Biography for Michael Shuman

Michael H. Shuman is Director for Research and Public Policy for the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE).  An economist, attorney, author, and entrepreneur, Shuman is one of the nation’s leading experts on community economics and the advantages of small-scale businesses in an era of globalization. He has authored, coauthored, or edited seven books, including The Small Mart Revolution: How Local Businesses Are Beating the Global Competition (Berrett-Koehler, 2006) and Going Local: Creating Self-Reliant Communities in the Global Age (Free Press, 1998).  The Small-Mart Revolution received a bronze medal for best business book by the Independent Publishers’ Association.

As an economic consultant, Shuman has prepared “dollar leakage” analyses for St. Lawrence County (NY), the Katahdin Region (ME), Northern Dutchess County (NY), Spokane (WA), Martha’s Vineyard (MA), Central Appalachia, and New Mexico (on the food industry).  Other clients for his economic analyses have included the US Endowment for Sustainable Forestry, Carbondale (CO), Ukiah (CA), Yellow Springs (OH), and the United Nations Development Program. He also has prepared business plans for a small-business venture capital fund in New Mexico, a community-owned company in Salisbury (MD) called Bay Friendly Chicken, and a web enterprise ( to support marketing by family farmers. He has worked for the California Energy Commission (1980), the Natural Resources Defense Council (1981), the Center for Innovative Diplomacy (1982-1988, where he was founder and president), the Institute for Policy Studies (1988-1998, where we was a fellow and director), the Village Foundation (1998-2001, where he was research director), and the Training & Development Corporation (2002-2009, where he was vice president for enterprise development). 

A prolific speaker, Shuman has given an average of more than one invited talk per week, mostly to local governments and universities, for the past 25 years.  He has lectured in 45 states and eight countries.  He has appeared on numerous television and radio shows, such as the Lehrer News Hour and NPR's "Talk of the Nation," and NPR’s “All Things Considered.” Shuman has written nearly one hundred published articles for such periodicals as New York Times, Washington Post, Nation, Weekly Standard, Foreign Policy, Parade, and The Chronicle on Philanthropy.  In 1980 he won First Prize in the Rabinowitch Essay Competition of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists on "How to Prevent Nuclear War."   Shuman received an A.B. with distinction in economics and international relations from Stanford University in 1979 and a J.D. from Stanford Law School in 1982.  Between 1987 and 1990 he was a W.K. Kellogg National Leadership Fellow.  He is also a member of both the State Bar of California and the District of Columbia Bar.