The Handbook of Diverse Economies
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The Handbook of Diverse Economies

Edited by J. K. Gibson-Graham and Kelly Dombroski

Economic diversity abounds in a more-than-capitalist world, from worker-recuperated cooperatives and anti-mafia social enterprises to caring labour and the work of Earth Others, from fair trade and social procurement to community land trusts, free universities and Islamic finance. The Handbook of Diverse Economies presents research that inventories economic difference as a prelude to building ethical ways of living on our dangerously degraded planet. With contributing authors from twenty countries, it presents new thinking around subjectivity and methodology as strategies for making other worlds possible.
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Chapter 10: Independent and small businesses: diversity amongst the 99 per cent of businesses

Peter North

Abstract

This chapter discusses the contribution of 99 per cent of businesses – independent, small or medium enterprises (SME) – to the project of building just, sustainable and dignified economies for the Anthropocene. Recognizing that place matters in understanding who is likely to be an independent trader or an SME owner, the chapter develops a broader and more inclusive understanding of entrepreneurship as something performed by a wide range of people who see small independent, community-based businesses as vehicles for living as they want to – not just the special, ‘heroic’ entrepreneurs that we all rely on to employ us, as lauded by business schools. It recognizes that many independent traders struggle to get by, and may be reluctant entrepreneurs who have no other choice. But many independent traders and SME owners relish their independence and ability to do things their way, putting their ethical values and commitment to their localities into practice in ways that are more-than-capitalist.

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