Communities with a greater share of their economy in the hands of small businesses are better at solving problems collectively, says Stacy Mitchell, the co-director of   the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. They also have higher levels of civic participation, according to research. “Just as we know that concentrated power corrupts democracy, the opposite is true,” she says. “The more broadly economic decision-making is distributed, and the more say people have over their livelihoods, the more effective and engaged they are as citizens.” Economists look simply at a few data points on a spreadsheet, and ignore how SMEs support communities in ways that larger companies often do not or cannot.