With globalization it is easier and easier to buy stocks in a variety of growth markets or in large US companies who are under pressure to turn a profit and therefore outsource jobs for lower costs. Meanwhile the most stellar small businesses have a hard time in finding small money to finance a website upgrade, do some e-commerce and try to market globally. You know businesses in your neighborhood who you would buy shares in if only you could. Is a town level SEC the solution?
The "Locavesting" article points at the interesting possibility because only then can you direct confidence,money ,growth and jobs to neighborhoods. And a transparent local SEC type of mechanism might help.
Now think of the real estate market. Unless you plan to go to a location frequently you prefer to invest in something local so that you can go and fix the faucet if the tenant has a problem and save some money on the plumber, which is what your rental agent would do.. This works well till you have a real estate bubble where locals remain silent about overvalued properties and unverified incomes and you have the mortgage mess.
So now the Government needs to come in and regulate the real estate market as they do the shares of foreign companies who must file with the SEC to protect US investors.
The question is that when the town governments work so well, by and large, through public oversight why can't the SEC type of role be given to local citizens? A business with local friends of 40 years is very unlikely to disappear with a local investor's money particularly if there are a couple of local directors on the small business board. And with the on line trading being so active and streamlined – it should not be difficult for the business to list and trade at least locally.
The logistics of the listing,trading on line is not that difficult given that the Internet allows you to do geo-targeting for advertising and should allow folks to invest locally based on the IP addresses.
Local people can put some of their money in local businesses and watch them closely thereby helping local jobs. Just a thought.