Book Description

Our economy is designed by the 1 percent, for the 1 percent. This book offers a compelling vision of an equitable, ecologically sustainable alternative that meets the essential needs of all people.

We live in a world where twenty-six billionaires own as much wealth as half the planet's population. The extractive economy we live with now enables the financial elite to squeeze out maximum gain for themselves, heedless of damage to people or planet. But Marjorie Kelly and Ted Howard show that there is a new economy emerging focused on helping everyone thrive while respecting planetary boundaries.  

At a time when competing political visions are at stake the world over, this book urges a move beyond tinkering at the margins to address the systemic crisis of our economy. Kelly and Howard outline seven principles of what they call a Democratic Economy: community, inclusion, place (keeping wealth local), good work (putting labor before capital), democratized ownership, ethical finance, and sustainability. Each principle is paired with a place putting it into practice: Pine Ridge, Preston, Portland, Cleveland, and more.

This book tells stories not just of activists and grassroots leaders but of the unexpected accomplices of the Democratic Economy. Seeds of a future beyond corporate capitalism and state socialism are being planted in hospital procurement departments, pension fund offices, and even company boardrooms.

The road to a system grounded in community, democracy, and justice remains uncertain. Kelly and Howard help us understand we make this road as we walk it by taking a first step together beyond isolation and despair.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Title Page
  3. Copyright Page
  4. Dedication
  5. Contents
  6. Foreword
  7. Preface
  8. Introduction: From Cleveland to Preston
  9. 1. An Economy of, By, and For The People: The Great Wave Rising Worldwide
  10. 2. The Principle of Community: The Common Good Comes First
  11. 3. The Principle of Inclusion: Creating Opportunity for Those Long Excluded
  12. 4. The Principle of Place: Building Community Wealth That Stays Local
  13. 5. The Principle of Good Work: Putting Labor Before Capital
  14. 6. The Principle of Democratic Ownership: Creating Enterprise Designs for a New Era
  15. 7. The Principle of Sustainability: Protecting the Ecosystem as the Foundation of Life
  16. 8. The Principle of Ethical Finance: Investing and Lending for People and Place
  17. Conclusion: From an Extractive to a Democratic Economy
  18. Afterword
  19. Appendix—Networks of the Democratic Economy
  20. Notes
  21. Acknowledgments
  22. Index
  23. About the Authors