In 2013, Boeing threatened to move production of its new airplane out of Seattle if it didn’t receive the government handouts it wanted. The deal, which was the largest state tax break in U.S. history, squeezes $8.7 billion in tax breaks out of the state. As one Seattle councilperson said, “The company held not only Boeing workers, but the entire state’s economy hostage…to their endless desire for profit.”

This is just one example of how economic development is broken, driven by large corporations focused on maximizing shareholder profits at the expense of all else.

Community Wealth Building provides an alternative to this broken economic model. Based on providing broad economic security for the majority of workers, it is designed to take back our economy from the 1% and give it back to the 99%. It does this by focusing on inclusion, collaboration, cultivating local assets, and building new institutions.

The following video, created by the Democracy Collaborative, gives an overview of how Community Wealth Building works and offers examples of it in action, including University Hospitals in Cleveland spending 90% of an expansion contract with locally-owned companies; a neighborhood group in Boston that bought vacant lots and created community land trusts; employee-owned cleaning companies in San Francisco; and the state owned bank in North Dakota that returns millions of dollars of surplus back to public projects.


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Cat Johnson


Cat Johnson | |

Cat Johnson is a writer and content strategist focused on coworking, collaboration and community. She's the author of Coworking Out Loud, a guide to content marketing for coworking space operators. Publications include Yes! Magazine,

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