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The Abundant Community

The Abundant Community
Awakening the Power of Families and Neighborhoods
by John McKnight and Peter Block  
Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2010

Depersonalization and the corporate centralization of wealth, power and
influence has obviously had a deleterious affect on families and neighborhoods throughout America in recent years, creating deep insecurities, inequities and social maladies that have lowered the quality of life and enlarged prison populations.

This book is all about correcting this trend with basic, localized and personal actions that lead to greater cooperation, stronger communities and a sustainable economy.

Educators and social policy scholars John McKnight and Peter Block offer practical suggestions for nurturing voluntary systems, reconnecting with our neighbors and creating an environment of abundance rather than scarcity.

"The culture of community is initiated by people who value each other's gifts and are seriously related to each other," they explain. "It takes time, because serious relationships are based upon trust, and trust grows from with experience of being together in ways that make a difference in our lives."

The process begins with mutual respect, appreciating the abilities of our neighbors, buying and employing locally while also welcoming newcomers and including them in the community, creating associations and supporting one another.

"We take seriously the idealistic notion that our future is dependent on each of us and if one of us is not free, or valued, or participating in a full life, then those are not possible for any of us."

Refreshingly utopian and optimistic, this book gives voice to ideals that have been too long suppressed. Hopefully, it will help strengthen efforts to restore community and neighborhood to their rightful importance in American society.

The Abundant Community

Suppressing the Personal
A strength of systems and institutions is the ability to commodify through replication. To do this, they must deny all that is personal When something is personal, it becomes unique and unpredictable.

The problem with people, whether producers or consumers, is that none of them are the same. Management's task, then, is to overcome their uniqueness and "help" them to align with what the system needs. They do this by ensuring that every person is replaceable.


As we become conscious of how central food is to our health, it draws our attention to the importance of food security. If we want to know how our food is produced, how it is harvested and handled, and how far it travels, this is best done through local production. If we want to be educated about the effects of diet and keep our health in our own hands, this is within the capacity of our local community..

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