Discontent with the corporate-run economy is mounting in the wake of the Great Recession. For too many these are dark times suffused by anger, hopelessness, and despair. There is a long-term structural crisis of capitalism. The problems are systemic. The top 400 people own more wealth than the bottom 185 million Americans. How to reverse the ominous spiral of income and wealth inequality? There is an emerging new economy of practical bottom-up efforts underway in many cities and towns that seek to democratize wealth and empower citizens and communities, not corporations. There is a range of initiatives such as worker-owned businesses, cooperatives, community land trusts, credit unions, and social enterprises. These structures suggest a roadmap for laying the foundation to support the values of equality and meaningful democracy and creating a sustainable economy that can satisfy human needs.
Gar Alperovitz is Professor of Political Economy at the University of Maryland and co-founder of the Democracy Collaborative. He is the author of numerous books, including Making a Place For Community, and America Beyond Capitalism.