Community Economic Development Can Transform World Economy
Cape Breton University
Written to: Professor Jason E. Prince
Written by: Sana Alzahrani
April 15, 2013
Economic activity is a universal concept that is inherent in all societies around the world. It entails all activities and processes that are related to the production and consumption of goods and services. Further, economic activity serves as the basic function of all societies and creates the foundation upon which other societal functions are built. It is difficult, for instance, for an economically poor society to send men to the moon, or construct the pyramids or erect spectacular towers and cathedrals (Mott, 2004). This therefore means that meaningful societal development begins with the economic development of that society which then sets the stage for other developments. Again, it is important to note that economic development is dependent on the ability of the society to identify and make effective use of the factors of production, such as land, labour and capital, within their own environment in order to spur the economic development. These realities are well captured in the ideology of community economic development (CED) where the focus is on the movement of money through a community and the impact this movement has on the local population (Shragge & Michael, 2006). CED is also premised on the concession that it is only when individual local communities are economically empowered that the effect of the overall global economic development can be meaningful. As such, treating the communities as the building blocks of the world economy through the bottom-up development approach will certainly lead to a radical transformation of the world economy. This essay evaluates some of the ways in which CED can achieve this transformation objective in the world economy. The world economy is currently driven by capitalism and free market ideologies (Dunning, 2003). While this system has been hailed for its ability to spur economic growth and development for nations, it has equally been criticized for its role in entrenching economic inequality and rampant poverty. This is because capitalism leads to the accumulation of the factors of production in the hands of the few elites while leaving the majority without these fundamental means of production (Gilpin, 2000). On the global front, for instance, less than ten developed nations command more than two thirds of the world capital while the majority is left to scramble for the remaining share. This inequality is also manifested in the local economies where the gap between the rich few and the poor majority are very broad. This trend has left many communities in poverty while the competitiveness expected to flow from the market economy has eventually boiled down to monopolies that have eliminated small community initiatives from existence (Mott, 2004). As a result of this marginalization, development in its real sense has become very hard to achieve. Community economic development, however, seeks to address this economic imbalance by ensuring that development first originates from the communities and for the benefit of the people before it eventually percolates to the global scale (Shragge & Michael, 2006). This can only be achieved through a paradigm shift that fosters the use of local resources and creativity in order to address the local wants, needs and challenges while at the same enhancing the holistic growth and development of the communities. In view of this, CED utilizes several benchmarks in its quest to transform the world economy. Local goods and services
As a process that seeks to move the economic capacity of the community and its people from one state to another, CED appreciates the need for autonomy and freedom, which comes through greater self-reliance, to economic development (Douglas, nd). This freedom, which is largely curtailed in the world...
References: Gilpin R. (2000). The challenge of global capitalism: The world economy in the 21st century. Princeton University Press
Houghton G. (1999). Community economic development. United States of America: Stationery Office Press
Shragge, E. & Michael T. Eds. (2006). Community economic development: Building for social change. Sydney: Cape Breton University Press.
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