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Communities taking charge of local economies[edit source]
Forgive my narrative approach to the subject. It's all I can muster right now.
About 12 years ago in Hanover, Pennsylvania, I watched as big corporations took the local economy away from home-grown mom and pop concerns. They brought low wages and disrespect for workers and for job applicants. They siphoned money from the community into the stagnant, low-stimulus environment of Wall Street. The neighborhood got grumpy. I looked at the all-night mega-retail-emporium and thought, "What if the neighborhood bought the business, the inventory, the infrastructure, and ran it as a non-profit to benefit workers and the community? People would be paid more, have better career prospects, better benefits, better training, no more prejudice. It would exert an upward pull on wages all over town. And shoppers would still get the same great deals and feel less guilty about shopping there. Maybe there isn't enough money in this town to buy it outright, but money could be borrowed." I always hoped that some superstar like Mat Damon or Paris Hilton would adopt such a project and make a reality show about it, both to spread the idea and to fast-forward the plan with TV revenue. Much later on I saw Hinton West Verginia start a project to revamp its local economy. I was really excited. I thought Oprah would come running. I thought everyone would pay attention. No such luck. I hope Hinton is doing OK on its own.
A community non-profit social business could expand into other areas, purchasing gas stations and factories. It could encourage local production for local consumption. It could develop "plan C" strategies without getting bogged down by backers who were only interested in monetary returns on their investment. When I started Sylvia's Village on a shoe string in my new neighborhood in Baltimore it was guided by this kind of vision. Sylvia's Village is still in its fund-raising infancy, hoping to engage the services of a 501C3 consultant. Neighbors donated small sums of money... I'm still like a turtle crossing the road and I wish that someone abler and more powerful were doing this with me or instead of me. Are there people out there who would like to be doing this, either in Baltimore with me, or in Baltimore without me, or wherever you are? It is zeitgeist after all. There must be more proponents of this sort of thing emerging every day. Glom on. Let's talk about it.
- Hi Flowergirl, thanks very much for your narrative.
- The kinds of questions you raise are ones which I hope, as our community of wiki editors expands, we'll be able to begin to answer a little more, and a little better. If you haven't already looked at them, you might be interested in some of our topic articles, for example: Towards sustainable economies, Sustainable livelihood, Localism, etc.
- You can also sometimes come across what other people are doing re similar topics via our location pages. So for example in the UK, via our wiki pages, there's mention of, in Camden, London, The People's Supermarket, and in Brighton, hisBe, independent supermarket standing up for 'how it Should be'
- I hope you'll keep in touch and let us know how Sylvia's Village progresses, Best wishes Philralph (talk) 03:21, 26 June 2015 (PDT)