A Focus on the Individual and Taking Control of the Economy
‘Individuals are the engine that makes a healthy local economy grow. It is individuals, working independently and collectively, that form the fabric of community life. It is the skills, abilities, and experience of these individuals that can be mobilized to develop a vibrant local economy.’
Historically, significant community development tends mostly to take place when people in a local community are committed to investing their time, skills and resources in the effort. In the US, John Kretzman and John McKnight summarised successful community-building initiatives in hundreds of neighbourhoods across America.
They found that a key was to ‘map’ their local human, institutional and resource assets and to combine and mobilise these strengths to build stronger, more self-reliant communities and hence local economies. This consists of drawing on individual’s skills, the local associations where people assemble to solve problems or share common interests, and the more formal institutions that are located in the community. These include private businesses and public institutions such as schools, libraries, hospitals and social service agencies.
This drawing on local capacity is the start of a process which reinvigorates local economic and physical assets. Local government officials have been most useful when their role has been to support local problem solvers and strengthen and connect other local assets. The most helpful approach has been one where local government representatives have asked how they can assist local citizens in their development efforts. (The more usual approach has been to ask how local citizens can participate in the government’s efforts.) At a national government level a primary role is to ensure that a substantial part of government expenditures provides direct economic benefits in terms of local jobs, contracts and purchases .
The ongoing integration of the global economy will lead to an inevitable undermining of the nation state in favor of the region. This is anathema to those who believe that a big, centralized state is the only way to run a territory. In "The Next Global Stage," Kenichi Ohmae argues that nation states are declining because their fixation on borders is not in line with today's transnational world.
Interview with Michael Kopelman
It is possible to use the positive aspects of globalization as long as you can balance them out on your local level. I had the opportunity to meet up with Michael in London and talk to him about what it means to think globally and to act locally, how it worked it for him and his business, the Stüssy 25th Anniversary and why in time of perceived recession he’s smiling.
Jeff Jarvis: I asked Jonathan Miller, the head of AOL, how much of his audience's time is spent with audience-generated content.
He replied: 60-70 percent.
Think about that: Two-thirds of the time, the audience is looking at the audience's own content, not the pro's.
There's an industry there, an industry that has barely been born.