Making of a Democratic Economy

From P2P Foundation
Jump to navigation Jump to search

* Book: The Making of a Democratic Economy: How to Build Prosperity for the Many, Not the Few. By Ted Howard and Marjorie Kelly.

URL = [1]


1. From the publisher:

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.


"Howard and Kelly spell out seven principles for creating a fairer and more sustainable economy that could help pull the U.S. out of the “extractive economy” that exists today. Those values are community, inclusion, place, good work, sustainability, democratic ownership, and ethical finance. ... Howard and Kelly cite specific examples of projects they’ve encountered that are fostering sustainability and creating local wealth. " (


Cited in the book:

Thunder Valley CDC in the Oglala Lakota Pine Ridge Reservation

Eillie Anzilotti:

"One example is an initiative launched in 2007 on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, home to the Oglala Lakota, which centers around the principle of community, but it’s about much more. Pine Ridge has long encapsulated many issues that Native tribes currently face on their lands: lack of investment, little infrastructure, few jobs, and next to no economy. Government assistance, which is scant, is one of the few forms of financial support people on the reservation receive. This struggle stems from centuries of persecution at the hands of white settlers and decisions by the U.S. government to erode indigenous culture—up until 1978, for instance, many Native religious traditions were outlawed.

But now, members of younger generations are starting to reconnect with their culture’s traditions—and rebuilding community power. Nick Tilsen is among the more prominent of them. In 2007, he founded the nonprofit Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation to build prosperity on the Pine Ridge Reservation from the inside out. Tilsen spent hundreds of hours meeting with residents and cocreating a plan for the initiative. The design for Thunder Valley CDC includes a plan for the construction of affordable houses in a place where many families share trailers; youth are being trained in construction to carry out the plan and gain skills through an employee-owned company launched on the reservation. The project will also include amenities like playgrounds, farms, and community buildings. “At every step, the vision and building of the regenerative community arose from and within many circles of the community,” Kelly and Howard write.

Fostering well-being and stability for the Pine Ridge community is the primary goal of Thunder Valley CDC, but it’s also rooted in place—another principle of democratic economies. Previously, every dollar brought onto the Pine Ridge Reservation would leave again in 48 hours because there were no opportunities for people to spend money locally. By building out assets like homes and shops, Thunder Valley aims to create ways for wealth to remain in the community, instead of being pulled outward." (

More information