This sequence outlines how I understand the term market and the challenges communities face reclaiming what was previously theirs from multinational companies who extract wealth from local areas and from small websites.
What is a Marketplace? considers the traditional marketplace where buying and selling was one activity among many others. Trust is the foundation of markets and so we can see how markets and community work hand in hand. When external multinational business interests control markets, they extract not only money but all the other relationships out of neighbourhoods.
Can we or dare we see The Marketplace Online as potentially supportive of local markets? The evidence is against this ideal because multinationals control the big servers. But many small independent businesses do seem to thrive online and there is no technological reason why third sector groups should be any less successful.
The history of The Co-operative Movement is a case study of how small grassroots movements can transform the economy. It is a pity the Co-op in the UK has recently had a lot of bad publicity and maybe this is because the foundation principles have been forgotten. But the story does show what can be done when people work together for social and economic change.
We need to be aware when we commit to Reclaiming the Marketplace, of the weaknesses of our own local movements. The welfare state in the UK was a triumph that can be attributed to the co-operative movement but it contained the seeds of the fall of the same movement. We need to remember the mistakes of the past as we plan for the future.