Chicago Manufacturing Renaissance Council
As we look to transform our economic and financial systems to support a more just and regenerative economy, we at Capital Institute are aware of how much we have to learn from observing the resiliency of natural systems.
And the more we learn about the Chicago Manufacturing Renaissance Council project as we undertake the research for our upcoming Field Guide to Investing in a Regenerative Economy study, the more we observe parallels between it and what ecologists call an “ecotone.” An ecotone is a transitional zone between contrasting habitats, a forest and a grasslands, for example, where tremendous creative destruction, rich biodiversity, and continuous ecosystem rebalancing known as “the edge effect” occur.
But, as Bill Reed, one of the founders of the rengenerative development movement, explains: “Edges are about more than simply re-balancing—they are about increased potential of relationship and exchange. The possibility of life happens at edges; edges are the bridge and arbiter of relationships—the more edges we have, the richer the potential to improve the resilience of life.” We have come to see the CMRC as just such a vital “bridge,” in this case between the old industrial paradigm and an emerging one where advanced manufacturing will play a central role.
The Center for Labor and Community Research had reason to celebrate last week when we visited with them in Chicago to work on our next Field Guide to Investing in a Regenerative Economy Study. CLCR’s tactical expression, the Chicago Manufacturing Renaissance Campaign and its Austin Polytechnic Academy, had just been singled out for high praise in a study commissioned by World Business Chicago for their exemplary work in furthering advanced manufacturing in the city. What’s more, the study, co-chaired by Mayor Rahm Emmanuel, entitled “Plan for Economic Growth and Jobs” listed “Becoming a leading advanced manufacturing hub” as number one among its “10 Transformative Strategies for Chicago’s Economic Growth.”
The Chicago Manufacturing Renaissance initiative and the organization behind its creation, the Center for Labor and Community Research, will be the subject of our next Field Guide to Investing in a Regenerative Economy. After having been written off as a declining, noncompetitive sector, manufacturing is now rising on the radar screens of policymakers, social justice advocates, and a new breed of environmentalists who see it as both a catalyst for economic revival in America and as offering the solution to many of our ecological and societal ills.
As part of our research for the upcoming field study we stopped by the offices of Locker Associates in lower Manhattan, just a few blocks from Zuccotti Park. Mike Locker is a long-time advisor to manufacturing companies and labor on corporate restructuring and buyouts, and has conducted hundreds of feasibility studies for troubled companies and industries over the years.