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McKnight, John & Block, Peter. (2010).

The Abundant Community: Awakening the Power of


Families and Neighborhoods. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler P!lishers.
"elco#e
$o are creating this !ook %st as &o are creating &or li'e, &or neigh!orhoo(, an( the
larger co##nit& o' the )orl(.
*his +o)er is silent on #ost streets )here )e li,e. -o)e,er, it is +ossi!le to gi,e ,oice
to a neigh!orhoo( that is a!le to s+eak the langage o' satis'action . a langage that the
#arket+lace can ne,er s+eak, in s+ite o' its allring +ro#ise that )e can !& a goo( li'e.
*his !ook gi,es ,oice to the i(eal o' an a!n(ant . or so#e call a !elo,e( . co##nit&.
/ntro(ction
*he& are gro+s o' local +eo+le )ho ha,e the corage to (isco,er their o)n )a& . to
create a cltre #a(e !& their o)n ,ision.
First, )e see the a!n(ance that )e ha,e . in(i,i(all&, as neigh!ors, an( in this +lace o'
ors.
Secon(, )e kno) that the +o)er o' )hat )e ha,e gro)s 'ro# creating ne) connections
an( relationshi+s a#ong an( !et)een )hat )e ha,e.
*hir(, )e kno) that these connections are no acci(ent. *he& ha++en )hen )e
in(i,i(all& or collecti,el& act to #ake the connections . the& (on0t %st ha++en !& the#sel,es.
"hether )e are sa'e an( secre in or neigh!orhoo(s is largel& )ithin or (o#ain.
Man& st(ies sho) that there are t)o #a%or (eter#inants o' or local sa'et&. 1ne is ho) #an&
neigh!ors )e kno) !& na#e. *he other is ho) o'ten )e are +resent an( associate( in +!lic .
otsi(e or hoses.
"e are local +eo+le )ho #st raise or chil(ren.
*here is no 2&oth +ro!le#.3 *here is a neigh!orhoo( +ro!le#: a(lts )ho ha,e 'orgone
their res+onsi!ilit& an( ca+acit& to %oin their neigh!ors in sharing the )ealth o' chil(ren.
"e care 'or or chil(ren. "e care 'or or el(ers. "e care 'or those #ost ,lnera!le
a#ong s. /t is this care that is the !asic +o)er o' a co##nit& o' citi4ens.
"e are the +eo+le )ho kno) )hat )e nee(. "hat )e nee( srron(s s. "hat )e nee(
is each other. 5n( )hen )e act together, )e )ill create co#+etence in or co##nit& an(
satis'action in or li,es.
P56* 1: *-7 S-/F* F61M 8/*/97: *1 81:S;M76
5 citi4en is one )ho is a +artici+ant in (e#ocrac&, regar(less o' their legal stats.
5 cons#er is one )ho has srren(ere( to others the +o)er to +ro,i(e )hat is essential
'or a 'll an( satis'ie( li'e. *his act o' srren(er goes !& #an& na#es: client, +atient, st(ent,
a(ience, 'an, sho++er. 5ll csto#ers, not citi4ens. 8ons#eris# is not a!ot sho++ing, !t
a!ot the trans'or#ation o' citi4ens into cons#ers.
8ha+ter 1: *he <i#its o' 8ons#+tion
*his (e+en(enc& on sho++ing is not %st a!ot things= it incl(es the !elie' that #ost o'
)hat is 'l'illing or nee(e( in li'e can !e !oght . 'ro# ha++iness to healing, 'ro# lo,e to
laghter, 'ro# rearing a chil( to caring 'or so#eone at the en( o' li'e.
*his is clearest )hen )e e>+lore t)o +articlar conse?ences o' a cons#er societ&= its
e''ect on the 'nction o' the 'a#il& an( its i#+act on the co#+etence o' the co##nit&.
1ne social cost o' cons#+tion is that the 'a#il& has lost its 'nction.
*he secon( social cost is that, in too #an& cases, )e are (isconnecte( 'ro# or neigh!ors
an( isolate( 'ro# or co##nities.
"hen the& are co#+etent, co##nities o+erate as a s++orti,e an( #e(iating s+ace
central to the ca+acit& o' a 'a#il& to 'l'ill it 'nctions. 5 co#+etent co##nit& +ro,i(es a
sa'et& net 'or the care o' a chil(, attention an( relate(ness 'or the ,lnera!le, the #eans 'or
econo#ic sr,i,al 'or the hosehol(, an( #an& o' the social tools that sstain health. /' the
'nction o' the 'a#il& is to raise a chil( an( +ro,i(e )hat )e can s##ari4e in the +hrase peace
of mind, then it is the co##nit& that +ro,i(es the +ri#ar& (eter#inants o' sccess o' these
'nctions.
"e no) (e+en( on s&ste#s to +ro,i(e or !asic 'nctions. For e>a#+le:
"e e>+ect the schools, coaches, agencies, an( sitters to raise or chil(ren.
"e e>+ect (octors to kee+ s health&.
"e )ant social )orkers an( instittions to take care o' the ,lnera!le.
*hen, )hen / )as taken in !& this co##nit&, / (isco,ere( )ho / )as an( that / )as
goo( looking.
"e ha,e )is(o#, )hich )e call co##on sense. "e ha,e sel'-taght skills, 'a#il&
taght. /ntelligence is connecte( to character an( #orals. $o can get a Ph@, !t it (oesn0t
cont.
8ltre is co#+ose( o' the )a&s that +eo+le ha,e (e,elo+e( to sr,i,e in a +articlar
+lace.
5n( this loss o' real +r+ose 'or 'a#il& an( co##nit& acconts signi'icantl& 'or the
colla+se o' #an& 'a#ilies in )hat )e call (i,orce . a )or( 'or the (issoltion o' a gro+ )ith no
real 'nction.
*he greatest trage(& o' the cons#er li'e is that its +ractitioners (o not see that the local
co##nit& is a!n(ant )ith the relationshi+s that are the +rinci+le resorce 'or rescing
the#sel,es an( their 'a#ilies 'ro# the 'ailre, (e+en(enc&, an( isolation that are the reslts o' a
li'e as a cons#er an( client. *heir shi+s are sinking, an( the& strggle to s)i# to sa'et&,
ignoring the li'e ra't at their si(e.
/s there #tal trst an( altris# a#ong neigh!orsA 5re neigh!ors )illing to inter,ene
)hen chil(ren #is!eha,eA
*he& +oint ot that )hile genetic inheritance conts, the #a%or 'actors (eter#ining or
health are or: in(i,i(al !eha,ior, social relationshi+s, +h&sical en,iron#ent.
Social science research (e#onstrates that the #ost e''ecti,e #eans o' changing !eha,ior
is local s#all gro+s, sch as the 2t)el,e ste+3 organi4ations alcoholics anon&#os an(
o,ereaters anon&#os.
5 nine &ear st(& in 8ali'ornia 'on( that +eo+le )ith the 'e)est social ties ha( the
highest risk o' (&ing 'ro# heart (isease, circlator& +ro!le#s, an( cancer.
Most o' or chil(ren are not raise( !& a ,illage. /nstea(, the& are raise( !& teachers an(
conselors in school, &oth )orkers an( coaches ot o' school, %,enile thera+ists an(
corrections o''icials i' the& are (e,iant, tele,ision an( co#+ters an( cell +hones i' the& ha,e
s+are ti#e, an( Mc@onal(0s i' the& are hngr&.
;ntil the t)entieth centr&, e,er& societ& in all o' histor& raise( its chil(ren in ,illages,
)here the !asic i(ea )as that chil(ren !eco#e e''ecti,e gro)n-+s !& !eing connecte( )ith
co##nit& a(lts in their +ro(cti,e roles.
The research on this point is decisive. Where there are thick community
connections, both child development and school performance improve.
8ha+ter 2: "hat @i( "e <ose an( "here @i( /t BoA
*o o,erstate it a !it, cons#+tion is like an a((icti,e (rg, one clti,ate( not in 'oreign
+o++& 'iel(s !t in !rainstor#ing sessions on Ma(ison 5,ene.
*his (e'ines its conter'eit natre . tr&ing to #ake so#ething a++ear to !e grati'&ing or
satis'&ing )hen it is not.
;n-'nctional 'a#ilies an( inco#+etent co##nities are the signal that )e ha,e reache(
the li#its o' satis'action.
"e cont on the school s&ste# to +er'or# #an& 'a#il& an( co##nit& 'nctions. :ot
onl& (o )e )ant teaching an( learning to occr in the school, !t )e also cont on the school
s&ste# to 'ee( or chil(ren, to (isci+line the#, an( to +ro,i(e csto(ial care 'or the# )hile )e
all go to )ork an( !il( or ca+acit& to 'll& +artici+ate in the )hole range o' cons#+tion
+ossi!ilities.
This is not an argument against schools or those who work in them. Just the
opposite. We have loaded onto schools more than they are designed to handle.
1ne #ore task o' #anage#ent an( s&ste#s is to #aintain control !& taking ncertaint&
or o' the 'tre, )hich is essential to 'l'ill the +ro#ise o' consistenc& an( scale.
1ne other i(ea goes )ith +re(icta!ilit&: the i(ea o' stan(ar(s. Mo(ern in(strial s&ste#s
are !ilt on the a!ilit& to re+ro(ce the sa#e thing o,er an( o,er again, )hether ser,ices or
goo(s. /n the ser,ice +ro'essions, )e gi,e or (esire 'or #ore o' 2the sa#e3 the na#e stan(ar(s.
8erti'ia!le stan(ar(s. "hether the& #ake a (i''erence or not, )e take solace in this consistenc&.
;ni'or#it& is !oth the strength an( !ane o' s&ste#s. "hile )e !ene'it in #an& )a&s
'ro# a +re(icta!le +ro(ct or ser,ice, it also takes the %o& o' (i,ersit& an( ,ariation ot o' or
li,es.
S&ste#s that are constrcte( 'or or(er cannot +ro,i(e satis'action in (o#ains that re?ire
a ni?e an( +ersonal h#an soltion.
5n&ti#e &o s+eak o' ans)ers, &o are #aking a 'alse +ro#ise. *he #ost i#+ortant
(i#ensions o' !eing h#an ha,e no clear ans)er. *his #eans that the ans)ers that s&ste#s
clai# the& can +ro,i(e are conter'eit.
5 strength o' s&ste#s an( instittions is the a!ilit& to co##o(i'& throgh re+lication. *o
(o this, the& #st (en& all that is +ersonal.
/nstittionali4ation is to take the +ersonal ot o' a strctre in or(er to #aintain
continit&.
*o instittionali4e #eans to (e+ersonali4e.
The purpose of management is to create a world that is repeatable. But the problem
with people, whether producers or consumers, is that none of them are the same.
anagement!s task, then, is to overcome their uni"ueness and help them to align with
what the system needs.
"hat #ost training reall& (oes is en'orce the #in(set an( )orl(,ie) that )hat &o are is
not enogh an( so#eone else kno)s )hat is !est 'or &o. 5s soon as #anage#ent o''ers a
training +rogra# . on (i,ersit&, csto#er ser,ice, #anaging (i''iclt con,ersations, )hate,er .
it #eans that #anage#ent kno)s an( e#+lo&ees (on0t. Manage#ent has so#ething in #in( 'or
its +eo+le.
"e ha,e 'i,e +airs o' shoes, 'or o' )hich )e (on0t nee( an( none o' )hich 'it. Pls
their (isco#'ort creates (e#an( 'or #ore ser,ices: a chiro+ractor to a(%st #& !o(& an( a
+o(iatrist to treat the +ain in the %oint on the right !ig toe.
*he loss o' co##nit& co#+etence is the +rice )e +a& 'or the gro)th o' the ser,ice
econo#&. "hat / once )ent to an ncle or neigh!or 'or, / no) +a& a +ro'essional to (o.
Ps&chiatr&, 'or e>a#+le, is the +ri,ati4ation o' co##nit& kno)le(ge a!ot h#an
(e,elo+#ent an( #a(ness= social )ork is the +ri,ati4ation o' +o,ert& an( 'a#il& tro!les=
coaching +ro'essionali4es or a#!ition an( as+irations.
"hat )as a con(ition is no) trne( into a +ro!le# that can !e sol,e(. *hat is
co##o(i'ication.
*he co#+etent co##nit& treats tro!les as a con(ition. *he& cannot !e sol,e(.
-o)e,er, the& can !e acce+te(, an( the +erson is ,ale( 'or their gi'ts that !il( or co##nit&.
:o) ol( age is not e,en a categor& that is +er#issi!le on a (eath certi'icate.
5s citi4ens, )e kno) a!ot orsel,es an( !eing ol(. @octors kno) a!ot (isease an(
'i>ing. @octors treat (iseases= the& (on0t treat +eo+le or (e'eat (eath.
aking secrets private also deprives the community of the capacity to deal with
troubles.
5ll the +ro'essional (oes in the 'ace o' trage(& is listen )ith co#+assion.
5n a!n(ant co##nit& an( a 'll& 'nctioning 'a#il& is one that kno)s ho) to han(le
(e,iance, )hether it is or (i''iclt chil(ren or a(lts on the #argin.
So, the chil(ren kee+ +shing the e(ges ntil the +ro'essional is 'orce( to inter,ene.
#rime is one of the most visible human service challenges. $ur response is to create
a criminal %ustice system that attempts to reform people by putting them around other
people who are called criminals. This is the corporate model applied to social services. &t
creates an industry whose growth has far outstripped the growth of our education system.
"ith the (e,elo+#entall& (isa!le(, )e create a h#an ser,ice s&ste# that !elie,es
so#eho) that )hat &o shol( (o )ith +eo+le )ho )ill ne,er rea( or cont #one& is +t the#
)ith other +eo+le )ho cannot rea( or cont #one&. *he sa#e )ith or &oth. "e collect the#
together in &oth at-risk +rogra#s.
*he (octor, the school, the +olice, an( the thera+ist thri,e on or (e'iciencies an( nee(s.
@e'iciencies are the lo,e song o' the s&ste# ro#antic.
/' )e arge )ith the +ro(cer or +ro'essional, )e are calle( nonco#+liant, classi'ie( as
an o!%ection or resistance.
*he realit& is, h#an !eings are 'alli!le, an( the +ro#ise o' a soltion or cre i#+lies
that +eo+le are sol,a!le, e,en +er'ecta!le . an( in the case o' health care, +ossi!l& i##ortal.
*he a!n(ant co##nit& e#!races 'alli!ilit& an( h#anness.
5cce+ting +eo+le0s 'alli!ilit& is a (e'ining (i#ension o' co##nit&.
The institutional counterfeit of compassion and support is a two'part package( first,
the spin of optimism backed up by a purchase, and second, the denial when it does not
happen.
&t leads us to the place where, when we reach a limit and still are unsatisfied, we
think, if only we had more, we would be successful or satisfied. ore police, more
physicians, more services, more teachers, more stuff. This is not a solution. &t is an
addiction.
8ha+ter C: *he 7''ects o' <i,ing in a 8ons#er "orl(
"e talk a!ot all o' the la!or-sa,ing (e,ices an( all o' the technolog& that increases
+ro(cti,it&, &et 2)ork an( #ore )ork3 is the acce+te( )a& o' (oing things 'or 5#ericans to(a&,
sa&s Je''re& Ka+lan.
*he arg#ent 'or +ri,ati4ing the +!lic interest is al)a&s econo#ic e''icienc&, n#in('l
to the loss o' co##nit&.
*hese #arkets are so'tene( + 'or the +ri,ate sector !& (iscre(iting their co#+etence.
"e ha,e seen a thirt& &ear assalt on go,ern#ent, )ith the s!te>t !eing that the +ri,ate sector
(oes it !etter.
"e li,e !e&on( or #eans an( are tol( this is a +!lic ser,ice. *he soltion to an&
+ersonal crisis: go sho++ing.
1r )illingness to a!sor! the cost o' li,ing !e&on( or #eans is e,i(ence o' or
+er+etal (issatis'action.
5 co##nit& is a +lace )here &o can be &orsel'. *he instittion cases #e to lose
#&sel' . to !e re+lacea!le or to !e calle( a 2case.3
1r (e+en(enc& on the #arket+lace cases kin(ness, generosit&, an( ci,ilit& to (isa++ear,
an( entitle#ent takes their +lace.
Fa#il& 'nction an( co##nit& co#+etence lie at the heart o' the (istinction !et)een
aloneness an( hollo)ness. -ollo)ness is +ro(ce( !& the )a& )e (eal )ith !eing alone. "e
are alone in the )orl(, an( that is i##ta!le. *he ?estion is ho) )e (eal )ith the loneliness.
-ollo)ness is the lack o' resorces or co#+etence to (eal )ith the aloneness.
*he sha+e o' the )ork(a&, ho) long an( ho) (e#an(ing it is, has 'ore,er !een a tra(eo''
!et)een the 'a#il&, the co##nit&, an( the )ork+lace.
For e>a#+le, in 1DC0, cereal in(str& +ioneer ".K. Kellogg inno,ate( the si>-hor
)ork(a&.
Kellogg (i( this 'or t)o reasons. First, he sa) that 'or si>-hor shi'ts a (a& instea( o'
three eight hor shi'ts )ol( gi,e )ork an( +a&checks to three hn(re( #ore 'a#ilies. *he
other reason )as that this arrange#ent )ol( gi,e +eo+le ti#e 'or their 'a#ilies an( 'l'illing
their ci,ic res+onsi!ilities.
/nstea( o' ,aling e(cation, the& are cons#ers intereste( in in'or#ation. /n'or#ation
is the !oo!& +ri4e in e(cation.
/ a# !ore( )ith #&sel', so / nee( so#ething #ore. Bore(o# is a s&#+to# o' li,ing in a
cons#er )orl(. 7ntertain#ent an( cons#+tion are its cre.
28sto#er satis'action3 has !eco#e a e+he#is#= it is a conter'eit +ro#ise.
P56* //: 8-11S/:B 5 S5*/SF/7@ </F7
8o##nit& has a %o! to (o, an( that is to create con(itions )here in(i,i(als an(
'a#ilies can +er'or# certain 'nctions. *hese 'nctions are to e(cate a chil(, sstain a health&
!o(&, ha,e a sa'e street, +artici+ate in a local econo#&, care 'or the lan(, !e s#art in its
relationshi+ to 'oo(, an( )elco#e those on the #argin.
8ha+ter E: *he 5!n(ant 8o##nit&
5!n(ance is a!ot the ,ariet& o' gi'ts an( )hat is #ost +ersonal an( i(ios&ncratic to
'a#ilies an( neigh!orhoo(s.
*he tenets o' a!n(ance:
"hat )e ha,e is enogh.
"e ha,e the ca+acit& to +ro,i(e )hat )e nee( in the 'ace o' the h#an con(ition.
"e organi4e or )orl( in a conte>t o' coo+eration an( satis'action.
"e are res+onsi!le 'or each other.
"e li,e )ith the realit& o' the h#an con(ition.
*he reason )h& so #an& &ong +eo+le ha,e so #an& 2+ro!le#s3 that nee( ser,icing is
that the& are raise( )ithot a cltre o' co##nit& )here the& are a +art o' so#ething. *he& are
raise( )ith nothing se'l to (o, no +r+ose. *he teenage &ears are (i''iclt n(er an&
con(itions, !t are #a(e #ore so )hen teenagers are not nee(e(.
To fulfill these functions in a satisfying way, a community needs certain properties.
They are the organi)ing principles for achieving competence. * competent community has
three properties( focus on the gifts of its members, nurture associational life, offer
hospitality, the welcoming of strangers.
*his gi,es s another )a& to think a!ot the +o)er o' or co##nit&: /t hol(s the +o)er
to tili4e the (i,ersit& that alrea(& e>ists )ithin. / ha,e corage an( &o ha,e ,ision= there'ore,
)e nee( each other. Becase all #& corage, )ithot &or ,ision, )on0t create an&thing.
5 co#+etent co##nit& is the +lace )here / can !e #&sel' !& sharing #& ni?e gi'ts
an( re,ealing #& ni?e sorro)s. /t is )here one 'll& e#erges as one o' a kin(, )hich so#e
call individuation. *his in(i,i(ation can e#erge onl& in the conte>t o' hos+italit&, in
association )ith others, !ase( on or gi'ts= an( i' the co##nit& (oes not srron( s like that,
)e )ill ne,er 'll& !eco#e )ho )e are.
*his #eans that co##nit& co#+etence (e+en(s on or )illingness to share )ith others
)hat is #ost inti#ate an( +ersonal.
5 co#+etent co##nit& !il(s on the gi'ts o' its +eo+le. /t kno)s that a gi't is not a gi't
ntil it is gi,en.
*he trage(& o' a (&s'nctional 'a#il& or neigh!orhoo( is that the +otential gi'ts o' its
#e#!ers are ne,er gi,en.
"e (on0t +t +eo+le otsi(e or ,ale s&ste#= )e incl(e the# in it.
:o one clai#s that a co##nit& s&ste# is e''icient. *he ?estion is, are )e )illing to
li,e )ith so#e 'ailreF
*he ke& (i''erence is !et)een (oing )hat )e )ant to (o an( (oing )hat so#eone else
)ants to (o.
$o cannot n(eresti#ate the i#+ortance o' this threshol( le,el o' connection. "hen
+eo+le (o so#ething ,olntaril&, it is !ecase the& care a!ot it or it )ol(n0t stick.
-os+italit& is the signatre o' not onl& an a!n(ant co##nit&, !t a con'i(ent one.
*he i(ea o' trst is al#ost interchangea!le )ith 'rien(shi+.
7,er& theorist o' ci,il societ& an( social ca+ital sa&s the center o' it is trst.
5ssociation is !ilt on +eo+le )ho are #ani'esting generosit&, coo+eration, an(
'orgi,eness.
8o##nit& li'e is strctre( aron( re?ests, not co##an(s.
8ha+ter G: 8o##nit& 5!n(ance in 5ction
"e ha,e characteri4e( these co##nities as ha,ing three #a%or +ro+erties:
Bi'ts, the ra) #aterial 'or co##nit&
5ssociations, the +rocess throgh )hich the gi'ts are e>change(
-os+italit&, )hat )i(ens or in,entor& o' gi'ts.
*he ca+acities o' an a!n(ant co##nit& are kin(ness, generosit&, coo+eration,
'orgi,eness, an( the acce+tance o' 'alli!ilit& an( #&ster&.
*he& think that song an( (ance create kin(ness in the )orl(. *he& think that telling &or
stor& creates kin(ness in the )orl(. *hose are the !il(ing !locks 'or -ighlan(er: (ance, #sic,
stor&telling.
Benerosit& e#erges 'ro# the gron( o' a!n(ance. S&ste#s treat generosit& as naH,e.
2"hen )e +t +eo+le in co#+etition )ith each other, 'or one to )in, the other #st
lose.3 - 5l'ie Kohn
Forgi,eness is the )illingness to co#e to ter#s )ith ha,ing !een )on(e(.
8o##nit& is a!ot acce+ting +eo+le0s 'alli!ilit&. /t re?ires the )illingness to li,e )ith
+eo+le0s i#+er'ections, as state( earlier, #ore so than !eing )illing to li,e )ith their
transgressions, )hich call 'or 'orgi,eness, or not.
*he hal'-e#+t& +art )e call addiction. "e ha,e trie( to (eal )ith the hal'-e#+tiness in
t)o )a&s. *he 'irst is to correct the# . +t the# in %ail. *he other )a& is to cre the#= )e +t
the# in treat#ent centers.
5 co#+etent co##nit& creates s+ace 'or )hat is kno)a!le a!ot li'e. *his is another
#a%or (istinction 'ro# s&ste#s. *he ackno)le(ge#ent o' #&ster& has a(,antages: the sense o'
strength that co#es 'ro# letting ?estions go nans)ere(, the sense o' ali,eness that co#es 'ro#
reali4ing there is #ore than )hat &o kno). 5ll learning co#es 'ro# #o#ents o' #&ster&.
1ne reason the cons#er li'e is so se(cti,e is this +ro#ise o' sa'et&. "e s!#it to the
cons#er cltre 'or the illsion o' sa'et&. /t is a +rchase( ans)er to an>iet&. 5 conter'eit
o''er to cal# or ner,es. *he +rice )e +a& 'or this is or ali,eness. "e lose or )illingness to
acce+t the ncertaint& o' li'e, the #&ster& that is +art an( +arcel o' the h#an con(ition an( a
#a%or co#+etence o' co##nit&.
*he reason )e nee( art in all its 'or#s is to gras+ the #&ster& in or li,es, to recogni4e
the #&steries aron( s.
28o##nit& cltre hol(s the cons#er econo#& at !a&.3 - @a,i( Sch)art4
8ltre #eans that here in this +lace, )e (o things in a +articlar )a&. "e hol( this
a!o,e #one&.
When you break culture apart and say, +ow can we sell kindness or care or
cooperation, +ow can we sell it, train it, curriculari)e it, you are dis'embedding from
communities the properties that made them whole.
*i#e is not onl& a!ot s+ee( or +ace= it is a!ot )ho sets it. /n co##nit& li'e, / +ossess
ti#e. /n s&ste# li'e, ti#e #st !e stolen. *i#e is also a state o' #in(.
Jst think a!ot the e>+ression taking time. "hat (oes it #ean 2to takeA3 "hen &o
2s+en(3 ti#e, it is a cost= )e are cons#ers o' ti#e. *i#e in s&ste#s is scarce= in co##nit& it
is a!n(ant.
*here is a ?iet con'i(ence in a gro+ o' +eo+le )ho can sit together in silence.
Silence creates the o++ortnit& 'or in)ar(ness an( re'lection.
5 cltre is !ilt throgh the stories )e tell an( )hat )e choose to talk a!ot . or
narrati,e.
* primary function of a family, neighborhood, or community is to create its story.
Telling the story gives body to the collective.
8o##nities !eco#e co#+etent )hen +eo+le tell stories that link to their gi'ts.
*o the tra(itional econo#ist, en(ing or a((iction to cons#+tion is a 'inancial
night#are. *his is )h& )e nee( to re'ra#e )hat )e #ean !& +ros+erit&.
-rosperity is the belief that we can make do, find a way, and provide for ourselves.
.ot all that we want, or all that is possible, but enough. -rosperity is associated with the
decision that we can produce a handmade life.
*ra(itionall&, +eo+le )ho gre) + )ith no #one& (i( not la!el the#sel,es +oor. *he&
!elie,e( the& ha( a 'tre, e,en thogh the +resent )as (i''iclt. Po,ert&, on the other han(, is
not %st the a!sence o' #one&= it is also the a!sence o' a !elie' in the 'tre.
*he n(erl&ing +re#ise o' this thinking a!ot +ros+erit& is that i' the co##nit&
!eco#es co#+etent, )e re?ire less 'ro# the s&ste# )orl(.
Bi'ts o!taine( locall& onl& )ait to !e notice( an( na#e(: *his is the re#e(& 'or all the
(issatis'action )e e>+erience in the cons#erist cltre. 5 co#+etent co##nit& )ill ,ale
)hat is locall& create( an( sol(.
5 co##nit& !eco#es co#+etent )hen each +erson kno)s that their o)n sccess,
+ersonall& an( econo#icall&, is (e+en(ent on the sccess o' their neigh!ors an( that )hat their
neigh!ors sell an( e>change is enogh.
So the ?estion !eco#es, 2"hat can s&ste#s an( instittions (o to hel+ citi4ens reco,er
the +o)er o' their 'a#ilies an( neigh!orhoo(sA3
"hich +olicies shol( !e sto++e( or altere(, an( )hat ne) +olicies can !e a(o+te(A
;n(erstan( that +eo+le0s gi'ts are #ore ,ala!le than their (e'iciencies an( nee(s.
6ecogni4e that the +o)er o' co##nit& gro)s ot o' e,er-increasing coo+erati,e local
relationshi+s an( connections. Schools col( teach an( +ro,i(e constant e>+erience )ith
coo+erati,e acti,it& rather than e#+hasi4ing co#+etition in s+orts an( in(i,i(al +er'or#ance in
classroo#s.
*his (ialoge can !e 'ra#e( !& three ?estions: "hat 'nctions can neigh!orhoo( +eo+le
+er'or# !& the#sel,esA "hat 'nctions can neigh!ors achie,e )ith so#e a((itional hel+ 'ro#
the instittionsA "hat 'nctions #st instittions +er'or# on their o)nA
-enr& Moore, create( <ea(ing !& Ste++ing Back.
+is first principle was to step back. The second was to listen to residents. To listen
directly and in person/ to residents. .o surveys, no speaking to those who speak for
residents. +e talked to people in neighborhoods. +e and his staff went directly to citi)ens
to ask( What do local residents want to do, What tools do they have to create their vision
with, *nd then, how can city government assist, The third part of the city!s strategy was
to provide small neighborhood grants to help people improve their block.
5 #a%or +olic& change to set li#its on s&ste#s an( their local e''ects )ol( !e to re?ire
a neigh!orhoo( i#+act state#ent.
/' )e ha( taken the !illions 'or social ser,ices (esigne( to 2'i>3 +oor +eo+le an( se(
the# 'or in,est#ents that ensre( their +artici+ation in the econo#&, )e )ol( not nee( to 2'i>3
+oor +eo+le.
*his asset a++roach is otline( 'or 'n(ers in a (oc#ent title( iscovering Community
Power! )hich can !e (o)nloa(e( 'ro# the +!lications at the 5sset-Base( 8o##nit&
@e,elo+#ent /nstitte0s )e!site.
*he +rinci+le +re+are( an in,entor& o' all the goo(s an( ser,ices the school +rchase(.
She ha( the list (istri!te( to the local #erchants an( arrange( to !& 'ro# the# the +ro(cts
the& col( +ro,i(e. /n e>change, she aske( the# to intro(ce her st(ents to their )ork an(
skills.
*he +olic& isse is )hether or acconting s&ste# is !ase( on the !est +rice or the !est
,ale. S&ste#s create +rices. 8o##nit& !il(ing creates ,ale.
Jst as go,ern#ent has 2!aile( ot3 or larger 'inancial instittions, it can 2!ail in3 local
cre(it nions that rec&cle neigh!orhoo( )ealth so that a +enn& sa,e( is a +enn& loane(.
"hat is re?ire( are re'or# gro+s )ho can sggest ne) thinking rather than #ore
+rogra#s . gro+s )ho ha,e the insight that the s&ste# that create( their o)n +articlar task
'orce is, !& its natre, li#ite( in its i#+act, regar(less o' )hat gets reco##en(e(.
/' this is +ossi!le, then )e nee( +olic& that gro)s 'ro# +eo+le an( thinking that re%ects
the con,entional !elie's a!ot e''icienc& an( acconta!ilit&.
*he +r+ose o' a (e#ocrac& is to +ro,i(e the o++ortnit& 'or citi4ens to create a!n(ant
co##nities.
*he co##nit& (escri!e( in this !ook has at its center t)o sorces o' +o)er: the
e>+ression o' or gi'ts an( their #ani'estation throgh association )ith or neigh!ors. *hese are
the sa#e +o)ers that the 'on(ers n(erstoo( as the +r+ose o' or 'ree(o#s in a (e#ocrac&.
"ithot their se, (e#ocrac& loses its +r+ose.
"e a''ir# ho) +recios or gi'ts are )hen )e create +risons. Prison is a societal
(ecision to take a)a& &or 'ree(o# an( there!& is a +lace )here )e sa& &o are not 'ree to gi,e
&or gi'ts. *aking a)a& &or ca+acit& to gi,e &or gi'ts is the )orst thing )e can (o to
so#e!o(&.
*here )as no #ention o' co#+etition or the #arket+lace in the 'on(ing (oc#ents. K
*hat is )h& cons#eris# threatens (e#ocrac&.
*he a!n(ant co##nit& is there'ore the +r+ose o' (e#ocrac&.
"e no longer re?ire great lea(ers . not e,en a strong 2(e,elo+e(3 econo#& . onl& each
other, in association, co#ing together )ith or gi'ts in #in(.
P56* ///: 8675*/:B 5B;:@5:87
2-os+italit& is not to change +eo+le, !t to o''er the# s+ace )here change can take +lace.3 -
-enri :o)en.
8ha+ter I: 5)akening the Po)er o' Fa#ilies an( :eigh!orhoo(s
*he starting +oint in e,er& trans'or#ation is to think (i''erentl&.
5ll )e nee( to (o is shi't or thinking 'irst an( then act on that shi't.
*he ?estion is ho) to create another )a& o' li'e, so that )e col( sa&, 2/n this +lace, )e
ha,e a strong cltre )here kin, 'rien(s, an( neigh!ors srron( s. "e are a gro+ o' 'a#ilies
)ho ha,e a s+ecial kin( o' relationshi+. *ogether )e raise or chil(ren, #anage health, 'eel
+ro(cti,e, an( care 'or those on the #argin.3
"hat (i( the& ha,eA *here )as so#e lan(, their tools, an( the#sel,es. *hese )ere the
assets the& ha( )ith )hich to create a ho#estea( an(, shortl& therea'ter, a ho#eto)n.
5n( !ecase o' that, e,er&thing the& create( )as an e>+ression o' the#sel,es . their
,ision, their kno)le(ge, their skills, an( their li#itations. *he reslt )as a co##nit& in )hich
the& ha( +ri(e, !ecase the& ha( create( it.
*hese )ere the +eo+le )ho create( a ho#estea( an( a ho#eto)n. *he& each ha( clear
+ro!le#s, li#itations, an( (ile##as. Bt the& ha( a clear +riorit&: "e #st create a co##nit&.
5n( so it )as that the& set asi(e their (e'iciencies an( instea( 'ocse( +on their ca+acities.
"e can (o the 'ollo)ingF +ages 120-122.
5s soon as there )ere enogh ne) settlers aron( the original 'a#ilies, the& all gathere(
together in s#all gro+s to n(ertake tasks that a 'a#il& col(n0t acco#+lish on its o)n.
"hate,er ,ision the& ha( or necessit& the& 'elt, a s#all gro+ )as create( to !ring it to
li'e. 5n( throgh the 'or#ation o' these s#all gro+s, a co##nit& )as create(. Becase o'
their %oint e''orts, a cltre not onl& o' gi'ts !t o' associational li'e )as create(.
:othing, in #& o+inion, is #ore (eser,ing o' or attention than the intellectal an( #oral
associations o' :orth 5#erica. F /n (e#ocratic contries the science o' association is the
#other o' science= the +rogress o' all the rest (e+en(s +on the +rogress it has #a(e.
/' #en are to re#ain ci,ili4e(, or to !eco#e so, the art o' associating together #st gro)
an( i#+ro,e in the sa#e ratio in )hich the e?alit& o' con(itions is increase(.
*he +o)er to (eci(e )hat nee(s to !e (one. *his +o)er is not (elegate( to e>+erts.
*he association is the tool that allo)s s to +ro(ce the 'tre )e en,ision.
/n associations )e are not cons#ers. "e are not clients. "e are citi4ens )ith gi'ts an(
the +o)er to #ake +o)er'l co##nities.
First, #an& are engage( in )ork that s++orts )hat #atters #ost to citi4ens an( there!&
strengthens co##nit& li'e.
Community #eans 2+eo+le in relationshi+.3 Association #eans 2+eo+le in a +o)er'l
relationshi+.3 5 co#+etent co##nit& 'in(s its o)n )a& throgh e,er-increasing connections
!et)een +eo+le )ho e>ercise their right o' 'ree(o# o' association in or(er to create a !etter
'tre together.
8ha+ter J: *he Po)er o' 8onnectors
*he ke& to !eco#ing a co#+etent co##nit&, then, is si#+l& a #atter o' intention . an
intention to enhance the s+irit an( cltre o' connecting.
5 connector is the center o' the roo#, o'ten nrecogni4e( !t al)a&s creating ne)
relationshi+s an( o'ten acting in a #o(est )a&.
-e asks neigh!ors, 2"ho (o &o kno)A "hat (o &o kno) that )ol( !e se'l to
othersA 5re &o )illing to teach )hat &o kno)A3
*o !egin, +eo+le at this 8onnectors0 *a!le can i(enti'& the gi'ts an( skills o' all the
neigh!ors . the gol( in the co##nit& treasre chest. *he& can ask 'or si#+le ?estions o'
each neigh!or as the& i(enti'& the neigh!orhoo( treasres: "hat are &or gi'ts o' the hea(A
"hat are &or gi'ts o' the han(sA "hat are &or gi'ts o' the heartA "hat cl!s, gro+s, an(
associations to &o an( &or 'a#il& !elong to or +artici+ate inA
*he i(ea o' a 8onnectors0 *a!le is #eant literall& an( also as a #eta+hor 'or )hat #akes
a 'a#il& #ore 'nctional, a co##nit& #ore co#+etent.
*here'ore, the 8onnectors0 *a!le nee(s to +a& s+ecial attention to the +eo+le at the e(ge,
the +eo+le )ith the na#es that (escri!e their e#+t& hal' rather than their gi'te( 'll hal'.
*he great /rish +oet "illia# Btler $eats is cre(ite( )ith an a+horis# to gi(e the
connectors: 2*here are no strangers here= onl& 'rien(s &o ha,en0t &et #et.3
/s it a !on(ar& o' s+eriorit& an( e>clsion, a (angeros +lace to a++roachA 1r is it the
e(ge o' a +lace that has a )elco#e at the (oorA
*he onl& thing )e ha,e to 'ear in or co##nit& is 'ear o' otsi(ers.
She sai(, 2"hat )e ha,e (one is !roken all the lines. "e !roke the lines !et)een the
#en. "e !roke the lines !et)een the )o#en. *hen the lines )ere !roken !et)een the #en an(
the )o#en. 5n( !est o' all, the lines )ere !roken !et)een the a(lts an( the chil(ren an(
!et)een all o' s an( or seniors. 5ll the lines are !roken= )e0re all connecte(, an( )e0re a real
co##nit& no).3
25 great co##nit& creates con(itions )here +eo+le can 'all in lo,e. /t is a +lace )here
)e can #ake a 'ss a!ot one another. 5 +lace )here )e can ask, K-o) (i( / e,er li,e )ithot
&oA03 - <ois S#i(t, Be&on("el'are.org.