The Multiple Benefits of Economic Localization

For young people entering the workforce, one of the most powerful steps to take is to join the emerging localisation movement. There is no better way to ensure secure and meaningful livelihoods than replacing the globalization juggernaut with...

September 20, 2014 | Source: Catalysta | by Helena Norberg-Hodge

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Image by Tiahnan Trent

Despite the negative impressions we get from the mainstream media, and the very serious consequences of global warming, I believe there is cause for real hope. There is a good possibility that inspiring human-scale solutions around the world can multiply and transform our political and economic landscape over the coming years. And it all starts with an increased awareness or consciousness.

My experiences in numerous cultures over three decades, have revealed to me that most of our serious problems originate from a culture shaped by skewed economic priorities. We have been gradually ensnared in a global economic system that thrives on separation-cutting us off from one another and from nature. Unwittingly, we have ended up supporting an “Economics of Unhappiness.”

In part this is because, in the current system, it has become nearly impossible to support oneself doing meaningful work, like growing food, protecting the environment, or helping other people. Most of us are familiar with the glaring statistics of inequality around the world-CEOs often making as much as thousands of times the income of the lowest paid workers; jobless growth, outsourcing, and cut-throat competition. And, of course, the ever-lengthening work week and the high stress levels of workers everywhere. There are also the mounting costs of education, leaving many graduates with crippling debt. Overall, it is a daunting situation for young people aspiring to make a positive difference in the world, while still earning enough money to cover their basic needs.

Sadly, governments worldwide support a type of economic growth that favors global corporations, including banks and media companies. Yet globalized growth has not delivered on its promises of secure employment, prosperity or happiness. The real end result is an artificial scarcity of jobs as those in richer countries compete with cheap labor in low wage countries or impoverished migrant workers. Jobs become even scarcer as human labor is increasingly replaced by technology. The global growth model has been disastrous for people and the planet, with ecosystems and cultures being laid to waste. With rates of anxiety, depression and suicide rising steeply, we are seeing the profound psychological costs.