ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Guidance for Government - Economics

Updated on July 1, 2016
vrdm profile image

Born without a clue. A lifetime later, situation largely unchanged. Nevertheless, one perseveres.....

Part 4 of 4 - Economics

"Localising the Economy"


fabric of community

In some circles, "fabric of community" is a readily accepted concept. The theory is that individuals within communities establish complex strands of communication with each other. These may be friendships, extended families, work relationships, trading relationships, transport pools, educational support groups, leisure clubs, mutual interest groups, and so on. One individual may have a single strand of communication with another, or many such strands as they interact on many different levels. The strands may be utilitarian, formal, and expendable, or they may be very deeply emotional, or combinations of the two. Collectively, these strands form the fabric. The fabric is fairly robust insofar as it can handle a certain amount of change; a certain amount of coming and going. But major upheavals cause the fabric to tear, and although it is difficult to attribute a cash value (for the benefit of people who can only understand cash values) to such tearing, the most profound consequences are usually experienced in terms of severe detriment to quality of life.

And however unquantifiable it may be, quality of life is what most "economic development" practitioners would agree they are endeavouring to protect and enhance.

What sorts of things threaten the fabric of community? The most recognisable and graphic are natural disasters such as floods, landslides, and collapsing slag heaps. Economic development practitioners are not well placed to anticipate and pre-empt these. However, what economic development practitioners are well placed to anticipate and pre-empt is major economic upheaval. And this is where our broader purpose comes in. We are endeavouring to protect the fabric of community from unnecessary economic upheaval.

If you’re still with me, let’s look at economic upheaval. In a small community of 30 or 40 households, the closing of the corner shop can be a major economic upheaval. The individual strands of communication can be significantly disrupted, the fabric torn. In a larger community of many thousands of households, one or two corner shops coming or going could not be said to be a major upheaval. It follows that a shopkeeper in the smaller community could be said to have a higher level of obligation to that community than a shopkeeper in the larger community. Within the dominant western economic model, shopkeepers are free to do what they wish with their shops regardless of what communities they may find themselves in. They are, in fact, obligation free.

Likewise in a community, large or small, where a percentage of the workforce is reliant upon a single employer, the plans and intentions of that employer become important to the fabric of the community in direct proportion to the percentage of the workforce so reliant. The higher the percentage of the workforce employed; the greater the importance of that employer to the fabric of that community.

If that employer employs a high percentage of the workforce and is owned by Sir Jammy Fishpaste through a string of off-shore accounts, it could safely be said that fabric of community is not a consideration for that employer and that it (the fabric) is in double jeopardy.

A rough matrix begins to emerge with percentage of local workforce reliance along one side and distance (say in miles, but also in units of indifference) from locality of the ownership of the enterprise along the other. If you take zero to be lower left, straight lines progressing close to the edges can be seen to be less threatening to community fabric. Lines progressing up toward the top right-hand corner can be seen to be getting chancier and chancier as far as fabric is concerned.

protecting fabric of community

So, how do we protect fabric of community from economic disruption?

By diversifying the ownership of significant centres of local economic activity into local hands. In the example of the corner shop in the small community, we implement schemes which allow the local community to bid for the purchase of the shop in the event of the owner wishing to move out. In the example of the dominant local employer, we implement schemes which allow the local community to bid for the purchase of the business in the event of the owner wishing to close down and/or move on.

There is no intention here to push community purchase down anybody’s throat. If the community expresses no interest in such buy outs, clearly, nothing happens. If the proprietor insists on a fair price for his or her enterprise, a fair price must be found. As long as the facility to make such purchases is in place and in the public knowledge, over time, more and more of significant centres of economic activity will come into local common ownership. And the more these centres come into common local ownership, the more stable the local economies will become and the better protected the fabric of their community will be.

defining Common Ownership

Let us try to abstract the broadest possible interpretation of what we might be trying to achieve through "economic development" (ED) strategies. ED strategies (should) endeavour to secure for the community the protection of its fabric. Economic stability contributes to the protection of that fabric. Diversification into local ownership of a significant and stabilising percentage of local enterprise can contribute to economic stability.

However, there are a hundred and one variations on the theme of "local ownership". It could mean a transfer into the hands of a local wealthy benefactor, or the church, or the Rotarians. Any of these would serve the purpose insofar as they can be trusted to retain the enterprise within the community. If they cannot, the problem is simply being deferred to a later date.

"Common ownership" is a term coined by the international co-operative movement to denote ownership of enterprise which is held in trust. That is to say, common ownership enterprises are enterprises which are held in trust by employees or community groups who fully recognise the obligations owed by that enterprise to the fabric of its host community. Enshrined in its constitution will be principles which assure that long term decisions cannot be taken without reference to its impact upon the community it serves.

There are many thousands of experts and treatises on these topics (search the internet for "co-operative" as a starting point). Many give historical, theoretical, and empirical context to all that is being said here. I would simply urge you to call upon this vast resource as you set about trying to establish an economic development strategy.


See also....

Links

Introduction

Education

Health

Deacon Martin on Youtube

For more by Deacon Martin:

http://hubpages.com/@vrdm

www.deaconmartin.com


© 2010 Deacon Martin

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • vrdm profile imageAUTHOR

      Deacon Martin 

      7 years ago from Bristol, UK

      Many thanks for your comments Wayne, and the time you've clearly taken to digest. With regard to your views re departing skills and knowledge, I quite take your point. This is often where the international co-operative movement can often help out. Training and expertise can often be just a phone call (or a web click) away. Best wishes, DM

    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 

      7 years ago from Texas

      I enjoyed reading your article, especially the discussion on the fabric forming the economics of a community. I have heard it stated that for every person who is affected some way economically...say a loss of a job, the effect downstreams and impacts seven additional people. As you pointed out, this quickly becomes obvious in a small community where those connections would quickly overlap. I think the solutions you pose have merit although, in the case of some dominant industries, the knowledge and technical aptitude necessary to successfully continue operating the business could depart with the previous owner. I could see where a town might be willing to step up and buy a manufacturing plant only to soon realize that they do not have the knowledge or the marketing skills to bring the products to market. This avenue would require some forethought on their part. On that basis, I believe that smaller communities should weigh the odds heavily when they look at how diverse their economic makeup really is. Committing the local workforce to one employer company may not be healthy in the long run for the community. One of the examples I like to use is the spread of Wal-Mart throughout the smaller communities of America. In some cases, these towns were just hanging on. Wal-Mart came as a savior in terms of goods and pricing along with a potentially larger sales tax base. On the down side, the impact of Wal-Mart just about destroyed the other businesses in the town. Look at all the town squares that are literally ghost towns today. Good article...on an interesting subject...Thanks for sharing.WB

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)