economic democracy

Re-think power to build inclusive local economies

This article originally appeared in the LGC.

Today CLES announces a new programme of work, exploring the powerful resonance between the international movement to “feminise” politics and the work we are doing to create more just local economies. Frances Jones and Eleanor Radcliffe explain the journey so far.

Thirteen years ago, the global financial crisis prompted human suffering across the world. In the wake of this, community wealth building emerged as an alternative approach to local economic development. In community wealth building, local authorities along with other public sector anchor institutions and social and private sector partners, work to disrupt the structures which enabled the crisis, building in their place local economies where people have far greater levels of control and ownership of wealth. At the same time, activists responding to the same inequality and suffering on their doorsteps, began to reshape the political landscape in their cities and communities, this time animated by feminist principles. Their work to “feminise politics” has become a global movement.

Community wealth building: a history

Today, CLES releases Community wealth building: a history, a transcript of our recent podcast, and the first publication under the banner of the recently-refreshed Community Wealth Building Centre of Excellence (CfX). Here, Tom Lloyd Goodwin explains why we felt that now was the time to delve deeper into the provenance of the approach.

Community wealth building reorganises local economies to ensure they are best placed to tackle the inequalities and disadvantages that are now, more than ever, so acutely felt by people across the UK. Over the course of the last decade, the movement has advanced from being a marginal sport. It has blossomed into a widely-adopted corrective to an economic model that has left too many people worse off, enriched the already wealthy few and propelled us further down the road to ecological disaster.
“this wider historical context contains a series of important lessons”
To celebrate this ever-flourishing movement, CLES recently released a podcast, looking at the provenance of the approach and, in this, we felt there was an important story to tell. A lot of people have heard about the “Preston model” but few are clear about its history, and how that relates to the movement we see now. Yet this wider historical context contains a series of important lessons.