From Community Economic Development to Co-Operative Economic Democracy: How Grassroots Actions Leverage Systemic Change

Sunday, June 8th, 9:30 AM to 10:45 AM
Room 318

The ‘construction sites’ where the New Economy is being built are found at the messy intersections of a volatile and challenging ‘glocal’ (global and local) context, where diverse actors are engaging in resistance and building actions at multiple scales – local to national to international, and in-between.  In these spaces, local and regional actors are often focused on building alternatives and spreading and scaling proven innovations.  Food, energy, affordable shelter, land reform and finance — each of which are fundamentally important to shaping the places we live — are common priorities for local and regional action.  Community Economic Development (CED) with its traditional focus on poverty reduction, community empowerment, and revitalization has contributed to this work since the late 1960s. However, policy and systemic factors, always important, have become increasingly so.  Deregulation, the success of neo-liberal ideology placing constraints on States, and the emergence of climate change as an overriding glocal issue all serve to increase the importance of diffusing and scaling proven innovations at multiple levels.

CED as Co-operative Economic Democracy appears to be a more generative framework for conceptualizing and organizing given the volatile context.  Drawing on emerging research by BALTA-SIS that analyzes the factors which enable or hinder the spread of proven sustainability innovations, this session will present examples of innovation-scaling strategies that can accelerate the transition to sustainability across sectors, regions and scales.

Collaborative live notes: