I am currently preparing a revision to my first book, The Local Economy Revolution: What’s Changed and How You Can Help. I decided to update it to capture some of the things I’ve learned since it was first published in 2013. Look for the new and improved version later this year.
The centerpiece of that book is a series of statements called The Wise Economy Manifesto, which I first published in 2011. So I’d better start there.
We must focus on cultivating our native economic species. The thing that grows naturally where you are can, with a little help and protection, provide more long-term benefit (and fewer of those unintended repercussions), than the exotics that we try to transplant at great cost. In this era, the chase after the flashy, the big, the long shot, is too costly and too risky to deserve the lion’s share of our attention.
These means that we have to focus on our assets instead of just our deficits. We’re used to seeing lots of things as signs of deficits — vacant buildings, left-out people, organizations that struggle to pay their staff. We interpret those as meaning that something is broken, something that may require an influx of money, experts, programs, to fill that deficit. And often, something new and more is definitely needed.
But what if at least part of the solution comes from the very things we assumed were deficits? What if we really dug into and valued and built upon the left-out people, and the unique things they are able to do? What if we used those vacant buildings to enable new ways of working and creating that build upon their assets, not just what we think they should be?
What could we create, uniquely, right here, that hasn’t been created yet? After all, that which makes you unique makes you valuable. There is little value in being a commodity, but much opportunity in a well-defined niche.