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Two Arguments for Localism

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/08/25/two-arguments-localism

Compelling arguments. With climate change and all it is bringing, the least we can do is remove one obvious obstacle, or continue to hold ourselves hostage to it. Goes by the initials DT.

Globalization is the cancer of the world and is speeding its demise. Using energy to ship items we don’t need from afar is just one of hundreds of things needing changing. Simplifying all aspects of our lives will have to happen to survive. It’s that serious. Reducing human population by not reproducing so much will have to occur or nature through natural selection will do it for us. Rebuilding communities destroyed by globalization will be good for the alienated masses. Global poisoning/warming/heating will force change even if humankind doesn’t. Peace

Having lived 20 minutes away from Linlithgow, a very desirable picturesque commuting town, for several years, any impact of the transition project is quite insignificant.

Small capitalism does not mean nice capitalism. Our purpose is not to manage capitalism in order to make it nicer or more ethical. Our goal is to move beyond the capitalism system of economics.

Even the most well-intentioned local employer know that if they don’t squeeze the greatest productivity out of the smallest payroll, there are plenty of other, more efficient businesses ready to take their place. Localists share the same mistaken assumption of mainstream economics that capitalism is a system geared to meeting paying consumer demand whereas it is, in fact, geared to making profits and accumulating them as more capital.

"Bourgeois theorists will insist that consumer demand of the working population is what drives Capitalist production. It is clear that many of these well intentioned spokespersons actually believe what they are saying…
If a feudal lord were to have told his serf, that the sole purpose of his exploitation was to enable his lord to provide the serf with the material goods necessary to maintain an acceptable level of poverty, the serf would have thought the lord insane. Likewise, if an African slave had been told by the American plantation owner that his enslavement and low standard of living was necessary so that the plantation could produce what the slave needed for survival, she would have thought her master crazy.
But for some reason, laborers exploited by Capitalists are suppose to believe that the accumulation of vast resources, enormous factories, state-of-the art ports, refineries, etc., etc., owned by the Capitalists are necessary for, and simply serve the purpose of producing what working people need to survive and maintain an acceptable standard of living. It is all done for us, and it all comes back to us working people.

Capitalist firms are driven by market forces to accumulate to stay in business. They must continually invest in reducing their costs of production. Small firms are not exempt from this pressure.

Worth a read

According to Professor David Reay, a climate scientist from the University of Edinburgh, we’re always told “buying local” is best for the environment yet food miles are a poor indicator of a product’s total carbon footprint, and could even be misleading. Buying a tomato grown in the UK has three times the footprint of a banana grown in Spain. Bananas imported from the Dominican Republic, apples from New Zealand and oranges from Brazil are among the most carbon-friendly foods UK consumers can buy. Most oranges consumed in the UK come from Brazil and are shipped across the Atlantic, but still have low carbon footprints.

Some environmentalists activists call for decentralisation and localism. Doing so does not solve all of our problems. Certain industries require centralisation for efficiency, and economy of scale actually may reduce environmental impact in many of these cases.

I like the idea of local and the idea that each unit should be its own power source. I like the idea of a county by county sustainability database. I think about lateral power, lateral politics, a survey of our local assets, local parks, local bands, local art. Good old boys are moving over making a lateral room for a more equality of rights under the law both locally and federally. Think lateral and local. County by county is how we make a Statement. County by county is how we survey and ask for what we want and need. If we pay attention we will not have greed but will have abundance.