A Dozen Asks for Your Governor

Everyone knows that the three, multi-trillion-dollar stimulus bills passed by Congress fall way short.  For most local businesses—the lifeblood of our economy—these bills offer too little relief, too late.  I’m hopeful though that the states (and maybe, in some places, counties and cities) can rise to the challenge of saving these businesses.  Now is the …

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Comparative Resilience: 8 Principles for Post-COVID Reconstruction

This past weekend, a bright Georgetown undergraduate asked me how I squared my passion for localization with the theory of comparative advantage.  For economics newbies, he was referring to David Ricardo’s argument that every community should find one product to specialize in and trade for everything else.  I gave my usual response that the theory …

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12 Reasons the Glass is 1% Full

Let’s stipulate upfront that there’s nothing to celebrate about a pandemic.  The damage COVID-19 is wreaking—in terms of deaths, sickness, business closures, unemployment, and misery—is incalculable.  But this crisis is changing the world in subtle ways that may ultimately improve our lives.  So…in the spirit of Winston Churchill, who once implored not to let a …

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Rethinking The Takoma Junction Redevelopment Plan

A basic mantra of progressive economic development should be to deploy public land for public purposes.  This has become clear to me as I’ve watched the nearby City of Takoma Park, Maryland, struggle to move ahead on a controversial development project on a 1.4 acre site called Takoma Junction.  The site is largely undeveloped except that the neighboring …

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An Interview With Transition Towns

One of the most influential drivers of localization worldwide is the Transition Towns movement, launched by Rob Hopkins in the United Kingdom, which has inspired initiatives in literally thousands of communities.  “The Transition Network,” according to its web site, “is a charitable organisation whose role is to inspire, encourage, connect, support and train communities as …

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We’ve Won! Now What?

Last week, I gave a lunchtime talk to the board of the Fresh Sound Foundation in New York City, where I was asked to help this small family philanthropy think about how it could best assist the local economy movement. I thought this was a really interesting question, because depending on one’s perspective, it meant …

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Lawyer-Free Crowdfunding in Maryland

  I’m pleased to report that crowdfunding reform has just reached an important milestone in the state where I live—Maryland.  Legislation just passed by the state legislature and signed by Governor Marty O’Malley now allows every Maryland resident to lend up to $100 to any local business with virtually no legal hassles whatsoever.  The fact …

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Wanted: Creative Localistas for State Legislatures

Over the past year probably a dozen current or aspiring state legislators have asked me for advice on what kinds of legislation they might advocate that could support local living economies.  While there’s a long list that comes to mind, here are my top ten items.  (I’ve excluded from this reforms related to community capital …

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