Building community is usually associated with churches, but we have a rich tradition of the community mentality throughout American history with and without church affiliations. Community is simply a concept of caring for and about each other usually fostered by proximity to one another.
For example, Laura Ingalls Wilder tells of the awesome challenges faced by her family in the 1800’s in her “Little House on the Prairie” series of books. As you watch the old television show or read the series of books, you see a family constantly worry about unemployment, buying food, and keeping a roof over their heads. The biggest difference between then and now was the sense of community that they relied upon for survival.
All the citizens of Walnut Grove looked out for each other and if one of them was in trouble, the others were always willing to help. Even the lumber mill in this little town operated at a loss for quite some, in order to provide jobs, before ultimately being forced to close.
Because of the transient nature of our lives today, many have no roots, no sense of community and no family to help when needed. Consequently, much of our country’s social spending bridges that gap for those who have no one else to help in desperate situations. Clearly, that plan is not working as the individual states are going broke trying to fill the unrelenting needs of its people.
That train of thought chugs along to a possible solution. What if civic minded individuals with available capital would engage in community building by investing in new enterprises where unemployment is at its highest? The primary goal would not be tremendous profits but only steady repayment of the original investment with a small profit margin. This new enterprise would provide stable employment, basic benefits, and a superior product for consumers to purchase at an affordable price.
Hopefully, since the investors did so with a genuine desire to help people, these new enterprises would foster a sense of community and a return to caring for and about each other. Ultimately, if this radical plan worked, the pursuit of happiness could lead some people to catch it.