“Keep it local”
This may seem like an overused word these days. It’s on bumper stickers, t-shirts, websites, you name it. People give it a great deal of lip service, but from my experience, we often fall far short on our intentions We still spend a majority of our money outside our community.
Local economies are only as effective as the desires of the very population that makes up that economy. When our needs out strip our communities ability to satisfy that need, we loose our community binding. We start to wander (economically) away from our place of roots. The effect is that businesses within the community begin to fail. Our support network withers and we all feel the impact.
An example of this is shipping our support services (like printing and design work) to other markets we believe to be more competitive. Small projects, large projects, they leave our communities because of price. Businesses leave or shutter. All of this adds up to a resource drain on our local economy and community. When a local print shop or graphic design firm goes out of business, we all lose.
So what’s my point? When we realize that, you and I, the people we sit next to at work or at our favorite coffee shop, are all an important parts of this intricate economic web. We now put a face to what has traditionally been an intellectual exercise. We now see flesh and blood people who need local economies and what they provide: products, services, employment, and income. We start to shift our perspective.
Given our options today, we do have a choice in where and how we spend our money. I am not suggesting that we close our doors; stopping our demands for services from abroad. However, when we see the communal benefit from “keeping it local”, we can start to prioritize differently. We look first to our local resources, before spending elsewhere. This keeps our local economic engine running. This keeps you and me working and stable.