The City of Chicago’s strategy for economic development represents diverse and sometimes conflicting municipal development perspectives. In abroad intellectual framework, these perspectives often beg the question of whether government can and should effectively intervene in a market economy on behalf of minorities, women, the poor, and the working class. Moral and legal issues must be examined, as well as issues of political economy, to adequately answer this question. Those on the far left argue that government intervention serves only to pacify or dampen the natural tendencies of the underrepresented to struggle against the state and capital. Those on the far right argue that government intervention creates a dependency that destroys initiative and economic growth. In addition, some advocate the less radical institutional welfare perspective, which calls on the government to provide safety net protections as well as certain entitlements. In this paper, we propose an alternative perspective, namely that government not only can, but should take significant action on behalf of the oppressed by altering the balance of power and the distribution of resources. Furthermore, this action must be undertaken at a local government level to ultimately achieve the political conditions necessary for meaningful change at the national level.
We do not pursue further the question of whether government “should” intervene in economic activity. Rather, we address the “can” and “how” of government intervention, that is, the extent of government’s ability to intervene, and the best ways in which such ability can be put to use. More precisely, we examine the “how” of the Chicago experience with government intervention to draw some tentative conclusions about “can.” While the jury is still out on Chicago and other municipalities and states that are taking up this effort, there is a strong indication that government intervention can be successfully effected.
CDCs have accomplished much in difficult environments and under tremendous constraints. Their mission of providing housing, social services, and economic opportunity is vital. Nevertheless, given their reliance upon public and philanthropic support, they must not squander their economic capital, and
Closing address regarding how state and local govenrments, industrial sectors, and race impact economic development at the state and local levels.
Explores employee ownership as an underutilized route to economic development in low-income communities that relies neither upon altruism nor outside funders.
Demonstrates employee ownership may not keep jobs and capital in communities; recommends federal policy and examples that could prevent these pitfalls.