Challenging the Consensus


Most of the mass of recent publications concerning community economic development (CED) are case studies, explanations of best practice, and histories of organizations. Very few have tried to formulate a theory of CED. This is a serious oversight. Without a theory to specify what CED is, how it works, whom it benefits, the role of government and profit in it, etc., CED can be literally all things to all people. Consequently, they will fail to understand that, to bring about significant change, CED must involve both alliances and conflicts of interest.

Transforming or Reforming Capitalism by John Loxley, et al, while a dense read, provides a theoretical framework for understanding the purpose of CED and the conflict inherent to making it an effective tool within our current political and economic context. In the authors' view, CED has the potential to transform our economic and social system, not just to reform it. By bringing more theoretical depth and breadth to our thinking about CED, we could turn it from the practice "everybody loves" into a discipline that tackles head-on the exclusion and inequality fundamental to neo-liberal capitalism.

To the practice of transformative CED, conflict is inherent - A review of Transforming or Reforming Capitalism
Hajer, Jesse
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