When it comes to the economy, Americans want to see growth. We want more jobs with higher wages and the increased purchasing power that comes with those two things. In The Local Economy Solution, renowned economist Michael Shuman proposes a new way of chasing growth that both brings Americans the prosperity they’re after and ensures that prosperity remains intact for years to come.
All too often, cities and states chase economic growth by attracting large companies and expensive operations. Many states use tax incentives to bring enterprises like movie productions and multinational corporations to their communities. The problems with that approach are multifold: In The Local Economy Solution, Shuman demonstrates that those deals often suck more money out of communities than they bring in, and the arrangements are susceptible to larger-scale economic fluctuations. In other words, the growth this approach creates – if it’s growth at all – isn’t sustainable.
Fortunately, Shuman’s book puts forth an alternative: He argues that communities and their economies need so-called “pollinator businesses.” Simply put, pollinator businesses are innovative, self-financing organizations that help local businesses grow. Take, for example, Main Street Genome, a Washington, D.C.-based company that advises small businesses. Born out of research from Georgetown University, Main Street Genome offers financial and operational expertise to small businesses, helping them to cut costs, comply with regulations and learn about their industries. The organization has a Main Street focus, like many buy-local groups, but it remains a for-profit company, offering an innovative software platform that helps small businesses streamline their vendor relationships.
As self-financing, local-minded organizations, pollinator businesses bring resiliency to their economies. Simultaneously, they foster local businesses, helping to spread that resiliency and vibrancy throughout the entire community. It’s a new approach to Main Street that promises sustainable economic growth. To learn more or purchase Shuman’s book, find The Local Economy Solution on IndieBound.