Going Local

Michael Shuman


National drug chains squeeze local pharmacies out of business, while corporate downsizing ships jobs overseas. Developers consume local forests and farms, contributing to uncontrolled sprawl. All across America, communities large and small are losing control of their economies to outside interests. Convinced that such development is necessary, local leaders -- liberal and conservative, Democrat and Republican -- offer massive subsidies to attract outside investment.

Going Local shows how some cities and towns are fighting back. Refusing to be overcome by Wal-Marts and layoffs, they are taking over abandoned factories, switching to local produce and manufactured goods, and pushing banks to loan money to local citizens, especially minority homeowners and entrepreneurs. Shuman details how dozens of communities are recapturing their own economies with these new strategies: investing not in outsiders but in locally owned businesses like credit unions, cooperatives, community land trusts, municipally owned utilities, and local shareholder-owned firms like the Green Bay Packers football team.

Even in an age of globalization, Shuman argues, small towns can stand up to multinational conglomerates -- and win. Filled with dramatic stories and statistics from across the country, Going Local demonstrates that communities don't have to give in to corporate bottom-liners, layoff-hungry managers, and community-consuming national chains.

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