Creating a good local economy: the role of anchor institutions

Anchor institutions are crucial to the functioning of our local economies. They bring wealth in the form of jobs and supply chains and are unlikely to leave the locality. Over the last 18 months, CLES has been working with Preston City Council on a ground-breaking piece of work which has sought to accelerate the benefit 6 anchor institutions based in the City bring in wider local economic, social and environmental terms. This publication details the findings of this work and the change instigated; together with reflecting upon how we can use anchor institutions and other forms of economic democracy to create a good local economy.’ The publication can be viewed here:

Creating a good local economy: the role of anchor institutions

1 Comment

  • Pierre Louis

    August 18, 2015

    Excellent I am looking forward to read this.

    I read with interest in the Transition Network website about the Preston localization study and experience.

    Here were my comments:

    Careful path towards a localized economy
    19 June 2015 – 12:18pm — Pierre-Louis

    Well I am quite impressed. This for once really shows a careful path to a localized and sustainable economy, in an European context.

    I am copying what I wrote to Mr Alperovitz (who works with the Cleveland evergreen cooperative – mentioned in this text) because it would seem quite relevant (especially the last part related to nature) to this beautiful experience.

    Indeed “if we are serious we could adequately address the issue within 10 to 20 years”. But I believe that we should also be careful about a few points:

    1. As you mentioned the problem is “systemic” hence we have to design a new system. But you also mentioned that the whole system “is controlled by design”, which means as well that it protects itself by design too. Indeed “socio and ecological issues’ will not be resolved by the present system itself because its survivals depends on the status quo.

    Hence my question, how can we imagine finding lasting solutions within a system/box that controls everything and protects itself against any drastic changes ?

    Should we therefore try to “Address the system”head on ? Shouldn’t we therefore look for the solutions outside of that box ?

    2. But because we have badly lost touch with anything that is outside of that box (including nature in my view), shouldn’t we be careful by going slowly, incrementally while we relearn how things could work from the bottom up and in cooperation with nature and other humans (instead of competition) ?

    3. Should we therefore wonder “what to do with these large entities and interests” instead of leaving them alone but building something that slowly takes over the various market from the bottom up by the sheer mass of peoples ? We would in that way slowly drain them of their markets/substances.

    4. We should In my view recognize that the only system that has been designed to be completely sustainable is the environment. We should therefore use it as our guide to respond to all the issues that come up while defining a new system and mimic it when applying these guidelines .E.g.:

    a) Nature would teach us that a system can not be sustainable if its elements compete between them instead of collaborate.

    It is therefore urgent to reverse that decision to set our economic system on competition basis because it is the best way to cut all corners (be social and environmental) in order to get the lowest price.

    We should understand and copy Nature that works on a collaborative model. E.g. soils bacteria and fungi get their energy from the green stuff that are above soil and capture solar energy. In exchange they bring in critical minerals and other elements up to the roots of these plants.

    Same with human, they were supposed to continue collaborating with all living organisms including other humans as it has been done for thousands of years.

    It was the way I believe things have been design to last for ever but, with our arrogance we have moved away from this perfect model.

    b) Nature would also make us understand that it is no way to remain sustainable and therefore set re cycling systems on a large scale across the word. In other words, it is no way that a factory in China could cooperate with its “filial” in Spain to reuse off cut or grey water that are produced in China, in order to make a completely sustainable system. Besides, transportation across the world have to end because of its damages to the environment through heavy carbon footprints and to local communities.

    Instead of “delocalization and even multi localization” as the Mondragon coop does for example, we should simply localize or re localize in order to come back to a natural and sustainable scale of production. The scale reduction and regionalism are therefore, in my view critical issues to deal with.

    It is therefore urgent that state governments impose import taxes in order to protect its national production and re establish the system as it was meant to be.

    A large cooperative like Mondragon could have a say on the matter by for example deciding to pressurize the Spanish Govt. to tax external competition provided that it (Mondragon) stops de localize and re creates local employment and communities.

    It is believed that at the end of the day, all the social benefits accrued from regenerated local employment and wealth would vastly offset the possible decrease of “GDP” that might happen because of import taxes.

    c) We should therefore review a GDP that is based on competition because it is not sustainable. Yes most import taxes are prohibited by the WTO but should we continue slowly killing our own environment and population because of these insane UN regulations ?


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