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Towards a New Form of Economic Development:. Why the need for an Ownership Revolution Has Neve Been Greater.

Dissertation Economics for Transition, SchumacherCollege MA , Great Britain

Jerome Birolini, August 2014

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Summary :

The following paper is rooted in what is globally recognised as one of the main threats for the future of our civilisation, namely social and economic inequality. After initially looking at the causes and consequences of inequality, we will focus our attenion to the economic thinking which came out of highly unequal times. The mutualist and cooperative principles which were at the heart of their practices remain a great source of inspiration for today’s activists and have been informing some of the most promising social experiments which are currently taking place around the Globe.

In the second part of the paper, we will look into more details at the community land trust, the social enterprise and the cooperative, three different types of community wealth-building strategies. By vesting ownership in community stakeholders and therefore preventing capital to leak out from the locality, these types of approaches have proved that can help to improve the ability of communities and their residents to own assets, anchor jobs, expand public services and ensure local economic stability while contributing to environmental sustainability and social justice. Yet a lesson learned from the case study analysis is that a core element of their success is the support of local civic leaders and the establishment of multi-stakeholder partnerships. As economic decline, government austerity, privatisation and wealth inequality continue to squeeze ordinary citizens and lead to the rapid expansion of a new precariat, we will argue that this type of collaborative, locally-rooted and community-owned approaches should now be embraced by the public sector if we are to advance the building blocks for a fairer, more sustainable and more resilient society.