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Nov 18th Chafee Social Science Center 271 @ 7 PM
Julie Graham

"Constructing the Community Economy in the Face of Globalization"
Julie Graham

Julie Graham is professor of economic geography at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Under the pen name J.K. Gibson-Graham, she co-authored with Katherine Gibson The End of Capitalism (As We Knew It): A Feminist Critique of Political Economy (Blackwell 1996), which challenges the usual vision of capitalism as the dominant and only viable form of economy. Since the publication of that book she has been engaged in research, activism and teaching on the subject of local and alternative economies. Her research team is involved in action research in the U.S., Australia and the Asia Pacific region, with the goal of constructing community economies in the face of globalization.


Constructing the Community Economy in the Face of Globalization

Globalization is supposed to mean the end of economic self-determination for local communities. Their options are few, according to the experts: either adjust to the demands of the global economy or consign yourself to economic backwardness and privation.

This talk offers examples of communities that have achieved economic well-being on their own terms, and outlines the strategies that have produced their success. We’ll look at the famous Mondragon cooperatives in the Basque region of Spain, the women-owned cooperatives in Kerala, India, and community-oriented capitalism in Western Massachusetts, among other examples. All of these initiatives participate in both local and world markets, with the goal of generating employment, empowerment and investment funds to capitalize more community-based businesses in their localities.

The second part of the talk focuses on the even more unorthodox economic development strategy of meeting local needs directly, rather than by generating employment and wages. We look at enterprises and organizations involved in health care, housing and food security that create economic well-being through local non-market activities. We see that many supposedly deprived or depressed regions are actually sites of abundance, leading to a revisioning of "economic development." In conventional terms, development involves bringing in outside investment and transforming the local economy to meet the demands of globalization. In this alternative vision development involves people recreating themselves and their communities as they recognize and build on the wealth they are already producing locally.

Research Group at the Community Economies CollectiveLinks:







October 02, 2003

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