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Lunch » Tags » Economics » Reviews » Local Dollars, Local Sense: How To Shift Your Money from Wall Street to Main Street and Achieve Real Prosperity » User review

A progressive approach with tons of upside.

  • Jul 10, 2012
  • by
"For eight decades Americans have endured a system that all but banned 98 percent of us from investing in the local half of the economy. Few of us even noticed, let alone judged it an abomination. Why did it matter that our life savings went exclusively into global business while our communities fell apart?.......The wall cutting off 98 percent of the U.S. public from the other half of the economy needs to be torn down if we ever wish to restore economic viability to our communities." pp. 154-155.

In the introduction to Michael Shuman's terrific new book "Local Dollars, Local Sense: How To Shift Your Money From Wall Street to Main Street and Achieve Real Prosperity" I was introduced to some facts about the U.S. economy that made my hair stand on end. Did you know that securities laws enacted by the Congress in the 1930's and early 1940's effectively created two classes of investors? "Accredited investors" are those individuals who earn more than $200,000 per year or have more than $1,000,000 in assets. By law these folks can invest in just about any business they wish. Meanwhile, the remaining 98% of us are considered to be "unaccredited investors" and are hamstrung by a series of laws, regulations and restrictions that severely limit our investment choices. Furthermore, those among us who would be prefer to invest in "socially responsible" enterprises or "local" businesses looking for badly needed capital will be extremely frustrated to discover that the opportunities to engage in these types of investments are by statute greatly restricted by the federal government. According to author Michael Shuman the time has come to reconsider these antiquated laws and to encourage people to invest locally once again. And as he points out time and again in the book this is an approach that both conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats should be able to agree on.

You might be surprised to learn that of the $30 trillion we Americans have invested in stocks, bonds, mutual funds, pension funds and life insurance funds less than 1% reaches local small businesses. The other 99% continues to flow to big business, the multi-nationals and global enterprises. This is simply outrageous and ultimately very counterproductive. Michael Shuman makes a rather compelling case that we desperately need to shift a portion of these funds back to our local communities. After all, local businesses hire local people, support local charities and have a stake in the well-being of the community. Shuman believes that if our legislators and regulators remove some of the myriad obstacles to investing locally the dollars will naturally flow in and help to reinvigorate local economies all across America. Over time this could result in a sea change in the way we Americans think about investing our hard earned dollars. Now for the uninitiated among us Shuman introduces a number of new terms like "slow money" (a movement to organize investors and donors to steer new sources of capital to small food enterprises, organic farms and local food systems.) and "crowdfunding" (collective cooperation, attention and trust by people who network and pool their money together, usually via the internet to support efforts by other people or organizations i.e. disaster relief, political campaigns, funding a startup company. Meanwhile, readers also meet a number of the key players in the "go local" movement who are working tirelessly to make some of these reforms happen.

Reading "Local Dollars, Local Sense: How To Shift Your Money From Wall Street to Main Street and Achieve Real Prosperity" was truly a revelation for me. I discovered that there are limitless possibilities out there if we can only summon the political will to make the changes that are necessary to allow this to happen. Among the innovations Shuman envisions is the creation of local stock exchanges. Meanwhile, there are a number of other cutting-edge ideas for meaningful change that Shuman offers up in his book. For the first time in generations it appears that these badly needed reforms could actually become a reality. I found "Local Dollars, Local Sense" to be a well-written and extremely thought-provoking book. Although I am a social conservative who abhors most of the big-government initiatives championed by the Obama administration this is the kind of "hope" and "change" that I can buy into. There is no doubt in my mind that this is an extremely important book! Very highly recommended!

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review by . March 14, 2013
A good way to achieve real prosperity in America is to invest money in local businesses, instead of the multi-national conglomerates of this world. This book shows some ways to do it.      First of all, forget about the usual method, that of buying shares in a local store. The vast majority of investors are "unaccredited," and for a local store to legally offer shares to the public requires an accountant, a lawyer, and several thousand dollars in expenses. A way around …
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Paul Tognetti ()
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I guess I would qualify as a frustrated writer. My work requires very little writing and so since 1999 I have been writing reviews on non-fiction books and anthology CD's on amazon.com. I never could … more
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Americans' 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 ...

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Book, Economics, Business & Investing, Development & Growth


ISBN-10: 1603583432
ISBN-13: 978-1603583435
Genre: Business & Investing
Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing
Date Published: February 20, 2012
Format: Paperback
First to Review
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