Democracy Collaborative President Ted Howard and Centre for Local Economic Strategies CEO Neil McInroy explain in a one-hour discussion how in both the United States and the United Kingdom community wealth building strategies are offering a better way forward to a post-COVID-19 economic revival.
“The global supply chain collapse that we’ve experienced in the United States and in the UK around [personal protective equipment] … has wrecked the real economy of this country,” Howard said in this discussion moderated by Bloomberg senior executive editor Stephanie Flanders.
“I believe in the this post-COVID era we have an enormous opportunity to relocate here in the United States hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of good quality jobs by bringing the supply chains back to our communities, and if we’re going to do that and manufacture locally and if we’re going to do that, let’s organize these on democratic principles, on employee ownership, on community linkage and so forth,” he said. “This is a time when community wealth building is more relevant than ever—certainly in the United States and I believe the United Kingdom—and while it’s difficult to talk about opportunity at a historic moment of such pain and distress and destruction, nonetheless there is an opportunity to mainstream community wealth building not as an alternative to neoliberal orthodoxy, but to have this become the paradigm of economic development in our countries.”
“COVID-19 I think has cast a torch on our economy, a very strong beam, and it seems to me there’s a fork in the road, a paradigm-shift kind of moment, really, and we can either mend and repair the old economic model or we can try and build a new one,” said McInroy.
Even if the UK could go back to the old economy— “which I think is impossible”—that was an economy dependent on environment-destroying fossil fuels and characterized by widespread poverty and wealth inequality, ”it wasn’t very good for huge waves of our fellow citizens, and so we need to build a resilient economy. … Community wealth building is here, it’s on hand, it’s ready and willing to step up to the plate and help with this new economy we’ve gotta build and get us through this crisis.”
Both Howard and McInroy talk about communities in which community wealth building approaches have helped strengthen them and set them up for a more equitable recovery once the current pandemic abates.