Transforming or Reforming Capitalism - Chapter 2 - Ghorayshi, Gradon, Kliewer "Towards a Social Theory in Community Economic Development: Idealizing Community in the Era of Globalization"

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The chapter discusses what CED is, whether it can be a solution; the history of local empowerment , how CED has worked, that different definitions and strategies are used. The inconsistent notion of community is discussed. The potential that current CED may counter-productively contribute to neo-liberal capital ism is discussed, with transformative CED , meant to disrupt and challenge, present ed as a solution.

When discussing community , linkage s between place, economy, and culture , social continuity, good citizenship and a sense of belonging are major topics. The concept of community is used as a tool to discuss social transformation and cohesion, disruption of the traditional order and patterns by events such as industrialization , urbanization and the rise of capitalism.

In examining a shift from support ive communities based on kinship and common aims to larger, more impersonal societys based on interlocking economic , political etc interests, the social sciences became preoccupied with the implications of these events.


Approaches to community development derived from colonial administration efforts post world war II in developing basic education , as well as nation-state changes, market economy, communications and transnational connections. The term was used often in the UN in the 1950s , and appeared in 1960s in social sciences approaches. It returns to attention today due to globalization.

Accellerating, uneven concentration of capital , wealth, power, resources and growth through globalization have marginalized and depressed populations and regions, such as women and unpaid worker s.

Socio-economic theorists, civil society groups question capital ist imbalances and exclusion, instead favouring democratic ization, sharing, cooperation, and ideals that favour collective well-being. Government, NGOs, academics have proposed remedial models: CED (a term mainly used in the West), is one of them.

Local community efforts in North America date to early 20th century settler communities , losing their popularity in in the 1950s - 1960s due to a surge in capital ism. By the 1980s , globalization, post-industrialism and neo-liberal policies, promoted market players and support ed by government , had deprecated welfare state ideals. Civil society, in forms such as NGOs, CDC s, CD, CED , community development intermediary organizations , micro-enterprise, micro-lending, participatory rural appraisal , etc emerged in support of local development and empowerment , with an assumption they could support good social services . Success es have included fighting the economic problems of exclusion, and time dollar banks.

Definition of CED

CED includes gap-filling (discussed in ToRC ch 1), with a local community and economic focus.

Community has many definitions, geographic and virtual. Relationships, shared experiences, and human scale form an important part, often opposed to bureacracy and centralization . The term is romanticized to emphasize unity over differences, the assumption that local development is better than non-local, civil society better than the state, face to face communications is more pure, and assumes a "dream" of participatory democracy .

Economic Development (Capitalist Growth)

The growth-based approach assumes developing local industries to integrate into the larger capital ist economy to bring more prosperity . Ironic concerns arise around societical fragmentation due to adapted CED terms (and related terms, such as "social capital " used like a financial state rather than relationships), and making communites bankable components of the larger capital ist system. Interventions end up serving individuals rather than communities , dismember government , and serve as forms of social control by their definition. The section concludes that this kind of growth is most appropriate in emergencies, with more complex process required under ordinary circumstances.

Transformation Challenges and Possibilities

CED needs to challenge and transform beyond local geography, to a sense of place (belonging) and global alliances, balancing diversity and unity, state and civil society, holding local lead ers accountable and breaking social classes, by demystifying and providing alternatives to capital ist structures, ally ing itself with movement s such as for the environment , peace, women 's and gay rights.

CED changes the focus from economic growth and profit, to how wealth is used and distributed, not just including market activities but also private and public spaces, with people prioritize d before capital , integrating economic , ecological, political and cultural development aimed towards reclaiming "the community ."

Technology can be used in transformative strategies . CED may also link economic , social, environmental , political and cultural considerations, departing from the current economic system, and as a way to engage with government .

Transforming or Reforming Capitalism - Chapter 3 - Lamb "Towards an Economic Theory of Community Economic Development"