Towards an Economic Revolution
A Manifesto for a Sustainable Economy
“While I understand the rationale to identify what’s wrong, I long for a Manifesto that can unite us. If we focus on the future and what we want to bring about, we can focus on engaging the entire community – and create the biggest possible tent.”
— Chris Miller, Downtown & Economic Development, City of Adrian, MI
The global economy is undergoing tremendous changes due to growing pressures from poverty, income inequality, insecurity, and global environmental impact. We’ve even witnessed the economic collapse of whole countries. Some would say our existing practices will fail to create a sustainable future. At the same time, we are seeing the beginnings of a tremendously hopeful economic model, one rooted in local ownership and community self-reliance. This new economic mindset is key to our future, and must begin to scale to become a real economic force. It will require a strategic and coordinated effort by leadership, significant shift in public and private funding away from global corporations to local communities, and the engagement of citizen investors in this new economy.
And, it will require leadership.
The Time is Right for Community Capital
Historically, Americans have understood investment opportunities to mean purchasing stocks and bonds issued by publicly traded companies on a stock market, effectively draining capital from communities. As we look closer at our communities as the places where we live and work, we see that the real drivers of our prosperity are locally owned businesses. A growing body of evidence demonstrate that these businesses, which constitute over half our economy, are the most important creators of local income, wealth, and jobs, not to mention acting as a stabilizing force for neighborhoods. However, current laws governing investment, coupled with a lack of education, make it difficult for the vast number of Americans to even consider investing in the local half of the economy.
Goals: The Ideal End State
- Community members understand and practice local investing on a regular basis. We must educate and mobilize the American public on why and how to invest locally.
- Ubiquitous and pervasive tools and mechanisms are easy to use that facilitate local investing. We must promote existing as well as create new tools, institutions, and markets to facilitate local investment.
- Entrepreneurs understand and effectively use local capital raising tools. Educate and support entrepreneurs who seek capital from their communities.
- Regulators at every level are partners in the wise and safe movement of capital to local communities. Help state and federal regulators shift to a more cooperative approach to ensure fair and balanced oversight for capital formation and investor protections.
- Data and best practice are widely gathered, shared, and accessible that inform decision making and improve practice. We need methodologies and support to gather, evaluate, and share state and national examples of best practices of reform, citizen engagement, and financial innovation.
- Leaders and champions from around the world have ways and places to connect and learn from each other. Connect and support local investment pioneers around the world.
We are committed to pursuing this agenda by working together – by openly sharing ideas, building on and acknowledging each others’ work, and welcoming new advocates whenever possible. We know that the local investment revolution will arrive sooner when communities and organizations share vision, when we build tangible tools and mechanisms, and when we celebrate one another’s successes.