The Local Economy Solution

How Innovative, Self-Financing "Pollinator" Enterprises Can Grow Jobs and Prosperity

Growing evidence has proven that economic development's current cornerstone — incentives to attract large businesses — is a dead end. This book suggests an alternative approach: nurture a new generation of enterprises that help local businesses launch, grow and create jobs in self-financing ways. The book includes two dozen successful case studies. It also shows how the right public policy can encourage this growth at virtually no cost.

248 pages. ©2015.
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Reader Reviews for this Book

Joanne Gordon

Review posted November 28, 2017

2

Too convoluted & dry for a citizen volunteer to want to finish.

isaacpkm

Review posted November 20, 2017

5

This book provided wonderful insight into the world of small business. Working with downtown development in a small town, the ideas presented here granted me a new perspective on my town. A well written, researched, and thought out book.

david grant

Review posted November 17, 2017

5

It was very good at providing examples of how to pollinate enterprises. But for our community it would be nice to have a "work book" which has not only descriptions of success (which this has abundantly) but actual case histories of the various methods that would work in a town such as ours ( city pop 26,000, county and city total about 70,000) and is lacking in growth but has two colleges (one of which actually has an Entrepreneurial Class and the other rewards 3 students with possible ideas for a business--that is not enough --in my opinion that is!) and a hospital. While investment pools of money are critical---- in our community it does not seem possible to raise such amount as the political climate favors other areas within the state and other local needs. The local politicians lack the vision to see what we need here for the future sustainability... We do have farmer's markets but they are not promoted effectively. They do not emphasize the results that a community may achieve by purchasing locally. There are many fine and interesting examples of how small investments may magnify into larger investments...and provide growth so I am not disparaging this book because it is excellent as far as it goes but....how to get the town politicians on board and the community activated in a real concrete sense that is the real problem how to actually get started on this path... The answer that I am looking for is how to ignite interest in a community that has lost all hope...and is not even trying..."they talk the good talk but they do not walk the walk...." Sorry, I am more complaining about what we can do here (or not) in our town than what the book has to offer...I would certainly wholeheartedly encourage purchase of this book.....it has invaluable ideas and suggestions that have worked in numerable various communities......do not pass this by...the critical idea here in this book is that one can start small and grow---- it does not have to be a large enterprise to start....providing "seed" money is a great way to start things rolling without riskinglarge sums of capital.....

EmersonWHoagland

Review posted October 20, 2017

5

Well written, makes a sometimes technical topic understandable and fun to read about. This is a great resource for anyone working in or around economic development. The authors central argument is that economic development as it is, consists of corrupt pandering to large corporations in the small likelihood that they may add jobs and tax revenues to a community. Shuman counters this economic development with local focused pollinator businesses that create the networks of various services needed for small businesses to succeed. Small local businesses are his focus because they are the most likely to hire local, stay long term, and generate the most local economic improvements. Inversely, large corporations may leave, bring in outsiders, and get so many incentives as to render whatever benefit they do create obsolete. And that may well be Shuman's most convincing argument, that economic development as is is not only morally wrong and misguided, but out and out ineffective in reaching the goals of the profession.

julierohaly

Review posted September 28, 2017

5

This book is a continuation of prior books, of which I've read two. Like the previous books, this one is full of interesting and insightful examples. The author expands on his 6 "Ps" of local economic development in an easy to follow progression from one "P" to the next. Very clear writing and pleasant to read.

sharonleighty

Review posted September 18, 2017

5

Very helpful resource for my clients in rural Oregon.

Nan Devlin

Review posted April 18, 2017

5

Michael Shuman shows how rural communities can promote economic development through local innovation, needs assessment, and reliance on each other. In these times when rural Oregon is struggling to meet the most basic of public services, Shuman shows a path to action.

Megan Peterson

Review posted March 31, 2017

4

Very informative. Sparks ideas.

Sebastian

Review posted March 14, 2017

5

A good read that offers excellent suggestion on how local economies can and should work--and how it helps local community development. The author presents cogent arguments on how grassroots local economic dynamism can have a significant impact on both businesses and small communities.

Richard LaPlante

Review posted January 12, 2017

5

I have not had any involvement or exposure in the past with city or state economic development so I have not had any past to judge what works or doesn't work. This book was very informative in not only painting a clear picture of what has been done in the past but more importantly what the potential future is for economic development. I was left with a desire to not only find out what is happening in my community but a drive to want to be part of it.

BarbaraButzer

Review posted November 2, 2016

4

A fairly technical, yet accessible, introduction to the benefits of directing support to local small businesses. The author cites many studies in his argument against luring large corporations with expensive tax incentives.

JimmBurton

Review posted October 4, 2016

4

Very insightful. Thought provoking look on supporting and growing local businesses - creating a self-reliance on local/regional economies over national/global economies.

Mavrose

Review posted September 25, 2016

5

Great book. I will be sharing with many all over the country. As I went through it, learning about how we waste tax payer dollars attracting business that have no ties to our communities and many times are gone as soon as their freebies run out. Any person who has been in the employment market in Oregon, has run into this. Many times these sometimes unethical businesses that get paid big money to be here, use third party staffing agencies. As a example, in Washington County there was a call center, privately held 2 family members and 1 outsider. There was a lawsuit going on about misuse of company funds. Staffing agencies were placing (rather churning) people thru there as a temp to hire. This company was stiffing - NOT PAYING IT VENDORS ETC, and was very clear and it is published they would be gone in a minute, if they had a better offer. One morning employees went to work, to be unpaid locked out with their possessions inside. Fortunately, since I did my research up front, I wasn't one of them. Another good book on this topic is "Great American Job Scam.". As I was reading, I was thinking it would be good to introduce to SCORE. As I kept reading, I learned already done. The people chapter great, the idea of pollinators and partnerships that people can come together to form to improve local communities and keep dollars at work there is great. Sharing and teaching skills together for the common good. I would like to see this author at the next Democracy Convention. Gar Alperovitz was at the last.

mgdwn

Review posted June 14, 2016

4

I thought this book made a very good case for economic development through pollinators, using private sector resources rather than traditional, government funded Economic Development methods. The author explained why the standard methods of recruiting outside businesses are actually counterproductive to local business development, and how local business development keeps more money recirculating in the local community. The concept of the five types of "pollinators" sounds very promising.

kmier

Review posted May 31, 2016

4

This is a great book on keeping money and resources local. If your community is not already focused on how to empower your community members to create a stronger, healthier local economy, this book is a great place to start for ideas.

sderht

Review posted May 18, 2016

5

The opposite of inviting Wal-Mart to town, which is what many rural towns could use right now. Grassroots social enterprise.

weschmidt56

Review posted April 8, 2016

5

Book was great

pgratton01

Review posted March 30, 2016

4

Shuman's years of experience give solid backing to his "Local Economy Solution." I appreciated his focus on local businesses building local communities while poking holes in the effectiveness economic development. The book is long on examples...though I gave it 4 stars because it is a little light on data.

Henry

Review posted February 22, 2016

5

First this book makes clear what shopping mall's have done to our communities then it confirms what we've long suspected about the growth of big box stores. Thankfully author Shuman then provides a life boat in that he includes numerous accounts of individuals and communities working to solve their problems locally. If I would have highlighted points of interest in this book almost every page would be covered with my marks. And finally I want to use what I learned in this book in our small town.

Nancy Straw

Review posted January 21, 2016

4

Powerball exceeded $1.5 billion last week. What if you already knew four of the six winning numbers? Doesn’t that make it look more like an investment than a game of chance? In Michael Shuman’s newest book, The Local Economy Solution, he reminds us that seven out of 10 new jobs are created by small businesses and that half of all jobs in the U.S. are in businesses that employ fewer than 500 people. And, Shuman states, “99.9% of all small and medium-sized firms are locally owned.” He makes it clear that our best investment is in growing the businesses we have in our communities, if we want to help create jobs. Shuman also disputes many long-held beliefs/myths about economic development, including the need to focus on manufacturing or traded-sector businesses to bring new money into the community. This is a good read that begins with an example of the economic development “investment” made by the State of Maryland to subsidize the production of the Netflix hit, House of Cards. How the investments were negotiated and the impact on Maryland are a good lesson for everyone interested in economic development.