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Local Dollars, Local Sense: How to Shift Your Money from Wall Street to Main Street and Achieve Real Prosperity--A Resilient Communities Guideby Michael Shuman
Synopses & Reviews
The $15 Trillion Shift by Michael Shuman probes the future of investing-making the case for investors to put their money into building local businesses and food and energy systems, and otherwise creating healthy regional economies that meet the stresses of a post-peak-oil world. The book tells readers how to find or develop opportunities for investing locally, explains the obstacles, and introduces readers to investors who have taken on the challenge and put their theories about local investing into action.Shuman builds upon a simple premise: America's investment system is broken-and not in the way most people think. Even though roughly half the jobs and the output in the economy come from local small business, almost none of our investment dollars go into the sector. All the production in the United States each year, the gross domestic product (GDP), currently totals about $13 trillion. But the overall wealth of the country is nearly $100 trillion. Some of this wealth is held in the form of land, buildings, and machinery- not very easy to convert into dollars. The most liquid assets are stocks, bonds, mutual funds, pension funds, and life insurance funds, and these total about $30 trillion. This is where most Americans place their life savings. And not even 1 percent of these savings touch local small business.Because local firms are often more profitable than larger corporations and their competitiveness is growing, says Shuman, this represents a huge market failure. It means that Americans are systematically overinvesting in global business and underinvesting in local business. Were these $30 trillion allocated more efficiently, Shuman writes, at least $15 trillion would move into the local economy. This, then, is the $15 trillion shift.To conceive what this money could do for communities, consider this: $15 trillion is nearly twenty times more than all the money the federal government allocated in the national stimulus program of 2009-2010. It also represents about $50,000 for every American. For even a small town of 5,000, it represents an investment pool of $250 million.What stands in the way of this shift, if local businesses are in fact competitive and profitable? The answer is that we have obsolete institutions and laws that make local investment extremely difficult and expensive. This book gives interested investors and community leaders a way to overcome such obstacles, and create funds and networks to generate sustainable, living economies.
"Economist and entrepreneur Shuman (The Small-Mart Revolution) provides a convincing argument that the general public should be allowed to invest in small businesses. Today, millions of Americans are reluctant to trust a rickety Wall Street with their retirement assets or savings for their kids' education, and instead, they're interested in investing locally, especially since small businesses are more profitable that larger corporations. However, less than one percent of Americans's long-term savings touches local small business, which means that Americans are systematically overinvesting in Wall Street and under-investing in Main Street. Shuman offers the average investor attractive alternatives that comply with securities laws, but allow for investing in neighborhood cooperatives, and more. In addition, he explores the challenges of securing institutional lending, and shares valuable insights about how local businesses have deployed creative investment strategies to avoid or reduce the costs of security law compliance, how local investors can pool together to diversify their risks, and how individuals can earn superior returns from investing in their own bank, home, and energy efficiency. Shuman's accessible book will help investors of all backgrounds take action." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Book News Annotation:
This well researched volume on the potential for local investment and its contribution to small businesses in the US, explores the role of government regulations in limiting such investment, such as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) limiting the potential involvement of unaccredited investors. Shuman (Cutting Edge Capital and Business Alliance for Local Living Economies) has extensive legal experience in leading community-based economic development efforts. Annotation ©2012 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
A Resilient Communities GuideAmericans' long-term savings in stocks, bonds, mutual funds, pension funds, and life insurance funds total about $30 trillion. But not even 1 percent of these savings touch local small business-even though roughly half the jobs and the output in the private economy come from them. So, how can people increasingly concerned with the poor returns from Wall Street and the devastating impact of global companies on their communities invest in Main Street?In Local Dollars, Local Sense, local economy pioneer Michael Shuman shows investors, including the nearly 99% who are unaccredited, how to put their money into building local businesses and resilient regional economies-and profit in the process. A revolutionary toolbox for social change, written with compelling personal stories, the book delivers the most thorough overview available of local investment options, explains the obstacles, and profiles investors who have paved the way. Shuman demystifies the growing realm of local investment choices-from institutional lending to investment clubs and networks, local investment funds, community ownership, direct public offerings, local stock exchanges, crowdfunding, and more. He also guides readers through the lucrative opportunities to invest locally in their homes, energy efficiency, and themselves.A rich resource for both investors and the entrepreneurs they want to support, Local Dollars, Local Sense eloquently shows how to truly protect your financial future--and your community's.
About the Author
Michael Shuman, Research and Economic Development Director of BALLE, holds an AB with distinction in economics and international relations from Stanford University and a JD from Stanford Law School. An economist, attorney, author, and entrepreneur, Michael has authored, coauthored, or edited seven books, including The Small-Mart Revolution: How Local Businesses Are Beating the Global Competition (Berrett-Koehler, 2006) and Going Local: Creating Self-Reliant Communities in the Global Age (Free Press, 1998). The Small-Mart Revolution was awarded a bronze medal for best business book by the Independent Book Publishers' Association. In recent years, Michael has led community-based economic-development efforts in St. Lawrence County (NY), Hudson Valley (NY), Katahdin Region (ME), Martha's Vineyard (MA), and Carbondale (CO), and served as a senior editor for the recently published Encyclopedia of Community. He has given an average of more than one invited talk per week for twenty-five years throughout the United States and the world. Shuman lives in Silver Springs, Maryland.
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