Lab History

In the spring of 2016, Seattle Good Business Network laid the groundwork to create—as an antidote to the persistent, systemic economic inequity that plagues Seattle’s communities—a blueprint for a local economy that is equitable, diverse, and resilient.

The People’s Economy Lab emerged. At its heart, the Lab is a core set of ideas from local economy leaders who are already working on the ground in innovative ways to localize the economy in service to our communities. The project convened these leaders to create a shared vision and roadmap for a community-centered economy that works for everyone.

What is a People’s Economy?

A people’s economy puts put people and places first.  It meets local needs, here and everywhere, now and in the future. This means that the investments, enterprises, and transactions that make up our local economy are designed around our values.

A People’s Economy values:



Local needs, local ownership, dollars circulate locally, investments maximize local benefits


Cultivate a diverse economy; learn and adapt from native knowledge; practice continuous innovation


Equitable access, community ownership, democratic decision making and leadership


Care and service to people, planet, and the commons; sustainable use of natural resources


Collaboration vs. competition; cooperation vs. hierarchy; inclusive; generous with ideas


Transparent, inclusive decision making; align goals with community priorities; clear accountability


Personal exchange vs. anonymous transactions; connection with community, place, each other

Take part in your local economy.

Our Work

The People’s Economy Lab is building a network of leaders and incubating ideas and initiatives to create an economy that is equitable, democratic, diverse, and resilient.  We work for an economy that as community its center through communication, research, and convenings.