What is economic democracy?
Economic democracy is an emerging framework for ways of life that prioritize people and planet over private profits. With economic democracy, communities collectively decide on how to use our land, labor and capital to serve the public good. As an alternative to capitalism and state socialism, economic democracy replaces the “invisible hand” of the market, which responds only to price, with community-based processes that center the needs and health of people and planet. Worker-owned co-ops, community land trusts, participatory budgeting and community credit unions are examples of enterprises and processes that embody economic democracy at the local level.
Like political democracy, economic democracy is a practice that we can improve together, over time and also an ideal that we can strive towards in our workplaces, neighborhoods, cities and national governments. Economic democracy asserts that we have the power to dream, plan and build more just and sustainable futures for ourselves and our children.
Communities are developing economic democracy in many places around the country. To learn more, check out
this FAQ on economic democracy from the folks at the
Bronx Cooperative Development Initiative or read a history of the term "economic democracy", written and researched by folks at
the Democracy Collaborative. For an international perspective on solidarity economy, check out
this short article from RIPESS (Intercontinental Network for the Promotion of Social Solidarity Economy) or this long-form introduction to
solidarity economy in the U.S. from Emily Kawano, co-founder of the US Solidarity Economy Network.
This sounds awesome! How do I get involved?
If you are based in the Boston area, we invite you to join our flagship program the Boston Ujima Project by attending one of their monthly new member orientations, offered every fourth Monday of the month. Ujima also hosts public community events and panels, and Ujima members gather weekly to organize and steward the ecosystem. You can learn more about ways to participate on their website.
If you are involved with a grassroots or community organization, social/cooperative enterprise, or are a funder or investor interested in learning more about our programs, please get in touch by writing to us at admin (at) economicdemocracy (dot) us
If you live in the United States but outside of the Boston area, we encourage you to connect with local initiatives where you live. Though by no means comprehensive, some resources that might help you find local initiatives include USSEN’s
solidarity economy map and Black Socialists of America’s
Dual Power Map. Additionally, the U.S. Federation of Worker Coops has a
member directory and map that might help you connect with cooperatives in your area.
To learn more, check out the articles, videos and reports on our
Resources page. Finally, for more general suggestions, check out this resource from Democracy Collaborative on
10 ways to help democratize your economy.
What resources exist to learn more about economic democracy?
In addition to the links above, we share a range of articles, readings, reports and videos on our Resources page.