Saturday, August 25, 2007

Michael Shuman

Two points I'd like to make: all communities need elected police oversight boards with subpoena power. There are very few of these in the US, as existing city and county
hierarchies will not allow them for obvious reasons. Citizens would have to become active for boards like this to come to fruition. Racial profiling and arrests in general decrease where they have been in place.

Secondly, and on a different subject, Michael Shuman is the premier American author, lecturer, and thinker on the following: see the book review below. Progressive communities are following his suggestions, apparently with successful results. Google his name for all kinds of information, and info on his other books. Using his principles, towns and cities can come to life again.

A Highly Important Book for Any Concerned Citizen
This book cuts through all of the conventional public discussions on the economy and society to make a clear, convincing case for reviving local communities. Pundits, politicians, and intellectuals are always bemoaning the collapse of "community," but their analyses are usually coiled around morality, or the need for "better education," or some equally superficial issue. But as Shuman points out, all the civic involvement and moral uprightness in the world is useless if our towns and cities are being held hostage by globe-trotting corporations and ultra-mobile capital. "Community" is only possible if people control their own lives; and this is possible only when there are thriving, viable local economies. This is not a book that calls for a complete retreat from the global forces that are shaping our world -- that option is impossible with the current levels of technology. But what Shuman does outline is a way for communities to reestablish a balance between the local and the national/global, in the areas of production, finance, and government. And unlike many other books, which never get past the critique to make any positive prescriptions, this one is brimming with concrete proposals. It also has the most extensive list of groups, organizations, and resources that I have seen in the area of decentralized economics and community self-reliance. This is a must-read.