Local Communities

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 

Building on Tradition, Catholic Hospitals Invest in Community to Improve Health

Liz Duffrin
Crosswalk Magazine

In Crosswalk Magazine, Liz Duffrin, writes about local investments by Catholic Hospitals in their local communities:

Orders of women committed to serving impoverished communities built hospitals and schools because they observed those needs.

Red more here...

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 

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

Ted Howard
Colorado Impact Report

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.

Read Ted Howard's contribution to the Colorado Impact Report

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

Best Practices for Social Value Procurement

Tessa Hebb and Heather Hachigian
Carleton Centre for Community Innovation

While a growing number of institutions are recognizing the need to integrate social, economic, and environmental values into their purchasing decisions, few actually evaluate and measure these values, limiting the uptake of this approach. This new paper from the Carleton Centre for Community Innovation reviews existing social value procurement frameworks, including Cleveland’s Greater University Circle Initiative, and puts forwards common themes and lessons learned. Read the full paper here.  

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 

Time to Buy Out Fossil Fuel Corporations - Gar Alperovitz on Reality Asserts Itself (1/2)

Paul Jay
Real News Network
The Next System Project's Gar Alperovitz tells Paul Jay that the Federal Reserve should use quantitive easing, i.e. create money, to take Big Oil companies out of the equation and finance a massive green infrastructure program...watch the video here 

'An Idea Whose Time Has Come': Lawmakers Roll Out Plan to Expand Worker Ownership

Lauren McCauley
Common Dreams

'Giving workers a seat at the table and their fair share of the profits they help produce is one way to even up the playing field and give hardworking Americans a chance to create an economy that works for everyone'...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

New Budget Deal Preserves All 19 Social Spending Programs Trump Tried to Eliminate

James Trimarco
Yes! Magazine

Economic relief agencies as well as support for arts and culture got nearly a five-month reprieve from the more radical cuts proposed in Trump’s budget. In this article, Yes! Magazine cites the inclusive tracker that the Democracy Collaborative created...read more