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By Stewart E. Perry

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Suddenly it became clear that the stricken neighborhood would never improve because of natural and spontaneous market forces or because government agencies would eventually do something; a neighborhood would have to consciously take its destiny in its own hands and build all of the necessary resourcesthe institutions and social tools that make a community work. This neighborhood would incude businesses that created jobs and incomes, political networks, housing, schools, recreational facilities, and all the patterned practices that build a new sense of self-respect and self-determination.

Another might be a relatively circumscribed, mostly rural district of small towns and villages, like the Northern Kingdom district of Vermont and New Hampshire or like Nova Scotia's Cape Breton Island. Or again, the locality might be a single county, like Hancock County, Georgia, or an even smaller community, like the village of Sebastopol, Ontario. " Paradoxically, this approach to the improvement of local productivity and of the local way of life cannot be understood as being fundamentally economic.

The broader significance of this account lies in what it can suggest to other distressed localities and also in what it implies for rethinking national economic policy in Canada and the United States. The success of the community-based approach and the necessary redefinition of the problem of local economic development as I try to lay it out offer a missing element in current national economic policy concerns. This elementcommunity-based developmentcan bridge the gap between the macroeconomic measures of national fiscal and monetary policy and the microeconomics of conventional business activity.

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