “Free enterprise has done more to bless humanity than any other economic system.” For his part, President Obama, remarked in his closing statement at the second presidential debate, “I believe that the free enterprise system is the greatest engine of prosperity the world’s ever known.”
One minor problem: free enterprise does not exist.