Dear Colleague,

We are excited to see increasing support around the world for bold policies that broaden ownership and control over the economy. One such policy we have been working on at The Democracy Collaborative is Inclusive Ownership Funds (IOFs), which would require corporations to place a percentage of shares into a trust operated on behalf of workers. Recently, The Democracy Collaborative partnered with YouGov to conduct polling on these types of policies and found that 55% of respondents would support a policy requiring companies with over 250 employees to put 10 percent of their shares into a workers’ fund. Read more about IOFs, including support from Senator Bernie Sanders, in the Washington Post, Vox, New York Magazine, the New Yorker, and Common Dreams. The growing discussion of IOFs is also the product of a developing transatlantic exchange around the democratic economy that The Democracy Collaborative is helping to facilitate, as detailed in The Guardian, New Statesman, and Jacobin.
 
In addition to being politically popular, employee ownership can also help achieve goals related to sustainability. A recent article in Fast Company highlights The Democracy Collaborative’s research in this area, profiling a new report published by Fifty by Fifty that found that mission-led employee-owned firms outperformed on metrics related to environmental impact. Fifty by Fifty recently re-launched its website, bringing together news and updates related to scaling employee ownership. To receive email updates, subscribe to the newsletter here.
 
Earlier this month, the Healthcare Anchor Network (HAN) hosted its spring convening in Cleveland, Ohio, bringing together over 40 health systems to discuss how they can leverage their sizable economic resources to support inclusive, local economic development. HAN also worked in collaboration with Modern Healthcare to host their Social Determinants of Health Symposium, which centered on shifting the underlying economic conditions that create poor health. Read more in Modern Healthcare. Harvard University’s School of Public Health recently published a case study detailing the work of HAN member UMass Memorial Health Care (UMMHC) in Worcester, Massachusetts. UMMHC worked with The Democracy Collaborative to explore how to advance anchor strategies in the areas of investment, hiring, and purchasing. Reflecting on some of these themes,  Director of Healthcare Engagement David Zuckerman has contributed a chapter to a book on how to institutionalize the anchor mission approach. The chapter was co-authored by HAN members Michellene Davis with RWJBarnabas Health and David Ansell with Rush University Medical Center. Read more in the recommended reads below. 
 
Democracy Collaborative Fellow, and founder and chair of the Public Banking Institute, Ellen Brown has released a new book, Banking on the People: Democratizing Money in the Digital Age, published by The Democracy Collaborative. The book explores the development of the current banking system, rooted in extraction, and how banking can be transformed to support the public good. Copies are available to order here

Sincerely,
Ted Howard
President and Co-Founder,
The Democracy Collaborative

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TDC & CWB in the News

  • Research Associate Johanna Bozuwa and Maine State Representative Thom Harnett authored an op-ed for the Portland Press Herald on the potential of proposed legislation that would replace for-profit Central Maine Power with a consumer-owned utility. Johanna and Thom detail how public ownership can help to improve quality, lower utility prices, and drive local economic development.
  • Writing for The Hill, Director of the Next System Project Dana Brown contributed an op-ed on the need for public production of pharmaceuticals. Noting that it was public investment that has spurred development of HIV and AIDs treatments, Dana highlights how a public option would expand access to lifesaving treatments that are currently unaffordable.
  • The Preston City Council recently announced it would be adding a dedicated cabinet position to advance the Preston Model, which leverages the spending of local anchor institutions to support community wealth building. Read more about England’s Preston Model in The Atlantic.
  • Communications Director John Duda contributed a piece to Open Democracy about recent polling conducted by The Democracy Collaborative and YouGov that shows a preference for meeting social needs rather than addressing deficits.  

New from The Democracy Collaborative

The Index of Systemic Trends

The Next System Project published its first “Index of Systemic Trends,” a series of economic, social, and environmental indicators that demonstrate the need for systemic solutions to the nation’s systemic problems The index includes measures related to economic, racial, and gender inequality, health and wellbeing, climate change, democracy, and many more. As the introduction states, the index demonstrates that “our current political-economic system is consistently failing to deliver improvement and/or competitive results compared to other advanced economies across a variety of different measures; and that this is indicative of a systemic crisis and the need to move in the direction of a new system that can and will produce better outcomes.”

Read More

Featured Video & Audio

Designing our Communities for Justice
This episode of the Next System Podcast features Isaiah J. Poole and Johanna Bozuwa in discussion with the Institute for Policy Study’s Basav Sen and We Act for Environmental Justice’s Michael Velarde about how to design communities for justice as they seek to respond to the challenges of climate change.  

Preston model: Bringing democracy to local economy
BBC News recently produced a segment on the Preston Model, exploring how the City of Preston is keeping wealth circulating locally through strategies like local procurement and worker cooperative development.

Recommended Reads

Rethinking the Mission of Health Systems

Offering a “definitive guide to the secret sauce of improving public and population health,” the Practical Playbook II brings together leading examples of multi-sector collaborations to improve health, including a chapter on the anchor mission approach. Authored by Healthcare Anchor Network members Michellene Davis, with RWJBarnabas Health, and David Ansell, with Rush University Medical Center, along with The Democracy Collaborative’s David Zuckerman, the chapter explores how health systems can better align their organizational assets to address systemic inequities. Read more here

Owning the future: toward the democratic economy

In this first paper from Common Wealth, a new UK-based research organization, author Mathew Lawrence discusses why focusing on democratizing ownership is necessary for advancing a more just and sustainable economy. The paper outlines Common Wealth’s research agenda across areas such as land, finance, and enterprise, noting that “it is vital we move beyond the monoculture of the present where our economy is dominated by private corporate ownership toward a richer, more inventive hybridity.” Read the full paper here.

Featured Website

Map of PB Processes
This new map from the Participatory Budgeting project provides a directory of participatory budgeting initiatives across the US and Canada. Users can sort the map by geography, year, scale, and size of budget. Each entry includes further information about the scope of the initiative, the status of the project and further resources. Learn more here.

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