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Going Local: Creating Self-Reliant Communities in a Global Age [Paperback]

Michael Shuman
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: 29.71 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

25 Aug 2000
National drug chains squeeze local pharmacies out of business, while corporate downsizing ships jobs overseas. All across America, communities large and small are losing control of their economies to outside interests. Going Local shows how some cities and towns are fighting back. Refusing to be overcome by Wal-Marts and layoffs, they are taking over abandoned factories, switching to local produce and manufactured goods, and pushing banks to loan money to local citizens. Shuman details how dozens of communities are recapturing their own economies with these new strategies, investing not in outsiders but in locally owned businesses.

Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; First Printing edition (25 Aug 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415927684
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415927680
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 15 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,489,753 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

About the Author

Michael H. Shuman, co-director of the Village Foundation's Institute for Economic Education and Entrepreneurship, is author of five books and numerous articles on the relationship between community and international affairs. His work has appeared in The Nation, The New York Times, Foreign Policy, and The Washington Post. He lives in Washington, DC.

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Ask your family, friends, and neighbors what matters most to them, and you're likely to hear words like love, security, spirituality, beauty, good health, even fun. Read the first page
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
This book cuts through all of the conventional public discussions on the economy and society to make a clear, convincing case for reviving local communities. Pundits, politicians, and intellectuals are always bemoaning the collapse of "community," but their analyses are usually coiled around morality, or the need for "better education," or some equally superficial issue. But as Shuman points out, all the civic involvement and moral uprightness in the world is useless if our towns and cities are being held hostage by globe-trotting corporations and ultra-mobile capital. "Community" is only possible if people control their own lives; and this is possible only when there are thriving, viable local economies. This is not a book that calls for a complete retreat from the global forces that are shaping our world -- that option is impossible with the current levels of technology. But what Shuman does outline is a way for communities to reestablish a balance between the local and the national/global, in the areas of production, finance, and government. And unlike many other books, which never get past the critique to make any positive prescriptions, this one is brimming with concrete proposals. It also has the most extensive list of groups, organizations, and resources that I have seen in the area of decentralized economics and community self-reliance. This is a must-read.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Food for thought for economic development folks 10 Mar 1999
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Every year on the anniversary of Walt Disney Worlds settling in Orlando, Fla., its a sure bet some newspaper will carry a story about my late uncle, Paul Pickett, and his opposition to the project. As a county commissioner when Disney first proposed bringing its giant entertainment complex to the city, he argued that the project would unleash a monster that would forever change the quality of life for residents. Tell the mouse to stay in California, he snapped.
As a person who embraces -- make that relishes -- change, Im not sure I fully agree with his assessment. But as a person who has lived for most of my adult life in an area that was decimated in the 1980s when the all-important steel industry fell on hard times and today struggles with the threat of losing still another industry on which we have become economically dependent -- car production at the General Motors plant in Lordstown, Ohio -- I understand the point my uncle was trying to make.
So does Michael H. Shuman, attorney and author of Going Local: Creating Self-Reliant Communities in a Global Age. In his book, he advocates that local communities must regain control over their own economies by a variety of means including investing not in outsiders, but in locally owned businesses like credit unions, municipally owned utilities and community development corporations and focusing on import-replacing rather than export-led development. Doing so, he maintains, will reduce or eliminate the need to offer excessive tax abatements and other incentives to entice huge corporations upon which the communities stand to become dependent.
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Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
82 of 85 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Highly Important Book for Any Concerned Citizen 25 May 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This book cuts through all of the conventional public discussions on the economy and society to make a clear, convincing case for reviving local communities. Pundits, politicians, and intellectuals are always bemoaning the collapse of "community," but their analyses are usually coiled around morality, or the need for "better education," or some equally superficial issue. But as Shuman points out, all the civic involvement and moral uprightness in the world is useless if our towns and cities are being held hostage by globe-trotting corporations and ultra-mobile capital. "Community" is only possible if people control their own lives; and this is possible only when there are thriving, viable local economies. This is not a book that calls for a complete retreat from the global forces that are shaping our world -- that option is impossible with the current levels of technology. But what Shuman does outline is a way for communities to reestablish a balance between the local and the national/global, in the areas of production, finance, and government. And unlike many other books, which never get past the critique to make any positive prescriptions, this one is brimming with concrete proposals. It also has the most extensive list of groups, organizations, and resources that I have seen in the area of decentralized economics and community self-reliance. This is a must-read.
54 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Food for thought for economic development folks 10 Mar 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Every year on the anniversary of Walt Disney Worlds settling in Orlando, Fla., its a sure bet some newspaper will carry a story about my late uncle, Paul Pickett, and his opposition to the project. As a county commissioner when Disney first proposed bringing its giant entertainment complex to the city, he argued that the project would unleash a monster that would forever change the quality of life for residents. Tell the mouse to stay in California, he snapped.
As a person who embraces -- make that relishes -- change, Im not sure I fully agree with his assessment. But as a person who has lived for most of my adult life in an area that was decimated in the 1980s when the all-important steel industry fell on hard times and today struggles with the threat of losing still another industry on which we have become economically dependent -- car production at the General Motors plant in Lordstown, Ohio -- I understand the point my uncle was trying to make.
So does Michael H. Shuman, attorney and author of Going Local: Creating Self-Reliant Communities in a Global Age. In his book, he advocates that local communities must regain control over their own economies by a variety of means including investing not in outsiders, but in locally owned businesses like credit unions, municipally owned utilities and community development corporations and focusing on import-replacing rather than export-led development. Doing so, he maintains, will reduce or eliminate the need to offer excessive tax abatements and other incentives to entice huge corporations upon which the communities stand to become dependent. The growing power and will of corporations to move without notice or warning has presented many communities with a terrible dilemma: Either cut wages and benefits, gut environmental standards and offer tax breaks to attract and retain corporations or become a ghost town, Shuman writes. Almost every U.S. town or city has learned that capital flight is not just a hypothetical danger.
Urging cities to be just as friendly with rootless corporations as with its home-grown businesses, Shuman says, is like telling a loyal wife to accept the inevitability of philandering by her husband and to appease him by buying more sexy lingerie and cooking nicer dinners. If a community is reduced to a link in a global chain, it will be dragged wherever the corporation controlling the chain wants.
As long as corporations are free to move from place to place, the author argues, No jurisdictions efforts to target production toward basic needs, or protect its work force or environment, can succeed. Once regulations become onerous, a profit-maximizing firm will move on.
This does not mean, however, that communities should circle the wagons and lock the gates. It means nurturing locally owned businesses which use local resources sustainably, employ local workers at decent wages and serve primarily local consumers, Shuman writes. It means becoming more self-sufficient and less dependent on imports. Control moves from the boardrooms of distant corporations and back to the community where it belongs.
All things considered, Shuman offers a point of view thats worth considering by government and economic development leaders throughout the country.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not What I Expected 2 Oct 2009
By Harold Forbes - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I already believe in the tenants behind "going local". I was looking for detailed case studies on how to get it started in my community. This book is more superficial; trying to convince you that going local is a good thing. The case studies are few and barely more than mentioned. The book contains a disappointing number of "things the government should do" to force or subsidize going local - which seems anathema to me. Part of going local should be _not_ depending on the government.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good information, lacking actionable plans 20 Mar 2006
By K. Rolinson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Great information and background for understanding the impact of 'going global' on our everday lives. Lacks solid implementatable plans for going local but does provide frameworks. Overall a good read - easy to understand and sufficiently technical to keep advanced readers entertained.
22 of 31 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars interesting but not practical 13 July 2004
By Jagr - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
He presents well the case for locally-owned business being better for a community's economic well-being than are chain and franchise stores, and provides lots of different examples of ways that businesses can be community oriented. I found particularly interesting the part about the Green Bay Packers, who were saved out of bankruptcy by a group of fans who sold "stock" to the community to raise the cash. You can't sell the stock to a non-GB resident, you can't own more than 1 (I think) share, and you can only sell shares at the same price you bought them for: $25. Really, sounds a lot like the ICC's shares, and it guarantees that the Pack will never leave Green Bay.
On presenting options for ownership, though, Shuman seems to go a little overboard.
When trying to decide how to promote the kinds of business he wants, Shuman starts reasonably enough, but quickly moves into the implausible. Suggestions such as using zoning law to encourage local business (by discouraging development in the locations and of the scale that WalMart likes to build) and implementing local currencies to encourage patronage of locally-oriented business are useful, and have been successfully used in many places. However, when we get into suggestions about tearing down the WTO and replacing it with something that supports local business, we're getting unreasonable. While it may be possible that the WTO would become less multinational- and more local-friendly, I'm betting that it will only do so when its member states do so, and not as a first step which will encourage its members to do so. Shuman seems to realize this to some extent, as he proposes pro-local legislation in the United States Congress, but this too is unuseful.
Fun to read, but not practical at all.
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