Thinking better about rural wealth creation and retention


  • David L. Kay Cornell University



Community Capitals, Community Economic Development, Wealth Creation, Rural, Rural Economies, Community Development, WealthWorks


First paragraphs:

For some decades now, the practices of eco­nomic and community development have increasingly intertwined. This has largely involved a rebalancing of the economic and community por­tions of the mix to give increasing prominence to the community side of the ledger. In their decade-and-a-half-old article, Rethinking Community Economic Development, Shaffer, Deller, and Marcouiller (2006) illustrated this in their classification of successive waves of dominant community economic develop­ment (CED) theory and practice: export base, business retention and expansion, collaboration and partnership driven, and cluster development.

Shanna Ratner’s 2020 book Wealth Creation: A New Framework for Rural Economic and Community Development comes from one of the leading devel­opers and practitioners of a fifth-wave approach that is beginning to lay a legitimate claim to the respect of academics, professionals, and commu­nity members alike. In 158 pages, Ratner’s slim and accessible volume does an admirable job of summarizing a synthetic approach that is both informed by theory and steeped in decades of participant-observation and learning-by-doing. The author, often addressing the reader as “you,” as if in the training workshops she has frequently pro­vided, explicitly aims at writing for those with few degrees of separation from CED practice: “policy makers, practitioners in economic and community development, teachers, students [including under­graduates, I would specify], financers and funders…” (p. viii). . . .


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Author Biography

David L. Kay, Cornell University

Senior Extension Associate, Department of Global Development, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences; Fellow, Atkinson Center for Sustainability; Affiliate, Program on Infrastructure Policy

Cover of "Wealth Creation: A New Framework for Rural Economic and Community Development"



How to Cite

Kay, D. (2021). Thinking better about rural wealth creation and retention. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, 10(2), 595–598.