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Why Local Economies Matter

May 13, 2010

Not a direct News Article clip but an nice summary of the Localization Movement

From Common Dreams

Around the world, there is a growing movement to pull back from the relentless march of corporate globalization by re-rooting economic and social activities at the community level. From the burgeoning popularity of farmers’ markets and food co-ops to the revitalization of community banking, people are organizing themselves to reclaim the economy from large profit-driven corporations and instead build sustainable, local alternatives.

While the term ‘localization’ has never gained popular currency (perhaps because it is so easily misunderstood), it is worth considering a broad definition for this trend towards small-scale, community-oriented businesses. In Localization: A Global Manifesto, Colin Hines defines localization as “a process which reverses the trend of globalization by discriminating in favor of the local”. It is important to note, however, that this does not mean “walling off the outside world” through nationalistic protectionism (see Micahel Schuman, Going Local: Creating Self Reliant Communities in a Global Age). Nor does it mean creating communal autarky, with self-sufficient groups cutting themselves off from the monetary economy. International trade, travel and cultural exchange would continue, but locally-controlled, diversified economic activity would reorient production and service provision towards meeting the needs of the community first.

Why Localize?

Individuals and organizations who are already working to strengthen their communities and local economies are doing so for a multitude of reasons. This is not an ideologically driven movement that fundamentally rejects the global in favor of the local, nor is it based on one blueprint solution or economic model. Rather, it is an organic process motivated by a number of interrelated factors.

Economic globalization has gradually increased the power of multinational corporations and ‘too-big-to-fail’ banks, not only over the means of production and distribution of goods and services, but also over the entire democratic and social process. In light of the recent financial crisis, where governments spent billions of taxpayer dollars on bailing out the banks that were partly responsible for causing the crisis, the  overbearing influence of the corporate and financial services sector has never been clearer.

In response, people around the world are moving to reclaim local control over the economy through alternative business practices and banking. Campaigns such as Move Your Money aim to revitalize community banking so that finance is redirected towards local needs rather than speculative profits and bonuses. Alternative business structures such as cooperatives and community-supported agriculture also encourage local ownership and production, thereby closing the divide between owners and workers or producers and consumers upon which the corporate model thrives

From Common Dreams

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One Comment leave one →
  1. May 14, 2010 3:00 am

    Interesting article and I agree with much that it says. I would however like to see some “evidence” to support the trends. It does seem like there is more focus on local but is it just my perception or are there some facts to back that up?

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