Private Equity and the Demise of the Local

The Loss of Community Economic Power and Autonomy

Capitalism is a powerful engine that requires finance. Private equity is part of the neoliberal transformation of capitalism that has failed the average citizen and unleashed a tsunami of leveraged acquisitions that have destroyed entire sectors of our economy. Private equity has become a powerful force that has moved from restructuring industrial firms to buying up just about any economic activity in local communities that has assets that can be monetized, without any consideration of the impact on the quality of life and well-being of the community. The process has been aided and abetted by government policy. The authors of this Element explain the workings of the private equity model and the reasons it has been so profitable. They document the effects of PE on firms and communities by examining a range of activities that once had a local focus. They conclude by offering policy recommendations.


Maryann P. Feldman is the Watts Professor of Public Policy and Management at the Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions at Arizona State University and research director at the Global Center for Technology Transfer.

Professor Feldman chairs the Policy Forum of the Science, Technology and Economic Policy Board of the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine, where she also chairs a congressional mandated assessment of the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program.

She is a senior fellow at Heartland Forward, a nonpartisan “think and do tank” focused on improving economic performance. Feldman serves on the advisory board of the Canadian Institute for Advance Research (CIFAR) global program on Innovation, Equity and the Future of Prosperity. She is a board member of the Ontario Brain Institute. Feldman is an editor of the journal Research Policy, the leading journal in the field of innovation studies.

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Date published
Cambridge University Press

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