In an oligarchic society, wealth and resources are concentrated in the hands of a few. This often leaves the majority of people feeling left out and disenfranchised. But there is something we can do about it. We can build community wealth. Community wealth is created when everyone in a community has access to the resources they need to thrive. It is based on the idea that we are all connected, and that what benefits one member of the community benefits all members of the community. When we work together to create community wealth, we create a more just and equitable society for all.
Practically everywhere you look, you’ll see evidence of community wealth. It’s the local coffee shop on the corner, the farmer’s market down the street, and the family-owned restaurant that’s been in business for generations. Community wealth is all around us, but what does it really mean? And why is it important?
While oligarchic societies may have different structures, they all have one thing in common: the wealthy privileged class has a disproportionate amount of power. This power imbalance can have harmful consequences for community wealth-building efforts.
Asset ownership is one of the most important determinants of wealth. A key way to begin rebuilding community wealth is therefore to ensure that everyone has a stake in owning property and other essential assets.
Getting things done in a community takes more than just effort, it takes organization. Regardless of where you live, your city or town has key players—the people who get things done. Knowing who the key players are in your area can make a big difference in terms of being effective.
Grassroots activism is essential for creating community wealth because it helps to build power from the ground up. When regular people work together to make change happen, they help create jobs, invest in their community, and make their voices heard.
Community wealth building can have a profound impact on everything from economic development to social cohesion. When communities come together to invest in job creation, small businesses, housing, and infrastructure, everyone stands to benefit.
There are many different ways to get involved, including investing in local businesses, developing local talent, building social capital, and advocating for progressive policies. What’s most important is that you find a way that works best for you and your community.
Governments have several tools at their disposal that can help to promote community wealth building. By investing in public infrastructure, regulating markets, and investing in public goods and services, governments can create an environment within which communities can thrive.
Several organizations can provide you with more information about community wealth building. The Democracy Collaborative, Community Development Finance Association, Institute for Local Self-Reliance, Community-Wealth.org website, and more.
An essential guide to empowering our communities and building equitable societies.
Empowering Communities is a roadmap for reducing wealth inequality, empowering vulnerable members of society, and building equitable communities that put people over profits. With practical advice on organizing campaigns and initiatives around economic justice, readers can learn how to make a meaningful difference in their own communities.
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