The U.S. economy, weak or strong, is the question at the heart of the election. But it doesn’t get to the reality which is that, whatever else it may be, the U.S. economy is not democratic or good for the planet. But it could be. Marjorie Kelly and Ted Howard of the Democracy Collaborative say how in their new book The Making of a Democratic Economy.
“Our view is that every community has many innovative models…public banking, cooperatives, land trusts, employee ownership, social enterprise…these need to be developed and when the time is right they need to take center stage in the economy. Not be the alternative, be the defining characteristic of America’s economy.”– Ted Howard
“Why isn’t worker ownership more of a phenomenon? I think it’s because a lot of it is the mindset…we’re so focused on Wall Street, we’re so focused on what capital is doing where you can invest in these capital loan companies. This idea that workers can own their companies and that it can be a successful profitable model doesn’t kinda penetrate the mind..that mind shift is critical.”-Marjorie Kelly
Marjorie Kelly is the executive vice president and senior fellow at the Democracy Collaborative. She co-founded Business Ethics Magazine, and her work has been featured in Harvard Business Review, New England Law Review, Chief Executive, Stanford Social Innovation Review, and San Francisco Chronicle. She is the author of The Divine Right of Capital and Owning Our Future.
Ted Howard is the cofounder and president of the Democracy Collaborative, a research and development lab for the democratic economy. It works for a new economic system where shared ownership and control creates more equitable and inclusive outcomes, fosters ecological sustainability, and promotes flourishing democratic and community life. More on this topic here.
From Laura: It’s scary out there. From Putin’s Russia to Trump’s US, right wing demagogues are riling people up around a sense that the “system” is broken or rigged. Polls suggest that 71 percent of Americans agree, leaving democrats and liberals defending a status quo that’s produced a level of inequality that’s hard to defend. The authors of a new book agree that all sorts of systems are broken — from our economy to our government – but that’s no reason for despair or fighting with your neighbors over the wreckage. New models are out there, and they just may add up to a new system. Marjorie Kelly and Ted Howard of the Democracy Collaborative are the co-authors The Making of a Democratic Economy. Kelly’s previous book on The Divine RIght of Capital helped inspire the B Corporation movement. Howard’s been deeply involved in the Evergreen Cooperatives in Cleveland and helped develop the Community Wealth Building model we’ve reported on in Preston England on this show. Welcome both.