Communities worldwide want economies that are stronger, greener, fairer, more resilient, more democratic, and more diverse. Jobs must be created, climate change addressed, infrastructure repaired, schools upgraded, and more. The LEDDA economic direct democracy framework, now under development, offers a bold yet practical solution.
LEDDA (Lē´dǝ) n. Local Economic Direct Democracy Association. A membership-based, community benefit corporation that implements a secondary economic framework as a local overlay to an existing city or regional economy. The framework offers all members roughly equal and direct opportunity to influence their local economy.
The LEDDA framework provides greater organization to a local economy, one hard-wired for cooperation and steeped in democratic decision-making processes. A complete description is given in the book Economic Direct Democracy: A Framework to End Poverty and Maximize Well-Being.
A synthesis of “local,” “open,” and “participatory” approaches
Roughly speaking, the LEDDA framework “pays” people to participate. Family incomes for members rise, and income inequality shrinks. Jobs are created, and funds generated for schools, nonprofits, research institutes, and public service agencies. A community gains ample financial resources to address climate change, infrastructure decay, access to health care, and other social, environmental, and economic problems. The framework is designed to help cities, counties, and local regions lead the way in meeting their challenges, and in transforming local economies into ones that are vibrant, sustainable, resilient, and fair.
The framework synthesizes multiple approaches that are currently in use in cities and regions around the world into a coherent, consistent, integrated whole. It builds on ideas from buy local, invest local, local currency, local food, local sharing, smart city, open source, open government, open data, participatory democracy, and related community development, knowledge transfer, data-sharing, and decision-making initiatives. An integrated approach can allow rapid progress with relative ease: in the United States and many other countries, no legislative action is required to implement the framework.
A simulation model of a county-level LEDDA economy has been submitted for publication. Results are discussed on this website and in the book.
The LEDDA framework is not an “alternative” economic system. It is an innovative, local but networked, self-sustaining, self-propagating, economic–financial–business–social welfare system designed to play a foundational role in 21st century economies. It both complements and competes with existing systems, assisting their evolution as it evolves itself.
In conjunction with the Centre for the Study of Governance Innovation (GovInn), University of Pretoria, South Africa, we are now creating a strategic plan for a global partnership of academic, civil society, government, business, and philanthropy groups that will usher the LEDDA framework through the development and pilot trial phases. When the strategic plan is finished, likely in October 2014, a press release will be issued. An outline of the strategic plan can be found in our proposal to the MIT Climate CoLab competition. To keep informed of progress, please sign up for our low-volume newsletter. Philanthropists, foundations, and impact investors are encouraged to email us for details.
We are delighted that our proposal to Climate CoLab has been selected to advance to the semi-finals. Judges will select one or more finalists in each category in late August 2014, and public voting for finalists will begin in early September. We hope to advance to the finals, and request your help during the public voting period, which will occur during most of September. Anyone in the world can sign up and vote. Please help us win in our category.