Why try local first?

Revitalised local economies offer many advantages to their communities. Local businesses have been shown to be three to four times more effective than large corporations at keeping wealth local. They increase employment, increase the density of local relationships and thereby strengthen community resilience, and enhance community identity and a sense of place.

Strong local economies provide a counter-balance to excessive globalisation, which—especially in combination with interest-bearing loans and multi-national trade agreements—has an overall tendency to concentrate wealth, strip poorer countries of their resources, fragment communities and local cultures, increase dependency on middle-men, and degrade ecosystems.

Why buy locally?

Local purchasing can support:

  • a more connected and resilient local community
  • increased business accountability
  • reduced transport miles and a lower carbon footprint

“Buy local” campaigns have been shown to increase the profits of small- and medium-sized businesses. These businesses are more likely to be private, with local owners who care about the community where they also live. They are also more likely to spend more of their profits at other local businesses, keeping wealth within the community.

Why invest locally?

Traditional investment involves foregoing the use of money now in the hope of a future financial return. Participants in a living economy recognise that financial returns on investments are only indirect measures—and often poor proxies—for the good life we seek for ourselves and future generations. Investments within the living economies framework consider ecological and social sustainability, community well-being, and the general state of our ongoing relationships to people and planet.

Local investments play an important role within living economies. By increasing local production, local investments make communities more self-reliant. They also encourage communities to come into balance with the available local resources. Local production also reduces dependence on middle-men and on the fossil fuels required for long-distance transport. Local investments are also key to revitalising Main Streets businesses.

Where can I go to learn more?

Living Economies' bookstore is full of resources discussing the benefits of local economies, including resources focused on local exchange, local investment, and everything in between. Our recommendations include:

  • Healthy Money, Healthy Planet , by Deirdre Kent, for a Kiwi-centred, globally-informed discussion of community solutions for living local economies
  • Creating Wealth: Growing Local Economies with Local Currencies by Gwendolyn Hallsmith and Bernard Lietaer, for an in-depth discussion with many case studies of local currencies
  • Agenda for a New Economy, by David C. Korten, for a vision and policy suggestions for creating a locally-owned, community-oriented Main Street economy
  • Local Dollars, Local Sense by Michael Shuman, for an investment-oriented discussion on revitalising Main Street
  • Inquiries into the Nature of Slow Money: Investing as if Food, Farms, and Fertility Mattered, by Woody Tasch, for a discussion of long-term investments that protect food systems and soil fertility
  • Investing in People and Planet, by Robert Howell, for a discussion of responsible investment choices, from banking to insurance and more

Living Economies Educational Trust (LE) promotes exchange systems and investment models that build community strength and well-being, offer interest-free alternatives to 'business as usual', and respect both people and our living planet. Our network of volunteers can recommend resources and provide educational support for community initiatives. LE (CC 38114) is a registered educational charity, and we do not provide financial or legal advice.

© 2018 Living Economies