Invest locally, achieve prosperity, and build resilient regional economies. A blog in 2013 on the book, Local Dollars, Local Sense by Michael Shuman, continues to resonate with CCEC as we have always kept your money working in your community. When the book was released in 2012, CEDNET (The Canadian Community Economic Development Network) called Shuman, the “local economy pioneer with his revolutionary toolbox for social change”.
Shuman shows that by putting our money into local businesses, we build resilient regional economies. In 2012, he said that Americans’ long-term savings in stocks, bonds, mutual funds, pension funds, and life insurance funds was about $30 trillion, but “not even 1 percent of these savings touched local small business—even though roughly half the jobs and the output in the private economy come from them.”
Here are some highlights from the book that hold true today:
Economic development as practiced today has three dubious characteristics. It focuses on nonlocal business. It lacks a coherent framework for assisting local business. And it is a top-down enterprise. There is an alternative set of principles and practices—a “local living economies” (LLE) approach to economic development that focuses on local business, creates an entrepreneurial ecosystem that supports them, and invites grassroots participation.
Starting in the 1970s, the objective of most economic developers became to attract or retain global businesses. Indeed, one of the most common phrases in the professional literature, even today, is “to attract and retain.” What this formulation misses is locally owned businesses. A locally owned business cannot, by definition, be attracted. And most locally owned businesses, because they have deep relationships to a community through its managers, employees, owners, customers, suppliers and other stakeholders, usually do not require special efforts to retain them. The focus on “attraction and retention” suggests that economic developers have increasingly focused on global big business.
A community prospers when it follows three simple rules:
Rule #1: Maximize the percentage of jobs in your local economy that exist in businesses that are locally-owned.
Rule #2: Maximize the diversity of your businesses in your community, so that your economy is as self-reliant and resilient as possible.
Rule #3: Prioritize spreading and replicating local business models with outstanding labor and environmental practices.
As we restart our economy with a just recovery framework, it is key to support our local businesses and to buy-local. Banking at CCEC allows us to lend to you, your neighbours, our businesses and arts community. Invite a friend and family to join us today.