We are in the middle of an economic revolution toward much more local investing. The collapse of mammoth Wall Street banks, the LIBOR scandal and corrupt corporate malfeasance have given rise to growing support for regional credit unions, cooperatives and time banks, as well as increasing interest in loaning money to small independent neighborhood businesses. Michael Shuman, the director of research and economic development at the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE), has written about this expanding money revolution in his recent book, Local Dollars Local Sense.
Investing in Main Street
Shuman’s incisive work details some simple steps that we all can take to divest from corporate stock market interests and redirect our money back into our communities to create more vibrant and sustainable interdependent local economies. He highlights the importance of reshaping our pension retirement funds, and parking our money where we live; the progressive economist describes his book as a community resilience guide that helps people strengthen their own towns and themselves:
“Americans’ long-term savings in stocks, bonds, mutual funds, pension funds, and life insurance funds total about $30 trillion. But not even 1 percent of these savings touch local small business — even though roughly half the jobs and the output in the private economy come from them. So, how can people increasingly concerned with the poor returns from Wall Street and the devastating impact of global companies on their communities invest in Main Street?
In Local Dollars, Local Sense, local economy pioneer Michael Shuman shows investors, including the nearly 99% who are unaccredited, how to put their money into building local businesses and resilient regional economies — and profit in the process. A revolutionary toolbox for social change, written with compelling personal stories, the book delivers the most thorough overview available of local investment options, explains the obstacles, and profiles investors who have paved the way.
Shuman demystifies the growing realm of local investment choices — from institutional lending to investment clubs and networks, local investment funds, community ownership, direct public offerings, local stock exchanges, crowdfunding, and more. He also guides readers through the lucrative opportunities to invest locally in their homes, energy efficiency, and themselves.”
Ten Trends Shaping Local Prosperity
Michael Shuman identifies his top ten exciting optimistic trends, such as Washington’s Local Investing Opportunity Network (LION), that are already helping to build stronger local economies, create good jobs and grow many small businesses:
- Declining Credibility in Wall Street & Stock Market
- Rise of Main Street’s Credibility as a Good Investment
- Growth of a Global Crowdfunding Revolution
- Emergence of More Affordable Small Local Stocks
- Better Understanding Loopholes that Facilitate Local Investment
- Powerful Examples of Small Town Initiatives & Creative Success Stories
- Creation of Pools of Money to Diversify Local Business Investments
- More Local Stock Exchange Markets are Flourishing
- Increase of the More Flexible Self-Directed IRA
- Investing in Yourself with Education, Paying Off Debt & Personal Savings