- Peace Garden: Local Living Economies

Local Living Economies

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

As I recently walked through my local retail mall (it has been a long time) I was struck by the number of vacant store fronts and the stores festooned with "70% off" signs. The Big Chains are hurting. Is there a remedy around the corner now that we have a new President? Not is our consumer lust and greed continues.

But if Obama and we all change our thinking, anything is possible (Yes we can!). The solution:

...a decentralized global network of local living economies comprised of independent, locally owned businesses committed to building healthy communities aligned with natural systems.

Rather than depending on large corporations to ship basic needs long distances, which decreases economic security and adds to the environmental costs of global transport, living economies produce basic needs – food, clothing, shelter and energy – locally and sustainably. This builds community self-reliance, provides new opportunities for ownership and job creation, and keeps capital circulating within the community. What is not available locally is sourced from community-based businesses and small farms in other regions and countries in fair trade exchange that benefits the communities where products and resources originate. Global interdependence is based on trust, mutual respect, and reciprocity, rather than exploitive resource extraction and sweatshops.

I found this idea/ideal at the website for the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies or BALLE. The above piece was written by Judy Wickes, one of the co-founders.
BALLE believes in the power of local businesses to transform communities for the better by working cooperatively toward a shared vision. We imagine cities and towns of every size and political stripe engaged in shared learning to build community assets like sustainable agriculture, green building, renewable energy, community capital, zero-waste manufacturing and independent retail - what we call the building blocks of Living Economies. We envision a time when local economies not only generate community wealth, but also are catalysts for civic action, social diversity and ecological health -- for sustainable communities.
This is a project/program/idea that Obama should stress. But will the corporate world allow him to make this paradigm shift and take away their nest eggs?
Large corporations have historically used militaries to protect their ability to exploit natural resources and cheap labor in less developed countries, which is often the underlying cause of war.
If not, then it is up to us.
The Local Living Economies Movement is about:
∼ Maximizing relationships, not maximizing profits
∼ Broad-based ownership and democracy, not concentrated wealth and power
∼ Sharing, not hoarding
∼ Life serving, not self-serving
∼ Partnership, not domination
∼ Cooperation based, not competition based
∼ Win-win exchange, not win-loose exploitation
∼ Creativity, not conformity
∼ A living return, not the highest return
∼ A living wage, not the minimum wage
∼ A fair price, not the lowest price
∼ “Being more, not having more” (from the Earth Charter)
~ Interconnectedness, not separation
~ Inclusion, not exclusiveness
~ Community and collective joy, not isolation and unhapppiness
∼ Cultural diversity, not monoculture
∼ Bio-diversity, not mono-crops
∼ Family farms, not factory farms
∼ Slow food, not fast food
∼ Our bucks, not Starbucks
∼ Our mart, not Wal-Mart
∼ Love of life, not love of money

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