Towns without nationally advertised fast-food restaurants often eagerly await the day when the golden arches sprout next door to the local car dealership. But what really happens to a community with the arrival of the uni-burger? Christopher Gunn and Hazel Dayton Gunn demonstrate that perhaps three-quarters of the money a community spends at its burger emporium will leave the area. Poor communities remain poor, they assert, because local capital tends to be drained off to financial centers, corporate accounts, and stockholders' portfolios. In keeping with ecologists' injunction to "think globally and act locally," this imaginative book documents ways in which communities have counteracted constraints of the capitalist economic system and succeeded in promoting democratic control of their resources.
Taking as one example the local impact of a new McDonald's restaurant, Gunn and Gunn first illustrate how capital potentially available for community development may be identified. They then explore a variety of alternative institutions-credit unions, nonprofit corporations, and consumers' and workers' cooperatives, among others-that serve to attract and retain resources, foster growth, and extend public control over the development process. The authors also consider how grassroots activism for social change may be integrated with more conventional political practice.
Reclaiming Capital will be a vital resource for activists, elected officials, and others concerned with urban and regional planning.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780801495748
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