Our current economy is the product of public policies that have favored concentrated ownership, globally scaled systems of production, and ways of measuring value that ignore the health of the planet and our communities. If we want to truly transform the economy and ensure that more democratic models of production and ownership move from the margins to the mainstream, we need to change the laws and regulations that structure the economy. This track will take a deep dive into how we can develop and move policies that foster economic democracy, build community wealth, and expand local self-reliance.
Together with participants, we will explore the new economy as a framework for policy-making, with a focus on local and state policy tools that community groups can use to by change the rules of local development and governance. We will present effective policies to democratize finance, and foster local and community ownership of business. We will discuss ways to integrate "new economy" policy and tools into existing community organizing efforts, and shine a light on successful local campaigns on new economy policy that are already under way.
The New Economy Action Project (NEAP) joins together national groups, including the Center for Popular Democracy, COWS, Democracy Collaborative, Demos, Emerald Cities Collaborative, Institute for Local Self Reliance, Mayors Innovation Project, National People’s Action and the State Innovation Exchange. NEAP aims to build upon, support, and codify what we see as promising local efforts to move America toward a “high road” of economic and racial equity and social inclusion, environmental sustainability, and accountable and capable democratic government — by demonstrating the possibility and great benefit that comes in making these values mutually reinforcing in practice.
For this track, we invite proposals on panels and workshops covering the following topics:
- Procurement: Cities should purchase goods from businesses that are locally owned, and should contract with businesses that hire local people, while providing living wages and good benefits to their workers. We invite proposals from people and organizations who have run campaigns or implemented successful “buy local” policies and can share their stories.
- Water: New climate challenges present a need and opportunity to redevelop stormwater systems to be more economically efficient, socially equitable and beneficial, and environmentally sustainable. We invite proposals from people and organizations who have been involved in efforts that provide “green jobs” in this growing sector.
- Fighting Back Against Privatization: Retaining public control of services and governance is an essential baseline for building a new economic system. We invite proposals from people and organizations who have engaged in anti-privatization campaigns and are particularly interested in discussion of ways to make sure of new rules requiring public disclosure of giveaways to corporations.
- Building Local Business: Reversing consolidation and cultivating community-rooted businesses is a key strategy for building a new economy. We invite proposals from people who have engaged in campaigns that counter the big-business bias in local policy and help build a supportive ecosystem for community-based business.
- Finance for a New Economy: Banking should meet community needs and direct our collective capital to productive ends, especially housing, education, and local business and co-op development. We invite proposals from those developing policy strategies for transforming the banking system to finance a new economy.
- Employee Ownership: The baby boom generation is retiring. Up to 150,000 businesses nationwide could become employee-owned in the next 10-20 years. We invite proposals from those using worker co-ops or employee stock ownership (ESOP) companies to take advantage of this opportunity.
If you have any questions, please contact Steve Dubb at steve [at] democracycollaborative.org.