Welcome to Loca-Topia

Thanks for dropping by.  Chances are you “surfed” here because you are interested in local economies.  And that’s the core of what you’ll find on this site: news, events, books, studies, legislation, people, conferences, and trends concerning local economies.

 This is a place for anyone who believes in the power of local ownership, locally owned business, and self-reliant communities.  You’ll find compelling stories of investors, consumers, and business people who are innovating in the name of enriching their communities—stories that will give you inspiration for what to do next in your community.  And you’ll find a politics that I call “green libertarian-ism,” which embraces both the goals of sustainability and justice promoted by progressives and the goals of freedom and decentralization promoted by conservatives.

If you’ve read any of my books, you know that my mission is to make the boring nuts and bolts of economics, law, and public policy as understandable and entertaining as possible. And not occasionally… irreverent and funny. My hope is that regular visitors of this site will learn some things, teach me (and other visitors) some things, and have some fun in the process.

Some of you might know that I had a predecessor site on the web call Small-Mart.org, based on my 2006 book of that title.  I actively blogged there for about two years.  As I began to dive deeper into the world of local investment, however, the “small-mart” framework seemed less and less appropriate.  That’s why I decided to launch this new site.  (If you’re interested, though, I’ll be migrating my old blog pieces into our archives here.)

I decided to frame this site around all my writing, however, and not just local economies.  The reason is that regard the economy as part of life, and vice-versa.  Over my career I’ve written on a bunch of other topics like electoral politics, energy policy, international affairs, democracy, philanthropy, technology, health care, parenthood, and even love.   I cannot promise that I won’t stray into these areas periodically.  What I can promise is that I will strive to keep the material fresh and interesting.

And I’m depending on you to help.  Please send me any articles, stories, or anecdotes you think spark interesting discussion.

Let me invite you to participate in two other ways:

  • I encourage you to sign up for my free e-zine, which I’m calling “The LocaTopia Times.”  For the many of you who (like me) live in the world of e-mail rather than web surfing, I’ll summarize what’s been posted on the site, and I’ll let you know about upcoming events, classes, talks, etc.

  • If you’re interested in getting advice about your community, your economic development policies, your business, or your nonprofit, you also might consider joining my “Inner Circle” for $100 per year. Once a month, I’ll lead a one-hour conference call where we can discuss whatever is on your mind.  In the coming months I’ll also begin posting other information, like news summaries, to which you’ll have exclusive access.

My old colleague Marcus Raskin used to tell the anecdote of a famous physicist who was so appalled at another physicists theories that he said, “He isn’t even wrong!”  My goal here is at least to be wrong.  So please let me know what’s working and what isn’t.  Complain early and often – though positive feedback is occasionally appreciated too.

Let the games begin!

1 thought on “Welcome to Loca-Topia”

  1. interested in info on Zinger’s Deli ( heard you on a radio interview today)
    Also Inqubator’s as equity partners.
    Finding legislators who commitment to local economies and realize that it’s the people not the government and their buracracies that make economy work.
    New to your site but I think you are on the right track.

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Michael H Shuman