Democracy First in Economic Development

By Zachary Alexander on

Last week, Senator Rand Paul became the changing face of the Republican Party according analysts on cable news. Some on the left will say that he is just the latest clown to exit the clown car. Others will remember when the same was said of George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan. For those tasked with supporting sustainability, the issue is how to counter a tacit acceptance of neoliberalism by the economic development community at large.

There is a real danger that Senator Paul’s simple “liberty first message” will gain traction with the electorate and undo the efforts of those tasked with supporting sustainability. What’s needed is a “democracy first strategy,” which stresses inclusion. The reason is that it is very difficult to argue with liberty or freedom unless you understand that Senator Paul’s definition of Liberty leaves a lot of people behind.

You and your peers may want to consider post-Globalization as a school of thought for driving economic development. Post-Globalization is a reaction to neoliberalism, which leverages strategic networks and America’s cognitive surplus to achieve economic sustainability. The intent is to help lesser industrialized communities in OECD countries and non-OECD countries survive on their own terms.

The post-Globalization transition period was triggered by the arrival of peak oil and the end of the special relationship that American companies have enjoyed because oil prices are denominated in US dollars. There is also the fact that the recovery efforts of the Europeans have further eroded support neoliberalism. Now is the time to prepare the American people for what’s next and save them from Senator Paul’s brand of Liberty.

Zachary Alexander