“The United States is becoming a broken society. The public has contempt for the political class. Public debt is piling up at an astonishing and unrelenting pace. Middle-class wages have lagged. Unemployment will remain high. It will take years to fully recover from the financial crisis.” This is the opening paragraph of a March 18, 2010 David Brooks column in the New York Times.

In this column, Brooks refers to the recent work of the British writer Phillip Blond who contends that two revolutions have taken place over the past generation, resulting in a society that is broken. One of these is a left-oriented revolution that has emphasized non-traditional mores and welfare. The other is a right-oriented individual-rights revolution that has emphasized deregulation leading to big boxes, big banks and global markets.

Blond suggests that we move toward a society that values community vitality more than individual liberty. He says this would mean we remoralize the market, relocalize the economy and recapitalize the poor.

Brooks concludes that Blond is essentially talking about taking a political culture whose foundation is built on individual choices and replacing it with one that thrives on relationships and associations.

I’ll add that Blond is saying that how things get done matters as much as simply that they get done. That Main Street should lead our economy, not Wall Street. That paychecks, not subsidies, should fuel our households.

I am encouraged by this thinking. VillageSoup is creating tools that small-business owners and individual community members share. Using Blond’s vocabulary, we are relocalizing the economy. We are giving community businesses and citizens the ability to communicate with neighbors and customers virtually, just as they do in their stores and offices.

We are giving them a voice they could not afford to purchase in print, radio and television. We are giving them the ability to compete with their unique personal service, which is the competitive advantage they have over regional, national and global players.

VillageSoup tools let a local newspaper publisher move beyond being a news provider to become the host of an online community environment. Using these tools, local real estate agents are able to display their listings in a place where only the local properties are listed. Dentists, doctors and lawyers can share their insights and information with all community members.

Retailers, organizations and service providers are able to post news about newly arrived products, daily specials and current events. And they can do so whenever and as frequently as they wish using their own voice, unfiltered and unfettered by the local news organization.

The local journalists bring a different kind of community news and information. VillageSoup tools allow them to post timely and trusted stories from the field house, town hall or fire scene online followed up by a more detailed story for the next paper. Digestive, reflective, analytical stories featuring passionate community writers appear in print first and online for those who either subscribe to the paper or pay for online access.

Thus, each local VillageSoup Web site creates a virtual domain where everyone brings ideas, news and information to create one virtual community center.

The Internet and a community news organization are ideally suited for a society needing to remoralize the market, relocalize the economy and recapitalize the poor. The Internet was designed in the 1950s by and for scholars to build relationships and foster associations unfettered and unfiltered by the defense department bureaucracy.

In other words, the Internet was designed for one-to-one (e-mail), one-to-many (www) and many-to-many (network) communication. This is the same kind of communication that happens in real space, in real neighborhoods and communities. This is the same kind of communication that happens in a VillageSoup online community network environment.

The local community is where individual choices meet face-to-face with relationships and associations. A decision made in some distant place does not have to confront the effects on community and more easily places emphasis on individual liberty than communal association. The local community is where we can best address the broken society. And as a friend of mine said recently, “The individual mind is where we really address the broken society, and it is in the local community where the individual mind lives, relates and associates.” I couldn’t agree more.

Richard Anderson is the founder and chief executive officer of Village NetMedia and VillageSoup.