Overview: Outside the U.S.

The international asset building and cross-sectoral strategies reviewed here provide illustrative models that suggest possibilities for future efforts in the United States. While we cannot be comprehensive of our coverage of international developments, the links and information sources here provide a good starting point for looking at exciting developments in asset strategies throughout the world.

Although the focus of this web site is community wealth building within the United States, the forces driving these efforts — most notably, economic globalization and growing fiscal constraints on government — are not unique to America. It should therefore not be surprising that the emergence of asset-building strategies is not unique to the United States either. Indeed, while the growth of U.S. community wealth-building strategies over the past three decades is impressive, international achievements are in some instances even more far-reaching.

A 2004 report of The Democracy Collaborative and The National Center for Economic and Security Alternatives outlines some of the key developments, which have potential implications for future community wealth-building efforts here. Particularly notable are growing efforts under way in consumer cooperatives, worker ownership, municipal enterprise, community development/technical assistance programs, and community development finance. The table below provides a few highlights of the data culled from that report:


Community Wealth-Building Examples Outside US: Basic Statistics

Total sales, The Cooperative Group consumer co-op, Great Britain, 2011

Membership, The Cooperative Group consumer co-op, Great Britain, 2011

$13.3 billion

7.2 million

Total sales, Co-op Atlantic, Canada, FY 2011

$604 million

Membership, Co-op Kobe, Japan, 2008

Total sales, Co-op Kobe, Japan, 2008

1.3 million

$2 billion

Total sales, Mondragón worker cooperative network, Spain, 2010€13.99 billion
Membership, Italian worker cooperatives, Italy, 2002342,000
Number of clients served at Grameen Bank since its founding in 19767.4 million
Total Grameen bank loans disbursed since founding$11.35 billion