Community economic development and capital accumulation: A geographical interpretation

TitleCommunity economic development and capital accumulation: A geographical interpretation
Publication TypeThesis
Year of Publication1993
AuthorsVance NF
AdvisorPorteous JD
Academic DepartmentGeography
DegreeMaster of Arts M.A.
Number of Pages250
UniversityUniversity of Victoria (Canada)
CityVictoria, BC
KeywordsGeography, Social structure, Economics

In response to economic distress, local residents sometimes organize in an attempt to consciously protect and enhance under-utilized local resources, most especially labour-power. These initiatives take two basic forms. Mainstream schemes accept the dominant logic of capital accumulation, by seeking to upgrade local supply-side production factors to improve economic competitiveness. Community economic development projects, in contrast, attempt to avoid spatial competition, with its inevitable winners and losers, in the name of the economic, political, cultural, and sometimes environmental sustainability of all communities. Yet such initiatives have usually failed to achieve their objectives. These failures manifest, in part, the absence of a clear political-economic understanding of the spatial relations of capital accumulation. A practice guided by such an account would seek to challenge the cultural, and, more importantly, institutional forms that regulate and perpetuate class division and interfirm spatial competition. Community sustainability can ultimately only be achieved through new workplace and interfirm relations, which negate the need for capital flight and allow for the conscious, democratic allocation of investment capital. Even if such structures are not immediately realizable, community economic development practice should still strive toward generalized supralocal cooperation.

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