"It is time for individual citizens and their organizations to take an active role in the shaping of the cultural environment and to focus on the production of information and culture.”—The People’s Communication Charter in Holland, 1999.
Economic localization offers multi-faceted solutions to the problems created by globalization.
While millions of people around the world refuse to sit on the sidelines while global and corporate leaders continue to pillage the planet for their own short-term needs, there is somethingproduction that we can all do.
In addition to being critics of what does not work, we can become creators of what does work. It is time to get out of the Matrix of control and into the Creatrix for Life. Please join us.
Mobilized is bringing together a passionate group of artists and scientists, media makers, earth shakers and citizens from all continents, united in solidarity to co-create a collaborative media resource and platform dedicated to empowering our collective human potential to create systematic paradigm change at a time of ongoing ecologic and humanitarian crises. We’ll discover how We, the People, can come galvanize and harness the power of potential and create evidence-based systems of service, from community media, to smarter cities, more rewarding businesses and stand for the things you truly believe in.
It’s what you want, when you want it, the way you want it.
Mobilized and our partnerships with Local Futures is bringing together an incredibly diverse group of movers and shakers, media makers and earth shakers to unite communities around the world to take a stand for what you believe in.
During this idea-into-action packed media experience, we’re going to discuss how we arrived at this point in time, and what we the people can do to turn things around as we get Out of the Matrix of Control and into the Creatrix of Creation. And that’s not all! Mobilized will continue to pick up the pace by inviting media makers and earth shakers into a global ecosystem of opportunity as we create the world that works for all of us.
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In Local Futures’ learning guide on globalization, the outlines of the current economic system was sketched, in which corporations rule and people are increasingly deprived of the deep connections with community and with nature that they need to thrive.
Now, let’s imagine a very different world, one in which most of your food comes from nearby farmers who are part of your community and who ensure food security year round. Imagine children being free to play and explore their world safely under the watch of neighbors who you know and trust. Imagine the money you spend on everyday goods continuing to recirculate in the local economy, building community wealth along the way. Imagine local businesses multiplying and providing ample, meaningful employment opportunities, instead of your hard-earned cash being immediately siphoned off to some distant corporate headquarters. Economic localization can make these visions a reality for all.
In this learning guide, we’ll cover what economic localization is and why it’s so beneficial for human, societal, and ecological wellbeing.
Ultimately, economic localization is about re-scaling the economy back to a human level. It is the process of building economic structures which allow the goods and services a community needs to be produced locally and regionally whenever possible. Localizing economies can strengthen community cohesion and lead to greater human health and material wellbeing, all while reducing pollution and degradation of the natural world.
From community gardens to credit unions, from alternative learning spaces to small business alliances and co-ops, local economies create networks of place-based relationships that affirm our human desire for connection to each other and to the earth. By creating this structural basis for community, local economies make caring for one another and for the land into guiding principles of daily life.
An important point to note is that localization does not mean total isolation. It isn’t about eliminating all trade; communities can still export surpluses once local needs are met, and they can still import goods that can’t be produced locally. But localization allows local, regional, and even national self-reliance to replace dependence on distant, unaccountable corporations.
Localized economies are created by and for the people who live there. Rather than subscribing to a global monocultural model, localized economies respect local cultures and needs, while allowing for the free exchange of knowledge and ideas across borders. In fact, localization requires international cooperation and collaboration to address global problems like climate change, and to forge agreements to scale back the rapacious power of global corporations and banks.
Bottom-Up and Top-Down Actions
Another key point is that any systemic shift towards localization will need to be driven by a combination of bottom-up grassroots initiatives and top-down policy changes.
Millions of local and regional enterprises are already demonstrating that they can do a better job providing for basic needs – including the fundamental human need for community – than the handful of giant corporations that currently dominate the world’s economy. We’ll talk about this in more detail further down the page, in the section “Benefits of Localization”.
But as those initiatives build a new economy from the ground up, we also need to pressure our governments to make policy changes, such as:
- Shifting taxes and subsidies to support local, sustainable businesses instead of global corporations.
- Renegotiating trade treaties so that they protect the rights of countries to support their local business sectors and conserve natural resources.
- Changing regulations in the finance sector so that our financial security, as individuals and nations, isn’t dependent on the risky gambles of financial institutions that are falsely considered “too big to fail”.
- Modifying food, health, and land-use policies so that they support local projects rather than multinational corporations.
This kind of strategic restructuring of economic supports and policies would create the conditions for grassroots localization initiatives to flourish and multiply. For example, ending subsidies for fossil fuels, pesticides, mechanized agriculture, and long-distance trade would enable healthy local food to become the cheapest and most accessible food on the market. Just imagine what that one change could do as far as helping community-based livelihood opportunities to become widespread and abundant.
As we often say, there is no single blueprint for localization. Instead, there is a set of core guiding principles and common threads: supporting small-scale enterprise, embracing diversity and connection, and prioritizing the wellbeing of people and planet over corporate profits. But because localizing inherently means adapting economic activity to a specific place and culture, it will look a little different wherever you go.
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